Thursday, August 6, 2009



Quotations: Erik Tawastjerna: Jean Sibelius I (1965). Quotations are freely translated from Finnish to English.

Warning: the beginning of this following blog text contains a brief historical introduction of two bands most of you have never heard of.

During the year 2008 a band named Väre, which was known only in very, very small circles had come to a certain point of burnout. Band members felt that they had lost their interest on the previous style which mixed pop-orientated melancholia with overlong song structures (in this case, regressive is a better definition than progressive). A new kind of a direction was needed in order to keep the band project alive.

In the spring a longtime friend of the band members approached them, telling them of a possibility of going into a good studio without practically paying for anything else than gasoline. After a few discussions everyone agreed, considering it a good possibility to take a break from Väre. The line-up changed from a trio to a quartet. Five songs were composed, some of them improvised in the studio. At this point it became apparent that the therapy project, carrying the name Tideshemn would become the main focus for everyone.

The sessions themselves were mostly successful. Some of the songs were left untouched after the mixing but the rest of them became problematic. The following diary depicts the metamorphoses of one of these songs, titled Geistlos.

Before we went to studio our guitarist recorded a demo version of the song:


We've received the final version of Geistlos and after a certain time and countless listenings it's quite apparent that the song didn't end up as we wanted it. Instead of a dim closure it sounds more like a camp tune which from the beginning is just stuck in the same dull mood, lacking dynamics and emotion. Nomen est omen, the song's name apparently described the song better than we hoped (Geistlos = Soulless).


I really must extend my days over nights in order to make this in time. My self criticism is a judge of a harsher sort and its judgement causes so much work to go into waste. At the moment I have three scenes ready and three left. I visit the ear doctor every second day.

This is really hopeless. All the good ideas I previously had are gone and I find myself running the instruments one after another through Kaoss Pads, trying to set the song out of its well-trodden rails. Result: Tons of reverb and delay, noise backgrounds and weird samples in the air. Not good. I triple the vocals or alter the pitch just for my own fun (sorry Maria!) just to realize how pointless this is. Days go by with really bad headaches. I accidentally attend a gothic/glam/rock gig because my friend is mixing it. I forget my ear plugs home. Life is hell.

You know I really can't sketch the fourth scene. My imagination does not share with me a musical idea resembling a painting. Martin [Wegelius] claims that I am not able to finish this piece by April but I believe I can.

The bloody laptop is down again. Why the hell did we have to go digital? I bet the guys back in the analog ages didn't have to do tons of updates and virus removals before starting to record stuff. And the cords! My whole apartment floor is filled with cords. If it wasn't for the band members' positive reactions I had received so far I wouldn't even consider trying to alter Geistlos. I hope I will finish this song in a few weeks as long as I get more patient with the equipment.

A marvelous idea has sparked upon my mind for the 4th scenery. The part ”with joy [!] I went to war” will be dealt with literally. It will hold few marching themes that shift to a crescendo. Yesterday desperation shadowed me as I felt the themes to be so miserable, I went to meet Martin and played them for him. He happened to be on a musical mood and his excitement was of the uttermost sort. He has seen my third scenery, the one with the choir and the orchestra. He believes the women are not into such and refuse to sing along. ---In case the women do not fancy this I rather take a man choir. Martin said I've tremendously caught an epic tone; this I consider idiocy. Yet he also speaks ill of a few roughnesses which I consider unjustified – idiocy as well.

Computer, I love you! I found an effect for glitch making. Glitches make cuts to the recording, and they can be used as a percussion of sorts, giving the song a certain rhythm. I ran the organs through it, slicing the sound in both channels differently so that the song has an awkward polyrhythm going on throughout the song. A whole new direction is found for the song now.

Ironically, the song was originally created for guitars and then it was decided to strip them off since they didn't feel like fitting in anymore. The vocal part stays untouched since its clarity gives a stark contrast to the dreamlike mayhem of instruments. After hearing the version, some friends of the band members said that the original one with the traditional overtone was a better version. Well who cares? Sane people who want to make obscure artsy music don't consider doing their music in order to get money or girls, sane people know that there's most likely only five listeners for the album (including mom and dad)!

Yet I'm still not content with the song. Mikko considers the song to be in a perfect form, and I think he's justgrown a tumor in his brain which blocks the flow of criticism. I hope he will be cured.


For a few days I've been clinging on the verge of depression. I've thought of taking my own life etc. We'll see if I can finish the symphony before spring.

Now I'm really pissed off. I haven't had any ideas in weeks and it starts to feel like the song is just a big pile of noise and chaos falling apart any moment. It's one of those feelings when you start to explore your real feelings about music, or whether there is any whatsoever. Suddenly the questions arise. What if you just wanted to play in a band because all your friends were? What if you don't actually even enjoy playing music? Or listening to it? Where could I sell my instruments on a Saturday night? Why am I sitting in front of my computer on a Saturday night? I think I should start fishing or skiing.

Thankfully the mental health usually balances back into its usual state during Sunday morning. Usually.


...transcribing and arranging is a real nuisance. Last night was the tenth I spent working till 8 in the morning. There is still 5 days and then I wish it will be ready.

Mellotron! I'll add a nice little mellotron to the final part to end the song. It's really annoying to record them since the computer buffers the signal really long and therefore the sound is coming in at the wrong time. It took me 3 weeks to record it since I've been on a lazy mood lately. The guitars are back again, this time flowing in slowly and fading then out. Also the previous problem with chaos and mess has been solved by normalizing some parts of the song, like the glitchy organs. I've asked a friend of mine to mix this whole thing and after that I'll never touch this song again.

...Now some time has passed, Geistlos has been finished for some time already and its final state has been dividing opinions inside the band. Some members consider the post-studio acoustic version the best, while others prefer the new style. The only consensus we’ve made is that the mood of the first demo captured the song’s essence in the best way. What do you think?

Tideshemn - Geistlos
mp3 - 320 kbps (right click, "save target as")

hear the song:

a clip from the abandoned version:

Tideshemn's myspace