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My Music | Seven Years of Bridging the Disconnect

Today, September 29th marks the seven year anniversary of when I officially released the demo LP of my Solo Acoustic Project, which was lazily called Sap. Bridging the Disconnect, a 15-track album of predominantly acoustic (demo) ditties written, performed, produced and recorded by yours truly in a completely solo effort that was not a task for the impatient. A lot of pride went into the creation of the recording project which I started in the summer of 2009 and managed to “complete” in time for my self-imposed 9/29/2009 release date. I went through CD Baby and released it on home-burned discs myself via my label I Rock Recordings, and let them handle the digital retailer side of things.

Warts and all, because the recordings aren’t perfect by any stretch. The production is mostly good, if a bit raw (psst! it sounds a bit like a guy with a voice, a couple of mics, some guitars, a keyboard, drum machines, and a digital workstation doing it all by himself). I’ve said it for years that sure there’s a lot of pride in completing such a project, but damn, I would’ve traded some of that pride for some help.

But, to be sure, every voice, word, beat and note on this album was created and recorded by little ol’ me in my little ol’ studio at home (which at the time was a large closet in my family’s apartment. That’s another thing, trying to find optimal quite time to record quiet acoustic music when your young children aren’t up making noise). I even designed the artwork/layout for the jewel case, using my wife’s photography.

Some fun facts

The project’s name was originally inspired by the acoustic EP  Sap (1992) by Alice in Chains, but also the song by Modest Mouse called “Stars Are Projectors” which an acronym of it would spell S.A.P. Then there’s the release date that I chose. Alice in Chains’ 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue was released the same day. Coincidentally, their classic 1992 LP Dirt — a hugely important album to me as a young man at the time — was also released on September 29th.

Another major inspiration for this project was the late Elliott Smith, whose honey-sweet, silky-smooth vocal style I could never duplicate, but that didn’t stop me from double and triple-tracking my vocals in an effort to get that cool natural chorus effect his vocals were always produced with.

And I would be remiss not to mention both Dave Matthews and Ani DiFranco who both inspired me to finally switch over to the acoustic guitar in the late 90s.

The Concept

I wouldn’t call Bridging the Disconnect a true concept album, but there is a kind of conceptual theme that runs through it. The title itself refers to the situation we all face as adults in our 30s having lost touch with our friends and familial roots and the need to repair that disconnect. Songs like “Building Burning Bridges”, “So Long My Friend”, “Invisible Fences” and “Savor (Brief Lives)” to an extent deal directly with that theme of reconnecting. “Jubilee” is specifically about people of all walks of life coming together and eating, drinking and being merry because ultimately we need to get along and coexist on this planet together in harmony. And finally, “If Love” and “So Close” are effectively love songs. The rest are introspective ditties or instrumentals. The whole collection of songs is decidedly mellow (somber?) and folky with a touch of rock for good measure.

Obviously seven years later I’ve had different perspectives on this as a single piece of art, thought of countless things I’d do differently today (like add some bass guitar to “So Long My Friend”), but here it stands, warts and all. And on Spotify, no less. I just discovered it on there tonight. I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s been available on iTunes and countless other digital/streaming services for years.

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MusicBox 1 | Motosota

~ This is #musicbox on #ruckology In which Brandon L. Rucker plays virtual DJ, pulling out the jams from his personal collection of tunes for you. ~ 

Flashback, memory lane time. Today, August 4th, marks the 11th anniversary of the release of the long player CD trans.metro.politik by my former band Motosota (2004-2009), an instrumental ambient/jazz-rock band that I joined in May of 2005. We recorded the 12-song album in July, 2005 with studio owner and engineer Alex Kercheval. This marked the first time I’d done professional recording as a bassist, rather than a guitarist. It was with this band that I made my long return to the stage after a decade-long absence when we played our CD release show at Locals Only on this day eleven years ago. Good times. I don’t recall even being nervous.

Some of my favorite music I’ve ever composed or helped create was done during my four years in this band. On this album in particular “Comma”, which was the first song I contributed material to; “Ichi” the first song I initiated in the band; “Visceral Lei” perhaps my favorite to play; “Gun Is in the Glovebox” another that I took the lead on, and “Vincent Got Mad” being the one where the drummer and I really locked into a tight groove together.

In July of 2007 we released our second studio recording, an extended player entitled In Outer Orbit which wasn’t quite as jazzy as its predecessor and also boasted a different drummer. I took lead on “Son of Frankenstein” and “Echo Chamber” and even played a little piano on the outro to the closing track “Fluctuation VS Dissipation”.

The later, final lineup of the band demoed several songs but did not release any of it as a proper recording or on a physical format. After our early January 2009 break-up I took on the role of custodian and made sure our music was available online. That final lineup, which pretty much eschewed the jazz leanings in favor of more pop leanings, yielded the standout songs “Moto 2” and “Monstrosity” (with female vocals).

I’d been dragging my feet on getting us setup on Bandcamp, which has widgets that work well with WordPress. Currently the only widgets I have to share are ReverbNation which don’t seem to want to display here. So follow this link to check out the tunes if you’re interested. I’ll revise this after I get Moto-Bandcamp up and running or something. Also, the YouTube video (audio only) below is for the song “Monstrosity” from 2008, featuring Brian Jarecki (guitar), Paul Hardie (drums), Amy Johnson (vocals) and myself on bass, recorded by Alex Kerchval (keyboards).