When C. Scott Blevins says he conceived the self-titled hyperstory debut album as a studio project, he’s not kidding.
Guitarist/producer Blevins used about nine different facilities in the Los Angeles area to program, record, edit and mix the ambient, genre-blending, nine-song effort, which is due Nov. 10 on Pureland Records. (The song “a happening” can be downloaded for free now.)
“Each studio had unique characteristics and equipment,” Blevins says, “allowing for some variation in the sound of the record, as opposed to just recording in one studio through the same board and hardware.
“I liked the idea of recording through a lot of different setups in general because it would contribute to more of a heterogeneous texture to the sound,” he adds. “We not only recorded in different spaces to achieve that heterogeneity but also used a variety of ambient textures, unique recorded elements and odd sounds to augment the sound of the record. It was important to get a real mix of sonic flavors going.”
Blevins’ focus on studio characteristics and technology doesn’t mean the hyperstory album is lacking in genuine musicianship. Drummer Joey Waronker (whose credits include Beck and R.E.M.) and keyboardist Deron Johnson (a former sideman for Seal and Miles Davis) are among the disc’s guest musicians.
“Joey’s just got this touch that’s all his own — it’s velvety and smooth, and I think that helped contribute some of the smoothness of the sound as a whole,” Blevins says. “Whatever comes out of Joey is just going to be tasty, and I really like the sound he gets on the records he plays on — it comes from his playing more than anything else.
“Deron Johnson has just got such a depth of soul to his playing; he can really go out there and does so in a few places on the record, in ‘ascension’ in particular.”
There are between-song audio bits that give the hyperstory album somewhat of a soundtrack feel; Blevins explains that they’re meant to provide “more room to breathe and more variation.”
“To me, it gives the music more impact when you’ve got nonmusical, but contextually related tracks blended in,” he adds. “And I’ve always liked the visual, soundtrack kind of sound, because it’s just more multidimensional to me. That’s the reason there are also extended, thematic instrumentals as well as sound vignettes in between some tracks, in order to give it more dimension.”
Touring in support of the debut hyperstory album isn’t on Blevins’ radar at the moment, but that could change.
“There’s so much ambient stuff going on that the production would be challenging to get right, but I envision if it ever did happen that it would probably need a large group of people to get right,” he says. “It might be really interesting, though. I think it could be a show that was really cinematic in scope.”
— By Chris M. Junior