The Difference Engine Necronomicon Flyer

the stars are right, pt. 1

in honor of our performance at necronomicon providence tomorrow evening, i’m going to do a bit of musing on how i’ve spent the last two years of my life, and what’s going to transpire over the next few days.

 

in january of 2011, i was finishing up an ep i had been working on for a bit entitled OS agnostic. at that point in time, i spent a significant amount of time laying in bed at night staring at the ceiling, sleep miles away. on one such nights, it occurred to me that my next endeavor following the upcoming ep should be a musical project based around the work of h. p. lovecraft. my older brother had introduced me to his work as an adolescent, and i became a fan quickly. i’m not sure why i had the idea then, over a decade after this introduction as well as beginning to create music; it seems so obvious in retrospect. but that night i resolved to follow this idea through.

after a few immediate failed attempts to directly translate lovecraft’s work into music, i began formulating a story in my head that would provide the basis for the project. the story is technically one of my own, but it exists completely within the universe created by lovecraft. the general gist is that it follows an untalented (but egocentrical) composer in the late 1920s who, upon achieving small amounts of success, finds himself paid in advance for his biggest work yet; but as his work consists largely of the ideas of others, he begins breaking down from the stress of a genuine lack of legitimate inspiration. he begins pursuing some familiar (to the audience, at least) macabre stories he happens upon and in the name of chasing his muse, begins to uncover that the world in which he lives is not quite what he thinks it may be.

inspiration for the record came not just from lovecraft, but from various historical figures, the reaction to tchaikovski’s debut of “the rite of spring”, as well as the small rise and fall of an old musical venture of mine. i planned for the packaging to be a leather diary belonging to the protagonist (dubbed simply “protag” in my notes) with all of the notes written by my own hand. i began pricing and was not particularly surprised at how cost prohibitive the idea was. i guess i assumed a kickstarter or something would make it all doable.

i began recording the album in february of 2011 and work progressed quickly. in hindsight, far too quickly. within a month, the songs had all been fully written, and i was toying with arrangements (which typically equals writing lyrics and doing vocals as the most time consuming part of the process for me) and making “final decisions” sortly thereafter. i showed the tunes to a few friends (including OS agnostic producer abram taber), whose opinions ranged from a lack of interest to a complete lack of interest. “where are the hooks?” one friend asked. i was crushed, but he was right. “strange aeons“, as i now called it, was not ready to be unleashed.

in may or so i began working on another album to cleanse my palette and exorcise some personal issues that were unfortunately occurring, and a few months after its completion i decided to return to my white whale. during the duration of this year, i did not stop thinking about “aeons”, and kept viewing it as a personal failure of sorts. to say i was excited to return was an understatement.

necronomicondagon5fin

what really motivated me to return, however, was discovering that necronomicon was occurring in providence over the summer. it seemed like too much of a coincidence to ignore; i emailed the organizers immediately, and began harassing them regularly asking if the difference engine could play. i knew if there was ever an excuse to get “aeons” out in a timely fashion, this would be it.

concurrently, i had been working on todd bowes’ soundtrack to dungeons and discourse, and in downtime i discussed the concept of “aeons” at length with him. he soon joined abram taber as a co-producer of sorts, with me sending versions of songs to hear what i was missing: “this is missing an element. try adding a synthesizer”, etc. over the course of two more months, the record had become what i had labored and pined for it to be; a record that covered the conceptual material i had created that i could truly say i was proud of.

compounding the pride in the material, i spoke with danielle ameen about doing the packaging, and she insisted that she could create the packaging by hand for a far lower cost than if i were to purchase premade notebooks. i wrote all of the notes by hand, and she did the rest. the results were pretty amazing; danielle’s design looked far better than what i had in my mind.

sa

in order to get the supplies needed in order to have them in time for necronomicon, i needed financial help. if i had an additional month or two i could have purchased the necessary materials slowly, but as the record took a bit longer than i had hoped to finish, time was of the essence. danielle and i embarked on an indiegogo campaign, offering rewards of both her creation and my own as incentives. we succeeded, and this summer for me has been one of many handcramps and the memorization of an entire book’s worth of liner notes. photographer extraordinaire jarrod staples photographed a book for the digital version, and the album was finally released to backers on august 8, 2013.

over the past month and a half, i have been rehearsing with todd, jake o’donnell (silent approach, powerslut), rob laff (vary lumar), and rob fusco (vary lumar, all echoes return) as a live band for this one off performance. over the past few weeks i’ve gotten to know these guys quite a bit better than before (despite being in bands with them/knowing some of them for ten years) and i can conclusively say this is the best possible lineup to bring this album to the masses. at this point in time, i cannot be happier with how the last two and a half years went. now for the next two or three days…

 

thanks for reading and for listening,

christopher

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