HEY!TONAL
Self Titled

 

DATA


Label
Computer Students™
Format

2xLP + Poster/Digital
Release Date
October 8, 2021
Territory
World

TRACKLISTING


1. If Flash Gordon Was A Sk8r
2. Uppum
3. Kcraze
4. Tao Of Chin Drapery
5. Smarmy Faulkner
6. Skitch
7. Carl Sagan Is The Long Form Of Bitchin’
8. The Best Way To Say Goodbye Is With A Silent Ride Off Into The Sunset… Or On A Boat Or Something

WEB UTILITIES


ABOUT THE RELEASE


Hey!Tonal is the first album by HEY!TONAL, a project helmed by the guitarists, multi-instrumentalists and sound designers Mitch Cheney (Rumah Sakit, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Sick Room Records) and Alan Mills (Chiisai-oto, Burl).

Each member constructed the album instru- ment-by-instrument between 2006 and 2008 over a vast geographical area from NYC, Chicago, Florida, San Diego and Nantes in France. Main collaborators included Kevin Shea (Storm & Stress, Talbam!, Mostly Other People Do The Killing), Theo Katsaounis (Joan of Arc, Dead Rider), and Dave Davison (Maps & Atlases). In 2009 the album was released by Africantape on CD format; now, Hey!Tonal has been remastered by Carl Saff and pressed to vinyl for the first time.

Cheney initially conceived HEY!TONAL as a project to be called “Drummers’ Perspectives”, and that working title sums up its ethos. He came up with the idea in 2006 when he was composing music for the NYC film and television company Transition Productions. While using the MIDI-based application Reason to program beats, Mitch substituted drum samples with guitar and dulcimer sounds. He became inspired to write melodies based on the drumbeat being the starting point of composition, opposed to the other way around. “In the bands I have played in, the drums have always been a reaction to the melodies that had been written,” Cheney explains, “as opposed to being the catalyst for the melody to be written over.”

He first explored the idea by recording Royal Trux drummer, Chris Pyle in his Asheville bedroom and again in St. Augustine, FL. A providential meeting with Alan Mills meant another collaborator would try his hand at the resultant rhythmic and melodic tangle. The two quickly came to form the nucleus of HEY!TONAL.

The basic concept for their compositional process stemmed from Cheney’s experience with television editing. “I was shocked at how much storyline material would end up on the floor of a show once it was finished and ready for broadcast”, he says. The two manipulated all the catalogued sounds as if they were visual elements, comparing the leftovers to “the blood of the eventually ingested meat still staining the footprints of the miles walked to create a meal.”

The initial trials over Pyle’s tribal beats didn’t function with the technicality of the writing process because they were recorded ambiently. They thought of contacting Kevin Shea of Storm & Stress to capture him directionally, to later edit his improvised performance. Mitch traveled to NY to record him as the primary drummer. Kevin’s versatility and creativity brought HEY!TONAL to a different place. As time went by, several fateful encounters inspired Mills and Cheney to invite other musicians to join the project, including Davison and Katsaounis. Kenseth Thibideau (Rumah Sakit, Sleeping People) and Julien Fernandez (Chevreuil) joined the group for a song as well.

The result of this unusual approach is a striking record, full of delicate incongruities hidden in the music; happy accidents were meticulously given purpose during mixing, malleable drums and guitars intertwined with a myriad of improvised and shaped sounds. The overall impression is of some oblique explanation to an unsolved mystery.

Hey!Tonal will be released October 8, 2021 on Computer Students™, a unique, conceptual record label based in Europe and the United States. It will be the second of their Anatomical Reissues series, which devotes aesthetic and analytical re-examination to existing works.

The record will be available on double white vinyl with all four sides running at 45 rpm. It will be packaged in a superb gatefold cover complete with a massive poster, all housed in metallic packaging that reflects Computer Students’ futuristic ethos. The album will also be available in MP3 and M4A formats on the label’s website and on all digital platforms worldwide.