Help us release our brand new album EAST OF THE SUN & WEST OF THE MOON on limited (<200) double vinyl with handmade original art.
EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON is the giant name of the huge new album by Chef Menteur. This album is very special to us. It represents 4 years of us working together three times a week (that's ~450 sessions!) and we wanted to release it officially on vinyl first. We're not planning on doing a CD version of this at all. A digital download of this album will however be available to our supporters.
(We just uploaded a new video! Please give it a watch, above. If you're looking for the original video with the cool lava stop-motion film, it's here on Vimeo.)
About the limited edition vinyl record
Editions will be limited somewhere between 100 and 250 copies, depending on project funding. This is a double record so there are four sides, totalling 70 minutes of music (which has already been recorded and sequenced). We plan to release this on 150 gram vinyl. If we go over more project funding, we will put more into vinyl mastering and quality control, and upgrade to a gatefold cover.
About the hand-pressed original art
The front cover artwork will be printed from an Art Nouveau-style design, drawn and block-cut by hand by our good friend and artist Thomas Peri on either woodcut or linocut. (The image you see here is a prototype but it will give you a rough idea of what it will look like.) Each jacket will be an original print pulled from the actual hand-cut block - not a reproduction, and not printed from a machine-produced plate. Similarly, for the back cover art we plan to use a local independent letterpress.
About the original music
We released our last album, The Answer's In Forgetting in 2007. Since then we've been busy writing and recording new tracks. With Brian Abbott joining Alec and Dan at the start of this recording project, a new level of musicianship and composition was achieved by the band as a whole. Our studio perfectionism now blended with our unbridled creativity, plus the luxury (and labor) of being in control of our time in the studio we built (with a little help from our friends) meant that we were rarely idle as new songs were constantly being imagined while the previous ones were being refined. All songs are new and composed and performed by Alec, Brian, and Dan. We thank our friends Court Batson, B. Aubrey Freeman, and Mike "potpie" Karnowski who also helped by contributing performances to several tracks.
We wanted to make sure that when trying to release a classic double album, in all its monstrous glory, there were still no excess or throwaway tracks: Just as much time was spent whittling songs down as it was building them up. At least as many songs didn't make it on the record as those that did in the interest of providing the most conceptually pure experience. This is an epic aural journey, containing songs for lovers of classic psychedelia, space-odyssey synth drones, Warp-records style electronica, krautrock and kosmische, doom drone, hints of early metal, folk-, math-rock and prog-rock sneaking in from time to time as well. "A symphony of space rock" one might even call it.
In summary: these are songs we have worked into as close to perfection as we're humanly capable of. It's an ambitious undertaking, some might even say grandiose. It's the exact opposite of the throwaway digital single on iTunes, and we wanted to piss against the prevailing wind while creating the art we felt best represented us at this time. We've always been a small and relatively unknown band with a small but appreciative fan base all over the world, and doing this on hand-printed vinyl with lovely art seems to be the best way to present this to the world and especially our fans.
About the supporter rewards:
Although we're 100% convinced this is our best album, we're still really proud of our previous 2 albums, We Await Silent Tristero's Empire (2005) and The Answer's in Forgetting (2007), so we are pleased to be able to provide these albums on CD or digital as rewards. If you don't have our past catalogue, it's an easy and affordable way to catch up.
What we're really excited about, though is a special reward for higher level supporters: a full length album of SUPER SECRET UNRELEASED TRACKS! This digital album will contain unreleased tracks as well as much-extended "dance/electro" versions of several album tracks plus some great originals both short and long that didn't quite fit on the LP. Also as a fun addition: a trippy Beatles cover! This will be a great bonus that true Chef Menteur fans will love and will be available ONLY on the UNRELEASED album that will be available to supporters at the $50 level and over.
Also: everyone that supports this project at $50 and over will receive a free test pressing from United Record Pressing. It's a really cool souvenir from the vinyl manufacturing process to have. Frame it and hang it on your wall, and then when we hit the big time, sell it online for millions later. (note to the irony impaired: officially, our lawyers have advised us to tell you that the auction value of the test pressings may not actually increase to this absurd level. But hey, the sentimental/bragging right value is still cool.)
What else? Oh yeah, we've still got a handful of super-cool "vintage" Chef T-Shirts. These went fast when they were in stores. Most of them disappeared in Katrina. Also cool: they were designed by Dan before he was even in the band!
Finally Dan has agreed to make a cigar-box guitar for one person who donates at the $500 level. He puts a LOT of time and care into these and they are built from scratch. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about any of the rewards, especially this one! To see an example of a homemade tamboura Dan built of his own design: http://blog.ganx4.com/?p=1281 (Used on the album. Sorry, this is just an example, not for sale).
Large is the only size we have left.
Because to be able to make this album, we need enough people to pledge to buy it in advance.
For both "proper" albums Chef Menteur has released in the past, we have made CDs -- on the band's record label Backporch Revolution. For these we recorded and mixed the music ourselves, took the songs to John Fischbach at Piety Street for mastering, got the art together, then sent off the master disc to a plant in Canada to have them pressed into whatever number of shiny plastic discs that we thought we could sell. These numbers are always way too high or way too low, and you end up with a box of unsold CDs -- or worse, a call from a record shop saying they need 100 more, so you reorder 500, and you still end up with 200 unsold.
It seems that from our point of view, our friends, fans, like-minded bands, we ourselves-- almost no one wants CDs anymore. The vast majority of music listeners are getting most of their music virtually and digitally (as do we) without CDs, and so for bands that want a released product, and for music fans that want to have the best listening experience -- vinyl is the only way to go. Because of the many, many months we've spent working on the songs on this album -- much more than any of our previous material——this album is special and we've decided to go all out to try to make it happen. We're committed to releasing this album on vinyl and not CD. Even if we don't make our goal -- we will not be putting out a CD version of this album.
Shooting ourselves in the foot? Perhaps. Unfortunately the setup costs of doing vinyl are much more than CD. If you do 1000+ CDs or 1000+ records, it starts to even out, more or less. If you are doing a couple hundred, vinyl is much more expensive. Double vinyl: twice that.
But what if there were enough people that wanted to buy the album? Then we could afford to do it. How do we judge if there are enough people interested? Kickstarter seemed to be the perfect fit. It lets people commit to buying the album in advance -- but only if enough people band together to make the project affordable for us to do. If not enough people commit, then no one's credit card gets charged, not even one penny.
Think of it as you're buying it in advance. We made a spreadsheet and totalled up all the costs: mastering, manufacturing, shipping, art supplies, mailing supplies, and divided by 200 -- and the $30 pledge for the double vinyl doesn't leave us any room. We've never been in this for any other reason than for the love of the music, making it the way we envisioned it. If you have a record player, or a friend with one, buy the album -- you'll get beautiful hand-numbered block-printed artwork . There are only going to be 200 of these. They will be beautiful to look at and of course it will sound great.
Pledge to buy the album and you'll get a free digital download of the album at very high quality mp3 or lossless (we'll email you a link) so that if you just want to put the record on a shelf as a collector, and listen to the music on your phone, computer, or car mp3 player, that's fine too.
But any amount helps us make it. We'd love for you to have the record, but a $10 pledge is also very gratefully appreciated. We are really happy to report the generosity of one long-time fan who pledged $350 and we cannot thank her enough. We're also really psyched that 31 people have stepped up to support us. We're halfway there. Kickstarter pledge drives usually make it in the final weeks -- we're hoping we won't be the exception!
Three more things about Kickstarter:
1) You can pledge at any level. The numbers for the rewards are just "minimum suggested" amounts. If you want to pledge for $500 and only take the $30 album reward, that's your prerogative.
2) Your pledge amount is anonymous on the site. Only Chef Menteur can see the amount of your pledge, and we will respect your privacy. Several of the higher rewards include a "special thanks to" credit on the album, but that is your option to be included or not as well. The only thing that shows up on the site is your Kickstarter user name, and if you do not wish anyone to see your identity, simply create a username that doesn't reveal who you are. Even we won't get to see who you are unless the project is funded, and we use that info only to send you rewards.
3) We have had several friends who've said they'd prefer to send a check, or cash directly to us. We appreciate all kinds of support of course, but we'd much prefer that you pledge to Kickstarter, because that helps us meet our goal -- and Kickstarter is all or nothing. (Again: if we don't make the goal, nobody gets charged.) We want to use the money to make records, and the only way we can do that is if we make the goal. Please help us!
Finally, a little aside: I (Alec) met Perry Chen, one of the founders of Kickstarter, back in 1995 when I was talking to Piety Street Recording about mastering our first CD, We Await Silent Tristero's Empire. We ended up waiting for our original first choice, John Fischbach, as Perry was about to move out of New Orleans.
This is mostly a coincidence, but when mastering our latest album at Piety Street, I talked to John Fischbach about Perry and Kickstarter, as well as several of our other friends who have successfully funded their projects using Kickstarter, and all of these have given me utmost confidence in the Kickstarter model and company.
If you have any other questions about Kickstarter, please take a look at their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq
Another great way to help: forward this to all your friends who love music!
Thank you for supporting our art,
Alec, Dan, Brian, and Phil
pledged of $3,800 goal
seconds to go
Apr 28, 2011 - Jul 27, 2011 (90 days)
Pledge $5 or more
Set of 3 Chef Menteur logo vinyl stickers to thank you for your support.
Pledge $12 or more
Digital download versions of all the songs on the new double album. (Your choice of mp3 320kbps, FLAC, or Apple Lossless.)
Pledge $15 or more
Digital version (as above) of the new double album plus set of 3 stickers.
Pledge $25 or more
DIGITAL TRIFECTA: Digital versions of the songs off the new album and both of our previous albums, We Await Silent Tristero's Empire and The Answer's In Forgetting. A great choice if you're a fan and you want to support us but don't have a record player.
Pledge $30 or more
EAST OF THE SUN & WEST OF THE MOON VINYL: This is it! Your own hand-numbered copy of the new limited edition double album with block-printed cover. (Each copy of the album will include a free digital download.) Plus set of 3 stickers.
Pledge $50 or more
MOON VINYL + DIGITAL TRIFECTA + UNRELEASED TRACKS ALBUM + FREE TEST PRESSING: Your own hand-numbered copy of the new vinyl plus digital version and stickers, both of our previous albums on CD or digital copy (your choice), and an special supporters-only available digital download release of unreleased and uncut tracks. Plus: a FREE TEST PRESSING courtesy of United Record Pressing.
Pledge $60 or more
New reward! LIMITED EDITION ARTIST'S PRINT plus digital copy of the new album. The limited edition print of the album art, suitable for framing, will be block-printed, hand-numbered, and signed by the artist on high quality paper. (NOTE: The print is a new reward so it's not automatically included in "everything" when listed above, but we'll make sure all supporters who have pledged $200+ will still be eligible for a copy.)
Pledge $75 or more
5 backers Limited (4 of 9 left)
EVERYTHING above, plus ULTRA RARE T-SHIRT. Your own hand-numbered copy of the new vinyl plus digital version plus CDs (or digital versions) of our past 2 albums, unreleased tracks album, stickers, a free test pressing courtesy of United Record Pressing, PLUS ALMOST GONE "new old stock" Chef Menteur "Empires Sans Frontières" T-shirt. These are high quality shirts. We have 7 Large, 1 Medium, and 1 XL, please contact us if you need to make sure we still have your size. See left for shirt design images.
Pledge $100 or more
New reward! LIMITED EDITION ARTIST'S PRINT plus ALL OF THE ABOVE (except T-shirt). The limited edition print of the album art, suitable for framing, will be block-printed, hand-numbered, and signed by the artist on high quality paper. This reward level gets you: hand-numbered copy of the new vinyl 2LP (including digital download) plus CDs (or digital versions, your choice) of our past 2 albums, unreleased tracks album, stickers, a free test pressing courtesy of United Record Pressing, PLUS limited edition print signed by the artist. (The print is a new reward, but all recipients who have pledged $200+ will be eligible for a copy.)
Pledge $150 or more
SUPPORTER PAR EXCELLENCE: All of the above (except T shirt) INCLUDING three hand-numbered copies of the new record and "EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to YOUR NAME HERE" on the record. Thats in addition to digital version of the new album plus CDs (or digital versions) of our past 2 albums, unreleased tracks album, stickers, a free test pressing courtesy of United Record Pressing. As a special bonus you'll also get a copy of the Backporch Revolution/Chef Menteur curated "Proud to Swim Home" compilation CD on which Chef Menteur contributes several tracks.
Pledge $350 or more
HOUSE SHOW + all of the above (except T-shirt) including three copies of the new record, "special thanks" on the record, and we will play a house show at your request--within driving distance of NOLA; otherwise please add travel expenses ;). We're open to anything.... you provide the venue, we'll make it work. That's in addition to digital version of the new album plus CDs (or digital versions) of our past 2 albums, unreleased tracks album, stickers, a free test pressing courtesy of United Record Pressing, and the rare Proud To Swim Home CD.
Pledge $500 or more
1 backer All gone!
CIGAR BOX GUITAR! All of the above (except house show and T-shirt). Plus you get a hand-made cigar-box guitar as made and signed by Dan. He's made quite a few of these in the past, so it's guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind handmade quality instrument. That's in addition to three hand-numbered copies of the viyl album, digital version of the new album plus CDs (or digital versions) of our past 2 albums, unreleased tracks album, special thanks on the record, stickers, a free test pressing courtesy of United Record Pressing, and the rare Proud To Swim Home CD.