by Alan Deeth
As we progressed on development of That Light You See Is Hope, and It’s Burning Down Your City, we started talking track order. Of course, that’s fairly simple for such a concept-heavy album: the songs are written to go in a certain order, after all. But the further along we got, the more attention we paid to how tracks flowed together. Sometimes, it’s fine to jump from Track A to Track B without much fanfare. Sometimes you need to taper off one song more smoothly, or expand the intro on the next one to have a less jarring aural transition.
And sometimes you want what we call “connective tissue.”
It’s a concept we’ve seen implemented to great effect by several of our biggest influences, and it’s something that we thought could benefit our own work: sometimes, it can feel like there’s a gap between two tracks that needs filling—whether that’s a narrative gap as the story takes a leap, or an auditory gap as the tracks stop and start in jarringly different places. That’s not to say that the transition from Track A to Track B is necessarily bad—but it could be great. And for those instances, we decided to compose connective-tissue tracks: shorter and less full-bodied than the core tracks, with the express objective of taking us sonically and narratively from one track to the next.
Filling the Empty Space Between Tracks
“03 The Empty Space Between (Let Me Know that a Light Breeze Won’t Wash Me from Your Memory)” was the first connective-tissue track to come together, and it more or less took shape in a single night. Of course, there was plenty of polishing that went on after that, but the core structure and flow was the result of a quiet night alone in the apartment with a few beers, hunched over my keyboard and computer.
Musically, it was a fairly easy piece to compose. Its job was to take us from “02 Resistance Sermon in Aphasia City” to “04 A Meteorite Falls on Dark Matters,” which are conveniently in the same key. Add to that the existing ambience of Meteorite’s intro, and I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted the track to come together. The guitar line is similar to Meteorite, but expressed rather differently, as an ambient hook over spacy synths.
Narratively, it was a little more complicated. The story takes a bit of a leap from Resistance Sermon to Meteorite, and we wanted something that smoothed that leap over. We’re going from a very grounded, point-in-time scene to a more nebulous, high-concept piece, and somehow had to make those connect. Here, as with the music, connective tissue felt a good solution: something to tie the pieces thematically together and to take us from the Speaker’s perspective (in tracks 00, 01, and 02) to that of the Imprint Yevhen, who is influenced by the Speaker both directly and indirectly. Track 03 takes us to a more nebulous space as we traverse that narrative gap, smoothing the transition so the audience doesn’t have to shift gears quite so dramatically.
As it all fell into place, we were left with one last challenge for “03 The Empty Space Between (Let Me Know that a Light Breeze Won’t Wash Me from Your Memory).” The ending.
With how heavily tied together this track and the next are musically, we knew we wanted to smooth the transition as much as possible. Which, while simple in concept, meant a lot of extra time spent jumping between the files and tweaking every instrument, every detail, to make the pieces line up perfectly. The end result is that, listened in sequence, the two tracks flow together seamlessly—with no empty space between.