Singled Out: MadLove (Mr. Bungle / Fantomas)
"Absence & Noise" is a song that barely made it passed the initial stages of writing. Before I really solidified in my mind what the music of MadLove would be, I had toyed around for a while with a few songs in a similar style. None of them were to my liking and then I picked up a baritone guitar and belched out the chord progression for A & S. I went on to write and develop about 15 songs to choose from, and before I even considered lyrics I was pretty sure that this one wasn't going to make the cut. It's working title was "foam 104" as it was first written at 104 bpm.
Hilmar Jensson talked me out of bagging it. Although I didn't think the song was that interesting to begin with, I saw the potential to make it work with the right production in the studio. The fact that it was sort of a generic style, but tuned low as well as the three-bar phrasing of the intro were enough to inspire me to write lyrics about being alone with a lot of voices in one's head.
The Cars' Candy-O has been one of my favorite records since it came out in 1979 and that's the flavor I was going for in terms of adding a pant-load of guitar overdubs. The beauty of writing something simple is that it allows for abundant orchestration. The song was little more than a skeleton the day we recorded basic tracks, but working close with Hilmar in the overdubs we were able to come up with some very tasteful guitar fills, subtle doublings and tone variations.
After almost getting axed, Absence & Noise became one of my favorite songs on the record. I love how Ches sticks to the high-hat, hitting, I believe a crash cymbal once! And I love the way that my voice blends with Sunny's, which is something we had no idea word work so well. The bridge was also very skeletal initially. Between Joel Hamilton's instinctive production ideas and Sunny's vocal mastery, we were able to craft this section into something that really serves a cinematic, reflective purpose in the song.
The intro and outro were originally twice as long but I felt this song has radio-potential, so I edited them down in mastering getting the length down to under four minutes. The rest is marketing!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album and band - right here!
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