A SIMPLE SYNOPSIS

Les Heifner - A Simple Synopsis (2000)

TRACKLISTING

01 Surface Temperature - 3:05
02 BELOW THE SUITCASE - 2:32
03 THE WIDE RANGE - 3:42 
04 DREADED SUNRISE - 2:55
05 WRONG DOOR WRONG HOUSE - 3:24
06 BITE - 1:43
07 MEDIAN - 4:39 
08 THOUGHT CRIME - 3:33
09 EXPERIMENT 2 - 3:18
10 LEANING OUTWARD - 3:47 
11 Truly INvisible - 3:39
12 Population 1 - 1:02
13 Tostesterone - 1:31
14 Dumptruck of Power - 2:16
15 Soundscapes OFF mIRRORS - 10:55

SUMMARY

The synopsis came from the idea that someone could write a record of a relatively complex variety in a short amount of time and come out with something that was at least okay. But there is a quality somewhere in there that stands tall. And some math rock.

LH - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums
Music, Lyrics, Concept and Artwork

© 2004-2020 Les Heifner

TOTAL TIME: 52 MINUTES

Available at:

Directly out of some thoroughly educational Holding 1 shows in late 2003 and early 2004, I started to juggle the disciplines of practicing guitar with songwriting. The type of sound Holding 1 was achieving led to the exploration of new personal musical avenues. I used my off-time to write songs along the lines of a rock group such as Holding 1. It should be no surprise that the sheer explosive nature of the music being created and performed around me contributed significantly to the place I wrote the songs. At the time, we were playing with other local San Marcos bands like Chagrin, Johnny Gobbs, and Turbo Dwarf. Seeing these groups play every week changed my understanding of what was necessary to keep things interesting musically. San Marcos had a broad but solid foundation of music at the time. I can't speak for now as I rarely have the pleasure of visiting. As for what was going on in any mass or popular culture in 2004, I have no experience of it. That's not entirely true. I attended ACL in 2004 for The Pixies because I'd never seen The Pixies, and they were fantastic. That year I also saw Trans Am, Sonic Youth, and David Bowie. So I consider those experiences mostly outside the realm of popular culture and safely in my territorial memory as formative necessities.

Revisiting the demos from 2004 to 2019 presented a few obstacles. The only vocals recorded initially were on the track Experiment 2. One could argue that these aren't even vocals, though they are. Lyrics were written and preserved digitally, then retrieved, and the vocals added for this recording. Perhaps the strangest part of recording this record was when I drew a connection between the song Wrong Door Wrong House and a tragic event where a man was shot by an off-duty police officer in his own home after the officer mistakenly entered the wrong apartment instead of her own. In 2004 I wrote this track after getting many accidental visitors to my apartment on the square in San Marcos, Texas. These people would be so drunk as to open a stranger's door and walk-in. What if someone was so terrible that they just waited for someone to walk in, only to kill. That was the terrifying basis for Wrong Door Wrong House. In reality, unexpected visitors were greeted, introduced, offered a place to sit, restroom access, and whatever else we had to offer. The horror found in the idea of drunkenly stumbling into the wrong house, blacked-out drunk, and found by a stand-your-ground hillbilly remains a personal songwriting triumph. It's probably a much better story than Purgatory Creek, which previously dealt with drunken lostness on the release Move It Away.

As with revisiting other recordings, the specific riffs came back after so many years with no trouble. It's always relieving to know that muscle memory can recall things that the brain refuses to give up at first request. Two tracks required little energy in the memory retrieval process because of the number of times I've played them. Thought Crime and Population 1 find themselves included with their original family of songs. I tried as much as possible to keep these tracks limited to the architectural scope, musically, of the original demos. (Before any Holding 1 got baked into them.) No matter how one tries, it's likely impossible to remove all traces of that type of experience. These versions of the tracks mentioned above are by no means the final or best performances. They would require individual members of Holding 1 who always brought their tremendous contributions to the shows to qualify for that list.

If there could be two words that could sum up most of the record, one could easily vote for the phrase "math rock." That was the frame of mind. There are some pleasant breaks from the terrifying wall of drums, guitar, bass, and distorted vocals. But they're almost hidden throughout the record. Even the calmest moments tend to go batshit without so much as a drum roll. An exception to this is the final track, Soundscapes Off Mirrors, initially intended for a soundscapes record. It's the only track that I've lifted directly from the original demos with no re-recording necessary. I'm expecting questions about the seemingly misplaced titles of Tostesterone and Dumptruck of Power. The only answer I can give is that the labels fit the songs. They cannot afford to have different names. While A Simple Synopsis can efficiently and accurately be considered a fantastic snapshot of what was happening in my songwriting in 2004, it's not one of those records I'd think representative of my overall work. But that's just my limited view from the musician's seat. I'm sure someone will disagree. People are good at that.


Special thanks to WATSON, TODD, BRET, ERIK, THE ENTIRE FAMILY AT BYRN & ASSOC., THE 118 1/2 SQUAD