Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Sruel Quay" Released!

Many years in the making, "Sruel Quay" is finally here...a last scraping together of UPhold music that's been languishing during the last few years. You can get it as a free download from Bandcamp, including some beautiful cover and back artwork (photographs by Patrick, design by Dave McEwen), or you can just listen to the whole thing online if you're so inclined!

So what's the story? When I first started to use Logic Express 6 in 2003, I went through the usual learning curve of trying out a whole bunch of grand concepts that I couldn't complete at the time. As my knowledge and skill increased I started newer projects, which eventually became the "Damage" and "Roade" albums. Meanwhile, those early songs languished, getting further and further down the date-sorted list of "Multitrack" projects on my hard drive.

Then I bought a new, spiffy iMac, and while I saved money to eventually buy Logic Studio 8 for it, I decided to go back to the old eMac and finish off those songs before the hard drive disintegrated. I spent about a year dredging up 6-year-old songs and reworking them with the new experience and distance I'd acquired: "Bomb," "Devil Woman!", "Foozebox," "Humpback Forty-Four," and "The Swive (Part One)" were the results, and I planned to finish off a few more and release them as "False Memory Syndrome."

The problem was, by the time I'd finished these songs I'd finally started work with Logic 8, and I was no longer satisfied with how those dinosaurs sounded. They all relied on plugins I could no longer acquire (Pluggo and Mode) so I couldn't continue working on them with the new computer...they were frozen in time and technology. To make them even marginally better I'd need to spend more effort on them than I felt they deserved.

In the meantime I'd created some soundtracks to little video experiments ("Phonebox/Lunchbox," "Lightbox," "Boxcar," and "Caboodle"), and contributed to a compilation (a remix of "Icebox" on "Powdered Heaven Dressed in Plastic") and a split release with Infant Cycle ("Folded Memory Syndrome" and "Shut The Fuck Up Delia/Dmitri" on "Our Past Present").

In addition, I'd created a remix ("Roadbird") from the "Roade" album, and a remix of THAT remix with Chad Faragher. I also had a new song ("The Voyage of HMCS Thumpy") that I was spending so much time working on a video for that I simply got sick of it.

These were the bits and pieces I had lying around. What they all had in common was that they either couldn't be further improved due to technological limitations (both "Roadbird (Metal Mix)" and "Voyage of HMCS Thumpy" had ham-fisted mastering attempts so burned into their original tracks that they'd be very difficult to rescue) or had appeared on CDs from other venues (eg. "Shut the Fuck Up Delia/Dmitri," which I think is probably the best thing I've ever done...I wouldn't change a note).

In short: they were good enough to release, but generally fell short of what I'd expect people to PAY for. Like I said, I COULD improve them if I spent a lot of time and effort, but the improvement would be so marginal that it wouldn't justify the work.

With all that in mind, I hope you enjoy these oddities! They're a farewell to "UPhold" and the old ways of doing things. They sum up six years of my life: a time of personal exploration, sudden world experience, half-assed notoriety, and -- most obvious in many of the songs -- a degree of self-destructive too-much-fun behaviour that peaked and then subsided.

I'm surprised at how well "Sruel Quay" holds together as an album, and I look forward to what the first "Lemurian Congress" release will sound like!


Syd said...

Oh boy! It's a new UPhold album!

Oh no! It's the last UPhold album!

Thank you for sharing it. Good luck with Lemurian Congress, glad to hear a new album is in the works. The relative silence following your change in theme had seemed kinda ominous.

The Pico & Alvarado projects are definitely a change of pace, they feel more optimistic than a lot of your solo songs. There's an 80s exuberance that reminds me of really good C64 SID tunes, in mood.

Adam Thornton said...

Ahhh, I hope you enjoy the last dribbles of UPhold. Don't worry, the "Lemurian Congress" work is pretty much "UPhold" with fewer harsh edges (and the harshness that IS there will hopefully be deliberate!)

You can blame the P&A optimism on Alvarado, though he has his darker side as well. The EP should be ready in a month or so, including an exclusive '80s-style remix.

You've reminded me to do more sampling from the Atari 800XL! Not quite a SID chip, but at least I know how to use it.

I hope everything's good, Syd!