It’s always interesting to discuss with band mates what we thought would show up in the lyrics, and ultimately, what got left out. Mike was sure I would use Kirk’s rousing speech about risk, but that had never been on my radar. This was a love story. Two people deeply in love and committed to each other, having been physically separated for eons. They borrow some of the crews’ bodies temporarily to build androids for themselves, but they have to resist the temptation to stay in the human bodies, despite the rediscovered physical and sensual temptations of those bodies (“Can robot lips do this?”). In the end, the lovers do the right thing and return the physical bodies back to their owners and choose to “depart into oblivion” together, knowing love is just not limited to a physical manifestation.

Mike and I had a lot of fun toying with effects on this one, especially how to make my voice “depart into oblivion” at the end. We’re still working on that as I type this. Recording and mixing is a lot like painting. There’s the temptation to keep adding and layering, but you don’t want to necessarily end up with a big jumbled mess. Luckily, we’re all pretty cognizant of when we may have overstepped the boundaries of “too much.”  We discuss, compromise, and often dial back. On some songs we are able to do some fun audio tricks that work for recording but couldn’t reproduce live. The fun of recording and mixing is not being bound by those limitations. The backwards cymbal-swells on this song are a good example.

Return To Tomorrow Notes

I was listening a lot to The Cure’s The Head on the Door album while I was writing this, and the song Push had been consistently stuck in my head. I initially was inspired to create something with that feel; however, all of our songs are destined to go through some type of transformation from demo to album proper. This one still holds close to the structure and parts in the demo, but it certainly took on its own feel once we all came together to play it, a feel that I could not have predicted and am very pleased that we found. There was a guitar part on the demo that got turned into part of the keys on this song, and it’s one of my favorite parts. I really wanted the keys to be an actively present instrument on this one.

Much like the beings in this episode have to resist their physical temptations, I had to constantly resist the temptation to keep adding more layers of keys and effects. I think we’re making an active effort to keep these tracks free of audio “mud” and keep the clarity crisp this time around.

Five Year Mission
Year Four
Return to Tomorrow
Written by Noah Butler

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