The Artist Presently Known As Ed (1996)
Giddiness with a 4-track recorder. The root of all TAPKAE. Mike Keneally likes it. How could it suck?
- Nightmare in B
- Blame the Drummer
- Walking Down Yer Street
- Sailing the Seven C's
- Laughing As I Speak
- Would Robert Be Proud?
- Thanx B 2 All
- Octopus Orchestra
Me: All sounds
This is the project that launched the moniker The Artist Presently Known As Ed, though at the time it was by some dude named Ed Lucas, and TAPKAE was just the title of the project. I suppose I'd have to say it was the first reasonably palatable project to emerge from about a year's worth of effort in my solo artist period (though all of these are done within about seven months in the first part of 1996). After having given up hopes to play drums in other peoples' bands, in the summer of 1995, I gave myself leave to experiment as I had been doing for several months before that. This was my first completed project done pretty completely on my 4-track recorder, though elements come from regular cassettes at times. I was quite deeply into my Mike Keneally phase about this time, so I was basically trying to create my own Hat album of "real" music with more jokey or stream of consciousness elements, and an editing style that echoed Mike's work, which itself echoed Frank Zappa's. There is also a King Crimson influence either in the dissonant rock stuff or in the hypnotic, wannabe Frippertronic styled final piece (which ironically might be the most musical!). Because the previous project (called Aural Sects, and the first to use a 4-track) was something that got musically completed but never "delivered" there is a gap in the continuity between the all-cassette, essentially unmusical stuff on One Twisted Individual, Separated At Birth and this project that aims for a bit more musicality and was a more refined use of the 4-track recorder than Aural Sects. (One day that will be rectified here on TAPKAE.com.) This was a time when I was beginning to get "real" studio gear. I got the 4-track cassette recorder in late 1995, and during this project I added an Alesis 3630 compressor, Mackie 1202 mixer, and DigiTech Studio Quad effects processor. Ergo, even with modest tools like that, the sound quality was far and away better than the stuff before. I sold my acoustic piano to finance some of that stuff, and I've usually lamented doing that, but this clearly was in a new league and provided the sonic and technical basis for future work. Overcompression became a sonic signature of my work for a long time to come, as did integrating digital effects into the compositional process.
It is also the final project done at the house of my childhood. I had barely gotten done with getting it digitally edited by Sig Rothschild (and somehow that turned my stereo files into mono, and upon leaving his studio, I "backed up" the CD to the same DAT I carried in and in doing, lost the entire stereo mix!), and I was working on getting the stuff duplicated to cassette (at home, of course) and the domestic pressure from my old man got so unbearable I pulled up and left home. That interrupted the process so I had to struggle to get it done. No time to remix the stereo stuff and get back to what was lost. But the interesting thing is that once I did, it was a "release" that flattered me, with over 100 copies made, which is more than some bedroom superstars do. Good thing I got a few made up, because it was not long afterward that Mike Keneally called me and asked me to do a five week national tour. It was occasion that warranted a changing of my pants.
It also got a strange place in history later that year when Mike Keneally's copy was damaged in the Steve Vai Fire Garden tour bus fire. The thing got smoked on five sides (all but the one facing the table it was on), hot enough to embed the smoke into the plastic, but not enough to melt anything. Mike gave that one back to me as a souvenir of the tour. Other copies fell into the hands of some people while on tour.