"Where Things Were"
Newest solo album by Chase Chandler
Recent events of 2020 shape this immersive, multi-genre album, where each of the 15 tracks act as heartfelt journal-entries that sway between hope and anxiety. Through the use of pop, folk, jazz/lo-fi, and contemporary composition, Where Things Were encapsulates a creative spirit trapped in the conflict of a quarantine-lifestyle boxed in by the 2020 global pandemic. As a musical project curated throughout by the artist (from conception to composition, recording and producing), a uniquely organic 46-minute musical presentation awaits each listener.
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Written March 2020 in response to the first implementation of the COVID-19 quarantine. It felt as though normalcy was slowly being stripped away as I could no longer see my students face-to-face and impersonal video chats began to shape the future teaching. It’s so difficult to inspire when you’re not in the same room, unable to connect as easily with the other person. The challenge of it all became overwhelming at times and shaped this piece – in reality, composing this piece was my way of coping.
Considered the second “pop” song I’ve ever written, back in 2010, when I felt the urge to create a story but only had the means to build simply with a few chords and the daunting idea of leaving home one day. The original vocal recording is used in this remastered version.
Frustrations of the 2020 quarantine have left me wanting to forget things ever changed. Comparing life now to life as it was, causes disappointment, and at times it feels easier to pretend that I volunteered to lead my quarantine lifestyle. It was all by choice. Though in reality, the routine of it all bears a constant reminder that none of this was by choice. I was lucky enough to have a good friend, Joris Hoogsteder, work his magic by adding some organically calculated drums and rhythms along with some extra post-processing on the song as a whole.
Life is more complicated than we let on, and sometimes, a break from the complexity can help us balance. This track has a simple solo piano melody over orchestral and instrumental accompaniment with a driving beat underneath that portray a calming sense of achievement.
Out of all the tracks on this album, this song is the most symbolic and emotionally dear to my heart. The details behind its inspiration I’ll keep private, but to share the context, a few years ago I had the chance to write and perform this song in-person for someone who lives now on in our hearts and memories. The nature sounds used are many years old, recorded by myself, while visiting this significant person in my life.
Another break from complexity! This track is merely to offer an atmospheric lounge feel with jazz influenced construction. Originally created two years ago, but revamped for this project. I have no shame in appreciating the aesthetic of Lo-Fi music!
Ten years ago when I first began finally compiling my musical creations into albums I would “burn” to disc (make CD’s), this track was one of my favorites during the time. So it was necessary to re-master this track on a “real” album so it can live on. It includes original vocal recordings, with only minor changes to the instrumentals – and then, of course, a production makeover for this album!
After graduating with my Masters and planning to teach as a professor at CSUF, I had a few months in between that brought me to a “popular music sabbatical,” as I call it, where I composed this after receiving lyrics from Matias Loyola. Though it’s a short song, I find the melody powerful alongside the lyrics and aesthetic of simple, yet foundational chords with few non-chord tones – in other words, very “pop” accompaniment – a pleasant journey into an uplifting moral.
Back in the “old days,” music projects were plentiful and I tried experimenting with many different styles. After a good friend of mine, Ben Hunter, posted some lyrics on Facebook, I quickly drafted this piece to show him the potential of his words! After his approval, I took the completed piece I produced ten years ago and remastered it to include in this album for mainly the meaning behind the text and the driving beat. Couldn’t let this gem escape! Had to be included on a published album because it’s quite different then the music I write now.
Another song using text written by Matias Loyola, composed a few years back around the same time as “We Fly.” The more traditional and jazzy chord progressions join together with the instrumentals to create an interesting aesthetic of acoustic warmth with a tinge of electronic charm. The positive lyrics help break up the dark theme found throughout this album and offers a mellow escape before more heavy tracks.
Jazz has found an influence in most of my contemporary classical music, so when I commit to a more puristic representation of jazz with a driving rhythm, a light-hearted Lo-Fi sound emerges as seen by this track.
About a year or so into college, the “real world” began to take more shape and the idea of growing up didn’t seem as exciting. Creative individuals place a lot of value in their ability to express and develop “something” where there’d otherwise be “nothing” – this skill takes practiced imagination. But at the time, I felt there’s less emphasis on the importance of imagination in the “real world” unless it makes financial sense. Behind halfway at that point in my life, I wrote this song to express my frustration that I wanted my imagination regardless, knowing that one day, I’ll have it all figured out. And once I “make it,” people around me will also be encouraged not to feel embarrassed by their imagination or big ideas. However things might have turned out, I can say that most everyone who knows me also knows that I have many big ideas, all the time!
Very rarely do I ever write any “provocative” music, so consider this track to be a rarity. To be honest, I wrote it as a joke at first, but after sometime working on it I began to like it more and more. The atmosphere and mood of this song matches so well with the theme and progression in this album, so I threw it in as a kind of detour before the last two tracks.
Ten years ago, I was experimenting with music much in the same way I do today – the only difference is how self-conscious I was back then, though I’m far from perfect now. While I might have written this complex and strange song so many years ago, I was embarrassed by it and hid it from the world until this album. Most people will probably not like listening to this, but that is no reason to leave this behind. I’m proud of myself for even experimenting with what music “should” sound like – so out of respect for my younger self, I remastered and edited the entirety (even added a minute’s worth of material) with the skills I’ve acquired over the last ten years. What you hear today is the representation of what I wanted to create back then, but just didn’t have the courage or the “know-how”. I think it’s quite a ride when you listen to its entirety! Good luck!
Please understand, this track is difficult to listen to and should be done so with mental preparation. It is not recommended for younger audiences, hence, why it has been marked “explicit.” This 5-minute audio collage uses binaural sounds – it is best experienced with headphones.
There is so much pain in the world right now. So much anger. Why has there ever been a need to decide who is “better” or “worse”? Who is deserving of rights or not? Life is difficult for everyone – why is there an argument over which lives matter, when pain can be found in each? What’s there to do if anger creates an emotional wall? An unbreakable wall due to a diluted sense of “normalcy,” hardened by societal gaps in the American experience. What are we to do? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to agree upon a single approach to such a deep-rooted issue – and to be honest, there may not be a perfect solution – but we can rule out what not to do. We should not stay silent. Because silence is consent.
“…in the Silence” is public domain, no money is to be made, I hold no ownership with any audio involved except for the violin melody, and all other audio was found in publicly available footage of recent real world events in this year (no commercial purposes). My hope is to highlight the emotional impact of the recent riots, not to add to the argument or spark anger in the listener towards myself. Art, in my eyes, is meant to showcase a new perspective not otherwise experienced. What you feel while listening to this track is of no responsibility to myself or the people involved. LISTEN AT YOUR OWN RISK.
- A big thank you to the violinist, Aaron Tam.
- A big thank you to the field recorder, Tim Kahn.