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ABOUT THE VIDEO

These are developmental videos. Created in Studio at AEP primarily as a testing ground to explore, for the artist's part, what it takes to perform something like this live. Also, to illustrate for logistical purposes as to whether or not taking this set out live might be the primary means to promote this debut album.

An injury during training in late '08 had delayed the live development, but not the finishing of the album.

For this reason, I'm happy to share this here, as it may be the only live versions of these songs for now.

THE VIDEO

The difference between this video and an official DVD release is first off, the video quality. At this point we're not trying to be Video Guy as much as focus on what the cameras are capturing. Second, the only audience is the crew which ranged in number from 3 to 11 at a given shoot.

THE AUDIO

This however, is an accurate demonstration of the show. Anything you see the artist doing on the stage, was performed live as you see it. Nothing lip synched. Guitar & vocals both played to backing tracks off of the album with of course, the parts played live taken out of the backing tracks mix. The audio is more stripped down than the album production as I believe a live act should be.

For the parts when I sing without playing guitar, I include a quieter guitar on the backing tracks. As soon as I hit the live guitar, those tracks are pulled out. You can hear the difference. Especially if you've heard the album. For the most part, the only times you hear another guitar is if it's a completely different kind of part or a lead harmony. I left out all of the vocal harmonies. On some parts I left the lead vocal track in so I can back off of the mic and just be the guitar player for a bit. It's pretty raw. We used studio mid field monitors on the floor, propped back with cardboard packaging. It worked out great.

THE STAGE SCREENS

Obviously, where there should be video screens on the stage, we're simply using split screens for convenience.

As for the program used on the stage screens, this is synched. It would have to be, as I did not film the making of the album (although that would have been easier). Making sure that the viewer doesn't hear me hit a hi hat and see me hit a ride or crash was an interesting challenge indeed. In fact, the only way for it to work was to actually play it for real using an in ear monitor. The irony is that I thought it would be easier to synch it. It's not, and next time I will mic the kit up and play out new audio, like I did toward the end of the show where the drum solo is. This time around, using the album bed tracks for the support parts just made more sense.

THE LIGHTING

I had to come up with something. So, I tricked DJ lighting into believing that it's concert stage lighting. Coupling controllers via A & B midi outputs from my Akai MPC2KXL, (the one with volatile memory!) then creating an automated light show not unlike programming a drum machine. Doing it the hard way, but working with what we had at the time. What I got was a lighting system and show of my own design. It was like adding a new instrument or player. Also, with DJ lighting you have to keep up a haze on the stage for the beams to even show up. We got better at that after the first song, Climb the Cliff. The program is literally on floppy discs and still requires some live cues. Good fun.

THE ALBUM

This work was not originally intended to be a concept. It does, however reveal itself as such as it becomes more layered in play. This is due in part to the time it took for Mark to complete it, having performed and tracked each part individually. Meanings or depths would grow within the confines of its own frame in a given season.

By about the half way point in the writing process for this album, the same would lead to songs dealing with subject matter like isolation or the sense of such and its effects, in songs like God Help Me. To put this one as the opening track, would take the songs that follow to a level of relevance unprepared for. The sequence of tracks were slightly altered to tell a story the artist could only have grasped from the later side of their creation. For what began as a purging of spew, became a pouring of gratitude and other fine emotions. Mark likens it to both near death and what being born might have been like.


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