Spacesuit was composed in the spirit of group improvisations that happen during our live shows. The current version of 20th Congress (Simon Lott on drums, Chris Alford on guitar, Victor Little on bass) has an immediacy and explosive chemistry.
The material stretches beyond its usual structure and we wanted to capture that in the studio. Most of my music in the past has been heavily influenced by classic jazz and funk. While still retaining that tradition as a springboard we started to move into a place that was less reverent to conventions of genre. By combining a wider set of influences, both musical and visual, the songs on Spacesuit are meant to reflect and encourage our recent explorations.
As the band was pushing into exciting and uncharted areas, I had been rediscovering nerdy fascinations of my youth. While growing up in the 80’s my imagination was captured both by records of all kinds and the fantastic worlds portrayed in Science Fiction films and underground comic books.
I tried to recapture those early feelings of imagination and wonder. My inspirations for this recording are early Fusion, Krautrock, Dub Reggae, the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Stanley Kubrick, and the images of Chris Foss, Moebius and H.R. Giger.
The musicians were shown images by the aforementioned artists as well as sheet music to prepare for recording. Drawing from non-musical sources helped infuse the album with a unique palette of sonic colors. Along with my usual vintage keyboard instruments (Hammond organ, acoustic and electric pianos, Clavinet), there is an increased use of synthesizers and electronic effects.
While there is no underlying story line to this group of songs, I wanted the piece to feel like a concept album about a journey into the unknown. The idea of a voyage into outer space to discover new worlds served as an analog to our musical adventures. There is a mixture of composed pieces and pure improvisation that serve as a map and an opportunity for discovery.
- 1. Spacesuit
- 2. Nerva And Dumbo
- 3. Posthuman
- 4. 13th Key
- 5. Emanate
- 6. Modifier
- 7. Chalk Giant
- 8. Current Futures
- 9. Most Of All Of Us
Spacesuit suggests a discovery that could come from 1972 or 2072, or either one as imagined by the other. From the simmering Rhodes funk of “Nerva And Dumbo”, named for a pair of experimental NASA rockets, through the Kubrickian synth-pop of “Posthuman;” the blistering intensity of “13th Key” to the atmospheric airiness of “Emanate;” beyond the alternate-universe finger-snapping soul of “Chalk Giant,” into the dub sounds of “Current Futures,” and ending with the anthemic, neon-80s colored “Most of All of Us;” Spacesuit is a journey, albeit one that leaves the details to the listener’s dazzled imagination.
Risks and challenges
An obvious statement is that the music industry has changed. We have had to change along with it. Crowdfunding has become a valuable tool in this industry. We're in the final phases of finishing the record and are hoping for your support to help us complete this project. This Kickstarter helps tremendously with studio fees, travel, mixing, editing, mastering, vinyl pressing, promo and more.
We're lucky enough to be working directly with Royal Potato Family Records (royalpotatofamily.com) to help us release the album and distribute Kickstarter packages.
We thank you all so much for your support and can't wait for you to hear the album!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)