Mike Gordon - Overstep CD
Ask, and Mike Gordon will tell you all about the songs he has written and recorded for his fourth solo album Overstep, and how the finished product compares to his previous releases (2003's Inside In, 2008's The Green Sparrow, and 2010's Moss). But as a devotee and student of the creative process, he'd much rather talk about how the songs came to be, and about the long road traveled between idea and finished work.
Most artists have a ritual or routine that they rely on to inspire and guide their efforts from concept to fruition. Gordon has developed hundreds of them over the years, and perhaps thousands. He speaks often about the importance of listening, and of his commitment to following ethereal voices and visions. One such persistent vision he describes was of a spare cabin in the woods with a single window and a desk, and Gordon making music with guitarist and longtime collaborator Scott Murawski. So he called Murawski and proposed a songwriting retreat at idyllic Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. Murawski accepted, and the old friends escaped together to summon the muse, unburdened as yet by the expectation that they would eventually record an album.
After multiple writing retreats and an album's worth of core tracks in hand, Gordon took a leap of faith, and hired Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr.) as producer to bring the project home. Gordon had self-produced all of his previous albums, but felt he was ready to surrender control to someone who understood his vision and loved the material. 'Hiring Paul was definitely the right thing,' says Murawski. 'The payoffs are all over the place.'
Gordon cites three goals that he kept in mind throughout the process from start to finish: Find ways to be raw and sophisticated at the same time; Be groove oriented; Write songs that will be fun to play live. Whether an explicit goal or not, the songs on Overstep evidence Gordon's evolving ability to develop three-dimensional characters within his songs, and to speak more directly to the truth of their condition.
2. Tiny Little World
4. Yarmouth Road
5. Say Something
8. Different World
10. Long Black Line