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AAD-22: Conditional Independence Day (09 Jul 2008 at 08:57)
Spoiler alert! This album-a-day contains spoilers for the TV show Lost (Season 2). (I always wanted to say that, heh heh.)

Conditional Independence Day


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· about
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On the 4th of July long weekend (Independence Day in the U.S.A.) I recorded another album, called Conditional Independence Day. That is a tepid probability joke. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to find a solid free day to do this, and since I've made something like 25 of these now, also increasingly difficult for me to be all uppity about the AAD rules. I certainly spent less than 24 hours on it (probably about 12) but they certainly spanned more than 24 because of a number of other fun things I didn't want to skip out on during the weekend. AAD regulars know this means at least -1,000 points for me.

I think there are some good songs on here. I kept them all in standard tuning plus capos that I have handy, because even though I love alternate tuning and weird preparations, I hardly ever play a song after recording it if it requires a lot of setup. I've gotten less bashful about playing for other people so this is important now. I actually found it very pleasantly easy to write these songs this time. On the other hand I had a muy malo time recording: Since I've gotten a new computer with Vista my old software (Cubase) doesn't work any more, and I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be familiar with your equipment and software and know how to get a good sound out of it without struggling. I struggled and my voice was failing from a cold (which you can hear prominently in Poison Control) and astute listeners will easily be able to tell in a bad way how many times I punched in on the vocals. Often I was just like, screw it. That's fine since AAD is not about perfection, but it is disappointing to me after reaching the level of satisfaction with recording process that I had on say Betrayal at the Knights of Columbus to take a step backwards. Oh, well.

Sometimes people complain that they cannot understand my songs as respects lyrical topic. For this album I therefore present to you this useful collection of abstracts:

Post-Glacial Identity. An iceberg with anxiety disorder risks withdrawal pangs for a chance to feel again—but is the melting glacier a metaphor for the disintegration of a relationship, or is it the other way around?

Oddity. Given the wherewithal by watching VHS archives of their favorite childhood television shows, a young couple attempt unlicensed surgery to remove a vestigial craniopagus twin from their newborn child.

New York Welcomes You. An out-of-state visitor gets a rude reminder that ignorance of the law is no defense, but a lucky blunder allows him to escape—only to find himself embroiled in a life of crime.

Theme from LOST. A flight from Australia crashes somewhere in the Pacific, and the passengers must fight to survive—but who are they fighting? (Meant to be an inappropriately sappy theme song for the television show.)

EURion. A clerical error leaves an important project sixty seconds shy of its intended length, but time stretch technology allows an impulsive recording to save the day at the last minute—literally. (True story. The epitome of filler.)

This Works on Average. A svelte woman needs a tracheotomy after shouting so many times at men who pick her up—literally.

Conditional Independence Day. A prodigious youth attempts a record-breaking marathon session of Dromedary Kong—but in his haughty carelessness is defeated on level 5.

Dioramarama. Upon closer inspection, an extra credit project proves to be a sophisticated and manifold booby-trap.

Poison Control. A cable installer unable upsell his customer to the extended package connives a complex long-term poisoning gambit—in an attempt to turn a later visit into a sexual encounter.

Full lyrics and tablature are available. Thanks to those who suggested song titles and topics. Now go to AAD #22: Conditional Independence Day to listen.
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Scott/Graue (ip70-179-119-114.dc.dc.cox.net) – 07.09.08 21:57:11
Wow, awesome. It's a total coincidence, or psychic powers, that I was just thinking this morning how it was time for another AAD from you. Seriously. (And no, before you ask, I don't wake up every day thinking that.)

Review to come once I listen...
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Chris (c-76-99-55-118.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 07.09.08 22:45:00
I like this. It's no BatKoC, but plenty of fun songs. I like the first two and the last two in particular (at least after 1.5 listens). LOST is good for lost fans, too.
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Chris (c-76-99-55-118.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 07.09.08 22:47:25
maybe "when an album goes from conception to first reviews in like 3 days" belongs on that last post
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Scott/Graue (ip70-179-119-114.dc.dc.cox.net) – 07.09.08 23:08:24
This is awesome. I love the last song, and Theme from LOST, even though I've never seen the show.

A lot more acoustic, it sounds like. The description for "Conditional Independence Day" is hilarious. The production is very clean. Music-wise, I've always felt while BaTKoC had its moments, there were certain songs best enjoyed by skipping them; everything here seems worthy of a full listen.

You should make two AADs this year. That would freak everyone out.
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-250-242.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 07.10.08 07:46:11
Thank you both. There is a kind of dread I always feel when posting an album after a year's break that is instantly cured by at least one positive comment, and now there are two!

S: Then our biological AAD-clocks are synchronized. When you say everything you can't possibly be including EURion?

I'd like to be making more than one every 16 months. There was once an era when I made 9 albums in one year! Oh, to have that kind of free time again...
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Scott/Graue (ip70-179-119-114.dc.dc.cox.net) – 07.11.08 12:22:48
EURion may not be single material, but it makes a pretty decent interlude.

I know what you mean about the dread. I get that every time I release something.

Theme from LOST does seem to be ripping off another song. Isn't the chorus a little similar to, uh, "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel?

Anyway. You should play some live shows or something, like take your guitar and your sweet self to an open mic and play "This Works on Average", "Shithope", and "Nice Piano". I'd travel 2 hours each way to see that. I know my advice is useless, because lack of time is the only reason you haven't already tried it, but still, do it.
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Adhesion (92.50.72.3) – 07.11.08 16:26:11
Yet another very solid AAD, although I have to admit that this seems more of a grower for me rather than the last couple which grabbed me pretty much instantly (although I do have some favorites from this one already). I like how some of the things you mentioned in the post about Theme from the Goog showed up in the title track. And man, if this song-lengthening trend keeps going, sooner or later you're going to be making 20-minute post-rock/chiptune epics or something. Not that that would be bad, that sounds awesome actually.

I'd also travel X hours to go to a Tom 7 show, except currently I am across an ocean so X hours also would mean many dollars.
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-250-159.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 07.12.08 10:24:29
S: Theme from LOST is intended to sound really cliché. This is the joke, really. The "Lost, when you need somebody, Lost, ..." is essentially the same as Homeward Bound (good call; I didn't think of that song particularly), though it resolves differently. (The senseless platitude "When you need somebody" is intended to make clear that this moment of the song is utterly un-fresh, like so many TV themes written by people who haven't even watched the show.) The lead in after "burn somebody's boat" is deliberately pulled straight from the Cheers theme song. I actually wanted the whole song to be these meaningless lyrical and musical clichés but I once I think of a clever lyric I can't help but use it. Now it is in an awkward uncanny valley, true.

I'm into the idea of playing open mic shows. I've done it with Nels for Sick Ridiculous, and I think if I just had a friend coming along for support and beers that I would play some Tom 7 songs pretty much any time. You shouldn't drive X hours though because my songs are like 1 minute long, and the open mic places I know have a 2-song limit, so that's like a 2 minute concert. Maybe if I ever play an actual show, like an opening act; I could get through maybe 20 songs!

The setlist you propose is a little surprising. Nice Piano is pretty much out of the question because it uses a weird partial capo configuration and a weird tuning. (Maybe once they make an acoustic version of that robot tuning guitar. That would be so sweet.) This Works on Average would maybe be the second-to-last song I'd want to play off CID! Shithope is a winner though. My current setlist consists of some set of songs from:

Setlist (ironic. Never posted this song anywhere.)
Mean (usually leading from Setlist, because they are thematically and configurationally related)
Japan On Mad (new version. so much better now.)
Official Rules of Baseball
Based On Your Mario Kart Skills, I'm Not Letting You Drive My Car
Shithope
Beauty Queen Cigarette
Dr. Light Was a Fool
Mute Disc
Poison Control (if I can figure out how to do harmonies..)
Lawn Sky

Plus, if I can plug in my phone for some backing beats, lots of idiot synth stuff like Spring Break Pittsburgh 2006 wooo, Princess of Justice, etc.

Are there other favorites you guys think I should be learning?
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HH (user-544787c9.wfd82b.dsl.pol.co.uk) – 07.13.08 06:10:14
Tom7! Have you heard I am my father's son and you are a runner by Wolf Parade? I totally think it is a secret theme song from LOST. True? Not True?

Also... I think your hockey song should be on this list but I don't remember the name... Testify in Me? I love that one. It is still one of the only things that I can almost play on guitar.

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Tom 7 (cmu-276986.wv.cc.cmu.edu) – 07.13.08 15:30:33
I think you mean you are your father's daughter.

Oh yeah, I can totally play Testify in Hockey. I forgot about that one. Actually there are some other simple easy ones I forgot about too, like Fake Bulldozer.
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Tom 7 (cmu-276986.wv.cc.cmu.edu) – 07.13.08 15:31:22
A: Agreed. I may very well make a single-track prog/chiptune epic some day, as I think that would be pretty much completely sweet.
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Adhesion (92.50.72.3) – 07.13.08 16:03:10
That would be pretty awesome to see, especially considering that aside from As a Deaf Ear you've been pretty consistent as far as song format, arrangement and stuff like that. Other prolific AAD artists (at least Scrap Heap aka Scott/Graue and I) tend to throw in some gimmicky concepts every once in a while to mix things up.

Also, I went on my last.fm to see which Tom 7 songs were my most listened, and the top three (Shithope, Mute Disc and Lawn Sky) were already on that setlist, which is sweet. Advanced would be cool to hear (but would require electricness), and other favorites of mine like Planarian and That Octomer would require backing. I don't recognize Dr. Light Was a Fool, was that released anywhere?

And sort of speaking of last.fm, what's Aphex Twin – Bouncy Tune, Rules that I saw on yours the other day? If you don't know the real name of it I might be able to identify it.
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Tom 7 (h-67-100-47-37.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 07.14.08 02:59:41
Acoustic Advanced is possible. The main impediment is actually that I have a shortage of frets on the acoustic guitar compared to the electric.

Dr. Light is on the second Taut Blue Quality album. I don't know if I ever posted about that anywhere, but it is online: http://mp3.tom7.org/aad-tbq2/. It has some good songs, I think.

Bouncy Tune, Rules is one of the Hangable Auto Bulb tracks (I think?) that doesn't have a name. Or does it? I don't even know how to describe it other than that. Also I have a slowed down version because I like that record better when played at 33 1/3 rpm.
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Scott/Graue (ip70-179-119-114.dc.dc.cox.net) – 07.14.08 10:17:44
Oh shit, you really dislike This Works on Average? It was one of my favorites from CID. I agree, though, that Poison Control is radder.

Hmm, another thought (I think this is more feedback than I've ever given you): I think State of New York could use a bit of guitar soloing, without vocals. Otherwise, it seems to drag a bit because like, you just won't stop singing stuff.

I quite dig the album. You were my top artist on Last.fm last week, and this is your only AAD I have on this computer.
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Chris (c-76-99-55-118.hsd1.pa.comcast.net) – 07.14.08 18:34:24
I didn't know you played official rules of baseball live. Too bad I'm no longer close enough to see it - I don't expect to ever attend a show by anyone else who rhymes song with Zedong.
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Tom 7 (mobile-032-151-132-191.mycingular.net) – 07.15.08 00:21:10
S: this works on average is an okay song, but I feel like it doesn't have enough ideas in it. Also I think parts of the melody are kinda repetitions of old songs, like Drown. I don't dislike it though.

I totally agree about New York. I had some chords ready and I was dicking around and discovered the chorus chords, which I was really excited about so I recorded the whole thing right away so I wouldn't forget. Then I was like, shit, 4 minutes? And the middle part (300 megajoules...) totally drags on forever. Outside an AAD scenario I would have definitely liked to make that song more directed, because I think it's close to being great. Some day I am going to spend some time making an AAD re-do album, where I rework and rerecord some near misses (Aloof, for example) and songs that I've developed better versions of or gotten much better at playing (Japan on Mad, Dr. Light, Permission, ...). But not until I have a pleasant and good-sounding recording process again!

Thanks for listening and for the thoughtful comments!!
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Sophia (c-24-91-199-132.hsd1.ma.comcast.net) – 07.18.08 13:29:31
19 minutes and 54 seconds: minus another 1,000 points!!! Okay, now I'm gonna actually go listen to it...
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Tom 7 (pokemon.wv.cc.cmu.edu) – 07.18.08 14:02:05
yeah, I think whatever process I was using was rounding up the seconds. It would have been trivial to just timescale EURion up another 6 seconds, after all...
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Anonymous (98.193.193.208) – 07.31.08 02:10:21
Where is that statue-pair on the cover located? I don't recognize it. From the background I'd say Mt. Washington is a fair bet, but I don't remember ever seeing any statues up there.
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Tom 7 (h-74-0-115-253.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 07.31.08 18:21:57
Yeah, up there. I think 40d26'21.32" N 80d01'16.58"W, which is properly Duquesne Heights. It looked kinda new to me.
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