We’re calling ‘Waking the Skeleton Key’, our forthcoming release, an EP (even though it’s around 50 minutes long) because it’s an ‘in between’ project; a few new songs, a cover, some experimental spaces and some re-workings.
Working with Malcolm Burn on our last album ‘Trapeze’ was an interesting experience that I personally had a lot to learn from, from a producer’s point of view. For these new songs I have returned to the production chair and began this batch while learning how to use Apple’s Logic program, so there’s been an exploratory experimental edge from point One. I found myself doing a lot of things that I learned from Malcolm including his “leaving the monitors blaring while overdubbing” or “Forget your effects! Just plug into the amp!” exclamations; my new 4 Watt VOX AC4TVH mini-head and cab help making this inspiration easy. Yet there were other times where I whole-heartedly took a complete ‘Anti-Malcolm’ approach with things, which I’ll let you hear for yourself.
After ‘Trapeze’ was finished, we did a video interview with Malcolm and talked about the creative process as well as Moksha’s brain surgery healing. Ironically, at one point he said, “What, are you going to have to lose an arm to make the next record?!” Strange that Moksha had a major biking accident and surgery in the middle of making this thing….
And yes, Moksha is doing amazingly better each and every day and already writing new material for an upcoming full band Florida recording session at North Avenue Studios in October (where in fact we recorded Billy Dean’s drum tracks for 5 of the EP songs) (which will also be a multi-camera HD video shoot). One of her first days back up and moving, she spent a few hours in the glorious sounding barn at the Pinacle Mountain Center of the Arts (where many guitar tracks were recorded as well) in the Eastern Townships of Quebec finishing her vocal tracks like the rock star trooper she is.
All of that being said, this collection feels very special to us for many reasons. The first four freshly written new pieces have the main recent HuDost Touring lineup playing together including the always present bassist/keyboardist Dan Walters, vocalist Stephanie Heidemann, percussionist Julian Douglas and drummer Billy Dean. Seven of the tracks including the amazing Ken Rosser from LA who plays a myriad of things including various freq’ed and unfreaked guitars, electric sitar, banjo, pedal steel, chinese pipa and more! That’s right folks, there’s A LOT of guitar on here.
Not only do we have the four brand new songs, we have two ‘remixes’ from the above mentioned Malcolm Burn produced ‘Trapeze’. The song ‘All My Guitars’ was originally recorded with five musicians in the same room (Josh playing a single snare to a ‘bass drum click’) completely stripped and acoustic till at one point Malcolm exclaimed “This is beginning to sound like ‘A Mighty Wind’!” At that point Josh put down some rockin’ drums and Malcolm and I had a ‘Les Paul Vs. Telecaster Guitar Dual’ with each other ‘Crazy Horse style’ and the very nature of the song started to change. Since then I’ve wanted to go back and strip it away to re-hear the acoustic version. Once this started happening I had the inspiration to send it over to Ken who added banjo, pedal steel and electric sitar. This brought us to more layers of acoustics and vocal tweaks and addings to make this new ‘Mighty Wind Remix’ quite a unique thing. A subtle addition is an extended ‘accidental’ ambient outro. Originally, my lead guitar solo at the end (which never made it into the ‘Trapeze’ mix AT ALL) was turned around backwards. When I went back in to visit the stripped down version I rediscovered by backwards solo. It was tacked on to the ending of the song with some other atmospheric room remnants mixed with it. As we started putting on the overdubs and editing and arranging this version further, we kept letting the ‘tape’ roll through the backwards section slowly building into a ‘created realized altered space’. Try to keep your eyes open now…
One of my favorite tracks on ‘Trapeze’ has always been ‘Salome’ though I wasn’t always happy with the mix that ended up on the album. While that version is interesting sonically; it feels to me like a huge vocal presence coupled with a lot of low-end bass with the rest of the band instrumentation basically becoming an ambient wash underneath. In fact, this is the one song on the record where the entire Dost ‘Trapeze’ gang was playing in the same room together and syncing beautifully with one another. The interplay between the strings, flutes, bass and guitars contain some extremely magical interplay and interweaving. There’s even some rather substantial ‘lost harmonies’ from Linda Worster and myself. So again, Oz is lending his alchemical mixing hands and ears for a whole new way of viewing ‘Salome’.
There’s also HuDost’s first recorded cover song. It’s one of our many favorites from the classic Australian psychedelic band The Church called ‘Invisible’ from their ‘After Everything Now This’ album. This cover version has turned into a major EPIC with an extended thundering experimental zikr outro.
I hope it makes the boys proud.
After this comes a ‘Trapeze’ outtake that we’ve finally been able to ‘finish’ called ‘I Hold’. The basis of the song is still Moksha’s original piano and vocal demo (which some of you have heard via some of our random Mp3 HuDost mailing list send outs). It’s been fleshed out with more vocal arrangements via Moksha and Stephanie along with some beautiful slide and atmospherics from Ken, new treated piano from Dan, Ebow Orchestrations from moi and some ambient space from Oz.
There’s even a piece called ‘Invention’ which contains some of Moksha’s computer music vocal & harmonium experimentation with Dan and I providing a layered mesh of silky low end ponderings and ‘recycled noise-scape invocations’.
We hope you will like it as much as we do. Mixing is currently about half-way done and Moksha and Emily Martinez are currently finishing up the art. Within the next few days, we’ll be starting a pre-order campaign in order to raise money for the mixing and printing, so stay TUNED! There’s MUCH more to come and the songs and creativity are flowing freely. Thank you ALL for your continued inspiration and support and most of all for listening deeply!