Unplugged 3: Insanely excited about the next two m2 projects, so that’s great

Sat down for my first purposeful recording session in a long while a few weeks ago. Recorded for four or five hours straight, just a mic in a room (an attic, actually) a few feet in front of my amp.

Really cold up there. My fingers were numb.

Laid down ten tracks of material, lots of layered guitar work weaving in and out of one another rather than the dense sound assault I’ve done in recent years. Tried a new approach to playing and just attempted various iterations on it. The interplay of the guitars excited me.

Had about an hour and a half of material when it was wrapped up.

Got super focused on working that material over the other day and started mixing. Then chopping. Then cutting out songs. Then mixing some more. Brought it down to about 45 minutes.

And I think it’s close to done. Have to do some more tweaking. Looking at the spectrogram, the audio has a big hole in the highs, so I want to fill that in a bit so it sounds fuller and more “complete.”

Otherwise, I’m really fucking happy with this.

I had been working on the next m2 project already, and it was (and is) going to be an abrasive downer, probably double album length. The title is a clue as to the mood: Dead Country. It’s probably going to be difficult to listen to at times. And I fucking love the cover.

But this one will come first.

It’s a suitable follow-up to the last, was recorded on pure inspiration, and is about as un-messed-with as m2 has been since my first few. Every sound is right out of the amplifier. No further trickery or effects.

There are even a few moments when the illusion is broken and you can hear that it’s just me in a room — I accidentally bump the mic, that sort of thing — but I decided to leave them in (though if I said I left them in purely for the sake of having an “honest” recording I’d be a liar. Fact is, editing them out would be REALLY hard, if not impossible, due to the nature of the music. I could chop them out and stitch the remaining pieces together, but you’d lose some of the ebb and flow of the pieces as they evolve from one sound to the next, which is a big part of this music).

Pretty excited about this.

(more below)

Will drop this one Feb. 1, when I check in on social media again after a break. Seeing as it’s a follow-up to Coming Up For Air, this is called First Breath After, and my headspace while recording it was very much about plunging back into creativity for its own sake and just getting lost in making sounds again.

As for Dead Country, I’m going to keep recording material for a while and maybe do a symbolic drop on July 4. The cover is too awesome for me not to get this right (though in this case, “right” doesn’t necessarily mean “soothing” or “easy to listen to.”)

And since it’s been 20 years since I put my first m2 stuff out there, some time this year I’m going to release a two-disc collection of outtakes and material that came this close to being used. It’s stuff I’ve liked but just didn’t fit with any project.

Oh, and I’m finally bringing m2 to Bandcamp. So that’s fun. More on that later.