P.M.A.

P.M.A. is a philosophy taught to us through hardcore. Bad Brains said it best on the banger ‘Attitude’ off they first record. A positive mental attitude has helped all of us to survive in this competitive, sometimes terrifying, and savage world that we exist in: the vineyard.


This weeks sound comes from a very long and old vine that for most of it’s length, is underground.

It is also titled, ‘P.M.A.’, but in this case, the anagram stands for ‘Post Mortem Authority’. Growing up in this ‘Vineyard’, death was a very visceral reality. In order to deal with this, the unknown that is the Post Mortem Authority, we needed to use that ‘P.M.A.’ H.R. of the Bad Brains was singing about. That is how this song was born, I did the beat by developing chords using distorted guitar feedback, and it was a fun challenge.

P.M.A. was recorded as part of the as yet unreleased N1 sessions (the very first Nocturnal Unit recording sessions ever) in the basement at 611 on N.U.’s first analog four-track tape recorder. I originally wanted all of the N.U. members to rap on it, but Erik came correct and so it stood where it stands now: a perfect fit for the third song on his ‘The Land of Both’ Solo Project.

And now……burrowing up out of the crypt, the vine that sings of ‘P.M.A’:

https://soundcloud.com/nocturnalunit/pma-post-mortem-authoritystarring-erik-nordstrom-of-nocturnal-unit

Some words on ‘P.M.A.’ from the songs lyricist/vocalist, Erik Nordstrom:
This was one of my favorite beats to rhyme on during this stretch of production. There is a beautiful type of rawness to the feedback in the track that inspired me to tell a story. My goal in writing this story was to tell it in as much detail as was necessary while also being concise with my words. I have always admired a lyricist who can say much by saying little. This is not my story. It is the story of many of my friends and relatives. I am very proud of the work Alec, Rolf and I did on this track and I hope you will feel it. If there is some sort of law and order after death, I want no part in it.

 

Cringe

In the Vineyard, the world where the new Nocturnal Unit album takes place, the vines that meander through from the canopy to the forest floor eventually all lead to a little grove, a thicken of small little ‘vignettes’ that house the artifact that is our new album. These vines are what we started following alongside you last sunday with the release of a previously unreleased song starring Erik Nordstrom and Steel Harrison Spaar. Each week we will be sliding our hands along these vines, hearing the sounds that they make. Each vibrates on a completely unique frequency, and these sounds you will hear every sunday, in the form of previously unreleased songs from the Nocturnal Unit vault, located underground in an especially dangerous region of the Vineyard.

 

This week's sound represents the sometimes dangerous and extreme nature of the area surrounding the N.U. vault. It’s appropriately titled ‘Cringe’, and is starring Erik Nordstrom (rhymes), and Steel Harrison Spaar (beats). It comes from the same sessions that produced ‘Plod’, last week's sound. If you look carefully as you trace your hands along the vines, you might be able to make out some words from the creators of the sounds you hear. This weeks translation is provided by the song’s lyrical creator and performer, Erik Nordstrom:

Cringe is a song titled by the producer, Alec Wells. I don’t want to put words in his mouth but I think he named it for the aesthetic of the beat. I appreciated that going into writing the lyrics for it because it gave me a starting out point. I didn’t have a clear idea for the song’s purpose before I started writing it, and the rough draft came out as a sort of slow-motion-freestyle, much in the same way that Immune System (a previous song I wrote) did. The song ended up being about my dog, Ginger. I call her Bavis for short. I remember being in the thick of the verse and realizing how angry all of my music was; and how much distrust and blame I lay on my fellow man. This realization was the spark that lit my current fire. Mid-song I tried to think positive, and one thing that stuck out to me as a purely benevolent force, was my dog. She is loyal, kind, and keeps a simplistic view of the world, which makes her an enlightened being in my eyes. I would not be the same without her and this song serves as a homage to her grace and beauty.
 

And Now I present to you, straight outta the dusty corners of the N.U. vault: Cringe (starring Erik Nordstrom and Steel Harrison Spaar)
https://soundcloud.com/nocturnalunit/cringe-starring-erik-nordstrom-and-steel-harrison-spaar-of-nocturnal-unit

NEW. N.U.

Now. Now starts the countdown. Nocturnal Unit’s all new studio album, ‘Vignettes’ is arriving in 3 months. Before you Enter the Vineyard, we’d like to take you on a journey with us as we trace the vines backwards, discovering how Nocturnal Unit evolved into the monster that it is. To do this, we will be releasing previously un-released songs weekly all the way up until you may Enter the Vineyard in 3 months time. These records are vines winding from Nocturnal Unit’s inception all the way up through the current ‘Vignettes’ sessions. Accompanying each new track: a few words from those of us involved in the creation. Y’all look forward to a new track every Sunday starting……now.

The first track is from a hitherto unreleased project titled ‘The Land of Both’ featuring fellow Nocturnal Unit co-founders Erik Nordstrom (rhymes), and Steel Harrison Spaar (Beats).

So without further ado, Nocturnal Unit would like to present to you:……..the first song of 'The Land of Both'……featuring cover art by Erik Nordstrom…………………………………………….Plod:

https://soundcloud.com/nocturnalunit/plod-starring-erik-nordstrom

Here is the record’s Producer, Spaar, with the opening monologue:

“So, Plod. To give a little background; everything I had done preceding Plod was of a substantially darker construction. I realize now it was channeling all the resentment and anxiety that I was feeling towards the people around me and what I was seeing in the world into what I created. I was fairly lucky, and I won't claim to have had an extreme, harrowing past like many of the hardcore mentality did, but I grew up always as an outcast. My ideas, the things that I did, were never mainstream, even during the brief periods where I tried to be. I was always thinking outside of where people wanted me to be, and I think maybe it was this controlled chaos in my brain that spawned my love of rhythms. Particularly complicated rhythms: 6/8, 3 over 4 patterns, triplets, off-beat ghost notes.. I love that kind of stuff. Before the era that Plod began, I wasn't confident in my own ability to recognize and re-create the things I would hear in my mind. But Plod was the very beginning of a new personal era for me, both in my own commitment and attitude towards life, and in my musical confidence. As Roger Miret once aptly stated: "It's my life, it's my destiny. So, I will do it my way." What you hear here is where I began to feel those words in my heart, and the freeing change in my soul is reflected in my music. Funk was always part of me, hardcore was instilled throughout my young life, and they blend through my strange, imperfect lens to form a style that I am very proud to call my own.

Integrity, color, and passion going forward.”

-Alec Wells AKA Steel Harrison Spaar AKA Mugg AKA Marcus Ghent AKA Bear-Cat Al AKA Manpede

 

Walking the Marshes

If you've ever tried looking into a marsh, a real marsh, the kind with grasses taller than you are, then you'll know you can't see a damn thing in there. I was in one such locale earlier today, along with my brotha Rolf Haas, and our faithful companion: the ageless wonder, Bella(morte), the golden retriever. It was amazing to realize that, as easy as it would be to lose a dog under normal circumstances, it would be just as, or even more easy, to lose a person only feet away; perhaps even following on the same path. We met a dude out there, a hunter type, by the looks of him, that had a couple dogs. One of 'em was a little guy, chihuahua of all things. He had a bark like a fox, and he snarled like he was looking at one of the four horsemen. You'd swear he had rabies or something. It was pretty intense, but Bella, the boss that she is, just waltzed on by, didn't even look at the dude.

I also got my first taste of hardcore bushwhacking out there, discovering in the process, that the best way to do so is simple: just fall over in the general direction you intend to go. The stuff is so thick and meshed together that it just wouldn't happen otherwise. You could be Rawlins in a rage and you still wouldn't get farther than 10-15 feet. It was depressing as hell to look up at the tree line and see all these houses lined up, but a moment taken in nature is worth it, despite the circumstances. Matta fact we were just talking about that while we were out there, about how much it would suck not to be connected to nature. Like if you grew up in London or something and your parents were dunces and never took you out to the countryside. It's a really helpful and centering experience, if you've got the patience and the attention span to let go of all the societal pressures and responsibilities, and just exist. As we were originally intended.

Try it sometime, the next time your feeling weighed down by everything life can heap on ya. Preferably when it's not gushy and wet (outside).

 

Peace,

 - Mugg

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