Singled Out: Ninth Moon Black's Animus Lumino
"Animus Lumino" is the longest track on Chronophage, and bits and pieces of it came together in a number of different ways over a period of time. It would seem a track like that would be difficult to record, and I certainly thought it would take a lot of time however we ended up getting it on the first take. At almost 16 minutes, we were pretty happy with that, and I think it was the complexity of it that actually helped track that quickly, we were all pretty focused. I did have to overdub the Wurlitzer part, and I think Atom did his solo over later, but everything else was there.
I remember writing the guitar part for the longest section, towards the end, that starts with my just my guitar. It had morphed out of something completely different. I had been working on an acoustic part, kind of a minor country blues finger picking thing, on a slow day at the music store I worked at. The melody that's in the song now came really quick, with the four different parts and a tormenting flatted 5th at the turn-around. I was having trouble fitting the bass part in with the fingering, so I put it in a drop-d, which forced me to change the key. It was pretty cool, but nothing Ninth Moon Black would use. It was dark, but had almost a waltzy groove.
I played with it like that for a couple of weeks and was at home one day when my roommate, Jamie Hartley of Parade of Storms, came in and wanted to play along. We moved to the studio and I was playing it on an electric guitar for the first time, a little delay and reverb. I ended up dropping the bass parts I was playing and let him do his thing on the bass, which was a lot different. As we played, the waltz swing disappeared, and I found myself playing the low D throughout, underneath the melody. It was awesome. It became this hypnotic, sweeping part. The turnaround had to go as well, but the flatted 5th stayed right there at the end of the last riff, giving this sense of interruption, which sounded great.
When I brought the part to the band, it went really smooth. I had this idea of guitars swimming on top of the riff, interlacing with each other and building, but I expected nothing close to what those guys came up with; really epic sounding. That first practice I just played the part over and over and everyone did their thing until it started to take shape. I remember the first few times we played that song live the part was almost twice as long as it is on the record, waaaay too long; but we liked the build and just kept going. By the time we had everything really dialed, we could follow the patterns Kasey was building with her drums, and we shortened it.
It's really cool to look back at what the part was and then listen to the recording now. I remember sitting in the studio for the mix, in disbelief of how epic it had become. And then when we named the track, "Animus Lumino", which means luminous mind, I couldn't have written a part more fitting to the feel and spirit of the song after the fact, it was just baffling at how perfect it all came together. Maybe sometime, as a joke, we should jab at where this part came from: Ninth Moon Black, "Blackened Country Blues!" Seriously though, I think the forging of this part speaks to our process as a whole; that somehow we're able to take our wide swath of influences as individuals, and work them into a cohesive but diverse sound. It makes me hopeful, like it might be impossible for us to run out of good ideas.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!