Recently, I was thumbing through my notebooks looking for lyrics I never used. I found one from a RPM 2014, with quite a few sketches of possible cover art; lots of Aquaman stuff. That’s pretty much always been my February flow: when I’m not physically recording the RPM album, I’m doodling and writing stuff for it, some of which makes it into the songs and a lot of which doesn’t. “These Aquaman drawings are actually kind of cool,” I thought (without a trace of irony). “A shame I didn’t find a use for them in the liner notes or something.”

I got to thinking how I usually care a lot about the cover but don’t often print it well, and that I’ve never spent much time on liner notes even though I used to love squinting at them as a teenager, usually late at night while wearing headphones but not wearing my retainer. (I always thought it was particularly cool when one band I liked thanked another band I liked). Then I thought, “I don’t know if I’ll ever even DO liner notes again, since no one really listens to CDs anymore. Guess I missed that chance.” I felt kinda bummed. 

Later, I had a dictionary in front of me and I started looking up words. It’s something I do when I’m trying to generate ideas. I looked up the word “album” and was surprised that the music-related definition is still #2 behind “a book displaying a collection of photographs, drawings or stamps.”

And those two little threads, as threads often do, got all tangled up in my head.

So... Imagine a book in your hands. Not one of those ebooks; a paper book. Opening it, there are poems, lyrics, observations, drawings and photographs, all flowing into each other. Stream of consciousness shit. “A spontaneous overflow of emotion recalled in a moment of tranquility,” as Coleridge once said. Occasionally, among the words and images, you come upon a QR code stamped onto the page. Scanning it with your phone, it brings you to a webpage where a media player streams a song. A soundtrack of sorts to the images and text you hold in your hands. A book that you need to wear headphones to fully experience.

That’s my RPM album this year, if all goes well. A month of creativity, not confined to just music, and music not confined to the (outmoded) CD nor as ephemeral as (just) the digital file. An album, in both definitions of the word.

Concept done. Now I just need the content!