Hi, my name is Brandon and I am a musician.
For a long time, Marathon was my solo project that served as a catch all for things I wanted to do that didn’t quite feel right to do with my other bands, as well as a place for me to improvise more freely without stepping on bandmates’ toes. I explored my noisier, more experimental tendencies and eventually settled on this whole “drone” thing: usually just a single chord or note sustained over a long period of time. By this definition, there is a wealth of music from many different times, places, and cultures that demonstrate the versatility of this approach. Musical tendencies as varied as minimalist classical music, a number of world musics, and the myriad subgenres in more recent underground, DIY music (like harsh noise or power electronics) utilize drones. It’s more a characteristic of music than it is its own genre.
The relative ease of improvising over a single chord (along with my penchant for excess) eventually lead me to bring in a ton of other musicians—8 to be exact: myself on bass, 2 drummers on full sets, 6 guitar players, and a vibraphone. Starting out, I had a vague notion of how the music would flow, with just a handful of loosely-defined different sections. Allowing the players to interpret those sections themselves—with a heavy emphasis on group listening—and then later settling on a more solid part is what really constructed the music. 6 or 7 sections eventually expanded to 17. I wrote notes for individual players after learning their preferences/tendencies, and I arranged them in a way to suit the dynamics between the players and the flow of the piece in general. Hanging out on one chord for longer than most pop songs last, along with the organic feeling the improvisation creates, it puts forth a certain primitive feel.
I didn’t anticipate the enthusiasm of my band and the people who heard us. I originally called it “guitarkestra” to differentiate from “regular” Marathon, which at the time was just me working an instrument and essentially looping my parts to repeat. I assumed we would play one or two shows, capture a modest recording of the thing, and call it a day. But before too long, people were asking us to play more shows, and a plan to record in a “real” studio was forming. Everyone has apparently enjoyed this process enough to keep doing it more, and thus Marathon is now a band.
Four of the guys had already spent quite a bit of time at a studio in Tolono, IL called Earth Analog and when we asked owner/engineer Matt Talbott about helping us out, he said this was “exactly the kind of clusterfuck I’d like to get in the middle of.” I’ve also listened to his loud-guitar-worshipping band, HUM, since I was like 14, so the trust was definitely there. Working with him seemed like the obvious choice. The improvisatory nature of the playing dictated that we do the recording live, with everyone playing at once. We practiced a ton before going in, and nailed it on our 3rd take. A lot can go wrong with 9 people and 35 minutes of music, but it was all mostly painless. We managed to keep it almost completely analog, recording all to two-inch tape, except to digitally remove some minor mistakes.
I know a lot of people don’t listen to albums this way but I hope that, at least on their first listen, people allow themselves to only listen to the music. Most of the change that occurs in the music is quite subtle, and if your attention is divided you may not notice it. I think it’s that nuance that makes this project unique and powerful, and it’s good for listeners to pick up on that sooner rather than later. By no stretch am I trying to forbid casual listening, but I want everyone to know that you’ll get a lot more if you sit down with it. And to quote sunnO))), “maximum volume yields maximum results.” If you keep your thoughts down and the volume up, you should be set for a nicely elevating experience.
Vinyl takes a long time to get pressed, it will likely be August before we get the finished product back. In the meantime, we’re playing a lot of shows this spring and summer so you can come sample the goods until we get your rewards out to you. Keep an eye on our facebook/other social media pages for shows and other updates. Thank you for your time, and I hope you consider letting us share this wild thing with you!
Risks and challenges
With any vinyl release, there are always overages, and very often delays. So, we will be facing challenges such as having to pay more than anticipated to get the album pressed to wax; as well as potentially not having the LPs when we are supposed to. It doesn't feel great to say there's nothing we can do about that…but there's virtually nothing we can do about that.
There is the possibility that mastering the project could take longer than anticipated, but that is much, much more unlikely than something coming up with the pressing or shipping of the LPs.
Heirship Records is working with us to make sure our vision is realized and the materials are of great quality and will bring you blissful enjoyment all of your livelong days.
Here is the cost breakdown for this project:
RECORDING + ENGINEERING.........$880.00
VINYL PRESSING + SHIPPING......$2,504.00
GRAND TOTAL = $3,884
We will do our best to keep steady communication with you all and let you know what's up as things happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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