I began recording The Calculated Dream in fall of 2005, about a year after I decided to quit making music. I had been playing synth-pop in Portland, and the hassle and stress of booking tours got to me, so I decided to take a break, maybe forever. One day I was biking to work and I got hit by a car, and I used the insurance money to buy an electric thumb piano. I holed up in my room, sketching and tinkering around on the thing. It was hard not to play. The next summer I took a trip to Japan, and spent long stretches without anyone to speak English to, during which I started writing songs again.
Then I moved to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and the Eastern European winter provided a good occasion to hole up and learn the art of digital recording. I lived down the next to a conservatory, and when I opened up the windows come spring I heard operatic fragments and overlapping quartets drifting up the street. Someone loaned me a Soviet-era synthesizer and I found a shortwave radio at the flea market. A lot of these sounds ended up filling in the gaps between the plinking of the thumb piano keys, and entirely overwhelmed it on some tracks.
After a year I moved back to Portland into a whole house--hell, a whole town--full of instruments, and a lot of friends helped me to ready the album for release. It took some time, and none of it was spent in the studio, but that's part of the charm.
Download includes my hand-drawn cover art for the album.
released August 8, 2008
additional mixing - Mike Jones
mastering - Nathan Moomaw
thumb piano manufactured by David Bellinger
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