the definitive edition
The Original ep (remastered)
1) Misplaced Faith (5:00)
2) Patience (6:35)
3) Venus In Furs* (6:51)
4) Reclamation (6:17)
5) No Shadows** (4:41)
6) (scream) (8:59)
7) Run Run (6:02)
8) The Mirror (6:00)
9) What Is Real (4:18)
Desperate Measures live at Lion’s Den, NYC, May 25, 1994
10) What Is Real (4:35)
11) Reclamation (6:28)
12) No Shadows (5:01)
And if you keep listening, maybe a surprise or two
All songs written by Curt Golden, except *Venus In Furs by Lou Reed and **No Shadows by Golden/D’Agostino
All compositions BMI
Studio recordings: Curt Golden, guitars, bass, drum programming, and vocals
“Own up to it”: Reinaldo Perez
Desperate Measures: Curt Golden, guitar and vocals; Victor McSurely, chapman stick and vocals; Michael D’Agostino, drums and vocals
Basic tracks recorded by Curt Golden, in my Pinehurst Avenue apartment, NYC, late 1994 to July 1997, to the never ending distress of my neighbors.
Additional recording, mixing and mastering of original ep: Reinaldo Perez and Curt Golden, in Reni's West Palm Beach apartment/recording studio, July 6-13, 1997. That’s right… West Palm Beach in July.
Live Desperate Measures bootleg recording, added vocals, hoots, hollers, and unqualified enthusiasm: the late and dearly missed Jim Brawley
Definitive remix, bonus tracks, bootleg rejuvenation, and remastering: Steve Turnidge, Ultraviolet Studios, Seattle, August 18 – September 26, 2010
Definitive packaging design and realization: Pablo Mandel, Circular Studios
Thanks to Reinaldo Perez and Steve Turnidge for their incalculable contribution, unwavering support, and infinite patience. Credit for everything that sounds good on this recording is entirely theirs. The failures and shortcomings are all mine. Thanks to Roy Capallero for the inadvertently open-ended loan of his HR16. And above all, thanks to Victor McSurely and Michael D’Agostino for giving me the opportunity to play music that was so good I had to find a way to capture some of it for posterity.
This music was recorded between 1994-97, in my apartment in New York City. It began as a simple exercise. It was meant to be archival, never released. Reclamation, No Shadows, and What Is Real had been in the repertoire of a smoking, if short-lived, band that Victor McSurely, Michael D’Agostino and I had, called Desperate Measures. The Mirror was in rehearsal, but had never been performed when the band broke up in May 1994. I loved the band, and didn't want to lose track of the material. I pulled a lot of already obsolete recording equipment out of mothballs and set up in my living room. I worked without any sense of urgency, evenings and weekends. There was no deadline. As much as anything else, it was a useful project to keep me engaged and occupied at a time when I needed that.
With the recording equipment permanently set up, I began to discover other things I could try. Venus In Furs was a piece I had been contemplating for Desperate Measures, so I thought I'd give it a go. Once the process was under way, new material began appearing. A chance late-night encounter with the amazing array of telephone psychic ads that appear on NYC cable TV, combined with my somewhat cynical impressions a certain breed of spiritually-oriented folk, spawned Misplaced Faith. The appearance of a single lyric, "if you want to break my heart you can kiss my ass", seemed to demand that I build a song around it; Patience. The basic guitar lick for (scream) appeared early on, and just sat there going nowhere for nearly 2 years, until one day I started playing “fun with prepositions” for possible lyrics. What emerged from this process was more “me” than anything I had previously done. The aim of the project moved from archiving to demoing. I wondered if there was really a band that might play this material, so I started to do one-off direct to cassette mixes of whatever material was presentable at any given moment. Temporary Masters, I called them, and I gave them to anyone who would listen.
This was strictly low-tech and bootstraps. The basic tracks were recorded by beginning with an Alesis HR16 drum machine direct, and then everything else miked with my good ol' reliable SM58, into an ancient workhorse 4-track Teac 3440 reel-to-reel. I would program and record the drum tracks, and then record, bounce, re-record and overdub all other parts until I had something that sounded to me as much like a live rock and roll band as possible. Parts were generally recorded in single, uninterrupted takes, since punching in required that I operate the Teac remote control with my toes. If a change in form, tempo or arrangement became necessary, this meant going back and starting over from scratch. This rarely seemed to bother me. All of the pieces were in a constant state of revision right up until the final mix. In July 1997, as Reni and I drove nonstop for 24 hours from New York City down to his recording studio in West Palm Beach, I was still composing the lyrics to (scream). I had never sung the piece until it was time to record the vocals. We had scheduled a week of necessary overdubs, mixing and mastering, so I brought all of my recording and music equipment with me. Didn't sleep much that week. When we were done, I had a 6 song ep, with 3 songs left incomplete, not ready or unsalvageable with existing technology.
A lot of changes in recording technology since 1997. After I moved to Seattle, Reni sent me a remastered and much improved edition. Steve Turnidge further tweaked the master. But outside of periodically burning copied of the ep for interested parties, the (scream) project has remained on the shelf, constantly eclipsed by more current and pressing matters.
A year or so ago I took a look into my closet at the boxes of decomposing magnetic tape, and realized that if I did not capture their contents in a somewhat more durable form, the music would be lost forever. I had dozens of cassette tapes of rehearsals and live performances going back to 1971, all sorts of recorded compositions from a period of home recording 1978-85, and of course the original (scream) recordings. Everything had to be listened to, identified, evaluated and transferred (in real-time) into a digital form. A necessary task of introspection and recapitulation.
I was fascinated to find the original (scream) 4-track recordings. Not everything was there, since we had done a certain amount of additional overdubbing at Reni’s studio, and that material was lost to me. I found the dat master of the original mixes, which could certainly be remastered and vastly improved. But more importantly, I came across the raw 4-track recordings of the 3 pieces that had been shelved in the first project, along with several trial mixes of them that I had done at the time they were recorded. Among them was The Mirror, the piece that had set the project in motion in the first place. What Is Real was the first piece I wrote specifically for Desperate Measures, and was performed at every show between September 1993 and May 1994. Run Run was a romp that had emerged during the recording project; I had always imagined there were vocals to be added, but it turns out it was meant to be instrumental.
Of particular interest to me were the live bootleg cassettes of Desperate Measures shows in New York. Jim Brawley, a fixture whose mission in life was to document and archive the NYC music scene, took a liking to Desperate Measures, and so I have recordings of many of our shows; a very useful counterbalance to any revisionist memories I may harbor. A remarkable band; loud, angry, loose, with vocals performed by a couple of guys whose only qualification for singing was that someone had to do it. The organized chaos might have been interesting if heard once, but the number of live performances captured by Jim make it abundantly clear that the chaos was an illusion; night after night we could walk on stage, set up, plug in, and deliver. Amazing.
So the germ of the idea to put together a “definitive” (scream) began to whisper in my ear, and while it was not accompanied by any sense of urgency, the message was clear that I could put it off, but I could not avoid it. One more round of remix/remaster for the ep, to be sure. But to retrieve the 3 missing songs, and to see if any of the live Desperate Measures recordings of (scream) material might be resurrected; that would be something. I don’t make “new years resolutions”, but at the dawn of 2010 I heard the whispering voice say, “now is the time.”
May 4, 2011