Negative Film: The Photogenesis B-Sides is a 5-track EP of material I wrote during the process of putting together and promoting Photogenesis. It’s my first ever official release (albiet digital-only) and is available for purchase on Bandcamp.
Check it out and purchase it for only $2, in any format you’d like, here. Here’s some blurbs about each of the tracks on the album!
2. Church: The organ samples that appear on Bros (the track from Photogenesis) were recorded at my lifelong church home of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Long Valley, NJ. There’s a cabinet in the spare office situated outside the back of the sanctuary, where several pieces of equipment are kept. Among them- a supply of blank cassette tapes, a small mixing console, a serious cassette deck, etc. I took an unlabeled, presumably blank tape, put it in the deck, and pressed record, then walked into the sanctuary to record the organ. When I got home and transferred the tape to my recording session for Bros, I found that the tape had a previous occupant- a recorded speech or sermon that Pastor Tollefson had apparently given some time ago. I can’t tell if the recording was done live, or if this was him practicing, and I have no idea when it was recorded. But while listening to it, I said, hey- this is great stuff. Let’s build a piece around it. I already knew that my church home would make a great inspiration for a Photogenesis track, so I got to work finding a musical home for it to reside in. I decided on a sort of “chillwave”-esque vibe, educated by the sounds of Toro y Moi or M83 or similar artists. I built a simple synthesizer/gated drum groove, and added the recording of Pastor to it. An NES drum machine plugin and brief, truncated sine wave synthesizer solo added some new elements to the groove late in the track, and I loved the strange juxtaposition and aesthetic it created.
3. Look to the Sky: This is my recording/version of the bossa nova tune by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Originally recorded on the beautiful album “Wave” with orchestral-like accompaniment (arranged by the great Claus Ogerman), it always had a spaced-out, beautiful summertime vibe. I decided to take the sort of ambient music I was creating with my piano and electronics and apply it to this classic. I synthesized the chords that make up the tune and gave them a drone-type texture, then loaded them into a sampler for me to trigger while performing the melody and solo live on the piano. Besides the texture change, this is pretty straightforward: Head -> Solo -> Head out. Standard jazz form.
4. Money is the (sq)Root of Evil Meditation: Another track that I’ve already written about quite a bit. This version is slightly changed and edited from the version that appeared in the Black Dogs Handmade in Bradford installation and is on my Soundcloud. It was also remastered.
5. Gretchen Ross: Donnie Darko is among my favorite movies of all time. I know, sometimes it gets overhyped and elevated to cult status, but I have so many reasons to love it- the 80s soundtrack, the carefully constructed plot and science fiction elements, the dark humor, and Gretchen Ross. It’s not so much about finding actress Jenna Malone attractive, it’s more about how much I love the dynamics of the relationship between Gretchen and Donnie. The film’s composer Michael Andrews did an all-around stellar job scoring Donnie Darko, and his “Gretchen Ross” cue is one of my favorites from the entire movie- so beautiful, and so simple. This is my interpretation of the piece- forgoing the choir element and changing chord progression to repetitively focus on only the first two chords. The track starts as a drone, and gradually regains definition to focus on the piano sample (almost like a mirror image of M/M/M) before adding ambient synthesizer pads, a Moroder-like pulsing 8th note bassline, and finally, expansive and gigantic drums. Euphoria.
Well, there you have it! That is, in a nutshell, Negative Film: The Photogenesis B-Sides. It’s an awfully short EP, clocking in just above 10 minutes, but there’s a lot of ideas I’ve shoved in there and some interesting soundscapes. I hope you enjoy it!