My blog this week relates to technology but from a musician’s viewpoint. It is about the genesis of an improbable song called New World Disorder. If you are not interested in song writing or music production in the Covid era you may not want to continue reading.
While I was in Calgary last October to visit my dad I did some socially distanced jamming/recording with Jason Carwell and John Mackinnon. I haven’t performed in rock bands for years. Anestesia Local, one of the noisiest garage bands rural Costa Rica has ever had inflicted upon it, broke up in 2007. But if you hand me a Les Paul and plug me into a Marshall amp next to a drummer pounding away at full volume, well, strange things might happen. Sometimes Mr. Hyde comes out for a friendly visit.
One of those ‘things’ included a 33 second jam segment that just seemed to stand out. It was almost like a complete song had been conceived in those brief seconds. After we stopped playing the segment, somehow in perfect synch, Jason and I looked at each other in perplexed contemplation of what had just occurred.
We knew we had lucked into something special, one of those rare creative synchronicities that songwriters hope for. This inspired me to get in touch with some musician friends to see where we might go with this snippet of dissonant sound.
Jason “Harris” Montero kicked the process off in his home studio in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose by extending the recording to over three minutes and adding some dissonant effects.
Next, Pablo Zuniga took over from a recording studio in the highland coffee lands of Santa Maria de Dota, ( Cafe Dota ring a bell?) recording the vocals for lyrics he and John Mackinnon composed as well as adding a few more layers of dissonance.
None of the studio work was done by separating tracks or applying normal sound mixing practices. It was just one layer added on top of the next.In Pablo’s words, “New World Disorder is an organic product, I didn’t even use autotune.”
It has been commented that computers ruined rock music recording. With New World Disorder wewanted to keep it real.
To bring the song to a conclusion another Costa Rican, Luis Guillermo Flores, volunteered to master it from his professional studio in Miami. While I was very grateful to have the song mastered by a real music producer I asked Luis “ to not clean it up too much,” and he did agreat job in maintaining the live in the basement sound.
So from its birth in a Forest Lawn Calgary basement, two studio upgrades in Costa Rica and one final servicing in sunny Miami we end up with the final version of New World Disorder.
I couldn’t resist sharing the song with my all time favorite punk rock anti hero Art Burgmann who incidentally was appointed to the Order of Canada a few weeks ago for his musical contribution to the country. (What’s an Order of Canada you ask? It’s kind of like Canada’s version Knighthood)
Art, who has an album coming out shortly, kindly listened to the song and shared some comments. I have taken out some of the more descriptive adjectives for our younger readers.
“Holy ___, that is great! very German, let me sing the German version. That guitar sounds like a sawmill! It sounds so great!
Like good scary Bowie from Low. Liking this New World Direction.”
It’s not a song you can whistle or hum to but if you like sludge, post punk and dissonant noise with a hint of desperation and hope, you’re invited to listen to New World Disorder at the link below. At the moment we do not have plans to record the song in German but German record labels are free to make offers.
I leave you with comments from the fine musicians who made the project come to life. It’s been a lot of fun pushing boundaries and working with these guys on this song. I just turned 56 and I never thought I would be embarking on a new musical direction as a sludge /post punk musician. Do I have to get a tattoo now?
” It’s really amazing how a jam in a little basement studio between a couple of old friends suddenly takes on a life of it’s own. Next thing you know, it’s a collaborative effort from half a dozen people in 3 countries to produce 1 cool song. We took a 30 second snippet of a song and turned it into one of the coolest projects I’ve ever been a part of.”
Jason Carwell, Calgary, Alberta
In the middle of this quarantine I missed concerts and rehearsals. Music is an important part of my life, I always want to make music with friends and I was somewhere between boredom and sadness. Bruce contacted me to collaborate on the project adding some vocal lines to the song and I accepted instantly, I had a lot of fun adding vocals to this “rola” ( Rola is Latin slang for song)
Pablo Zuniga, Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica
It’s an honor to be part of this nice project, New World Disorder. I’m thankful to be part of a song that could make history.”
Luis Guillermo Flores, Miami, Florida
“Everything about this is pure inspiration and ‘pura vida.’
I am very happy to share this beautiful project with other people around the world. It all started with the idea of
Hopefully more people have these initiatives to share and make a better world.Pura Vida”
Jason “Harris” Montero, San Jose, Costa Rica