Tool Sharpener Blues
The ad was in every issue of Australasian Post. The guy with the long but public-service-safe hair looking out from the darkness of his workshop, his eyes pleading. He is a tool sharpener because he has bought into the ad’s notion that every neighbourhood needs one. He is still trapped in that photo. Kids walk their bikes past his open garage and keep straight faces until they walk past his tooled up loneliness and are jolted by body-freezing laughter.
My first thought about doing this album put me beside the tool sharpener, a handy hobbyist forever crushed by the naivete that his skills are laughably unwanted. To record a lot of old stuff seemed like fun but who would care? Well, I would and maybe that was the problem: should I have cared enough to leave these things where they fell and leave the world alone? Probably, I thought. Then I broke my leg and had to find something to do for a few months while it healed.
I began by selecting songs I’d never recorded like Purgatory or Soluble Artefact but soon the list expanded to include ones that had only been poorly recorded and then to those I’d left unfinished. By the time the list was over twenty titles long I had to start culling. Some songs really had been rightly abandoned. Others showed promise but had been left in such a raggy state that they’d be better served feeding new material. Rediscovering cassettes with mixes of some songs creditably recorded saved me some time as I was then able to place them in other albums here. All up I think the list works pretty well as it travels through time and my abilities.
Many thanks are due to Glenn D'Cruz for lending me his Martin guitar (that's the acoustic you're hearing) and Ian Wadley for the fruitful discussions about percussion in general but particularly for In This House and Everlasting Heat.
One thought about recording was to make these as close to what they would have been at the time. If I didn’t have an orchestra for The Longer Way back then it wouldn’t get one now. This offers its own problems, chief among which is that I’d almost always imagine a lot bigger than I could do. What I have done is to keep the final production sound from being too slick. While the idea was to make better recordings than the originals I didn’t want to get too toolsharpenery about it. I tried, if you will, to reinvest the energy they would have had at the time they were fresh enough for me to want to record them first off … and then leave them at a good stage of completion and have done. They shouldn’t sound like they wear cardigans. They should sound like they wear only the best op shop clothes. I think that’s happened.
So, here they are, songs written from the year 1978 to 1994 redeemed from neglect. Please enjoy them.
released February 27, 2013
All songs: Peter Jetnikoff 1978-2012
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