FAQ #1: “The First Album” or “Bootleg Issue”?

February 14, 2008

In response to a query about the number of song tracks on Cats Laughing: The First Album from cafepress.com and the number on the “Bootleg Issue” from Greenman Review, Emma Bull wrote:

Aha! Don’t panic–I think the only thing at work here is a difference in liner notes and track delineation. Since the first CD was made from the original cassette, where there were no electronic markers for the beginnings and ends of songs, things can get kinda hairy. But here’s the Official Conception:”Back Door” ends. Then the strange ambient noise-jam starts up that we developed, when playing live, to suggest a radio being tuned across a series of frequencies that weren’t coming in well enough to identify–sort of a “driving across the middle of nowhere late at night and getting things on your radio that might be signals from outer space” feel. That’s “FMera” (which we didn’t name until we recorded it), which is really just the intro to “Signal to Noise.” Since we were way into structure, we had to go out as we came in, so “Signal to Noise” ends with more space-jam noise, which is “FMera (reprise)”. The album ends in a mighty doom-and-gloom crash with “More Thumbscrews,” the song that starts with the lyrics, “The trees bowed to greet me as I passed by.”If it helps, on my iTunes I don’t have “FMera” and “FMera (reprise)” broken out as separate tracks at all–they’re just the beginning and end of “Signal to Noise,” since we always began and ended the song, more or less successfully, with space jam. That allowed us the option of jamming into it from some other song, or out of it into something else.

Other amusing facts about that album: It’s been called “Cats Laughing,” “Reissue,” and “Bootleg Issue.” It was recorded on a four-track cassette recorder in Steve Brust’s basement, and mixed in someone’s living room, with effects created by a couple of guitar effects “stomp boxes” and a home stereo equalizer. The “tkh-HISSS” noise that starts “FMera” (or “Signal to Noise”) was Adam striking a match close to the microphone.


One comment

  1. Hi Emma! A technical question from your engineer – were the MP3’s remastered from the stereo master (mixed in MY living room, by the way) or from the 4-tracks?

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