I am starting to write these notes while I still have three songs left to record. Two with Urine, who has heard me flub more lines and do more takes than this project really warranted, and one with Brahman Shaman, who I had a great hour-long conversation with two weeks ago after not seeing each other face-to-face for easily a year, even though we live less than 10 miles apart. This is definitely a lesson I should have learned a few years ago, and a few months ago again; when you have access to the people you care about, utilize it -- you never know when they might get the bug to move, or in some cases, die.
I am also starting to write these notes in an effort to be productive even when I do not feel like it. I quickly tire of rehearsing the same three songs, and writing new work seems fruitless for the time being. Digging up feelings and thoughts about the process of this project serves as a good break from rehearsing and allows me to listen to music to keep me inspired.
The oldest song on this project was started in early 2010, and the most recently created song began in the middle of 2012 -- which means this project reflects almost three years of my life. These three years (plus the reflection and inflection of a fourth) provided a vast array of experiences. Some experiences I wrote out in the moment, as though my living them was directly tied to documenting them, or predicting the future consequences. Other experiences I reflected on for a lot longer, and only through merging them with the other stories obscured them into morals and meaning. Some reflect my rebellious hope for something better, some chronicle snapshots of my life and thoughts through the window of time. All of them are me and not me at once.
I wrote most of these songs individually, with very little expectation of having the body of work tell a story. As the recording process kept intensifying, I started to hear a commonality in these songs that was not originally intended, but may very well be the fulfillment of this project's title (which, at first, was a witty reference to a Refused album that I really liked as well as a tongue-in-cheek joke about the large gap in music releases). As a friend pointed out, my music is of a self-reflective nature, and so it grows with me as I mature. I think this becomes clear as A Shapely Sign of Things to Come explains itself to the listener.
I am lucky to have had great help from producers and musicians in supporting this project. What it lacks in continuity by having one producer lay out the soundscapes, it makes up for in exposure with a diversity of sound reflecting both my musical interests and tastes.
As I reflect on this project I am realizing it is both a sign of things to come as well as something to be departed from. Much like we must leave the comfort of our habitat and our routines to find new experiences in life, I feel like the release of these songs will allow me to venture to new areas of expression. I am no longer the person I was when I wrote most of these songs and my interests and goals in life have changed. If I were to sum the transition in perspective, I think I am finally making the long transition from an Ox carrying the weight of communal responsibility to becoming a Lion more concerned with staking his claim and defending his Pride. I will never abandon the load of the world, and it is likely to weigh on my mind from time to time and be expressed, but I will no longer sacrifice my happiness and forward progression for that weight.
released July 3, 2012
Being grateful is perfect symmetry. It is giving a tip of the hat to all that is responsible for your being. So, though I may miss some people individually, I am very thankful for your place in the Universe and how it has shaped me.
Thank you to my Father for having a book/record store for most of my life, and for having the wisdom to have me spend pre-k days and all my elementary school vacation days digging through the stacks of books and records.
Thank you to my Mother for being a strong woman who was so committed to bettering the world, by bettering yourself, your family and the things you knew you had influence over. You made me look for that in others, as a result, I am surrounded by the movers and the shakers. Thanks for making me go to college.
Thanks to my parents for looking into each other's eyes at the moment of my birth and deciding to name me after Painter/Philosopher/Poet, William Blake. Way to set a high bar, I hope to live up to it.
Thank you to my big sister Skya. I have no closer confidant. I am so lucky to have a sibling who can show me the path through the path of life. I can not wait to celebrate and mourn all life's ups and downs with you.
Thank you to my big sister Christa. I have never been loved so unconditionally. I bet you can still remember how happy it made me when you were dressed up like Wicket the Ewok in the closet on my birthday. I love when you claim me as your little brother in front of everyone
Thank you to my oldest friend Brad. You have known me to be so many different people. I have seen you grow so much as well. I am excited to be old men together and act as each other's personal history books.
Thank you Peter Benda. You are the first person I really fused my music and words with. We had some outlandish dreams back then, but I am happy where all of this has gotten us. I feel proud when I count you amongst my friends. The Prospector and The Bandit.
Thank you Dru La Pointe, few people know me like you do. You have stuck with me through a lot of stuff and I have seen you become a champion of a human being. We are like fun house mirrors, and I am so thankful for what I see in the mirror.
Thank you Justin Schubert. If not for you, might never have gotten here. Thank you for seeing potential in me and honing the skills that were present while not tolerating my ego. You did not let me think I was done if it wasn’t. I have internalized that and now I'm cursed.
Thank you Lucas Dix. I am thankful that distance has not been enough to tame our friendship. I aspire to be like you in so many ways, and I am humbled when you praise me for my insight. You carry the load for a lot of us and do it without seeking praise. You deserve to be praised. You are the Donald Driver.
Thank you Justin Urness. I am so glad our story did not end in March 2009. You have been so patient in recording this project and you make me laugh and feel at ease. I am really psyched to work with you on the live presentation and new songs.
Thank you Lucy Albers. You have been an understanding friend, a priceless connection, a consummate cheerleader, and an informal project manager. This whole thing would be a lot messier than it is without your input. Here's to many more.
Thank you Gavin Theory. You were way ahead of your time. You left too early, but your impact is profound. I will always keep your critical voice in my head. I am thankful for that. I will hold the memory of you dearly.
Thank you Ron, it was good seeing you as you spend most of your time, being a dad. We’ll be best homies forever.
Thank you: LcSlak, OGSMIF, H. P. Hovercraft, Brahman Shaman, Urine, LudacrisSpeed, Charlie Smyrk, Egypto Knuckles, Efftupp, Def Mek, Random Thoughts, Motz, Luke B., th mnmlst, Mirko Iverson, Ben Cook, Dylan, Jason, Deaf Ear Staff, Ken, Erika, Kelly, Megh, Root Note peeps, Bill Stobb, David Krump, Alice Benson, Romeo y Estella, Paula Murphy, Ian Mortensen, G. Harman(call me), Al, Madison Police Department Baseball Card Program, Big-Jess, Jim Auler, Ali, Pete’s Hamburgers (sometimes with, sometimes without), Leo Walton, Ari Herstand, Gareth Becker, Emmy, Ian Lutz, Jesse Dale, Reed Grimm and Shoeless, A-Scratch, Steve from the Warehouse, Lindsey Purl, Natasha Newcomb, CRASHPrez, Jeff Smader, Rem, Jared, Lucy (again), The really nice stewardess who realized her dog died just as we touched down in Houston, E.P., Ben Cameron, Gregory Stanton, J. Ann Koth, Katy Skinner, John Praw Kruse, Nick Bomb, Matt Brown, Rory, Claire Niessen-Derry, John Parr, Nick Shattuck, Alex Spiegel, Brian Beard, Cole Purdy, Libby Hembd,Amy Green, Andrew the Red, Steve Shellito, That person inside of you, yes you, that I have not met but I know is there, Steve Sauer, Abadawn, Zak Kaszynski, Julene Hanson, Trinity Carlson, Joe Orso, Corey Murphy Michael Hessel-Mial, Milky Way, Errol Hemm, 3rd Street Basement Dweller, Ryan King, Baah and Chris Callahan, Kara Duckett for being the first person to pronounce hyphen in my name, Matt Ducket for the photos, Josh Powell, Jason La Course, Kay Mazza, Pearl Street Brewery...
Like I said, I am going to miss some people. Thank you, all of you.
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