Some notes on Entropy

The songs of Entropy were written to reflect some of the emotions that I experiencing during the Covid lockdown of 2020. In additional to some personal struggles with my own stress levels and depression, I often felt like I was watching the world drift towards a destructive chaos because of the national and global political upheaval and the spreading virus. Throughout my fifty-eight years on the planet I don't think I ever felt quite so hopeless about the futures I did at that particular time. I began what I called the "dark hour of poetry" where, before I fell asleep at night, I would lay in bed in the dark and write some (bad) free verse poetry. It started as a way to expel the dark thoughts and prevent some of the frequent nightmares I was experiencing. One night I wrote the following:

The Light 

Darkness is the default 
Looking for a pin prick of light 
In a cloudy winter sky 
Is the truly noble work 
You can see a thousand stars 
On a dark and clear night 
But that is a tired cliche 
Written by a hackneyed god 
Those that search for light 
When no light is apparent 
Are the ones that will save us 
Those that search for light 
When no light can be seen 
Will create the worlds beauty 
Those that search for light 
Where no light has ever been seen 
Will change the world 
Darkness is the default 
Now go out 
And look harder

 

It was at that point that I decided to create some music that expressed the darkness but also tried to find some light and hope. That started me on the journey to create Entropy. For the most part, I enlisted the help of Nic Giordano to add the bass tracks and Steve Mollohan to add keyboard tracks and then reached out to various musical friends around the US to fill out the song and shape the arrangements. Every day I got a new instrument track back from one of those musicians it was like Christmas morning as I opened the file and then threw it into the mix. I was lucky enough to get Shane Blank to add some of his amazing guitar playing and then I enlisted him to engineer the full, final mix down. He did an amazing job with both.

Full list of Musicians:

Dave Omlor - Guitar and Vocals, Nic Giordano - Bass, Steve Mollohan - Keyboards, Shane Blank - Lead Guitar, Tony Gioia - Drums, Cisco Hill - Percussion, Steve Antos - Percussion, Gary Baker - Bass, Jerry Buckley - Lead Guitar, Dave Dzubinski - Keyboards, Chris Pastore - Wind Synth, Andy Bresnan - A whole bunch of different instruments.

 

 

Here are some specific notes on each song:

Track 1 - Let You know              (Buckley/Omlor)

This song was co-written with my longtime musical brother Jerry Buckley. My skills as a musician are somewhat limited so typically, in the past, I would send Jerry lyrics and he would create some music for them (see Percy's Song). In this case Jerry sent me lyrics and I wrote the music. The lyrics fit my album theme perfectly and so, once I had created the chord structure and melody I recorded a basic Guitar and Vocal tracks over a very basic electronic drum and sent it out to Nic and Steve. Once I had their parts I sent the song to Tony Gioia to put on the drum track and then on to Cisco Hill for some latin percussion. I sent it all back to Jerry to get his thoughts and to get him to put on a lead guitar track. The original vocal track was re-done several times however the vocals on the outro are still the first pass. The song kicks off the record with some positivity and establishes the theme that will be repeated at various points throughout the record. During the dark times, it is the loving relationships in our lives that will ultimately save us.

 

Track 2 - Truth                              (Omlor)

This song came directly out of one of those "dark hour" poems: This was the poem in it's original form:

Truth 

The truth snuck out 
And ran away into the night 
Like an abused teen 
It will never come back 
Years from now it may forgive us 
For not stepping in and stopping the blows 
Not saying something 
As we heard it’s cries from the room adjacent 
Not helping when we saw the obvious bruises 
The truth may one day call us 
In the last few pathetic years of our lives 
But it will be an empty gesture 
Born of the pity 
For a failed world

 

The idea was simple, that if we as a society (or a country) allow the truth to be twisted and abused, we will lose the concept of truth forever. I reworked the poem into the lyrics of the song once I found a chord progression I liked. The song line "I heard she's living in Las Vegas now, and she changed her name to Truth" was a bit problematic as my youngest daughter had recently moved to Las Vegas and I was afraid some people that heard the song would think we abused her as a child. I played it for her and explained the situation and she said something like "fuck it... leave it as it is. I like it."

So I did.

 

Track 3 - It Ain't Over                         (Omlor/SEMT)

This song started as an experiment with my SEMT bandmates. I would write and record a song and each musician would then create their own parts without any knowledge of what the others were doing. We would put all the parts together at the end and see what we ended up with. The song was pretty simple and direct. It was about the virus and the fact that some idiot politicians at the time were telling us it was ending, we should not worry about it, and we should just go out and buy stuff. The first part I got back was Chris P's wind-synth part and I had no idea what to make of it. You can hear it in the intro, once more inside the song, and then back in the outro. As the other parts came in I realized the Chris's part was a perfect musical representation of the virus itself. It became the core of the song. I received about 8 different keyboard (piano and organ) parts from Dave D and the organ parts complemented Chris's wind-synth parts perfectly. Shane took the rhythm section of Gary's bass, my rhythm guitar, Steve A's percussion, and Tony's drums and made a very strong core bed to lay underneath the battle between the wind-synth/organ "virus world" tracks and the lead guitar/piano normal "healthy world" tracks. It all ends with Dave D's beautiful piano coda as a representation of the coming return to normalcy. 

 

Track 4 - Falling All Apart                            (Omlor)

Again, this song started out as an experiment. I wanted to write something where, instead of the verses building into a chorus the verses receded to the chorus. Once I wrote it, I heard the final version of it in my head sounding like it was a cut right off of George Harrison's All Thing's Must Pass album. That was my go to LP growing up. Steve M and Tony and Nic laid down their parts and I gave it to Shane and said, "add some lead guitar that is reminiscent of All Things Must Pass". He sent me back his part and when I plugged it into the song my heart basically exploded with joy. It is the song on the record that most sounds like what I envisioned from the start of the writing.

 

Track 5 - Percy's Song                               (Buckley/Omlor)

So Jerry had sent me Lyrics to put to music, now it was my turn. I sent him some lyrics to have him do the same. Of course, I decided to fuck with him and send him these incredibly dark and depressing lyrics I had written. The lyrics were a play on the Frankenstein story. I really loved Mary Shelly's book and I wrote the song based on the idea that this horrible loser of a man could only be brought back to life by the love and talent and intelligence of his wife. I was fascinated by the ideas of Galvanism as they existed in that period of history and I had wanted to incorporate them into a song for a long time. Jerry took the lyrics and gave them a beautiful melancholy verse melody and a ominous pre-chorus tone. I added the chorus music and I really liked the way the whole song took shape. Yes, it was a bit "too long for the radio" but I think all in all, it is my favorite song on the record. It perfectly reflects the appreciation I have for all of the work put in by my wife as she helped me out of my period of depression. She is a saint and her grace is constantly surrounding me.

 

Track 6 - Surprised                                       (Omlor)

This song was written as kind of an allegory I guess. It is a song about the news media's relationship with a certain evil demagogue that was president at the time thinly disguised as your basic (abusive) relationship song. I simply could not understand how this man could continually do and say the same evil shit over and over and people would still be surprised by it. That's the song. Again, folks tend to take things literally so when Shane was mixing this song he did ask if everything was alright between me and my wife. That made me smile.

 

Track 7 - Ghosts in Oklahoma                        (Omlor)

This is the only song that was written before 2020. I wrote it several years back after hearing Sarah Vowell talk about the Trail of Tears. I think, perhaps, that all of our problems as a country can be traced back to us not recognizing or really acknowledging what we did to the indigenous people. If we cannot come to terms with that and with the horrors of slavery our progress as a nation will always be stunted and twisted. All of what happened in 2020 can and should be directly linked to those two things. 

 

Track 8 - It Ain't Over - Version 2                                (Bresnan/Omlor)

During the experiment that was "It Ain't Over", as I was sending out the basic song recording with guitar and vocals to everyone so they could create their tracks, Andy Bresnan asked me to just send him a recording version that was only the lead vocal and one harmony. That made no sense to me as there was no way he could know the chord changes or tempo. All he would get would be a bunch of silence and then random vocals at various points. A few weeks later Andy me sent me back this entire recording. A completely new arrangement with full instrumentation mixed and complete. It was another fantastic "Christmas Morning" experience. So the lead vocal and the one harmony on this version are identical to the earlier version. Everything around those two things has been changed dramatically. Andy...............is a goddamned genius. 

 

Track 9 - Overflow                                                     (Omlor)

The final song is a reiteration of the theme that it is love based relationships that allow us to overcome the darkness. I wrote this song with the idea of a couple working together to overcome the grief of a lost child. I also wanted to experiment with a short section of a kind of "low fi" sound changing into a normal recording sound and then back. The low fi sections were recorded with a single ambient mic in the room. I wanted the feeling of being lifted out of darkness to be embedded into the actual production of the song.

 

Those are the basic song notes. I hope you enjoy the music. 

 

DJO  

 

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