Friday, April 3, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance Transmission IV

represents the final chapter and transmission of the Cognitive
Dissonance process. I thought I'd share a few bits of what I've been
working on lately, between things I'm bound by blood oaths not to
talk about, extensive research into rhizomatic consciousness, chaos
theory, extreme esoteric number manipulation and viral linguistics. A
ton of creative output had been gathering momentum, and dissemination
has been an afterthought, though I came to see that aspect becoming
part of the creative flow. Further dissection of the sounds. In
keeping with the original intent, I'm going to limit the final
production notes to a bare outline of the process that got us here
and convey gratitude to those of you who followed and added to the

first thought I had at the outset was to track a simple album with a
classic trio sound. I've done well with that, except for the added
melody line at the beginning of the first track. Then a few stray
ideas took root and grew into strange mutant entities. Major revamps,
rethinks and re-visions, then sounds, images and artifacts suggested
ever more forms and eventually, narrative, albeit os the surreal
sort. With the album itself I took a very direct and raw approach.
I've always preferred the sound of a human being playing instruments
and singing to the mad scientists creation that is the protools
version of injection molded plastic. (Not to be confused with
electronic music.) Vocalists don't usually like to have anyone hear
anything but the most spot on, confident performances, but I was
going for a feeling and a story, and these are my sketches.

Cognitive Dissonance was a working title that became the final title,
for the name fed the blossoming idea that tied the album together. A
story that encompassed a vision split in four directions, a
juxtaposition and melding together of the points of view of of same
world/ two views, two worlds, same character observing and acting in
them. The central idea is of a cognitive dissonance between first
appearances and a closer look.

recorded all the music, and then came up with the song titles. I
decided the order according to how the titles felt. Then I wrote a
short story starting from a cutup of the titles. I expanded that and
took the lyrics from that. I think my machines feaked out and became
possessed in the process. I had some radio signals coming through the
guitar as I laid down the tracks, and I made liberal use of them.
While I continued to track the album I released several
transmissions. I thought I'd make the various stage escapes into
their own entities, as opposed to a few stray mp3's.

the album itself, I layered, layered the layers and added extra
layers to boot. I tried something different in the first, and with
the help of the fine folks at, I added spoken word from
readings of public domain classics. We're hearing mostly Flaubert,
Coleridge and Emily Dickinson.

II I made from the bass tracks from the album. Mostly you're hearing
one track of bass with no layers but the real-time FX, though there
are a couple points where the cello creeps in. A few inexplicable
voices emerged that weren't recorded by me. If it fits as a
soundtrack for your daily experience, I want to hear the story.
throw these out of my head in quick bouts between working on two
movies, my own moving image projects, not included, three comics,
(not telling yet), and a sum total of five albums of various styles
at diffent points of production.

with the sound transmissions, the lyrics were extending into stories.
The lyrics to most songs I'd done so far were dreamlike fragments of
one continuous tale. I wanted to bring some of the underlying
structure into focus. At the same time I listened to others stories.
I was especially interested to hear some apocalyptic tales. Ragnarok,
Armageddon, the end of one life and the beginning of another. The
death of the ego, the body, a belief. The hearing became expression,
and the telling of the tale that resulted was an embodiment of

Veil of thorns is an act that rarely repeats itself, but with Cognitive Dissonance, they may surprise even some long time fans. Veil of Thorns approach has

never been this stripped down, nor has their music been more complex. Stark, angular post-punk songs give way to a cello as it descends into madness. Spare

jazz-inflected tone poems lead back into sanguine deathrock dust storms.

For nearly a decade now, most of the work of front man P. Emerson Williams has been focused inward. Dissemination of his wide, varied

output took place through tales whispered in corners remote from. This conversation is part of the creative flow that forms his work.

Williams tackled the latest Veil of Thorns release by sharing the process in a new way. After having tracked the basic instrumental elements

of the next Veil Of Thorns album, "Cognitive Dissonance", Veil of Thorns released podcasts created from the sonic raw material of the tracks as they

progressed. Through the bands website, blog comments and emails the resulting conversation helped expand the bands vision while focusing the tale being


Inspired by scrambled radio signals coming through the

guitar as he laid down the tracks, Williams created long form compositions using montage techniques derived from the work of Williams Burroughs and Bryon

Gysin. Unlike the album itself, he layered, layered the layers and added extra layers to boot. His machines freaked out and became possessed in the process.

Where podcasts are often in a format similar to radio shows, Veil of Thorns ranks among a select group of sound and video artists who are stretching the

boundaries of the form into unique works of art.

Every Veil of Thorns song so far contain lyrics in the form of dreamlike

fragments making one continuous tale. Cognitive Dissonance brings some of the underlying structure into focus. While they wove their tale they listened to

the stories of others. In the spirit of our times they collected many apocalyptic tales. Ragnarok, Armageddon, the end of one life and the beginning of

another forms one side of this archetypical narrative. Tales of the death of the ego, of the body, the breaking down of a belief offer a more insightful


Coming off collaborations with Industrial cabal subQtaneous and Norwegian post Blackmetal band Manes, Williams

took the experience of working with such gifted and unique artists and has re-emerged with a stronger and darker vision. Lyrically encompassing two universes

and two realities, this tight and spare album ends up being more expansive an experience than anything Veil of Thorns has released before.



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