Nowhere Standard Time front cover Nowhere Standard Time back cover

[Cover images by Flickr users julianrod and Dunechaser.]

Nowhere Standard Time came out only a couple months after my first album, and it's a little problematic. It has lots of excellent songs, and the recording quality is generally better than Bad Stupid Delerious, but when making the tape I thought it would be fun to insert little spoken word bits from tapes I'd recorded with friends from high school (Andy Schile, Carlos Tarango, and Kelly Phillips). In retrospect, the spoken word bits are disruptive, out of context and not terribly funny. There are also a couple songs on the album that are just awful.

So when I made the CD-style art for the album, I decided to make an alternate tracklist. I cut the spoken word bits and the least entertaining songs, and got the album down to 20 tracks. If you want the full 1997 experience, you can see the original tape cover art and get the track list from there.

NST is available in MP3 and OGG flavors. The notes below are a combination of notes from 1997 and contemporary notes.

Track List

  1. Theme to Nowhere Standard Time (MP3): The song that conflates love, death, and Daylight Saving Time changeovers.
  2. Death and Destruction (MP3): This song was written by my high school BBS friend Chris Roddy. I spruced it up a bit and set it to hippyesque music. Chris also wrote a song about Barney the dinosaur, and a parody of Nirvana's "Rape Me" called "Rake Leaves". Just so you get the idea of what our little musical scene was like back then. This was the first song I recorded: Da Warren had an earlier recording as a WAV file.
  3. Revolution in a Can (MP3): This is one of my better bad songs from the '90s. It understands that it's got a ridiculous premise and shouldn't be taking itself seriously, but it does take itself seriously. I seriously thought about cutting it from the CD "release", but it's not unlistenable, just really embarrassing. For a better take on the same idea, see "Underdrive" from Are You An Organism?.
  4. Asia Carrera (MP3): Nice job, earlier me. I'm completely out of stuff to say about this song. Kris Straub did a cover of the song.
  5. Posture Pal (MP3): According to my 1997 liner notes, I wrote this song while sitting on the toilet. "I got the distorted vocals by running the microphone through the pre-amp and right into the karaoke machine, bypassing the amplifier I used on the vast majority of the songs." Wow, I don't remember really using that amplifier for anything. I guess I got my money's worth out of it after all. Uh, sorry, went off into my own private conversation with my previous self. In general I find these old liner notes tiring because they mostly state the obvious and easily-obtainable (that "Posture Pal" is a reference to a MST3K short), which I guess was neccessary in an age before good search engines.
  6. I Screw Up Everything I Touch (MP3): One of the best songs I've ever written, and one that deserves a re-recording. This song almost went onto Bad Stupid Delerious (which would have made it a much different album), but my earlier take of the song was ruined by my watch beeping on the hour. The bridge is unrelated to and predates "FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FEEDBACK". At the end of the song you can hear a bit of the spoken word part of the tape, an out-of-context conversation between Kelly and me.
  7. Arbitron (MP3): This song reenvisions the Arbitron ratings company as a giant robot, who destroys stations that don't pull in the listeners. It turns out I never got tired of this kind of joke. According to my 1997 notes, the "late night DJ" mentioned in the song is The Real Bruce Wayne, who I parodied on Bad Stupid Delerious.
  8. The Chickadee (MP3): "I wrote this song immediately before recording it," says earlier me. I think it holds up well. Jake Berendes did a nice slowed-down cover of it a few years later.
  9. Don't Leave Me Here (Over There Would Be Fine) (MP3): This was supposed to be a do-wop parody, as you can hear in the "deg-ree-yee-yee-yee-yee-yee-yee-yee-yee-yee-yees" bit, but I didn't have the technology to layer my own voice, so I did it as a Simon and Garfunkel parody or something, which sounds good but was not my intention. Another candidate for re-recording.
  10. Relativity (MP3): Song more about three-dimensional geometry and less about relativity per se. Good song though. Sumana made a music video for this song.
  11. Radio Free Singapore (MP3): In this song I sell my soul and become a composer of harmless pop music to pacify the citizens of Singapore. In retrospect, that makes the song sound both more cruel and more pointless than I intended it to be.
  12. Circus (MP3): I wrote this song with the aid of a poetry generator program. I'm pretty sure it has no real meaning.
  13. Vertigo (MP3): Excellent song, and almost the only one in my work written for piano. I took many years of piano lessons when I was a kid and have little to show for it; neither sculpted ability, nor a drilled-in repertoire of songs, nor a knowledge of musical theory. Nothing but a basic ability to pick out tunes one-fingered. Anyway, that has nothing to do with the song, which is apparently about some kind of fractal view of life as made up of repeating self-similar fragments in collage, because that's how the lyrics are.
  14. Bastille Day (MP3): I'm pretty sure I wrote this song at a school picnic near the end of my senior year of high school. None of the things described in the song happened at the picnic.
  15. Choppy the Pork Chop (MP3): This song is based on a rather dumb Galaga-style game for Windows 3.1, available from Da Warren at the time I wrote it. It basically describes the plot of the game, which, if lacking in replay value, at least manages to be strange. In one of my first uses of Internet email, I got permission from the author to do this song.
  16. <RML> (MP3): A pre-Matrix vision of virtual reality run amok. Includes long soaring pauses which are supposed to add punch to the parody of the then-recent AT&T "You Will" ad campaign. Not great.
  17. Drool (MP3): This is a cover of song by Supernova, who are still around and who I only know about because I reviewed their 1996 album Ages 3 and Up for the Bakersfield Californian. I recommend checking them out. In fact, I should check out their newer albums.
  18. Confectioner's Sugar (MP3): This song grows on me significantly every time I come back to this album. 1997-me says:
    This song doesn't really have any meaning. I wrote it to break as many standard musical conventions as I could (ie. verses of constant length, constant tempo throughout, etc). If I were to make a video for this song, it would be like an 80s video with lots of smoke and stuff. That scares me.

    I think the lack of inherent meaning is a big part of what makes this song keep its interest for me: there's nothing there for me to stop caring about. My tastes and interests have changed significantly since 1997, but I'm still interested in systematically breaking conventions.

  19. When I Was Young (MP3): A capella song sung with my friend Dario Espinoza after walking around Arvin in 110-degree heat. That's why we didn't do another take even though my voice cracks in the second verse: too tired. My aim in writing this was to create a song which said one very simple thing (I used to be young, and now I'm old), over and over and over again, in the manner of many pop ballads and songs from musicals. Say what you please about this song, it stays on message.
  20. Malibu (MP3): At the time this was probably my most mature composition. Many of my songs handle nasty concepts in an offhand or oblique way, and this was one of the first that succeeded (see "Revolution in a Can" for one that failed, "Latest" off Bad Stupid Delerious for maybe the first success). The reference to "Hotel California" comes from the moment I realized I'd ripped off the chord progression from "Hotel California" and the best thing to do was just to admit it within the body of the song.

Some notes on the tape-only tracks:

This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Tuesday, October 23 2007, 01:15:25 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Wednesday, March 22 2023, 09:00:01 Nowhere Standard Time.

Crummy is © 1996-2023 Leonard Richardson. Unless otherwise noted, all text licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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