3) Pura Vida — This was one of the last songs written for the album. The chorus came into my head one day in NYC, and i carried it around with me for a while before the rest of the song presented itself. I wrote the lyrics while sitting alone on a secluded beach in the Southeast of Costa Rica. Pura Vida is something you hear people say a lot down there…
4) Perfect World — George wrote this one, and it’s probably my favorite on the album… This track really came alive in the studio with some additional vocal parts we came up with on the spot, and the addition of the violin and some carefully placed synthetic bleeps and bloops.
5) Panacea — We recorded all the songs for this album by first playing them live in the studio which we built in Brooklyn. We then brought in our good friend Alex Lusht, who produced our first two albums with us. He and George spent a week replacing all the drum tracks from the initial live performance with fresh new drum tracks which were recorded in isolation… Then, instrument by instrument, we replaced all the tracks from that original live session so that we had nice well recorded tracks that we could mix…. When the tracks for this song were about 80% complete, we all decided that we weren’t happy with the way the track was coming out – a result of a less-than-great initial performance – so we decided to start from scratch, but this time we made a click track that we could play our live performance to… no easy feat for a 12 minute long song in several different tempos and meters. That project alone took an entire afternoon…. It was well worth it though. I think this is one of the better sounding tracks on the album.
6) Clear Light — At one point in the process we realized that the majority of the songs on this album were going to be well over the 10 minute mark, so we decided to experiment and do a little bit of surgery on some of the songs. With this one, that came in the form of removing about 7 minutes of instrumental composition from the middle. It was very strange at first, but I really love the way that it turned out, and I think it’s pretty cool to have an alternate version of the tune. We’ll still be playing the song as written when we do it live, which should be interesting for people who hear the studio version first.
7) All We Know — Our original intention was to make a double album, so we recorded a lot of music that we ended up cutting from the final product. This song was initially recorded in two parts, with part 2 designed to appear on the second disk…. As it is, Part 2 remains in the recesses of a LaCie hard drive in our studio.
8) Elysian Fields — While we always arrange the songs together, all the songs are pretty much written by one member of the band or another, and then brought to the rehearsal room so we can work out the arrangement as a group. This one was a bit different, Rob wrote the song – borrowing a bit from an old piece he used to perform with another band several years ago – then he brought it to me to turn the beginning (which at the time was just a three chord loop and a melodic idea) into some kind of electronic thing. I went off into the studio for a bit and came up with the basis of the beginning section – this is one of the few collaborations in our catalogue.
9) Question Matters — I had this idea for a “Great Gig in the Sky” kind of vocal thing happening in the middle section, so I asked my friend Dani Marcus (who also sang on The I’s Mind to come in and do a session – She improvised three takes of amazing vocals, and then Josh and I mixed them together to create the performance that’s on the record. The vocoder bit was an idea I had late one night… I just spoke some text that I’d written someday that was never turned into a lyric – I’m not sure if it makes any sense – I don’t know if I’ll ever tell anyone what I was actually saying. I really love the vocal arrangement and the fact that there is a 4 part fugue in this one.
10) Green Paper Society — This is an old favorite from our repertoire… On an album which is 95% composed, this is the only real “jam vehicle” that’s on it. So, we wanted to make this one sound like you were in the room with us while we were playing it… despite the fact that it was actually recorded in three different sections and pieced together