ThouShaltNot - The White Beyond: (from inside)

Main Page . The White Beyond . (from inside)

    I was fascinated with the possible duality (and separate interpretive potential) of religion and sexuality. Strong declaratives make the song about power, clearly, but whose?

    This went through a lot of drafts, including a 150 bpm Covenant-styled version and as a remake of our song "Jaundice," which was originally on Catalepsy. Music theory wanks take a look at the structure of chromatic aggregates in the song. Written summer 2001, rewrite summer 2003.

    I wanted to draw a map of regret, and in some way translate time into space. I wanted to join with selves and others from whose paths I diverged long ago.

    Written late 2002 and early 2003, this song uses a synths run through guitar pedals and amps. At the last minute, we changed the transition into the last chorus, which is the main difference (among a few subtle others) between the album version of the song and the inferior version on the Asleep By Dawn compilation.

    It's disarming when we are made aware that there are things about ourselves that are hidden to (by?) our own minds and that this uncertainty is only one small part of a greater externality. I needed a half dozen rewrites of the second verse to keep it from veering off into emetic moralism. Then I realized: who am I to pretend to any sort of authority?

    Written spring of 2002, with rewrites through March of 2003. It's a challenge to get a vocoder-type sound with neither a hardware nor software vocoder. Jeremy got to use the wah-wah pedal, and the unresolved leading tone at the end indexes yet another kind of uncertainty. Shameful trivia: I recorded a rap EP when I was 12. No, you can't have it.

    There are walls inside just as outside, spaces we can't reach. I suspect it has something to do with forgetting.

    First called "Paranoid," then "Resonance," this song has gone through more drafts than I can count. I wrote it in 1996 and it sounded like Sisters of Mercy. Then I trashed half the lyrics and rewrote it in 1999, and it sounded like Tears For Fears meets DMX. Then I rewrote it again in its current version in late 2001, early 2002. We were uncertain as to whether it belonged on the album, but the Steinway piano tracks clinched it.

    You're still farther (and further) away than seems possible. Some dimensions create a new kind of distance.

    Written in late 2000, this was actually slated to go on The Holiness of Now, but the original version was too minimalistic for our liking, as the song needed a larger sense of growth. A tonal center of C marks the verses, which initially mention only "you" and "we"; "I" does not appear until the key change to the distant F#m. Piano solo at the end was one take.

    Among other things, biology slows its operation in colder temperatures. In its own way, confrontation is necessary to speed up our eyes, words, and skin.

    Written in two separate sessions in 2001 and 2002, and then recorded in 2003, this song required a lot of tweaking. In the final mix, aware of the risk of "Glaciers" being overloaded, we cut out noticeable amounts of drums and guitar from its earlier rendition. This song is the last to feature my old Proteus MPS prominently.

    The fugue's double-helix is much larger than we think, and all the future and past of our blood is encoded in a present of which you and I aborted our awareness somehow. Somewhere within is an arrival, however. Come.

    I wrote this on my birthday in 2002, exactly two years after I wrote "Last Comfort." If you listen carefully, you'll hear an accordion in this song. Additionally there are five guitars, four drumsets, four vocal parts (one of which is heavily layered), bass, a whisper track, and more synth than is really reasonable. Mixing was difficult.

    When we look for patterns in the foreground, we fail. It is only through practiced observation that we learn to notice an underlying pulse and a slow revolving of horizons.

    The percussion and pads in this piece were laid down as a diversion during the May 2002 acoustic folk sessions we did. It was originally nearly 8 minutes long. Jeremy then played piano on it in March of 2003, and shortly thereafter gave it to D. C. F. Pegritz (of Nyarlathotep fame) so he could work his magic on it. The samples, gargles, and swooshes are largely his. Then I spent a week editing the massive piece to a (relatively) concise work. Somewhere along the way, this was accidentally pitch shifted up a half step. I like it more where it is now than at 120 bpm in B-flat minor. The track's title was donated by Meredith Collins.

    Dominance is nothing without someone to dominate. Remove the eyes, arms, and legs, and we still live. Remove the trachea and you die. We know what's going on.

    Written in early 2003 after listening to too much XTC and Ani DiFranco, this is an oddball. Despite its 187 bpm tempo, its sound palette is nearly identical to something like "Last Comfort." The stuttered "G-G-G-Girls" in verse three is, to me, funnier than any parody or novelty song we may ever have recorded. We're pretty sure that this is the only possible place on the album for it to have gone.

    All the clay in the world cannot sculpt devotion. The softest skin and softest mind are changed in their kiln.

    Wildly extrapolated from a 1995 lyric called "Mold You," "Trial By Fire" was written in early mid 2000 and rewritten in 2002. As with "G. L. M.," we were initially nervous about, but ultimately unrepentant for the song's overt pop hooks. Besides, using "autonomy," "Pygmalion," "fluoresce," and "jaundice" in the lyrics does a bit to offset the trash factor. Jeremy arranged a neat FM-harpsichord part that very quietly swirls around during the bridge. Late in mixing, we made several smoother mixes of the song, but ultimately we preferred the grit of the version that went on the album.

    There must be at once a great sense of stillness and of extreme motion. When clockwork slows inside, we see within ourselves slowly while the world around us screams, blinks, and overflows.

    This was among the earlier pieces written for the album, begun in April of 2001, and with much of the instrumental music recorded at home in New Hampshire during the time between graduation and my moving to Pittsburgh. The end section was written last, and any sense of it feeling tacked on is left intact for the name of contrast. Duly with the first chorus. All the piano was recorded on the first take.

    Sound leaves echoes, images leave phosphenes that remain in our eyes when we press them. We feel phantom pain in amputated limbs, and our motion in water leaves a foamed wake. You will leave your own reverberation too.

    I spent a long time writing out the string arrangement of this by hand, and so it was a wonder to have it finally realized in sound through a shameful amount of orchestral overdubbing. The original version of it had a lot more percussion before we decided that there was simply no need for it and that the drums at the end ought to mean something when they arrived. When this song was written in late summer of 2001, it was immediately evident that it would be the titlepiece of the record. The simple descending melodic lines are a constant pulling against the last lift in the voice to the high G.

    An echo of an echo.

    In F-minor, the piece serves as a final V-I cadence from the previous track's C minor. One day in the fall of 2001, we were recording with D. C. F. Pegritz and doing some photos with Kelly Ashkettle. When Jeremy, Pegritz, and Kelly stepped into the hallway to find some good lighting for a shot, I started working with a sound on the Proteus 2000 while Aaron tweaked the knobs to perfection. We hit record and improvised this piece in one take. We were done before Jeremy, Pegritz, and Kelly even came back from the photographs.

Main Page . The White Beyond . (from inside)