Selected Anachronisms’ song by song



Twins

This song features Nicholas’ German Renaissance style 9 course (17 string)
lute. The first thing you hear is a drone played with an old 80’s Roland Juno 106 analogue synthesizer, kindly lent by David Forman, accompanied by Naomi’s amazing thunder drum. Also of note is that the high “synth” in the second verse and breakdown which is actually Nicholas torturing his old Kramer guitar. Twins was first performed live in Melbourne in 2007 while the band were supporting Psyche.

Thin Air

Thin Air started life as a late night idea on the 25th of December 2007, when Nicholas rushed in to put down a quick guitar and percussion track before the idea vanished into late night forgetfulness and post-big-dinner contentedness. The guitars were then replaced – some with Appalachian dulcimer, some with masses of multitracked Big Muff guitar. After many layers of Naomi, some bowed psaltery, mandolin and electronic beats it was still needing something big – and that missing bigness was obviously a kicking live drum, and when a big kicking live drum part is needed we usually turn to Bart Kowalski. We weren’t disappointed – It then kicked in all the right places. Thin Air has since become one of our favourite tracks to play live, with Nicholas wearing both a guitar and a dulcimer and swapping between them from verse to chorus, and Naomi juggling flute, vocals and percussion throughout the song.

Quietly Safe

Lyricly, this song was inspired by M. Night Shymalan’s film The Village. Starting as a rough idea on dulcimer written at Queenscliff on the Victorian coast, then added to at the band’s home in Melbourne and then completed at a writing session in South Gippsland, Quietly Safe’s crowning glory is the superb strings. Arranged by Nicholas, the violin and cello parts were played by Helen Mountford (My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Cosmo Cosmolini) and Andrea Keeble (Cosmo Cosmolini), who floored us with the sheer beauty of their playing. We still get tingles when we hear them… Also included is the old Juno for the fat synth bass that jumps in and like just about all of the distortion heard on Dandelion Wine songs, the distorted beats and vocals are the result of various analogue pedals and boxes all adding their own character to the dirt.

Running Water

Another song featuring Nicholas’ lute, although this time the lute gave us numerous headaches to record – we tried everything from new condenser mics, to old ribbon mics and even old vintage 60’s tube mics but nothing could get the character without introducing a heap of undesirable noise until we finally tried the Austrian AKG C414 which did the trick and worked beautifully. Other instruments heard on Running Water include hammered dulcimer (recorded at the historic homestead of Heidleberg school artist Walter Withers), acoustic guitar and high-strung guitar.

Crippled

Crippled is actually one of the older songs on the album and was originally written prior to the recording of ~An Inexact Science~ and is one of the few songs that been played live before the recording of ‘Selected Anachronisms’. The classical guitar used on this was played on Nicholas first ever guitar.

Stained Glass Colours

Based around the main hammered dulcimer part, Stained Glass Colours also features Nicholas’ recorded vocal debut… but rest assured Naomi sings the main part! Along with the electronic beats there is also some brilliant live drums played by Adam King (from local latin-hiphop band Labjacd)… and some more of Nicholas torturing that poor old Kramer guitar to produce some screaming synth-like sounds that rise and fall throughout the song. And why does the back cover list the song as “Stain Glass Colours” and the inside text says “Stained Glass Colours”? Why do odd socks go missing? How do crop circles happen? Why do people watch reality TV? Sorry, somethings we just can’t answer…

What Have You (Nonesuch)

This song features an excerpt from on an old medieval tune (”Nonesuch”) that can be found in John Playford’s The English Dancing Master from 1651, although it probably dates back earlier than that. The original “Nonesuch” melody can be heard on Appalachian dulcimer and recorder at the start and between the verse sections. Also featured is the great old Juno synth pumping out the bass and some more great live drums from Bart Kowalski amongst the electronic beats.

Vortex Switch

Despite what your ears may tell you, there are no synths or samplers on this track only guitars and vocals. Walls of guitars and feedback were created by Naomi and Nicholas with a couple of Strats, a couple of valve amps, a small army of pedals and enough volume to knock possums out of trees!

Illustration Of Regret

Another song that has been kicking around for a while, although it was mostly floating around as an unfinished instrumental and was only bestowed lyrics and vocals half way through the recording of the album. It became obvious early on that programmed or sampled drums simply wouldn’t cut it for a song like this and that something organic yet big and powerful was needed, so where did we turn? Yep, Bart again. Also, after not being happy with the clean guitar sounds from several different guitars, we eventually settled on a finger picked part played on a Fender Jaguar. Sadly, Nicholas no longer has said Jaguar… which was a bit sad until he found a vintage Fender Mustang.

Holding My Breath Again

This song is interesting for the fact that it is predominantly the sound of us playing quietly late night… a sound and feel that is very familiar to us yet hasn’t really been heard by the rest of the world. It is a sound that has nothing to do with the adrenalin of live concerts or of dramatic statements, but is rather subdued and very intimate – the sound of delicately played guitar and barely sung vocals. Of course when it kicks in most of that goes out the window, but still…


Banner image by Colin Page