We mostly recused ourselves into our little womb—a dank, moldering basement in Queens—and created: songs, experiments, etc.
We wrote and recorded one EP. This took up most of the time devoted to Cardinal Points related activity. Nearly done. Due early Spring. Expect promotional activity to commence soon.
We played two gigs, with two different drummers, both at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn. (We turned down a bunch of other offers. Each time we mix up the line up, it takes an inordinate amount of time to get back into fighting condition. Hopefully we’re sorted for the moment. Perhaps we’ll play out more often in 2014. Or less.)
We spent a lot of effort trying to come up with crapcontent to feed the Social Media Beast, and then got bored.
We took time out to re-wire the machine. All went well and is much better now.
We explored the theory of rock band as platform for omni-media expression.
Last night, I dreamt that we were playing a show but somehow forgot Bick’s amp, so he had to play through the PA. The stage was set up in a corner behind the bar so we couldn’t really see the audience, and Crider had to set up across the room. I can’t remember if Tommy was there.
In the dream I couldn’t remember the words or even chords to our new song. When I woke up, I was relieved that I hadn’t forgotten the song because we never wrote it in the first place.
There’s an element of unadulterated terror not unlike that of driving too fast along winding cliff roads associated with recording. It’s silly, really (because it’s just rock and roll), but recording captures a moment of “truth” much more definitive than any live performance. Even though you can go back and redo bits and fix mistakes, if you don’t get the essence of the thing right from the beginning—find the murmuring and beating heart of it—the record will never be quite right. Probably because The Cardinal Points came together as a recording project, we use our studio not just to capture a performance of a song, but—as pretentious as this sounds/might be—to attempt to capture the very heart of it.
“On hearing Tenney’s composition Critical Band (1988), [John] Cage renounced his fifty-year antagonism to harmony,saying, “If that’s harmony, I take back everything I ever said. I’m all for it.”
- Ciarán Maher
It’s 17 some odd minutes, more or less on a single note. No backbeat. No singing. No bass solo. But it’s a note that’s pulling and prodding, inviting the listener to wonder what exactly it means to be “a note.”
One of the most distinctively stylish features of Gretsch guitars past and present is the “G arrow” control knob. If you already own a Gretsch, you know what we’re referring to—the volume and tone knobs on your instrument, which are in most cases adorned with an engraved later “G” pierced by an arrow. This was an early but not original development.