by Chillian Murphy
RECOLLECTION is a gathering of tracks that span over 10 years and various projects.These tracks are being released as a limited run cassette by Cyan Sun Records.Click below to order / stream:
1) WE'VE MET BEFORE HAVEN'T WE
2) SLOW TIMES IN NOWHERESVILLE
3) ON VACATION
4) DARK HUMOR
6) LIGHTS OUT
9) THE BIG SLEEP
10) LIGHTWEIGHT CREEPIN'
11) TIRED OF DRESSING UP
15) BEACH DAY
16) SINKING LIKE THE FEELING
17) ROOM GLOOM #1
19) SOME ADVICE
20) LOW LIFE
21) GOOD GRIEF
22) WORRISOME EYES
23) PARK DATE
25) BLUE BAYOU
26) BE MY BABY
It's weird to listen to these tracks now because each one transports me back to insignificant moments that would otherwise be totally lost to time. As someone with a notoriously bad memory it's reassuring to remember. Here's some thoughts about each of the tracks:
WE'VE MET BEFORE HAVEN'T WE EP was the first stuff I put out that I felt was "cool" or had some sort of relatable substance behind it. It was originally released under my previous moniker Space Suit but I always thought of it as my Microphones to Mount Eerie name transition album.
I remember meticulously, and ultimately, terribly, recording my Casiotone MT205 with a Blue Yeti mic pressed right up to the grille of the built in speakers to get the beats for We've Met Before Haven't We. (Producer's note: don't do that. Please DI your casio). I was on such a David Lynch / Roy Orbison kick and oh lordy does my voice show it. All the guitar on this and the next track was done with a killer Competition Orange Squier Telecaster my roommate was borrowing at the time. The thing was really cheap but felt great. So much spank, so much twang. Come to think of it I should probably get a telecaster.
Slow Times in Nowheresville is sonically... a lot. I questioned even adding it to this collection, but it is essentially the B-Side on this single which I for some reason called an EP. Recording aside I think the lyrics still invoke some cool imagery. I actually think about the clenched fist line every time I wear a coat. I'm haunted by it. The fact that I call god a guy always bugs me even though it's in the context of god not existing. I do like the ending though. And I do enjoy the oohs and ahs. Some big time ooh ahh-ing in this one. I wonder if I can even hit those notes now.
[DEMO] EP was an attempt to get out of my own way and release some things that had been floating purposeless on soundcloud. I always had the intention of going back and doing these tracks over but they all have little moments that I can't really replicate. Time will tell on that but if 10 years has told me anything it’s that I'd rather just make new stuff.
I used to play a real cool version of On Vacation in my live set but never actually recorded it so we're left with this one. The little clinks mixed in with the stock garageband snare are from a mason jar being hit with a pencil. Truly innovative stuff.
Dark Humor feels like pure cheese in the beginning but saves itself with one of the best endings I think I've ever got down in a recording. Every time I hear this song I get an image of the stove from my old apartment in Oakland. It was tiny and coated in rust spots and the back burner didn't work half the time. The "hold on" in the beginning is me telling Gill to hold on because I was about to record the vocal take. The drums on this one are made with: a box with a t shirt on it, egg shaker, keys, cups, beat boxing, acoustic guitar bonks, and reverb plug ins. The bass throughout is just a weirdly eq'd guitar but damn if that line at the end isn't perfect. I often get lucky with guitar takes and this one was no exception.
Sunburn was just loops I'd recorded on my BOSS RC300 and left for ages. I finally found some words for it and the same day my roommate Daniel walked by and said, "That sounds cool." So, given that bit of recognition, I just went for it and fleshed it all out in like a day. I felt like my recording never did this song justice but at this point it is what it is and I don't hate it. The opening guitar and vocal takes are taken directly from the loop pedal and then when it "opens up" at 1:18 it transitions to newly recorded parts. I can't even remember how many times I layered the big banging guitar hits to make them sound bigger. I had no idea what I was doing. I still often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.
The original version of Lights Out had really, really, bad casio drums behind it and almost zero energy. Thank you eternally to Wil at Hired Drummers for bringing this thing to life. I always imagined it as an ode to Julian Casablancas but that probably doesn't translate like I mean it to. For better or worse, this song launched a years long obsession with the LO-FI effect on my vocals. I'm still not really over it if I'm being completely honest.
Lull turned out simultaneously so much better and worse than I ever thought it would. Somehow the vibe is just slightly off, like the groove is constantly fighting against itself. It used to drive me nuts but I guess it ties in well with the subject matter. Either way, I always liked singing this one. Something about the first verse really rolls off the tongue. Always cool to have an acoustic leaning ender for your album I guess.
PEOPLE PERSON COLLECTIVE was a group of musicians handpicked by Brendan Page. Brendan and I met via me fan boying hard over his track Bobey Breaks A Wineglass on Reddit. I didn't even know he lived near me. Somehow, shortly after this my good friend Dany set up a show and we all ended up playing it together. The rest, as they say, is history. PPC was a monthly music project where one person set the theme and designed the artwork that everyone else would respond to with a song. In retrospect, I would say having a month to write a song is simply too long for me. That amount of time led me to write some of the most incredibly overdone tracks I've ever written. All in all I pulled some tunes I am super proud of out of the mush.
Boomerang was my first submission to the group and probably the most ambitious. The prompt was to make a palindromic song and I really did it, man. This track's lyrics reverse their sung order right in the middle of the track. It's called Boomerang. It's 3:43 seconds long. I was so damn proud of this thing when I did it! I don't think anyone else really got it though. And I guess technically it isn't a palindrome, but you know, like artistic liberty and whatever. I still dig it.
The Big Sleep was my first recording with a slide guitar part. I used my Bic lighter for the end swooshes and I remember one time after playing live at the now defunct Night Light in Oakland it was the only thing anyone commented on. People love Bic slide parts I guess. I remember we had to make an accompanying music video for this prompt and I submitted an edited version of the house fire scene from The Lost Highway. I think it's still online somewhere. Big thanks to David Lynch again. Big thanks to Bic lighters.
My friend Matt found this baby drum set at ABC Music in Castro Valley and asked if I wanted to split the cost with him ($50) so we could both use it. It was so funny and sounded so bad and is also responsible for all the drums on Lightweight Creepin'. The prompt for this one was "Butt Rock" and I did my best impression of that. I actually really dig how it turned out. I used to play it live with the baby drum track as a one-shot sample on my BOSS RC300, my guitar, and my vocals all coming through the same Traynor 2 x 12" guitar amp. Now THAT'S butt rock, baby.
I can't even remember the prompt that Tired of Dressing Up was a response to if I'm being completely honest. I know I was just so inspired by the way Brendan made his songs that I really wanted to make an intricate guitar forward loop song I could play live. The craziest thing about this track is there is a sung loop part that goes "soon you'll see it" but when you reverse it sounds like it says, "I'll see you tonight". And it was and is reproducible every time. Just one of those weird sonic happy accidents, I guess. This song is mostly just about being tired.
I legitimately forgot I even made the song Daymare. My old iMac died on me and I thought I lost everything on it. I ended up taking it to a computer repair shop years later and one of the few things the guy ended up recovering was this track. This is one of the best examples of me going WAY over the top while writing one of these songs but somehow, I think it works. (Does it?) I really like how the end turned out even though lyrically, sonically, and in every possible way the track is all over the place. The "Murphy... it's you" bit at the beginning is a sample of Captain Murphy's sample from his Duality album. Murphy's have gotta stick together.
I remember the Bay Bridged put Static on a "Best of the Bay" playlist one time and I don't even know how they found the track but it made me feel like I was really "making it". Nothing came of it of course, but you know, it was cool for a second. This prompt was something about referencing a song that you used to love or something and the whole foundation of it is built on the opening progression of Radio by Alkaline Trio. The name Static is a little nod to that. I love everything about this song except how loud the distorted mid-section is.
Shipwrecked may be the oldest original track on here. This song was recorded directly into the screen of my 2006 iMac. There are no actual microphones other than the built-in input used at all. I included it because this was the bridge song from my first project called, and yes this is very embarrassing, The Mask I Wear, into my second one, Space Suit. Reverb is a helluva drug. When I hear this song now all I can think about is how I intentionally sung the word "hand" weird because I was listening to a lot of FOALS at the time and that guy sang the word hand weird. Hahnd.
Beach Day is still one of my favorite tracks that I've put out. It is unintentionally recorded 100% panned left and right because I had just gotten my first interface and I had no idea what I was doing. I guess that's what gives it the space and the comparatively low volume (TURN IT UP!). The way the guitars hit at the end still lights me up to this day. A little secret about the ending is that I was seemingly invaded by the spirit of Canned Heat's Going Up to the Country for the last two verses. What you hear in the final version is the scratch take because I could never get my voice to sound like that again. I even wrote the lyrics based on the way the words sounded because I didn't know what I was singing at the time. Very weird out of body moment. I also love the idea of being so insecure that you go out to the beach before you take a date there to make sure there are no messages in bottles laying around that could distract them from you. Great stuff, younger me.
Sinking Like the Feeling continues this lyrical tradition I seem to have of drowning or being pulled out to sea or whatever it is I am trying to say. I think it all may stem back to the fact that I am a terrible swimmer. This whole thing came together in a frantic pace but the only thing I remember about recording it is staring at the MXL 770 mic my roommate let me use and the two meandering guitar lines at the end. A person once commented that it sort of fades off right when it’s getting good and I think that I actually dig that more and more with time. Also, this is somehow the best sounding vocal take I have ever recorded to this day and I have no idea how I got it.
I didn't have a smart phone until I was 22. My iMac computer I had gotten in 2007 died somewhere around 2010. I spent the following year or two watching the Wire on DVDs rented from the library around the corner from my house and recording one off loops into my loop pedal. Room Gloom #1 is one of those loops that I managed to capture by borrowing my roommate's computer so I wouldn't forget it. A kind individual recently commented on soundcloud that they listen to this song still and it reminded me about the longevity of music and how you’ll never really know its relevance to other people at different times. There are so many Room Glooms lost to time but to paraphrase Mitch Hedberg, if I can't remember them I guess they weren't funny anyways.
Undead was originally called "My Brief Affair with the (Un)Undead" but I couldn't fit all that on the J-Card so now it has a new name. This entire song is written around the little pitch wheel lead melody line. I had just purchased a Yamaha PSR-520 and fell in love with all the corny sounds on it. This is one of those tracks that people would randomly tell me they really liked all the time. I never know which songs I do are "good". One thing I do know is that they are never the ones you think they will be.
Some Advice has been burning a hole in my hard drive for years now. This is the first track I recorded with my 1978 Fender Champ and the guitar just rips. I tried adding other stuff to it: lead parts, keyboard parts, backup vocals, but it all just crowded the ripping guitar. Ultimately, I never found a place to put it because none of my other songs have guitar that rips this hard, so I am excited to finally put it out to the masses. Rip on, ripper.
Low Life was another one of those tracks that came out fully fleshed right off the bat but didn't fit anywhere. A looping bass line tends to have that effect on me I guess. This track also uses the same baby drum set as Lightweight Creepin'. I love everything about this song except for how I say "trace the line" at the end of it. Like, what the hell what I thinking coming in that hard on that line? It almost kills the whole thing for me. I hope other people can forget I just wrote that or never read that I wrote it in the first place. At least the guitar line is pretty cool.
When I think about recording Good Grief it floods back to me like a fever dream. I remember tweaking this song every which way. I remember getting lucky with the stock (pirated) Logic digital delay setting. I remember ravenously recording the casio parts over and over and over. It's very over produced but in a balmy lo-fi-but-somehow-overdone way but man oh man do I love the ending of this song. I felt like in a lot of my tracks that I overdid I would somehow stick the landing but none more than this one. I figured most people probably lost interest before ever getting to the end but man, I encourage you to get there because I am still so stoked on it.
Out of all the songs I've done, Worrisome Eyes is for sure the longest. It was a staple in my live set because when I played it I could fill a 30 minute slot with 3 - 4 songs. It's also kinda a banger. The entire thing is built off a looped Microkorg sample that I probably couldn't recreate to save my life. I spent a solid month tweaking things here and there and one day I realized that I would lose my mind if I kept at it. If I could do things differently, I would have changed the ending and when I played live I actually ditched the recorded ending entirely. It became kinda like a Brain Stew / Jaded type thing and the jury is still out about whether it was better or worse. Maybe you heard it in the wild one time and are nodding along while reading this like, "yeah I remember that!". Either way my brother Kyle made a rad music video for this thing. I knew it was cool when he liked it because I've been making music for years and years and this may be the only thing he's ever even mentioned let alone actually created something for. Very cool.
My main man Matt Cassani makes movies and I make music for those movies. Park Date was supposed to play behind a Park Date scene in his second feature "January Jaguar* but it ended up being way too distracting with its immense groove. I think it got used somewhere else in the film but I just wanted something to represent all the soundtrack work I did. Pretty groovy track, man. I love making instrumental tracks and I love playing bass. Please check out his flicks and the associated soundtracks if you get a chance.
Saltwater may still be my favorite Beach House song. I recently saw some poll somewhere of people's favorite Beach House songs and they didn't even include a single track from their self-titled or even Devotion albums. The world has lost its mind. I was so excited when I found a way to make my Casio sound all weird and distorted. The MT205 is such a good keyboard. Matt actually sold it to me for $20 and it was the biggest come up of my life. I think this recording may predate Shipwrecked which would mean it's all recorded with built-in microphone as well. Very, very old fossil of a cover but thankfully the source material was pretty under produced as well. I love you, Victoria.
Blue Bayou is my third favorite Roy Orbison song but the only one I ever covered. It has a nice message about longing for happier times in a sad sounding place which passes the vibe check. I played this straight except for adding some arguably over the top backing oohs and ahs as I was wont to do. I can't remember who said it, but Roy had a way of finishing songs in such a dramatic fashion that you KNOW when they are over. No one has ever clapped prematurely for a Roy Orbison song.
At the end of everything Be My Baby may be the best thing I've ever done. I am impressed it sounds as good as it does given what I was working with at the time. The lush sounding choir backing is from the Yamaha PSR-520 and I don't think the patch could have been more perfect. As fucked as a guy as Phil Spector was the dude knew how to produce a song. Long live the wall of sound.
Thanks for taking the time to scroll all the way down here. If you want to say hi or check out some of my recent work please reach out through the links below.- Adam