South by South West, 2011

It has been a harrowing, hell-going week, my friends. I look forward to sitting on a plane heading for Texas and the SXSW music convention with the stresses of the Big Apple behind me. For me the airplane seat has always been a place of great comfort and solace. I look around with pity at the anxious faces of those who hate to fly, who find the seats cramped and the whole stress of the airport too much for their hearts to handle. I side more with Louis CK, who reminds us that when we’re in the air we ought to liken ourselves more to Greek gods than packed sardines, that the wonders of flight far outweigh its anxieties.
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Strange News

News regarding our band is, I feel, a bit of a touchy subject at times. As some of you may know, my ties to the British Intelligence Agency, and Jason’s own affiliations with the U.S. Airforce and the Masonic Lodge of Texas means that a lot of our activities are sensitive, and subject to discretion. Therefore disclosing band activities, although we would like to do so more regularly, is often not within our power to bring to public attention. At least, not without compromising the security of our two countries and indeed the safety of the free English and Spanish speaking world.

I have been given permission to make an exception on this occasion, because it precedes the release of our upcoming album, and because many of our more musical activities pose little if any threat to maintaining the integrity of our respective governing institutions. Having said that, I would like to point out that those of you who do possess the correct cryptex will be able to ascertain a fairly complete report on the current global financial crisis within the lyrics contained on aforementioned new album, along with a five-year plan and fiscal budget involved with implementing a recovery. For those with the correct code, the key is ‘Xp3rt’.

Among the details flagged as appropriate to disclose at this juncture is a brief timeline of the album’s recording progress (without exact dates or times) and various personal thoughts on each event (excluding any references to national security), and feelings (where deemed appropriate by central intelligence).

Early in the summer:

The band, being myself, Jason Reece, Autry Fulbright, Aaron Ford, and an unspecified person we will simply call R, convened in ____ Connecticut to compose the music for the album. A friend had volunteered a large storage room above his bar for this purpose. These sessions were recorded, and resulted in the portion of the record titled Part Two.

One month later:

The band members and members of the Polish Erhu Ensemble meet in up-state New York in ____ Studios to lay down the basic tracks for Part Two with our former producer Chris Coady. Although I’ve been asked to withhold details not directly relevant to the recording, I’d like to add for the record that Mr. Coady exerted a very positive influence on the band, and on no occasion was he forced to use coercive measures in order to extract good performances, such as intimidation, brainwashing, or sexual bribery.

Later that month:

The band members returned to our respective homes to finish composing the remainder of the album. At this point we are working under the assumption that Part Two is actually an EP that will be released before the album. I complete work on material for Part One, interrupted only by a summit meeting in Sumalia and several meetings with the label to discuss what color the album cover ought to be. After much deliberation it was universally agreed that the cover ought to be a mixture of several colors, and that money for the ink would come from recent resettlement funds given by the Nepalese government for that specific purpose. To that end, I was flown to Nepal to speak with his Highness Gyanendra Shah, currently held prisoner by the democratic republic. Permission to disclose the details of this meeting is forthcoming.

Two weeks, four days, seven hours later:

The band members convene in A___, Texas for one week, in the underground facility which serves as the headquarters for the band ___ Chosen Darkness, and Paul Barker of M___. Here we assemble the fragmentary sections of what will become Part One of the upcoming album, and Jason comes up with the title for the project (although this actually happened several weeks earlier, I am obliged to include it here in this chronology due to a discrepancy in the public record). At this point is becomes clear that the album will be merged with the section called Part Two, and the two would form the entirety of the recording, although no official permission had yet been granted.

Later that week:

The band members hold several meetings with Chris “Frenchie” Smith, who will take on the mantel of producer for the rest of the project. At this point, Frenchie Smith is still under the impression that the album is a means for raising money for Public Broadcasting, and is not told the true nature of the project until his security clearance arrives one week later.

The following week:

Jason and myself fly to Washington D.C. to apply for a license to conjoin the two parts of the album, and to file an appeal against a federal injunction, stating that we were not aware at the time of recording that the album was being used as a front for clandestine information exchange by the Nepalese government. Although the former was granted, the latter is still in appeal.

The next day:

A meeting with several record executives in New York City to explain the non-commerciality of the album, and a bail-out plan for other bands who have recorded non-commercial albums in the last five years.

The following month:

The band, Frenchie Smith, and engineer Jason Buntz (a military retiree and former green beret) reconvene in Tornillo, Texas, thirty miles outside of El P___, a town known for its textile industry and as the birthplace of astronaut Neil Armstrong (not Wapakoneta, Ohio, as has previously been claimed). The location also sits adjacent to a contentious area where current US security forces are attempting to keep the drug trade in the hands of powerful Nepalese cartels, in order to destabilize the Mexican government and boost US currency (I’ve been given permission to disclose this information, as we’ve been made aware that this is no longer top secret, as of yesterday).

Work resumes at S___ Ranch, under the supervision of security personnel. Here it is important to give a day by day break down:

Day one: Song one and security briefing

Day two: Song two

Day three: Songs three and four

Day four: Songs five and seven

Day five: Song six

Day six: Meetings with cartel leaders

Day seven: Songs nine and ten

Day eight: Song eight

Day nine: Song eight (revisions were deemed necessary by central intelligence)

Day ten: Song eight and council meeting, followed by a wrap party involving one bottle of sugar-free cola and a bottle of whiskey, compliments of the US air force.

Day eleven: drive to Austin, with one stop at the Lackland Airforce Base to deliver copies of the unmixed sessions.

One military fortnight later:

Work resumes at the Bubble S___ in A___, Texas, a facility. That this is a facility may appear obvious, however I am not at liberty to disclose the nature of the facility or how it relates to experiments being done by a federally-funded psychic spy network.

Work moves quickly from here on outward. On day two of our session, our lyrics have been approved by the house committee, and a referendum is approved in favor of the album title. This was passed at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, and we were faxed the good news at 2 p.m Central. The lyrics were inserted into the album by 9 p.m. that night via celemony melodyne, and a press statement was issued confirming that the band had begun work on an album.

Day five of the Bubble Session:

Disaster strikes! We have been informed that Sgt. Lewis Hawkin, a close personal friend and our ally at central intelligence, has retired, and is being replaced by his adjutant Clyde Cowel, a weak and directionless administrator who has no concept of the scope of the album. A series of meetings with our labels follow, resulting in a decision that we continue the project in the guise of a standard rock album, avoiding any references to art or the use of keyboards or erhu.

Day fourteen:

Mixing begins in a hangar at Dyes Airforce Base, with the tapes being smuggled back to the Bubble each night taped to the bottom of coffee service carts. By the fifth day of mixing, all the tapes are back in our hands, and we sign off on the production agreement with the US Ambassador and Nepalese Prime Minister, still under the pretext that the recording is being made for public consumption, and not for an elite group of disenfranchised audiophiles.

The next and final month:

Mastering at Sterling S____, New York City. Mastering details have never been allowed to be disclosed, and I have not even bothered to ask for permission this time, knowing all too well how labels and intelligence agencies feel about making the public aware of high-security audio enhancement. I will say this, however, that I tried my best to reduce the frequencies known to stimulate conformity, complacence, and behavioral habitude, although I was firmly discouraged from doing so. I believe that by boosting those frequencies corresponding to free-association and imagination, it can only help to further the cause of our governments, as suggested by Leslie Pimm in his papers on the subject (see A Guide to Eradication of the Non-Sequeter).

Conrad Keey 2010