This track was recorded just after Nowadays, but for some reason didn’t end up on the following cassette The Nuclear Princess. Maybe we didn’t like it enough? And listening to it now, it is not one of our best efforts by far.
As I remember it this track was more of a collaborative work. Someone came up with the main riff for the intro and verse, and then we finished it together, Måns writing the lyrics as usual (continuing the religious topics of Nowadays). To me the song is an indication of us focusing more and more on mood and production as opposed to melody and pop structure. To put it bluntly: the idea behind this song is that you can tune the kick drum! (Which in some other cases can be more than enough, just see the Classic Albums series on how Peter Gabriel came up with Don’t Give Up.)
It is also an indication of the gloominess that was to dominate The Nuclear Princess: low tempos, static bass drones, vocal lines that closely follows the chords etc. I think this was our attempt to sound harder and more mature, but the result was not so successful. Round about this time we began struggling with some form of writer’s block. We started questioning what we did a lot more, and the songs didn’t come as easily as before.
The song still has some nice features though. The glitchy sounds in the intro and bridge came through the discovery of aliasing in the Roland D-20 when playing loops pitched up a few octaves. Also it switches from 6/8 to 4/4 for the outtro, which is pretty cool. We might have been influenced by the Nitzer Ebb track “Godhead” which sort of does the opposite. I do remember we didn’t know how to set the D-20 sequencer to 6/8, so we recorded it to a 4/4 beat and quantized our performances to 8th note triplets instead. Same shit, different names :)
We have arrived at the last track on what was probably our best effort, our cassette demo “Nowadays”. And it’s a treat, because this song is one of my favorites. From its slow, sweeping sound over the intro through the strong chorus this is a very good showcase of what made Art Fact good.
The lyrics for this song came to be when I was watching the news on TV. I can’t remember exactly what it was that got me thinking about it, but something was so grueling that I wanted to look away, but couldn’t. Nothing to deep here, but a couple of nice phrases came out of this, especially the title, “Please turn my face away” which I still think is great.
Anders had written and produced the whole song on the Roland D-20, and I think we just completed it with a new bass sound from the Yamaha V-50. The breathing sounds in the extremely short “break” was just me and a microphone.
I think what really makes this song for me is the wonderful intro which sets the mood instantly. Once the drums start, we also have a nice little melody from the D-20 going on. The verse is a little boring, but every time we come back to the chorus, the song really opens up and becomes larger and better.
This is a straight forward pop tune, whose simplicity should really make it more suited on In Fact rather than Nowadays. As far as I can remember, I wrote the music for this at home on the Roland D-20, but we finished it during a week-long session at Pianobaren, the youth centre at Måns’ and Olle’s school.
During this period I would often bring “complete” songs to Måns, and then it was up to him to find a melody and write the lyrics. This backwards approach worked quite well for us for a while (and also for The Smiths I might add, with no other comparison), but in some cases such as this you can somehow tell that the music was written in advance. It follows a pretty rigid verse/chorus structure, and the middle-8 seems almost pasted in place.
Still, I like the groove and the bass sound in the intro. Måns’ breathing was sampled into Olle’s Amiga 500 computer, and live-triggered when we recorded the D-20 to tape. You can hear the Reverse program from the Alesis Microverb on the breathing once the drums kick in. I wish I had one of those now, or if Alesis could remake them as Rack Extensions for Reason.
Apart from the intro, I also like the chords and melody in the chorus but I would have liked if we had added some drum fills and more synths to make the chorus more powerful. Once again our minimalist approach was less due to aesthetics than to our lacking production skills.
And last but not least, I think the opening line…
Haven’t slept for a hundred years
I hope my eyes won’t close for good
…is really great, especially coming from some 16-year-olds!
Yes, it’s time once again to pick up the “song a week” theme here at artfact.se. Before the summer, we ended with a track in the middle of our cassette “Nowadays” and so we go back to 1991 and continue where we left off.
“The Initial Merge” is a very nice “in between”-track, that if I remember correctly was made by Jonas and Anders. Over time, it has become one of my favorites from Art Fact, as it is timeless. We used it as a link track between two songs with very different style and tempo, and as such it works great.
It is an instrumental track, using all Roland D-20 (I think), and has a very slow, suggestive tone which always makes me think of the Depeche Mode track “Oberkorn: It’s a small town”. I don’t think that was the idea at the time though.