Anecdotes #6 – 1981

I said a few posts back I was just gonna do singles for a while. You know what? I thought I’d be into it, but I’ve found it’s just leaving me a bit unfocused and scattered. So I’ve canned a few of the tunes I was gonna release – at least for now – and decided to go head-first into making a new record.

Went through the old bucket of demos the other night and pulled out a dozen or so songs I think could work together in kind of a new-wave/not-quite-synth-pop kind of way. Put together Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, early U2, Devo, the Police, etc, and ruin it all with my voice, essentially…

Started with a song I wrote 20 years ago originally as ‘Synthesis’, and later renamed ‘Ideal Standard’. It was a dischordant, droning guitar thing, based around the kind of evil notes you usually hear in Black Sabbath songs but turned into indie rock. (Listen to the original demo here – be warned, it’s two decades old and none of the instruments are in tune with each other…)

I recorded a synth-heavy version for 2001’s first Luna Spark EP ‘Sarah’ using music software on the original PlayStation, hilarously enough. It all sounded pretty awful, using cheesy distorted beats and terrible samples.

Spent the past couple of days arranging a new version – I guess it’s the third time I’ve recorded it, so it should get a third name, how about ‘1981’? The name would fit, with the song now having chorused Fender-style guitar, an army of CS-80 synths and reverb/echo you could drown in.

Used a trick I once heard Sonic Youth use – mixed in some of the 2001 version into this one, heavily reverbed/echoed, to fill space in some of the quieter moments. It adds a layer of murk that can be hard to achieve when you’re recording alone at home on a computer. It’s a trick I think I’ll use a lot on this album – takes away some of the glossy sheen. I mean, I’m going for glossy sheen, but it’s too easy to end up with something sterile when you’re working digitally, eh.


Anyway, I’ve lined up a new single for release next month – a brand new tune, as in written in the near past, not 20 years ago – called ‘Does Anyone Remember Helen Clark, Bobby Fischer or 9/11?’ Yes, really. That’s the title. Taking my time with the release to see if I can get it on any playlists, etc.