When I was doing noise reduction on the “songs” on “Pianoless Cage,” there’s a checkbox on the (RX 8) software where you can output the “noise” you are reducing, instead of the “signal.” I did this with the track “Mindlessly,” and a month or so later came back to it, feeding it through all kinds of mutations. Another month or more later, I started adding other stuff to it. As I did, I was thinking about my song “Eating Out Tonight” from 1995’s “Bad Case of God” album. A friend of mine had used that song in a presentation at her school to represent the movements of her mind.
“Mindlessly Crackle” felt like a more-complex representation of the movements of a mind… not with the thought that the added complexity represented something like a higher-fidelity rendering, but more like the intervening decades had rendered the movements of the mind more complex.
“Mindlessly Crackle” being something like a “remix” (albeit of derivative material… literally of everything that had been left out) of “Mindlessly,” there was the thought (not a new one) of doing a(n) (unrecognizable) remix album of songs from recent albums.
The song that jumped out at me next was “Gassy Jack” from “Artified.” I just felt unsettled about this song, whose beginnings were related to a protest march (that I hadn’t attended) where a statue of Gassy Jack was toppled and doused with red paint. The initial title for the song was “Fallen Bloody Rapist Statue”… kind of exciting with how incendiary it was. However, I finally settled on simply “Gassy Jack,” because I preferred something that didn’t pre-load the song with meaning. I flung together the various 4 or 5 distinct versions of what became “Gassy Jack” that I’d created, and mutated each of them separately, then wholly… many times over, adding new bits of stuff with each iteration. I played with naming the song “Gassy Jack (Fallen Bloody Rapist Statute Remix),” but again stepped back from that ledge when the title “Jassy Gack” occurred to me (thinking of how Ned Rorem, who had just died, had played with Paul Bowles’ “Without Stopping” with his own book title of “Knowing When to Stop”). Can’t say I’m yet settled about the song.
Throughout the time I was working on these two “remixes” I was also going through a remastering binge, which included, among many other albums, 1992’s “Post Nix,” where I did some noise reduction on “DanceSong,” outputting the noise to build “SongDance” out of it.
Over the few months that I worked on these songs, I was flooding myself with different perspectives on where the world is heading. My thought… our predictive capacities are getting much better, have much more data to work with, proliferating viewpoints… all with not-insignificant platforms. But the world we are trying to predict (from which the predictors emerge and to which they contribute) is growing more complex at a rate that outstrips the improvements in our predictive capacities.
The title of the album relates to a growing field of inquiry about the complex decisions that cells make… within whatever “body” they might comprise (most of them influenced by context… kind of in the manner of epigenetics). It’s like there’s noise everywhere… but it’s not noise.