Isotherme - Nail
That which pierces us.
That which holds us together.
The initial idea for Nail was inspired by a visit to the Opus 40 Sculpture Park in Saugerties, NY in May 2014. Opus 40 is a sculpture garden park created by sculptor and stone artist Harvey Fite, who dedicated 37 years to its creation, dying prior to the 40 years he imagined it would take to complete (thus the name) . Here, Harvey constructed a labyrinth of stone and sculpture, mostly using basic hand and traditional quarry tools. The park includes a barn museum, where many old tools have been preserved and are displayed. One such display boasts a large circle of nails: old-fashioned, raw, rusty, but also very intriguing in juxtaposition. Seeing Harvey’s nails set me off pondering the nails in our lives. What things pierce us, and what things hold us together?
When I began composing the music for the album, I originally thought to focus on hard-edged percussion and noise. This conception made its way into the rhythmic aspects of “Angels in Black and White” and “Static Query”, certainly, and also features thematically in the nail gun sounds and bursts in “Nail 2” and “Nail 3”. However, the idea of nails as a metaphor was just as important in the creation of the pieces. “Nail 1” explores family as a binding force and also the playground politics of childhood in the background sounds, which then gives way to musings on a destroyed relationship by the end of the track. “And Bathed in Citrus” uses dissonance, as in the discomfort of hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. “Nail 2” and “Increase the Separation” were inspired by an image of fingernails on skin on an intimate level and by the idea of a nail as a wedge between people. “Nail 3” and “A Simple Light” are informed by meeting an end—references to the Christian crucifixion and the thought of love and light being snuffed out, as in “nails in the coffin”. “Last Sliver of Sunset”, inspired by a friend’s photograph and poem, harnesses the falling of sunlight and the image of a sharp sliver, piercing in day's last breath.
And speaking of last breath, the sound of blowing out a candle at the end of "A Simple Light" still makes me shiver a little. Are we extinguishing the light? Or are we blowing the light to others, as in a kiss, effectively passing on the essence of what burns within us?
Thanks for listening!
- J.K. February 2015
Isotherme supports St. Jude's!
A very special note to those of you who purchase Nail. By doing so, you will be assisting me in my support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as I am donating 50% of all proceeds from the sale of Nail to them. This money will go directly to their work in finding cures and treating children with life-threatening diseases.
released February 10, 2015
All compositions, words, sounds, recitation, instruments, programming, mixing, production and artwork by Isotherme.
Last Sliver of Sunset was inspired by the work of novelist/poet Nina Loard (see the track itself for more details).
Thank you to those children of Worcester, MA who lent their voices at the Elm Park playground for Nail 1.
Recorded June 2014 through December 2014, primarily at The Belfry in the Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, but also on-location at the Holiday Inn, Syracuse, NY and the Doubletree Inn in Buffalo, NY.
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