The original working title for this track was ‘ascendingC#Fripp’ which pretty much gives away the intentions I had when I laid down the core guitar improvisation. Built up of layers of Frippertronics-inspired guitar tape-loops, I was aiming to create a swirling cloud of gentle interlocking reflective moods and tension. I’d actually done many of these types of improvisations already, but this was one of the first I decided to record, I think during late 2006.
I then thought the guitar loops were a bit light and fluffy to have on their own and decided they needed a groove to hold it together. I heard on the radio a swampy blues groove by Muddy Waters and wanted to capture some the slow swinging darkness for this song. The guitar improv had no specific beat grid to work with, nor a clear sense where the chords designated themselves. So I just picked an arbitrary slow pace and put in a simple low bluesy bassline.
The floating guitar loops wafted over the top and had as much connection as clouds do to trees. But, as the song’s groove progressed, especially at the end where the bass holds out the long A and B chords, the loops seem to have these magic moments of unintended synchronisation. I left the song uncluttered by not adding any lead pop melodies or samples that would take away from that subtle central attention – so the song serves as either background music or something to study closely for strange minute detail.
Emotionally I found early on I was aiming for a meaning that like so many of my instrumental pieces is tied to geography. New England National Park has a stunning track called ‘The Lyrebird Walk’, the upper portion which has a gentle weaving through dark rainforest on the steep slope of the high Point Lookout range, meeting dreamy sub-alpine heath and forest on the top. The views are world class, but pick the right day and the morning holds a slow mist that drifts up the range rolling over the edge and through the forest. It’s absolutely beautiful, serene as you easily get lost in the quiet and the sound of distant bird calls. Lost In The Mist attempts to hold that mood.
Nice one, Foo! (with an exclamation mark ).
I enjoy it as chilly background music the way you described it.
Very nice mood. Hard to find songs like this. Good to know you’re continiuing this direction. Really nice.
The song comes from an album of 14 tracks, all with similar tensions and all centered around guitar recordings or guitar ideas. I’ll be release two more ‘singles’ (like this) before I put the whole package out there for free. Got some artwork and things to organise first as well.
And this is only ONE project out of a few! I’ve got a few collabs to flesh out, a “pop” album, some old remasters, and another big one that I can’t say much about now.
More subtle beauty. I don’t think I’ve heard a song by you that I didn’t like. I’m becoming a big fan Keep it up and I’m pumped to hear the album. Maybe you and Mick should team up for a guitar track too?
Thanks for the quality feedback everyone! It’s encouraging to see people give something a go that isn’t the usual 200bpm blast out. And on the other hand there isn’t even a lead melody in this song, so I finding it warming that ‘mood’ and ‘texture’ are seen as valid feature elements, provided of course they are interesting enough and well expressed for their intended purpose.
Can’t wait to release the next few tracks…
Both your points and BeatS’ point are valid. Part of that potential problem is the used sample set for the percussion: not being anything special and compensated for by using thick gooey flange. To bypass all these issues the absolute best thing you could do is to record a take of acoustic drums, with the appropriate subtle variations. Currently my set-up doesn’t allow to attempt this with any serious quality. So I’m stuck with sequencing. I did consider taking the approach of taking a ‘realistic sequencing’ approach with the drums, but at the time of writing this song I was tired of the conservative approach and instead explored an artier approach. Despite the particular shortcomings of the snare, where else do you hear drums like this?
This brings up an issue about ‘finishing perspectives’. Right before I decided that this song was ‘finished’ I considered many possible paths in which I could further edit what I had put down. The above drum discussion is just one potential path. Others included possibly doing vocals, others involved re-doing the guitar part so it was more in rhythm, etc. I felt taking the music any further than what I had would ruin the delicacy of what I had, that it NEEDED to be soft, slightly out of time and melodically ambiguous. I was looking to mine a certain sensation that I get when walking through the forests when the mist is moving through, that peaceful state but still aware enough so there is groove and direction. I must have listened to this song over 120 times, and the current manifestation best suits all the variables chosen effortlessly like water flowing down a gully instead of over a tree.
The songs is what it is: if that feels limited or ill-expressed, then it’s because my sonic vocab isn’t strong enough to do the idea justice. Sometimes other people may even have a clearer vision, and this is where remixes are welcome. But I doubt they could better the mood. They simply haven’t been to New England National Park, done the lyrebird walk in the mist and experienced it the same way I have. A remix would be just another person’s perspective on the matter, and NOT a step toward ‘form perfection’.
This right there is the good stuff. I cant decide which is my favorite out of your works, but it definitely feels like they all connect well into a groovy chilled album.
The mixing is indeed perfect on this one, and I would not dare touch the drums or the snare. The snare fits perfectly in my opinion.