First up is another live show. I think there are three in this block. That’s insane. I went back to my alma mater (TCNJ) for this show. It was a Halloween show, so I wore my old Staples work clothes and played for 15 minutes. It was fun to do it. I certainly didn’t expect it to kick off a wave of Hello Whirled live performances, but here we are. The plan was going to be to do 1 song from every year, but I didn’t have time to do “Embrace Stigmata”.
Oh god I’m getting flashbacks listening to this. I made these songs for a game called Decomposition, which I’d also written the script for. Wild shit. I deemed a few of these good enough to go on Spotify actually. “Background (Normal)” was originally much slower, but I sped the recording up and thought it sounded prettier that way. “140” is another attempt to capture the magic of those sweet, sweet 80s Wire bootlegs. “160” is an attempt at breakcore, or at least whatever I thought it was. I like it quite a bit. “Doubts Kick” isn’t massively spectacular on its own but I think it’s a good tune, especially for a video game.
Back in Marlton. I played a lot of songs for a room of, oddly, mostly high schoolers. That was kind of surreal. It was funny hearing them be, well, the way they are during the show. At least one of them had actually seen me in July, so when I said I was doing “Egregore”, someone actually cheered, and on the recording you can hear someone say “How do you know that one?” Funniest shit. Anyway now would be a good time to mention that this show is completely uncut, hence the many banter tracks. After “Burn The Flower”, I let the audience make some requests…sort of. I asked them to pick a year and I would play a song from that year. That said, I chose to do “Hit Me With Your Car” myself. It was that good of a night that I decided to acknowledge that song again. Shout-out to “Banter 9” in particular.
Masters Copy took a long time to make (in HW time). Part of why is because I spent a lot of time just sort of procrastinating. This was part of how I spent my time not working on the album. I think “Full Disclosure” is one of the better tracks on here just because it exists at all. Who would have thought of that? Only Hello Whirled. The more experimental tracks, like “A-Town Test Site” and “Ah Yeah!”, were also really fun because I had to really think about how the songs would sound pared down. A bunch of these are songs I discovered in 2021, like most of the songs mentioned above, as well as stuff like “In This Way”, “Great Ghosts”, and “Trust Them Now” (for obvious reasons). 2021 was a good year for me finding music, and I think this is a pretty good document of that. The noise section on “Tommygun” is also a personal source of pride. That whole song was probably the hardest song to tackle on here.
To get in the full, messy, complicated history of Masters Copy would be too boring for any of us, so I’ll instead go over the shorter, messier, more complex history of Masters Copy. It was going to have 14 songs, because that’s how many songs I’d recorded on a single side of a C-90 on a Tascam MF-P01. After spending a little too long sitting on these instrumentals, I concluded that only 5 of them were actually good, and those were the 5 longest (by far). I then had the problem of thinking of lyrics for these long, droning songs. I sat on these for too long as well, until I watched End of Evangelion and had this idea of writing an album about someone stuck in a 23-year time loop. I mapped out the whole story in 2 hours. At that point, I just needed the album to be done. “Pain As Spirit” is definitely one of the better songs on here. I was trying to channel The Microphones and I think I did that part decently well. The harmonies could have been better though. “Fear Of Death” began as a Casio SK-1 run into my amp. This made it kind of hard to write for, but not impossible by any means. “First Step Towards The Rest Of A Life” probably makes the best use of its harmonies on this album. The song is all 6th chords. The delay effect when the vocals end is probably the only digital trickery I used on the whole album. “Death Of Fear” is definitely my favorite song on here. It’s pretty simple, but also really long. The guitar sounds beautiful. I have no recollection of what that sound at the end could be. “∞” might be my other favorite. That ending swell is one of the coolest thing I think I’ve ever done musically, ever. I also decided to have the next HW album open with the chord progression that ended this one. Cool little continuity thing.
The last show of the year. It’s a 2021 retrospective where I cover all 4 albums, and then some. It was professionally recorded by Holden Correia-Fisher, and later mixed by me. It’s perhaps my favorite Hello Whirled album cover, or at least it’s up there. I impulsively brought my Casio SK-1 for accompaniment and occasional actual synth playing. It worked when I needed it. Of particular note in the main set is “Maximum Riffage And Cartoon Violence”, which recalls the original demo more than the album version. Some of the high schoolers were back at this show and a lot of them asked me to play “Please Stop Dancing”. I was gonna play it anyway but you can hear their enthusiasm on the recording. It’s still weird hearing it back. I wrote “When Can I Admit I Miss You” the day of the show. It’s going to be the first song on the next album. The audacity to play “Thousand”…man. I can’t believe I did that. Glad I did it though.