Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TVD First Date with | Into The Presence

C’mere. Let me let you into a little secret.

See, ...sometimes in moments of doubt and introspection I often think, “Look at’s a gorgeous day outside...what are you doing in TVD HQ listening to records and blogging about it all?” Or better yet, “Pull your head outta your ass.”

It’s no wonder Ms. TVD refers to the TVD Office as the ‘Masterbatorium.”

But I am heartened these days by the tiny things that tell me that yes, indeed...all this pining for vinyl, ‘antiquated’ recording processes, and musicianship is not for naught.

Perhaps it was the long line of preteens at Crooked Beat Records on Record Store Day with LPs under their arms. Or the seriously long faces from the same demographic when told over at Som that they were sold out of a special 7” pressed for the day. Makes a geezer proud, it does.

Yet, it might be the musicians like this week’s First Date Into The Presence, who are carving grace notes from ghost notes by—wait for it—recording not digitally but via analog. Real performances. On tape. Who even sweat the mastering.

Into The Presence is the new project from Primus drummer Tim Alexander (also of A Perfect Circle) and Luis Moldonado, one-time child music prodigy who’s worked with Pat Monahan, John Waite, UFO, Glenn Hughes and Michael Schenker.

I could go on and on about how refreshing this is, but Luis’s enthusiasm clearly speaks for itself:

"I am one of those individuals that grew up with Vinyl and 8 track tapes. I listened to everything from Petula Clarke to Uriah Heep. I LOVED records. I loved obsessing on everything from the album cover art, to where and who recorded on these recordings. I use to fantasize about the band or artist playing live, what they would look like. It was very much a religious experience for me. I didn’t like toys, playing with the next door neighbors kids or going to social functions. I would escape with music. I grew up playing music by the age of 7 and was surrounded by classical influences. However, listening to albums like Jeff Beck live, Queen II, the Nazz and other music of that time, I wasn’t so much impacted by the songwriting as much as I was the SOUND. I would feverishly try to figure out HOW Pete Townsend made a certain GROWL on his guitar, or Freddy Mercury was able to sing so delicately over heavy hitting music and make it work. To me, these were all new sounds and new “landscapes” that was breaking rules of formalities and traditions. Especially with my background in the orchestra it was all new and wonderful, at least to me. And it forever impacted me to this day to find the newest and purest expression, within myself and in others.

Today we are expected to have distortion and delay on the guitars, drums, and what ever else to make that “rock, indy, alt” sound.

What I miss today is the purity of songwriting and performing. Really singing, really playing. Its an art that has gotten lost in the vast sea of “snobs” and “anti-snob” snobs within this industry. What I mean is playing a guitar solo at one time was a beautiful statement within the song (and I'm not talking about 80’s metal solos) and to be a great singer that could deliver a melody with authority was and in some cases, still is a true expression of ones abilities to communicate the music language.

I will always play my vinyl for that inspiration. My collection is the center piece of the home that I live in and it is what gets listened too. I don’t have many CDs and the only time I listen to an iPod is when I am on an airplane. Most tours I travel with a portable turntable and a road case of vinyl. What I have learned since the birth of CD’s and the digital age of MP3’s is that those mediums are absolutely MISSING many things within the sound. From the album artwork, watching physically as the music was produced from a black disc spinning on a turntable, to the most missed aspect being the actual 3D dimension effect that only vinyl has been able to produce. I have taken many re-mastered CD’s and A/B’d my basic vinyl copies of lets say, Steely Dan’s Aja, Queen’s Night at the opera, and Neil Young’s After the Goldrush is hands down, and I will always prefer dimension over compression.

I will always prefer the illusion of the band being in the room over playing back round music while I eat dinner.

Vinyl will never die. It's too precious, and there is a reason teens as young as 14 are discovering the qualities of vinyl without the brainwashing from the labels of this industry that claim digital is king.

Urban Outfitters sell record players and NEW artists are ALL putting out vinyl. It's NOT for the nostalgic, its for the music fans of today. Its NOT a fad, but a rediscovery that at one time our music industry did it right.

It's NOT moving backwards by releasing vinyl, its picking up where we left off…"

(Luis returns tomorrow with Part 2 of our First Date...)

Into The Presence - Lovers (Mp3)

TVD's Angry Old Man

Seems Hamell has taken to updating his Live Journal right before I leave for work these days and today’s entry, his (new?) song lyrics, have been churning away.

Some people play the odds, it works out every time
Some people live the life, they drink the finest wine
(Am) (G) (F) (C)
They don’t seem sharp, they don’t seem cool, they don’t seem bright
(Am) (G) (F) (C)
They don’t do good, they don’t try hard, they don’t try right
(D) (G) (D) (G)
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

My kid he likes to ask, he’s got inquiries
He wants to know ‘bout God, he asks bout destinies
He’s only 8, he thinks life’s great, the good guys win
That if you got a dream you end what you begin
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

I had to sit him down, and tell him he was wrong,
We talked ‘bout war and hate and victory of the strong
I told him all the dirty tricks that life could play
That God’s a cosmic joke; you’re dust on dying day.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

It is a wicked world, compassion far and rare,
There’s sickness all around, and no one seems to care,
You’re born alone and you’ll die the same way too
It’s all a senseless mess the universe plays on you.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

And do you really think, I looked him in the eye?
And uttered words like these, to watch him break and cry?
I told him God was waiting just to hold his hand,
And lead him right to me in eternity we’d land.
Whether I believe it or not, this is what he got.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

(...And yes, this falls squarely under the Angry Old Man banner.)

The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (Live) (Mp3)
XTC - Dear God (Mp3)
Fiction Factory - Feels Like Heaven (Mp3)
Heaven 17 - Temptation (Mp3)
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Mp3)