The first two releases as Minnasia were never intended as Minnasia release from the beginning, which makes this 5-song, acoustic faux-live-in-studio collection the very first release produced from the ground up with the intention of it being Minnasia.
As such, we wanted to ease into the recording/production process. I wanted us to release a quick recording, mainly because we were not in a place where we could become an aspiring “band” by rehearsing regularly and playing gigs and such. Rather, the focus in the beginning stage was to try to build up our catalog as quickly as possible, not only to showcase our songs but also to just put out the back catalog of songs we’ve been carrying around. Also, we do intend to start gigging in a small scale, so if we put out a mostly acoustic recording, focusing on songs that sound decent in that setting, then that’ll also serve as examples of what we sound like in our folky coffeehouse gigs.
I’m a firm believer in reducing the number of choices available to inspire creativity, so for this collection I set the following limitations:
- Max two acoustic guitar tracks, each recorded with one mic, one track mic-ed at the guitar’s bridge and the other track mic-ed where the guitar neck meets its body.
- No guitar solos or lead guitar
- Drums would be the “hotrod” kit that came with Apple’s Logic Pro 9, but only kick, snare, hi-hat and one crash cymbal would be used.
- Bob wouldn’t sing any harmonies — I would, but it’s going to be just one track each.
This resulted in us successfully creating a recording that sounds like a 4-piece band tracked live in studio, though as you know, I programmed the drums using samples and everything was tracked separately. The key to giving it a live feel is to under-produce it (not a lot of compression or reverb, and no other studio “effects” like echoes) and leaving in mistakes. The latter is my production specialty. 🙂 But in all honesty, the raw sound quality and loose-along-the-edges performance give this a refreshingly exposed, humane sound, one that seems to go against the current crop of digital recordings.
Songs & Lyrics
Again, we chose simple, folky songs that would sound good in the chosen context. Some of the songs like August Moon do sound like it’s an unplugged version of a bigger song, but otherwise the recording achieves what we set out to — showcase the strengths of these songs in a quick, unbelabored manner.
Bob picked out the title out of about a dozen candidates I threw at him, but the collection really came together cohesively. August Moon starts out with visions of a perfect, harmonious world. Boy Was Waiting expresses gladness of being connected to someone. But then with Ice Burns followed by Dark Room take the path to a more isolating and lonely place. Solar Ascent sounds optimistic on the surface but it’s talks a lot about wrong turns and wishes for reconciliation.
All together, the release is called World of No Errors, because the songs are about a vision, and about not being there.
All songs written by Ari Koinuma, except August Moon by Judd Sather & Ari Koinuma, lyrics by Judd Sather.
Voua ‘Bob’ Yang: lead vocal
Ari Koinuma: everything else (drums were programmed using samples by Apple)
Cover photo by Dimitri Castrique