Fear It Is…
The Abikyokan lads, the AbiNation, the Abistronauts – call them what you must – will be back and rocking live and cosmic at Asagaya Gamuso on Saturday June 2nd. We’ve been invited by our friends Speaker, and are very much looking forward to playing the songs from and celebrating the release of our new EP, Fear.
This will be available to download for free from June 1st on our Soundcloud and Bandcamp. The songs are In The Woods, Fear and God, Bigfoot. We do hope you can bug out to them.
The video for Fear is already out there on the webs, a lovely thing constructed by our own Craig Exton from parts of a 1972 film from the Soviet Union, Ruslan And Ludmila (Руслан и Людмила). I think it fits the music very well, and our beseeching faces appear only briefly, making it even more of a smash.
Here’s some memories about the recording of the Fear EP:
1. In The Woods
The starting point for this was a beat and sample pattern I made at home, quite drunk, before an Abikyokan jam. I wanted it to be as bass-heavy and misty-sounding as possible. My Electribe emits quite a lot of extraneous noise, which makes recording it difficult, but this time I decided to embrace the interference, possibly influenced by John Maus, whose stunning album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves dominated my brain last summer.
Both the samples are ones I’ve used before: the bass sample from the intro of Paul Young’s Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) was employed on Curtains, and the guitar sample is from possibly my favourite record of all time, The Night by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – and some of you may remember that groove being used to devastating effect in Ian Martin and I’s short-lived but uncompromisingly sexy unit Rizla Deutsch.
I took the pattern to the studio and as everyone jammed a ghostly, strangely latin melody emerged, and eventually evocative lyrics from Jake about childhood arboreal memories. Craig’s elastic bass joined me on my motorik thump-quest, while Tatsumi brought in some unexpected funk on keys. In short, the song that emerged completely transcended my minimal, po-faced beat, and became something more emotional, satisfying and in its cloaked atmosphere and relentless, a pleasurable step into the unknown for Abikyokan.
This song has been around for a while in our live set, the “quiet one” that unfortunately often gets talked over. Hopefully now it’s recorded it will get the attention I think it deserves. It began as solo Jake, and the guitar part and lyrics remain unchanged from Jake’s original idea. We made the original recording quite a while ago: first a live take of Jake’s guitar and my (hopefully) unobtrusive drum part. I tried to play like the cymbals were conversing with the guitar (Ringo Starr influence there, thanks Ringo) and hopefully that keeps the song subtle and the message of the lyrics to the fore. Later we added Craig’s bass (making the song seem to float in a very pleasant way), Jake’s multi-tracked vocal, and an oboe (actually iPad!) part from Tatsumi that took my breath away. It sounded gorgeous by itself, like the intro to a late-60s British concept album or song cycle, and when integrated into the song it sounded great in a totally different way, and added a psychedelic touch to this essentially straightforward (for us!) piece of music.
3. God, Bigfoot
One of Jake’s more outrageous lyrics! It’s all about food…I think. Like In The Woods, this began with me programming patterns at home, aided by Yona Yona and other fine ales. A rather militant beat, an insistent Spectrum 48K sample (one of my favourite sounds, used to death in my solo music and also in Abikyokan’s song Spectrum), and a lovely fat synth bass riff.
Again I took this to the studio and watched open-mouthed as it became a proper song. The special pleasure of electro Abikyokan! Craig’s tremendously apropos New Order-esque bass part and Jake’s startling guitar explosions and ever-soulful vocal, plus a terrifying sound from Tatsumi that I hardly dare guess the provenance of, complete the sound picture. On one level, one of our poppiest productions, almost danceable and, I hope, disgustingly catchy. But you will search for a chorus in vain.
We’ll play all these songs, plus some even newer and some considerably older, at the Gamuso gig. More info on other bands as soon as I have it.
As it’s often rather difficult to get our electronic beats PA’d to our satisfaction at the kind of small livehouses we play, we’ve decided to play the songs in our rock configuration. I’ll once more be manning the drums, hopefully transforming the rigid, technoid beats on the recorded versions of In The Woods and God, Bigfoot into something more African, unpredictable and funky.
Do hope to see you all there.