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Inside Real Illusions: Reflections

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Jem77FP with Roland GK-2A

Jem77FP with Roland GK-2A Synth Controller

 

Bad Horsie

Bad Horsie #1 Prototype

 

EVO

Jem7VWH - “EVO”

 

Sticker Strat

The “Sticker Strat”

 

Track 01

“Building The Church”

How The Song Came About:

There is a particular stimulation you get from hearing heavy rhythm guitars. For many people it scratches that itch that other strings just don’t seem to reach. Tuning the guitar down is a great way to move more air through the speakers so this track was tailor made for it.

This song, as with most of the others, was an audio visualization before it became real.

What Was I Thinking:

The Album liner notes:

“As Pomposh walked from the gathering, there immediately came a massive, heavyweight gravity storm. Internalizing the mammoth, black-hole-like magnitude manifesting from the storm, and wielding the mass of his intellect — matched only by his piety — caused a conscious edifice to materialize before the townspeople. Appearing over the entrance was the name of the structure. He then de-gravitized and faded like a whisper on the wind, into the ether.”

As seen through the eyes of the somewhat insane Captain Drake Mason, a stranger arrives in town. He is known as Pomposh, and after revealing certain things to the towns people, he sets off into a clearing and creates this enormous Church of sorts. It’s not a building in the conventional sense, but a living structure. Actually the word “church” is not exactly correct either. The album cover was going to be an illustration of the Church but after trying to convey my mental image of this to various illustrators, I felt it not such a good idea to go that route. It would give too much imagery to something that should remain within the realms of the listeners own imagination.

First, Pomposh needs to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the Building of the Church. He creates a gravity storm. A gravity storm is when the molecules in the air are substantially changed so that the Earth’s gravity could either increase or decrease in great degrees. It’s basically the same technology that is used behind the propulsion of various UFO’s.

A severe “heavyweight gravity storm” has the potential to flatten anything in it’s physical vicinity, including people, objects, and in the most intense cases even stones and boulders can be reduced to sand. On the other hand, the reverse is possible too. In a “lightweight gravity storm” physical objects can take on a fraction of their original weight. Think walking on the moon or in an anti gravity chamber.

Pomposh uses these atmospheres to summon various essentials from the ether and netherworlds to bring the Church into the physical. When I was imagining this scene the music for the song came to my mind.

The name of the Church is “Under It All.” This is where the towns people are enticed to enter and be subjected to the enchanting and engaging music of Pomposh, which in turn seduces them to see and speak of their inner selves things that they were not aware of.

Recording It:

The drums and bass were recorded first and then I built the track after that. The intro riff is a tapping technique I came up with in 1983. I wrote a song around this technique called “Upanishads”. It was slated for Passion and Warfare but I never finished it.

The technique involves placing your left hand over the neck and tapping with the first and second fingers on the D and B strings, and then alternating that with tapping with the rights hand on the neck with three fingers. You get this computer-like effect. Moving it around is a real challenge and after the solo in this track you can hear the beauty of the whipping harmony filled atmospheres these lighting hammers can create.

I had to stop myself on the outro of this track when it came to creating rhythm riffs as I have a tendency to get way carried away.

Instruments Used:

One of the main pieces of gear used on this was the Roland GR-33 Guitar Synth triggered by the Floral Jem with the Roland GK-2A controller. I used it to capture midi information on the tapping section and then used the midi info to trigger some sample sounds.

Rhythm Guitar: Bad Horsie through a Legacy.
Melody and Lead Guitar: Evo through a Legacy with a touch of a Fender tweed amp. I also used my ’78 Strat through a Sansamp PSA-1 pre-amp for some of the very grunty rhythm.

The melody guitars were heavily EQ'ed, and I changed the EQ quite a bit in each section. The first is somewhat dark and then the melodies slowly brighten up and cut more. There were various reasons for this. It outlines the various stages of the Church being built and also separates the audio field of the rhythm guitars and the melodies.

In the cascading B-sections there are at times 6 guitars playing the falling melody.

SV’s Final Comment:

I love the energy of this track and the visual I have in my mind that goes along with it. Let those fat guitars just envelope you in a whirlwind of audio decadence while Pomposh lashes about in the ominously dark skied fields, as he wills the Church into existence.

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