21.9.13

Harq al'ada - Heat Ritual

I posted things from Nick Vanderveldt before, and one of his projects' band name was Harq al'ada.

Its a kind of experimental Prog-Rock/ Psych-Rock sound without really a whole lot of lyrics. When I started up this album, I knew almost immediately that it is definitely a maturation of their sound. Nick described the new release like this;

The name itself came from when my wife and I first moved to St. Louis a few years ago. It was September of 2011, it was hot, I wasn't sure where my life was really going, so I would get up in the morning and record on the 3rd floor, before the heat of the day. I called it my heat ritual.

Heat Ritual took about 2 years to record, compared to our first EP which took around 3 months. So there's a bit of overlap between the two. 

In "A Puck", I was very focused on trying to imitate this Miles Davis funk sound, I think Alex and I talked for hours about improvisation, and how the performance was so important, yet "A Puck" could never really be performed. So when we got together for vocal sessions on Heat Ritual in February, we kept a line on the same tangent. The song "Boninosuccinea" is a perfect example, both the main vocal track and the lead guitar were done in a single take. Alex had scribbled some ideas down on a notepad, and just sort of riffed on these lyrical themes. It wasn't for a few weeks that we went back to it, and thought wow, that's pretty good, and Alex did some backing tracks. The song "Useless" was written a little differently, though I feel like it was following the same thread. Alex, Ryan and I wrote that tune somewhat whimsically before a rehearsal for "The Difference Engine", just the real simple riff, which I think started off at first as a rip-off of "Communication Breakdown". As we played it, this form just took shape, and I started to add effects, Ryan started in on this Chemical Brothers kind of percussion part. It all just sort of fit. The real beauty of it to me is how open ended it is, we could play a different version of the same song every night, with different people.

The last half of the EP is a little more prescribed as it were. "Lobster Fist" was a little bridge instrumental I wrote probably 4 or 5 years ago, and just got shelved, and then I heard the demo again when I was doing sessions for Heat Ritual, and thought about how well it fit, this odd little tune, with these odd chords, and this odd meter shift. Prunus on the other hand, began as an experiment in prescribed improvisation. I wrote out the head of the tune, and then left the bridge open for free improvisation. I had initially envisioned this sort of Eric Dolphy w/guitars and synths piece, but instead I just kept filling in counter melodies until it sounded right. Obviously it didn't wind up being anything at all like Eric Dolphy, but that's where I got the idea anyway.

This is totally worth a listen. It reminds me a lot of songs like "tomorrow never knows" from the Beatles and a mix of early and very late Pink Floyd. The vocal progressions and the rhythms are very interesting, and worth a good afternoon with headphones and a nice sunny place to lay back and listen. It's definitely worth checking out.

Harq al'ada - Heat Ritual