Listen to five songs from two previously released TRANSCENDENCE albums courtesy of theÂ IACmusic channel. The songs and their respective albums are available at amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and the iTunes music store.
Singer Ed Hale is said to have written this mournful love ballad track about his girlfriend at the time — the painter Veronica Saenz — while the band was recording the Sleep With You album in late 2002. The album cover featured much of her artwork on the inner sleeve and so did the ensuing single release cover. The song was released as the third single to radio after the band had acheived success with two other chart-toppers from the same album, Superhero Girl, and Minnie Driver. Veronica opened the door to a whole new legion of fans who were not yet familiar with the band’s softer side.
Music and lyrics by Ed Hale
Arranged by Transcendence
Produced by Fred Freeman and Ed Hale
From the Transcendence CD Sleep With You, 2002
First released on the Ed Hale solo album Acoustic in New York in the mid-nineties, glam-rockers Transcendence re-recorded the song Bored for their third album in ’04, adding a much anticipated full band sound that the song was begging for.Â This oft-quoted zeppelinesque guitar anthem is the first song Hale wrote in an open-tuning, something that eventually became a trademark. It features a grooving electronica dance beat behind an onslaught of richly over-layered guitars ala Queen or Wings with swirling Radiohead electronic sounds. Singer Ed Hale bemoans angst and apathy in his characteristic sexy growl while the band rages behind him to create the centerpiece of the band’s third release, Nothing is Cohesive.
Music and Lyrics by Ed Hale
Arrangement and Production by Transcendence
From the Transcendence CD Nothing is Cohesive, 2004
I wanna know ya
Tasty guitar riff indie rock with a catchy vocal hook ala White Stripes, Vines, or Hives, Transcendence’s I wanna know ya is a song that stays in your head for days and rocks your ass off.
I wanna know ya is often credited as the song that begat the album that never should have been, Transcendence’s out of the blue third release, Nothing is Cohesive. While the band was in rehearsals for their 2003 Europe Tour, guitarist Fernando Perdomo was warming up and happened upon the song’s main riff. The rest of the band joined in and Hale started shouting random lyrics into the microphone about a girl he met the night before at one of their local gigs. The band liked the new song so much that they immeditately recorded it for no real reason other than the fact that they liked it. This jumpstarted four weeks of non-stop recording in Perdomo’s garage that resulted in more than an album’s worth of new songs. No producer, no studio — the band engineered the album themselves — and they created what became the group’s best reviewed and most lauded release to date. Fans often comment on the song’s mysteriously garbled lyrics. Interestingly Hale never wrote actual lyrics to the song I wanna know ya. He quickly recorded a rough guide track for the rest of the band to use while recording their parts that first day and they thought so much of it that they decided they should use it as is and not take the risk of ‘ruining the song’s magic’ by attempting to record a real lead vocal track. So they kept the rough vocal track in, hence the absence of lyrics for the song on the CD’s liner notes. There simply were no lyrics to reprint. When asked what he sings on stage when performing the song Hale states that he just makes them up as he goes along each night.
Music, arrangement, and production by Transcendence
Lyrics by Ed Hale
From the Transcendence album Nothing is Cohesive 2004
One of the most beautiful songs on their Nothing is Cohesive CD, Transcendence seamlessly blends Brazilian samba beats with haunting rock melody on their song bitpop classic Caetano, dedicated to the legendary Brazilian singer, Caetano Veloso, who singer Ed Hale credits as an influence.
Ed Hale wrote the song Caetano (pronounced Kaye-ton-oe) as an homage to the famous Brazilan singer/songwriter Caetano Veloso a few weeks before he was scheduled to meet him at a concert Veloso was giving in Miami for his “A Foriegn Sound” tour. Hale presented the older statesman Veloso with a recording of the song and the two posed for pictures backstage and talked about Veloso’s new album and Hale’s experiences touring Brazil during the Rise and Shine period. Putting the song on the new Transcendence album was a no brainer for the band, but they strongly objected to Hale’s lyrics “the only man I’d make love to” that appeared in the chorus of the song. The band eventually compromised and Hale changed it in the first chorus to “the only man I look up to.” After the initial rhythm tracks were down, the band left for the evening. Guitarist Fernando Perdomo who was very moved by the song stayed at the studio and continued to add tracks till well into the afternoon of the following day. He added six guitars, harmonizing many of them, piano, and even a quartet of overdubbed cellos. Hale claims that he got a speeding ticket because of Perdomo’s work, stating that when he heard a rough mix of the song he was so mesmerized by what Perdomo had created that he started driving very fast along the coastline and was not aware of how fast he was going. “Let’s put it this way. I was laughing and crying at the same time. I knew that he [Perdomo] had created something brilliant and stunning and we were all very lucky to be in the band with him,” stated Hale. Caetano with its impossibly dificult to pronounce title quickly became a favorite on the album for fans and for many the new album’s highlight. Though it was the song Somebody killed the DJ that dominated radio from the CD, Caetano was mentioned as a standout track in nearly every review of the band’s third CD. Caetano combines all of the best elements that Transcendence is capable of at their best, innovative and unexpected rhythms underneath haunting and mysterious chord structure with breathtakingly beautiful melody, insightful lyrical imagery, delicate piano and orchestral lines, and the best britrock guitar production and arragement this side of the Atlantic. It is also worth noting that for the song’s cyclic sing-a-long end-vamp Hale chose to create a tonepoem in three languages, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian, rather than in Veloso’s native language Portuguese, stating that to do so would have been too predictable and obvious.
Lyrics and Music by Ed Hale
Production and Arrangement by Transcendence
From the Transcendence CD Nothing is Cohesive
I’m not the only one
A mind-crushing heart-wrenching hard-rocking explosion of drums bass guitars and screaming about “dying on your bedroom floor” among other equally chilling ideas, I’m not the only one is one of the heaviest tracks Transcendence ever recorded. It also happened to be one of radio’s favorites and helped push the band’s second album Sleep With You up the charts.
I’m not the only one is a song that Ed Hale originally wrote in the early nineties when still a member of the jangly-pop college rock outfit Broken Spectacles. As the band splintered apart, each member gathered inspiration aplenty from writing about their constant quibbling and troubles. Though the Specs would never record the song, Hale resuscitated it for the Transcendence album Sleep With You. Producer Fred Freeman was more than pleased because he was concerned that Hale was focusing too much on songs themed toward sex or drugs and was looking for Hale to bring his characteristic world-view to the table lyrically and not just limit his ideas to what was turning into an orgiastic glorification of Hale’s recent foray into rock ‘n roll decadence. Freeman was successful and pulled several other deeper numbers out of the songwriter including Guilty and Keep moving on. The song I’m not the only one is a heartbreaking laundry list of the worst of the human condition with the only hope being that others too are just as miserable. Despite it’s bitter lyrics the song happens to be one of the most memorable songs Transcendence has ever recorded and did much to put them on the alt-rock radio map.
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