“Further into Songs” is a PHW feature that digs deeper into the roots and inspirations behind some of the great songs I’ve been listening to lately. The best part is that the words and thoughts come straight from the artists themselves.
For a band that makes such a virtue of concision, “Revisiting” is easily the most atypical song off Disappears’ pummeling sophomore LP Guider. The song is downright monolithic; a primal 16-minutes of controlled chaos, minimalism, and old-fashioned rock & roll swagger. It’s running time accounts for over half of the album and comprises Side B of the LP all by itself. In the following guest post Disappears’ singer/guitarist Brian Case discusses how this studio experiment evolved into the finishing touch Guider couldn’t live without:
Disappears songs are usually very immediate. They are written very quickly with a focus on simplicity and repetition, keeping in mind that often times the best ideas are the first. When we were getting ready to record Guider we initially were planning on it being an EP. The one thing we hadn’t really played at all was “Revisiting”, at that time named “Perfect Cop” – just an idea we’d been messing around with. We decided the studio would be the best place to flesh it out. Somewhere along the way we got the idea that if we made the song 15 minutes long we could make the EP a full length, stretching out the album to a total run time of 30 minutes – the exact same as our first album Lux.
We banged through the record in typically quick fashion – we always go for a couple takes and pick the best one. This session was especially quick as we had just returned home from a tour and were in good form. Save for the opening track “Superstition”, every song on the album was done in one take. We completed all the basic tracking in a few days and saved “Perfect Cop” for last. We didn’t talk too much about what we were going to do before we tried it – we talked about keeping lots of space, nothing flashy or extreme – just setting a mood and letting it ride out for as long as we could manage. As we were planning on the song being long we also didn’t want to play it 20 times. The idea, like all of our recordings, was to capture a mood – set up a space for the listener. So we started the tape machine with a fresh reel, went in and banged it out – one take, no plan just the idea that we were going to fill up a whole side of the vinyl with this one song.
When we finished we thought it was about 7 minutes. The run time ended up being just over 20. From here we went into our normal writing mode of editing, peeling away anything that seemed extra, and getting down to the heart of the song. It was surprisingly easy, the song really did play itself so to speak. We ended up chopping off about 5 minutes, just bumping things around until the song had a little more movement and it felt like it naturally progressed – basically just cut the fat. We did a few very minor overdubs – I think Graeme added a keyboard section but basically the song remained as is.
We deciding that with the new length of the song we needed a longer set of lyrics – we wanted the song to be a total piece as it was going to occupy an entire side of vinyl. Anyway, I switched the lyrics to another set I was working on – sort of in the same vein as “Old Friend”, a song on Lux. These focused on the meeting of the character in that song where as “Old Friend” was more about the current situation. Anyway, the title “Revisiting” seemed fitting. We all were really happy with how it turned out, it felt good to push ourselves into a new territory and it ended up becoming the final piece of the album that really made it a total statement.
MP3 :: Superstition
(from Guider. Buy here)
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