Saturday, January 29, 2011

Favorite Track - Left Side of the River

A happy Saturday to you all. Today, my Favorite Track series moves from solo CDs to band CDs with Left Side of the River by my first band the Eric Ketzer experiment, EKe. This recording actually occurred during EKe v1.2.5. We had lost our original bass player, added a percussionist, and the keyboardist that played on this CD quit before the production was done. It was a very trying time for me. On this CD you will hear me on guitar and vocals, Tim Brosch on drums, Mike McDade on bass, Joe Sherrell on keys, and Brian Sigmund on bass.

This is not my best CD. I am just going to come out and say it. EKe was my first band and we had barely been together for 6 months when we started to record this. I was just so excited to be in a band that I rushed the process.

Allow me to backtrack and paint a picture: 1987, dark winter months, glass fogged from the marriage of poor insulation and brutal Chicago cold. In his room stands a sandy haired kid, skater shoes, french cuffed jeans, and a dingy Vision Street Wear t-shirt. Strapped around his neck by an old frayed shoestring was a hockey stick that he strummed as if he was Randy Rhoads. And with the full throat of a 12 year old he sang, "Wine is fine but whiskey is quicker, suicide is slow with liquor."

This is all I have ever wanted. Sure there were dreams of playing professional football, but lack of height and insane slowness thwarted those efforts. Music has always been my core, my escape, the one thing I knew I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I finally formed a band, I thought all those years spent in dreams were finally going to come to fruition. Five bands later, I know how silly I was, but in that moment, I felt we needed a CD that reflected the band's sound. Once we had that the skies would open and a chariot with flying Pegasus would take us to MTV where girls would grovel at our feet and media moguls would pronounce us the best thing since Pearl Jam.

Left Side of the River is definitely rough around the edges, but it is also very pure. Almost the entire CD was one tracked. Accept for some bass fixes and adding in some lead parts, this was all captured on one Saturday in a basement studio of a friend of a friend. Again, Rob Woerther was at the helm. Together we can be dangerous because we are both so fringed and willing to try anything. When I was like "lets crank the bass and make it feel like a live show." Rob one-upped me with, "lets add some sub-freqs to it." Of course all I could do was throw up the Rock fingers. The whole things was a learning experience for me. Still we did capture some good stuff.

We added this note when we realized we had mixed the CD so bass heavy that it sounded rough if you were pushing the bass on your system too.

"Impressions of Dance" is one example of the great stuff that got captured at these recordings. Lyrically one of my most academic yet sincere songs. The first song I wrote for my ex who I met in college. She was a Dance major, and I was obsessed with all the arts. Having spent time in G.A.T.E. where they taught the singers to dance, dancers to act, actors to sing, etc. I had so much appreciation for her art form, and I used it as my muse. At the same time, I was familiar with the love story of Degas and Cassatt. Degas the famed Ballerina sculptor, and Cassatt his mistress who would never bare children, so she painted them as lovingly as a mother holds her own child. Musically, I was really beginning to understand effects, understand how placement in the change can create different sounds. On this track I was running a Vertigo Vibe with a back-end distortion and used a Wah to add accents on various parts. All these spinning influences stopped, and this song was born.

Impressions of Dance - EKe by SoMuchCloser

Impressions of Dance

On point I see you reaching the heavens
Arms extended you touch seraphim
The embrace of cherubs purified your heart
In dreams your wings are revealed to me

And waking you pirouette through my mind
Like so many Degas I’ve seen
And resting you bow your innocent head
Like Mary Cassatt’s child
You create abstract worlds with perfect lines
Movement of grace dissect dimensions
Bridge together by omnipresent spirit
And I try to deconstruct your mystery

And waking you pirouette through my mind
Like so many Degas I’ve seen
And resting you bow your innocent head
Like Mary Cassatt’s child
Impressionist visions
Formed by my thoughts
And I clutch you like
Pyle’s Mermaid

Modern motion usurps reality
Hypnotized by your fluid performance
As the curtain falls I remain entrances
Your essence gives me wind

And waking you pirouette through my mind
Like so many Degas I’ve seen
And resting you bow your innocent head
Like Mary Cassatt’s child

Back Tray:

Inside Cover:

There was one additional thing that happened on this CD that I just have to share. I always include poetry on my CDs. Poetry/Spokenword are my roots, so I feel like I need to pay homage to the bridge that got me here. This time Rob and I concocted something truly special. Using acid loops Rob made the tune, and I did the poem. One of my favorite things I have ever recorded.

"Jazz Sounds"

Jazz Sounds by Rob Woerther & Eric Ketzer by SoMuchCloser

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