Blitch Bango

Space Time Song Notes

The genesis of Space Time came about during the preparation for release of Quint-Essential! and CLEARANCE Podcast Music. For the release following, the goal was to pursue the type of songwriting style used for the Podcast Music: a free flow of musical ideas built into song structures. However, the recipe was changed a bit. Podcast Music was limited on most accounts to two acoustic guitars, bass, and hand percussion, keeping the songs light, pleasant, and undistracting from the podcast narrative. With Space Time, the goal was to explore the sonic possibilities of electric guitar, and not impose a limit to things light and pleasant.

Another goal was to follow some of the non-standard time signatures occasionally used in Podcast Music. One imposed limit was restraint from using keyboards and synthesizer-generated instruments (excepting percussion), as well as acoustic guitar, replacing them with layered electric guitar. As a comparative baseline, inspiration was drawn from some favorite, more experimental, Eno-esque records: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, The Catherine Wheel, Another Green World, and I Advance Masked, as well as records from favored guitarists such as Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp.

The typical approach followed was to lay down basic tracks, then shift, chop, and rearrange them to achieve final song structure. A fair amount of subtractive writing was also involved: laying down multiple tracks, trying them out to see how they fit, and selecting the best ones. In some instances, the initial tracks and ideas for songs were completely replaced by ideas that evolved from the initial ones. After this, some parts were re-recorded to maintain a sense of song continuity, working towards a loop-based feel without using an abundance of loop clips. Aside from some percussive loops, very few other loops were used.

Effects were used liberally on this recording. All the songs contain more echo and reverb than customarily used. Occasionally parts are reversed. Unique filter effects (envelope follower, phasing, flanging, etc.) are applied along with more traditional effects (EQ, distortion, compression) used in traditional and non-traditional ways. Sometimes effects were recorded in the basic track (echo on guitar, for example) and sometimes effects were added in mixing. The approach to guitar playing changed depending on the song and part; often non-standard playing techniques were used such as two-handed tapping instead of picking, percussive attack, use of an E-bow, or guitar knob volume swells. Particular attention was also paid to using the full stereo spectrum and dynamic range for songs that demanded it.

To fit the music, traditional lyrics were abandoned. An initial idea was to use only public domain samples for vocal parts, but this was eventually augmented with lyrics when the music seemed to call for it. Roughly half the songs have no vocal parts. Some have only simplistic, wordless, backing vocals. Some use samples or mashups or interpretations of public domain works. Some are inspired by others' works, stream of consciousness writings, or simple observations.

While songs were moved around to separate songs in the same key, or place songs in a more satisfying order, the songs are grouped in the rough order they were written and recorded to document a musical train of thought. Embellishments were sometimes added (or removed) later in the cleanup and mixing of the project, but the substantial structures and instrumentation of the songs remains faithful to the original ideas.