June 30, 2009

New Album Recording Journal – page 2

Posted in Recording Journal at 3:25 pm by Matt

This week is my first week “at my new job”, except I’m not actually working this week. I’m taking a class on statistical methods for cohort studies, which will be highly applicable for what I’ll be doing here, but I don’t start work until this upcoming Monday.

This is, however, my first week in Baltimore for any sustained period of time. We’re still looking for a place, but the search is pretty much narrowed down to two. In other words, we’ve almost found the recording studio in which the new album will be recorded.

Today’s news is that I’m fairly certain I won’t be calling the album “Baltimore”. I was doing some thinking last night, and had what I feel is a better and more appropriate idea for a title…except there’s a blank in the title that I can’t fill until I’m actually immersed in the city for a little while. So I don’t have a definite new title yet.

I can also tell you that I was never very attached to the title of track 7, “God in the Dumpster, Christ in the Street”. It’s too wordy and weird. I think I’ll relegate those lines to the lyrics or something and retitle track 7 the same thing I retitle the album, which means that this album will be the first PH album with a “title track” (not counting the unbroken one-song version of Dance With Divinity). Actually, this was going to happen anyway, since track 10 of the album will still be called “Baltimore” regardless of what I name the album.


June 19, 2009

New Album Recording Journal – page 1

Posted in Recording Journal tagged , at 4:48 pm by Matt

I’ve been planning the sixth full-length Potmos Hetoimos album…basically since the fifth, “Kingdoms”, was finished. I wasn’t sure at first what my subject matter would be, but that has come into focus over the recent months. I began ideating with the tentative album title “Baltimore”, since the album will deal with the current failure of the Kingdom of God to transform the kingdom of the world in urban contexts, and since I planned on living and ministering in Baltimore after graduating from the University of North Carolina.

Some close friends expressed mixed feelings on this album title, suggesting that – although I meant to use one city, Baltimore, as an archetype of “the city” in general – naming the album after one specific city would make the subject matter inaccessible to listeners from other locations. However, “Baltimore” had some sort of personal touch to me that made it tough for me to find a different title that both expressed the mood of the album and the personal interest I had in writing it.

I thought I had reached a compromise when the title “Ruin” hit me. The city (both Baltimore and the general city), as it stands, is a ruin – not in terms of architecture but in terms of unity and wholeness. I worked with this for a while, but it has grown off me for a couple of reasons. Not least among these is the fact that numerous metal bands have released albums called “Ruin”, “Ruins”, “In Ruin”, or other ruinous titles. Potmos Hetoimos has always had relatively unique album titles, I think. I’d prefer to keep it that way.

So the pendulum has swung back to “Baltimore”, until I think of something better. Then again, you can never please everyone, so I might just stick with “Baltimore” and let people deal with it. If the music is good, the title won’t matter THAT much anyway.

So, speaking of the music. The new album, which I will for now refer to as “Baltimore”, will have ten tracks – three brief instrumentals, six longer (5-8 minutes) pieces along the lines of the more post-metal work from “Kingdoms” (“Thrones”, “Pulpit Despotism”, “Division”, “The Lilies Underfoot”), and one longer opus that is more progressive and doom-based (cf. “Dance With Divinity”, movements II/IV). Nevermind which is which for now, here’s the still-tentative track listing.

1. Outside the City Gates

2. Sector 7

3. Tower of Need

4. Fluorescent Twilight

5. Ambling Cadavers

6. Where Gardens Never Grow

7. God in the Dumpster, Christ in the Street

8. The Crumbling Dam

9. Avalanche

10. Baltimore

Most of these songs have one or two musical ideas already, but none of them are totally written yet. I also haven’t begun writing lyrics, because I refuse to do so until I’m actually living in the city. I can’t write what I don’t know about firsthand.

Potmos Hetoimos recorded four albums completely solo (excluding guest appearances), then added Jason as main vocalist for “Kingdoms”. “Baltimore” will see the return of Jason on main vocal duties as well as the addition of a third member, my good friend Patrick, who will be taking over most of the synth/piano/keyboard duties as well as contributing some (not too many!) singing vocals. Patrick previously appeared as a guest, performing the piano intro of “The Accuser” from “The Millstone”. I have also been in several bands with Pat, including symphonic doom band Tree of Gloom and just-for-fun southern rock band One Horse Town. His prowess with the ivories will definitely kick that aspect of PH, which I pursued by putting synth all over the place on “Kingdoms”, up several notches.

So as you can see, I’m excited about this album. I should be fully moving to Baltimore and getting my studio back in shape in the month of July, which leaves plenty of time to crank this album out by September 12 (recall, “The Millstone”, “Dance With Divinity”, and “Kingdoms” were all released on September 12 – read previous posts in this blog if you don’t know why). I’ll be posting semi-detailed updates as I go through both the songwriting and recording phases of the album (which are usually one and the same…). My hope is that this makes you even more excited about what I feel may be the best Potmos Hetoimos album yet!

(P.S. – Potmos Hetoimos may not be the only project of mine to release a written, planned full-length this year…)