Behind the songs: Richard III

I wrote this tune the day they confirmed a skeleton found beneath an English carpark belonged to the English king, Richard III. I woke up planning to write something a bit odd, but needed a topic. Opening up the news that morning, boom – there it was.

Before that day, all I really knew about Richard III was that he had a bad back, was the subject of a song by Supergrass and really wanted a horse. (Honestly, I actually thought he was angry he had already swapped his kingdom for a horse – I never read the play. Turns out it was quite the opposite…)

I really like the weird music I wrote for this one. I’ve heard it more than a thousand times now so it sounds like a straight-up pop song to me, but I’m sure it’s all over the place. I’d love a musicologist to tell me if it fits any conventional melodic/harmonic rules at all, ’cause I wouldn’t have a clue. 

I released a version of this last year which wasn’t quite as well-mixed as the version on the album. If you got that version before it was purged from the internet, replace it with these new mixes, please.

Behind the songs: The Second Amendment

In 2018, I wrote a lot of stripped-back indie-rock songs, many of which ended up on ‘Short Sharp Shocks’. Amidst that burst of writing, I got the urge to write something darker and more dissonant – without any guitars.

This is what resulted.


No, I don’t really love the NRA. It’s one of those ironic things – if I loved the NRA, I wouldn’t write a song saying so that sounded like a bad trip, would I? It’d be more like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1mlCPMYtPk 

This is how you do an ironic song, Alanis… I fucking hate the NRA. They’re terrorists.

Behind the songs: Surrender When

If you’d told me a couple of months ago this would be the album‘s opening track, I would have thought you were crazy.

For as long as the album was in production – two years, on and off – I considered this song (whose original demo was titled ‘Coronationalisation’ for reasons I can’t remember) the weakest on the record.

(I know it’s heresy for a songwriter to admit a song is weak and then expect others to want to listen to it, but hear me out!)

In late January and early February, I worked on a bunch of new songs and demos, using the opportunity to test different mics, hardware settings, recording chains, etc, to see which would work best with my ill-suited voice. 

Once I’d figured out the best of a bad situation, ‘Surrender When’ was the first vocal I laid down for this new album. I figured I’d start with the weakest track and make my way up, so by the time I got to ‘Tokyo Regret’ I’d pretty much sound like Chris Cornell. 

But this song – simple tune, largely unchanging tone, no challenging melodies – ended up coming out pretty well. Then as work on the album progressed, I had a dilemma on my hands.

You see, as the album’s tracks all flow into each other as one piece, I recorded as many songs as I could in the same DAW session (that’s like, the musician’s equivalent of a single spreadsheet or a single Word document). I ended up with two sets of six songs that could not be separated. 

‘Surrender When’ was meant to open the second half of the album. But the songs attached to it also came out pretty well, while I was struggling with the songs meant to go on the first half… a problem I solved by just switching the two sides. This way, the better recordings could go on the first half, and the better songs on the second… I think? 

Anyway, as for ‘Surrender When’, I really don’t know what it’s about. I wrote it in 2014. It reads like a surreal boast of military superiority? Then there’s that odd Spanish bit which just sounded good at the time. 

And yes, that dissonant harmony is deliberate. Not a mistake. I tried so many note combinations, and that’s the one I kept coming back to. That’s how writing music works, sometimes. It’s out of my control.

Behind the songs: Tokyo Regret

Gonna write a few words about some (all?) of the songs on the new Anecdata album, ‘Battle Thru Time’, which is out now in all the main stores and streaming sites.

Starting with the lead single, ‘Tokyo Regret’.

Unlike most New Zealanders, I didn’t get to go overseas as a kid. We were poor. Most people in my situation would rectify that at the first opportunity once an adult, but somehow I didn’t. I stayed kinda poor for most of it…

I always thought Tokyo would have been a cool place to go, but my first trip overseas ended up being to the far north of Queensland, Australia, in my late 30s.

Before that could happen though, I wrote a song about never getting to see Tokyo, and having to settle for visiting Wellington as far as capitals went – and how no one else really would give a shit.

The demo – included in the full album download from Bandcamp as a bonus track – is pretty close to the finished version, down to the stomping beats and ethereal synth outro. It’s obviously less polished and a bit messy, but I do like that pulsing synth that runs through it. Couldn’t really find a place for it in the final mix unfortunately, but that happens.

‘Tokyo Regret’ is perhaps the least synthy track on ‘Battle Thru Time’ so might be an odd choice to release first, but I don’t think anyone would argue it’s not the best song on the record. It’s been a while since I laid down the rhythm track, but I’m sure there’s some 808 drums in there, which gives it early ’80s cred.

Anyway. Get in touch if you want to know more – @koshrecords on Twitter.

‘Battle Thru Time’ by Anecdata – out now!

The new album, ‘Battle Thru Time’, is out now! It’s a foray into experimental synthpop with a dark twist (think Depeche Mode, Devo, Ultravox or early Human League).

DOWNLOAD / STREAM: BANDCAMPGOOGLE PLAYSPOTIFYAPPLE MUSICIHEARTRADIO – ITUNES

And here’s the video for the first single, ‘Tokyo Regret’.

 

TRACKLISTING

  1. Surrender When
  2. The Second Amendment
  3. Richard III
  4. You Decide
  5. Superelevator
  6. Tokyo Regret
  7. Ephemeral
  8. Super VHS
  9. Hardly Angels
  10. You’re Not Alone
  11. Phantom Time
  12. Until the End

There are also instrumental remixes included in the album, plus exclusive tracks and demos if you buy the whole album from Bandcamp.

 

 

I’ve been working on this record on-and-off for about two years now, so hope you like it! Find out more about it here.

NEW ANECDATA ALBUM ‘BATTLE THRU TIME’ OUT MARCH 12

Check out the lead single ‘Tokyo Regret’ below.

Preorder the album from Bandcamp.

Here’s the cover. Enigmatic and mysterious, huh? I’d click on that if I saw it on Spotify… if you click on it, it’ll take you to a page you can learn more about the record. Or just click here.

Battle Thru Time - FRONT COVER FULL

New song! ‘Albuquerque’

Wrote a new song. It’s called ‘Albuquerque‘ and it has an LM-1 drum machine, gated reverb, echoing guitar, a synth using a preset called ‘Van Halen Jump’, sampled choir, Fairlight emulator, lead synthesizer and the phrase ‘vibrations of a string in 10D’.

The b-side is ‘Arecibo‘. It’s an instrumental, so took minutes to mix because I didn’t have to make my voice fit. Features the LM-1, a squelchy synth, some Polymoog sounds, the world’s fakest handclaps and a weird key change.

And finally, there’s the original demo of ‘Albuquerque‘ so you can imagine how it might have sounded if I hadn’t developed an unhealthy obsession with Prince-style drum sounds in the past few months.

Free download/pay what you want. Tell me what you think! Will be on Spotify, Apple, etc too sometime in the next few days.

SHORT SHARP SHOCKS – all the streaming and download links

Here’s everywhere you can listen to/download the new Anecdata album, Short Sharp Shocks.

BANDCAMPGOOGLE PLAYSPOTIFYNAPSTERDEEZERTIDALNOISETRADEAMAZON

Chances are it’s elsewhere too, but those are the big ones.

I’ve also made this little playlist of the best of Kosh Records – ie, me – including songs from Dharma Police and Planet Claire. 15 songs, 43 minutes. Enjoy!

Short Sharp Shocks – the new album from Anecdata

I know, it’s been only months since the last one… but here’s Short Sharp Shocks. A bunch of fast-ish, hard-ish no-frills tunes slathered in distorted guitars, barely scraping the two-minute mark.

Over the years I’ve been doing this, the little songs build up – the ones that don’t make it onto other albums for various reasons often unrelated to their quality. This is a collection of those songs – some old, and some new ones that seemed to fit the bill.

The record kicks off with ‘Just a Car’, which is driven by perhaps one of the first riffs I ever wrote. Next up is ‘Your Money is Mine’, which only came into existence in February – a baby!

Other highlights include ‘Irrelevant’, which takes an alternative view of Star Trek’s Borg species, the grunge-groove of ‘On the Beach’, and ‘Siriscreen’, an old indie-pop song I’ve rewritten about six times over the course of two decades to arrive at this final form.

Listen on the right using Bandcamp – free download/pay what you want. It’ll be on the streaming services very soon.

(And if you haven’t tried it already, my previous album You Do Not Do has only been out four months… it’s different.)