July of 2018: I’m upper deck on a charter bus between Linköping and Gothenburg. My family and I comfortably winding our way to Sweden’s best amusement park. I have the, what I thought was, final mix of Painted Kites in my ears. I wanted to road test it. That means I wanted to stare out the window of a moving vehicle while trying to ignore it on little headphones. Ignoring it fully would mean it was ready to be released. I ended up with a mental list of changes I wanted to make, not an album.
Summer turned into 2019 pretty quickly. I started putting my music creation time into learning how my synth worked from the ground up, experimenting with a new drum machine and getting to re-know some effect pedals which I had been getting a little bored with (my fault, not theirs). I pretty much stopped playing guitar – not because I didn’t like guitar; it’s just that there are only so many hours in a day and I had a lot of other avenues to explore.
I put a lot of time into posting clips to Instagram and YouTube of these experiments. These little videos make me happy. There’s basically no strings attached. They come and go, each having their own little moment. The thought of an album seemed too daunting and so Painted Kites sat shelved for close to a year without me thinking too much about the state of it.
Flash back to a few days ago and I’m still not playing much guitar and I’m still mostly getting off on posting little clips here and there and I’m still having fun learning my synth and drum machine and figuring out new, interesting ways to connect everything together. But then I ran across the album and it all made sense: It was time to re-listen to Painted Kites and see what I could do with it.
I needed time away from it. For the most part I liked what I heard. Scanning through a rather large collection of “songs” and segments I’d recorded over the past year or so with my tabletop set ups went sort of quickly. I found pieces I could fill the gaps with. I got rid of some parts that were bothering me. Soon enough I had a re-mixed and completed album I could live with. I definitely didn’t overthink it when putting the finishing touches on.
If you’ve heard the 2 albums I put out in 2018 (Swiss Flags and Temple Phase) you’ll definitely hear a continuation here. A big part of that is that about 70% of this album was recorded directly after those first two albums with the same goals and same set of creative elements to work from. There are a lot of guitar and synth loops recorded to cassette tape and then dumped into a DAW to be worked through further. There are edits of long pieces mixed with other edits of long pieces to make something completely different than I had originally heard. The rules I set up for myself haven’t really changed and I hope it all still works to some degree.
Recorded 2018- 2 019
All songs by Mike Downey
Drum Circle Compass 03d