AFTER FIVE YEARS::::BANG::::AN ALBUM
MY NAME IS RAMESH. THIS KICKSTARTER PAGE HAS BEEN CREATED TO FUND AN ALBUM AND ACCOMPANYING BOOK. IT IS THE CULMINATION OF FIVE YEARS OF TRAVELING, WRITING AND RECORDING. THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE. AND NOW THE STORY...
"Approaching the East River Park, I look up and am, once again, struck with awe by the sheer magnitude of the Williamsburg Bridge, a real metal skeleton of power-an incredible thing to behold in one's eye, and perhaps an even more incredible thing to behold in one's mind. The bridge, the Domino Sugar factory across the water, the imposing barge making its way slowly toward me-all are symbols of that very power I try to hold in my hands, to grip and to never lose."
-New York City, August 21st, 2012
As I wrote recently in a letter, "Being so nomadic and having no fixed home point does become extremely exhausting at times, but the inspiration garnered from that constant new input and struggle is immense. To be in New York and to see so many varying layers of life and history is an incredible thing. I feel really connected to something amazing and expansive, and am very ready to bring into my work the almost constant poetry of what I observe... going back to the drawing board of inspiration...having the willingness to let go of momentary expectation and simply be moved by something-this has increased my desire to share with the world that experience, and that interpretation."
In 2005, I dropped out of university and returned to America to focus on Voxtrot, my previous band. For the following few years, Voxtrot was my whole world. It led me from Texas to Mexico, Europe, and back, over and over again. It was a complex work, pieced together by myself and four other men, and though I loved it dearly, when the time came that we had lost much of the inspiration and love for that work, I knew it was time to let go.
Although we had our last official show in 2010, for all intents and purposes, Voxtrot ceased creatively in 2007. We managed to record three more songs, the last of which is Berlin Without Return... perhaps my favorite Voxtrot song. I will always think of that song as a kind of love letter, a parting offering for a beautiful chapter in my life.
Since the Voxtrot machine began slowing its pace, I have never stopped working and I have never stopped moving. With varying results, I have continued to produce music, much of which has never seen the light of day. Countless times, I have zig-zagged between various cities, including Austin, New York, Philadelphia, and Berlin, recording and searching for inspiration, usually to come home penniless but mentally charged.
Over and over again, I have bankrupted myself, secure in the knowledge that the concrete work, with which I will finally be satisfied, glitters on the horizon and requires perseverance, the constant willingness to be knocked down and stand up again. Being an artist is about repeating this process until you have a solid body of work. Finally, after five years of trial and error, of seeking out inspiration, of returning to the most basic emotions and decoding what it was that made me want to create in the first place, I feel confident that I have a body of work fit to be presented, as well as a group of talented musicians, with whom it can be completed and performed.
The work is diverse. It is melodic, it is symphonic, it is lyrical, it is sometimes loud, sometimes soft, sometimes organic, and sometimes electronic. I like everything from the orchestra pit to the club. It involves guitars, vocals, strings, trumpets, synthesizers, drum programming, about five different pianos, and God help us... a harp. It is the work of many musicians, including myself, members of Voxtrot, my best friend, Stevie (featured on pretty much every piece of Voxtrot artwork), Jim Eno (Spoon), our fantastic touring band, and many other musicians. Thus far, it has been recorded in multiple locations and with various engineers/producers, including myself, Jim Eno (Spoon/!!!/Heartless Bastards), Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile/War on Drugs), and Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend).
Although much work has been done on the album, there is still more to be done. In addition to recording (which is quite expensive in a high quality studio; for example, the average daily rate for a studio with decent equipment is $400) and pressing the album to vinyl, I want to create a book of writings and artwork, which follows my journey up to this point, serving as a written and visual counterpart to the music. This work is about movement and geography, and how those forces effect creation. The accompanying book, or travelogue as I'm considering it, will help solidify that concept.
The travelogue will be a limited edition item and will be professionally bound, containing (in the various artistic forms) my impressions of the cities, with which I have developed relationships (including but not limited to: Austin, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Berlin, and San Francisco), and of the people I have come to know in those various locations. I have long been a fan of the written word, and have tried to keep that muscle in shape, in the hopes that I will one day publish my efforts. This will be a chance to publish works both old and new, and in combination with the visual works, will be a lasting artifact that will hopefully outlive an age in which the physical component of the album experience is disappearing.
When asked what I want most in life, I have always said that I want to leave behind something beautiful, which touches as many people as possible. The power to reach inside yourself and create something with your own intangible material is an invisible power, but it is a power nonetheless. Every artist dreams of the opportunity to harness that power and to share it with the world.
PS. Pretty much all photos above by Kari Leigh Rosenfeld.
Selected writings (music to follow):
- (30 days)