среда, 30. октобар 2013.

AUX sessions - some comments 5 years later

For fans of Consecration:

It's been 5+ years since we released Aux and I just found these additional comments to the songs I wrote some time ago. Since our fourth album Univerzum Zna should be out in a couple of days, I found these rants rather amusing to share. So, here you go...

(Since this blog won't allow me to post Youtube links for the songs for some reason, every song name is a link to the actual song on Youtube)

Aimless wasn't originally intended to be the album opener. The initial idea was to have the two of the oldest tracks, Absinthe and Emocean to open the album, then Rinasek, Passage and Cliffhangers following them. Aimless was intended to be some kind of the opener of the second chapter of Aux, like a B1 of a LP record or cassette. But, as soon as I realized that nine songs might be a bit too much for a debut album, I decided to cut down two of the songs and put Aimless as the album opener instead.

Musically wise, Aimless was pretty much Opeth influenced from the get-go. I remember the night I created the main riff, I was in the kitchen playing my classical guitar. I always liked the nines, the kind of chords one could hear in the main riff. That's a kind of chord you could hear in The Police's Message In A Bottle. Or Katatonia's Rainroom, for that matter. As the main riff progressed, all the other riffs came naturally following it, right there on the spot... In the kitchen. I remember I wanted to end the song in D, because at that time I wanted Berček to be the next song on the album, and Berček was all the way in D. It's probably the fascination I always had with Tiamat's Wildhoney and the way all the songs on that album just blended one into another. Anyway, the track order changed on a friend's suggestion, and that was Nikola Vranjković of Block Out, that suggested I should put Aimless first. I still remember his joy upon hearing Aimless for the first time, he loved it. He loved the mid-part with the atmosphere and the acoustic guitar, and I think I liked that part best too. He was all like «This is your Isis part!» The synth part that I played during that mid-part resembled the Isis atmosphere mostly, I guess.

The lyric of the song was made out of this period of time I had the same dream over and over again. I think it was either that or that I just couldn't dream of anything at all. Dreams are important to me, and they sometimes seem aimless – while you are dreaming you never know what comes next – and I kind of wished to have some dream or goal or aim, or even a nightmare, that would freak me out and make me afraid to fall sleep again... Wes Craven style.

Rinasek is a Serbian drug for cold. It has a symbol of a small triangle on the package, which means it's a psychoactive one, and it was also the one you wouldn't need perscription for. Me and Nemanja, our ex-keyboard player, had a period when we experimented with alcohol and weed and after a while we got into this Rinasek thing, although I can't remember who brought it first. I wouldn't recommend to anyone mixing these kind of pills with alcohol cause it's giving really bad trips and unpleasant downers – it could be even lethal if you're not careful enough. This one time we drank like a bottle of red wine and about dozen of rinasek's each and we had this slumbery kind of state of mind for hours. Like falling asleep for a long time, not knowing if you are awake at all, though you are still conscious about everything around you. I remember we listened to Autechre's Incunabula on through the night, especially the song 444 on repeat.

The vocoder part in the song came naturally – Mogwai were using those on Hunted By A Freak, Anathema on Closer. Both of those songs were pretty much new at the time – they were both released in late 2003 and we made Rinasek in early 2005. We also caught the band Trans Am playing some gig in Belgrade and they had lots of vocoders throughout their set as well. It was so hard to get a vocoder at the time. Nemanja had a Korg MS-2000 synth which had a vocoder built in it, so it was handy that we could use that one. Nowadays it is much easier with Electro Harmonix making Voice Box pedals and similar stuff which is available to get anywhere... During mid-2000's those kind of stuff was still really hard to get, unless the pedals were old and boutique.

The guitar melody was something I wanted to capture off Katatonia's Tonight's Decision, a bleak clean hypnotic chord sliding down on the guitar fret and gliding up again, making a mesmerizing loop. I'm glad the fans loved Rinasek most out of all Aux songs, cause Rinasek was the easiest song we made so far. It was also the song that was made last, in early 2005, and the hint of things to come in the future. And the lyric? I just wrote it down from the paper sheet that came with the drug.

Passage was one of the earliest Consecration songs. I wanted to get the atmosphere of old Tiamat I grew up on. I always liked how the ending of the song turned out – it's one of my favorite spots on the album, with those reversed delay effects, acoustic guitar, lead guitar melody and backing vocals blended altogether. The lyric itself was about reincarnation and the thoughts of afterlife, which was very Tiamat-ish too, I guess. The original lyric sheet was much longer but I had to cut it down, so that the song wouldn't turn out too long otherwise. I remember we recorded this track pretty fast in the studio, as it was one the few ones Lazar knew already – he joined the band playing bass only a week or two before the September of 2005, when Aux recordings took place.

I also added the (aux) thing to the song title, cause I felt Passage was the most representative song for Consecration at the time and the album too. It blended the Consecration's doomy beginnings with the other dynamic stuff going on in the song. I also liked the word aux cause a) it was unusual word for an album b) I was just getting interested in mixdowns and mixing consoles and aux was my favorite new thing, as all of my favorite effects, reverbs and delays, had to go through the aux patches.

This one was a more personal, written for a friend. Although Cliffhangers might sound like Anathema's or Katatonia's song, I have to admit I was much inspired by Slowdive and their Just For A Day debut album. This song was recorded only by Yeqy and myself entirely, as the song had many chord changes to remember. Lazar didn't have time to learn them all and Nemanja just couldn't, so I played both bass and synth parts. Actually, I think Leš (the former bass player) had issues remembering the chords as well -  I have flashbacks of him having all the chords written on paper and reading them while playing during rehearsals. E-bow parts in the song were played in one take, on the spot, therefore some mistakes were left on purpose. I think the bass that I played on Cliffhangers was some kind of Squier bass I borrowed from my girlfriend's little brother. I think I chose Squier instead of Lazar's Washburn cause Squier had a bit more of that rounder tone the song needed.

The lyric was introspective as usual, a kind of confessional one, and I think the lyrics as we grow older / the cliff is getting higher / the forest growing colder / but our spirits brighter were few of the better ones I've written.

This one was the oldest song on the album, recorded back in April 2004. I remember the day before the studio sessions took place, it was Friday when we went to our friend's birthday at her place. All the three of us, Yeqy, Leš (the former bass player) and myself were there, bunch of other friends as well, and we got really smashed. Yeqy slept over at her place as we were supposed to meet at 9AM the next day for the studio, and I guess we were partying until 4 or 5 in the morning. It was only 3AM when I found a bottle of blueberry Finlandia in the freezer… Next thing I remember, it’s 9AM and we were supposed to meet at one of the bus stops and as Leš and as I were getting closer, we saw Yeqy sitting on his drumchair in the middle of the street, talking on a payphone pretty much loud with someone, while still high on whatever spirits he got last night, all smiling in joy. Excellent way to start a recording day we all thought. And actually, the recordings went pretty well. We recorded both Absinthe and Emocean (originally entitled Absinthe Thoughts and eMotion) in two days.

Absinthe was one of our rare tracks that were in dropped C. I suppose that was because of Katatonia's Viva Emptiness, I was into it a lot at the time and it had the same tuning. The lyric itself was inspired by Sigur Rós and their own invented hopelandic language. During the rehearsal I sang gibberish, some words and vowels I liked and then I made actual words out of it later, the words I found appropriate to the song, while I was listening to the tape of recorded rehearsal. Funny way, eh? I think I found out later that Mike Patton used to do the same thing for some Mr. Bungle records.

Probably the oldest Consecration song to date, if we’re not counting some demos that were made under The Lack Of Motivation moniker. The doom metal influences, especially from the band Saturnus, were pretty much evident here. Leš was so happy for this song that he even contributed with his own growls during the last chorus. I liked the atmosphere the three of us created, especially during the verse – there was no synth played in this song, the guitars were made to sound like a synth and I toyed a lot with the RV3 delay/reverb pedal, the first pedal I ever got... And you thought metalheads got their distortion pedals first? A good friend of mine, Stevie, mentioned that the solo reminded him of In The Woods' Omnio and that was a nice compliment, as we all loved the warmness Omnio had plenty of.

If Consecration didn't have so many line-up changes during the very first days, and if we had the chance to develop and record more songs at certain period of time, I guess there would be more songs in the vein of Emocean and Passage (Aux), even a whole album in that older doomish style. But we always wanted to progress, try different things and approaches and we just couldn't settle with one style for too long.

This one was an instrumental. It reminded a lot of people of Pink Floyd because of the vibe and people loved hearing it live. If you ask me though, the first and the main chord always reminded me of Def Leppard’s Hysteria ballad. Berček was also important for us in a way of starting improvising more and more, since we never quite played this song in the same way twice.

The name of the song we got not from the famous Serbian actor Aleksandar Berček but his son Nikola; he was playing with Yeqy in an alternative rock band called Trenje at the time and we shared the same rehearsal space for some time. I think I met him in a music store one day. I was buying me a wah pedal and he was getting a hollowbody guitar or something. That was the same day we created the song and we didn't have a name for it, so... It just occured to me, yeah, let's name the song after him. We always liked to toy with unusual song titles and Berček was no exception.

This one was another ballad in Anathema kind of way. Or Metallica, Fade To Black or Welcome Home style, with those suspended E minor chords, with F# and G tones clashing within. Shelter Me could be the closest piece we ever got to the goth thing in Consecration, with pathos present in the lyrics too. Although we liked to hang out in the goth clubs and events a lot at that time, and even though our first gig we did on our own was in June 2002 in KST on a goth night, I wasn't so sure if I wanted those goth chicks and weird vampire wannabe freaks to be our main audience. Anyway, the chicks loved this song and every now and then somebody brings up the question if we would play Shelter Me ever again on some shows. Well, you can't please everybody. But maybe we will play it again, who knows?

I played bass on this track as well, and I remember Yeqy was standing by as I played and he was telling me about the drum kick accents while I was playing. He would guide me what would come next. Not sure if I hit all the time signatures well... Good times. The lyric was personal too, as it was written for someone that meant pretty much to me at the time. I left the I fucking hate you part from the lyric sheet intentionally – it just felt too much and the line I'm so hollow inside felt more approproate reflecting the same sentence, as hate is a rather hollow feeling after all – love is the only thing that truly matters.

Along with Rinasek, one of the most recent songs concerning Aux sessions. This was much Neurosis influenced, as I just started to discover them during 2003 with Times Of Grace and A Sun That Never Sets. We concentrated more on the dynamics here and the quiet/loud parts. This song also made us think about downtuning more – when we tuned guitars all the way down to B eventually, Mercury Room was one of the songs that got a better impact. Plus the new tuning was more convenient for Lazar, as he was playing a 5-string bass and didn't have to change his tuning to D anymore during every rehearsal.

After the recordings in VETŠ, I got in touch with Marko Jovanović from the Underground studio, as I was looking for a person who would mix the record. Mercury Room was the first track I gave him for making a preliminary mixdown, to see if he would be up to it. Mercury Room was our most extreme track so far and I knew if he could handle it, his job with other songs would only be easier from that point on. Oh the horror he felt with Mercury… Fortunately his moods got better upon hearing Rinasek and all the other friendlier tracks.

As for the live sets, it was really intense playing Mercury Room every time, especially the ending riff. It was so physical, something we started to learn from Neurosis, Isis, Godflesh and such bands – the sheer force of a loud riff and the undeniable presence of it. The newfound love for the B tuning only led to some new stuff that would become Aligator and .avi in the near future.

WHERE 65 & 41 MEET

This was played right on the spot in the studio during the recording sessions in VETŠ. I always loved acoustic guitar – I played classical guitar for seven or eight years straight before I started learning to play electric guitar and got my own in August of 2000. Where 65 & 41 Meet was fully improvised and that's why there are a few slips here and there.

The song title came out of a meeting place with the girfriend I was dating at the time – there was only one station downtown where those two buses met and I liked the reference. There were also two guitars playing in the song, as a sort of dialogue between them, as they were sometimes playing the same thing and sometimes playing different notes. I decided to put it as a hidden track on the album, to give the Aux a bit of a hopeful, shiny ending note, after the rather apocalyptic Mercury Room. The word 'ajde (come on) I said at the beginning of the song was funny because I said it during the recording of the first track and the quiet chuckle that can be heard right after that, it was coming from the second track recorded afterwards while I was dubbing the second guitar and waited for the playback to start. So the chuckle was my reaction on my own voice telling me come on. It's a stupid little thing but I loved it...

You can listen to or buy Aux in its entirety here - http://consecration.bandcamp.com/album/aux

Thank you for reading & listening


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