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Mike Gordon — Overstep (2014)

 Mike Gordon — Overstep (February 25th, 2014)

USA Flag                     Mike Gordon — Overstep
   Mike Gordon of Phish's New Solo Album 'Overstep'
Bassist, singer, and songwriter, best known as a member of Phish, is also a solo artist and filmmaker.
Born: June 3, 1965 in Sudbury, MA
Location: Burlington, VT
Album release: February 25th, 2014
Record Label: Megaplum/ATO Records
Duration:     49:21
01 Ether     6:18 
02 Tiny Little World     4:51 
03 Jumping     3:28 
04 Yarmouth Road     4:41 
05 Say Something     3:57 
06 Face     5:08 
07 Paint     3:34 
08 Different World     4:05 
09 Peel     5:03 
10 Long Black Line     3:33 
11 Surface     4:43
♦  Mike Gordon
♦  Scott Murawski
♦  Matt Chamberlain
♦  All songs written by Scott Murawski
♦  Produced & Engineered by Paul Q. Kolderie
♦  Mastered by Fred Kevorkian                                               © Photo credit: Rene Huemer
   When Rolling Stone last checked in with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, he was happy to chat about his fourth solo album, Overstep, due out February 25th on Megaplum/ATO Records. He wrote the LP on weekend retreats throughout New England with his longtime collaborator, guitarist Scott Murawski, finding unusual spots to put pen to paper — like a boat, or the MASS MoCA museum, where they wrote poems based on paintings. "We had a toy drumset, little pocket gizmos, backpacking guitars," Gordon says of the crew's portable, low-key set-up.
   While there’s still no word on when Phish’s next album will see light, one of the band’s members has a new solo project set for 2014. Bassist Mike Gordon release his fourth solo LP, Overstep, on February 25th via ATO Records. It serves as the follow-up to his 2010 effort, Moss*.
   Producer Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, the Pixies, Warren Zevon) helmed the album, which Gordon says is “more fun-oriented” than past efforts. “It’s not an album of long jams or anything like that. I like to be kind of song-y on albums.” He was drawn to Kolderie because the producer would “appreciate what was kind of quirky about it.”
   Gordon will be bringing Overstep to the masses with a band including Murawski (guitar), Craig Myers (percussion), Tom Cleary (keyboards) and Todd Isler (drums).
   He wrote the LP on weekend retreats throughout New England with his longtime collaborator, guitarist Scott Murawski, finding unusual spots to put pen to paper — like a boat, or the MASS MoCA museum, where they wrote poems based on paintings. “We had a toy drumset, little pocket gizmos, backpacking guitars,” Gordon says of the crew’s portable, low-key set-up.
Notes*: Moss is Phish bassist Mike Gordon's third solo album, released October 19, 2010. It reached number 9 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.
Website: http://mike-gordon.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mike_gordon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikehyphengordon
   Life is a balancing act. Mike likes to think he learned to live in the moment. He let go of self consciousness, surrendered to each passing moment, and right in the backwoods of Vermont, he blended his body, brain, soul, and heart into one bloody heap of musical intention. On one fateful night after a peak jam session, Mike went deep into the forest, hugged a tree, and vowed to live in the woods and play music every night. So life can be framed by peaks and epiphanies, but it’s a balancing act.
   If you reach nirvana through music, that doesn’t mean you can reach it the same way again, since nirvana doesn’t work that way. Well; who knows how it works, but it might require new parameters and be framed by new paradigms with each passing decade.
   Life’s a balancing act. When do you live in the moment, and when do you plan for the next? When are you James Bond, so cool without needing to speak, or out of sorts like Gomer Pyle. And when does one actually feel like God (now scientifically proven to be Fred Armisen)? I guess one can act with nobility and hope for the best. I’ll shut up now — this is supposed to be about Mike, not me.
   Bass has been Mike’s passion — he learned ways of combining propulsion with flight, opposing integral components of new musical ecstasy. Whatever the fuck that means. Mike set on a lifetime’s journey to make things, and forget about balancing acts. Except when it comes to making things — in which case he’s balancing the moment of now with the moment  of… I don’t know if Mike would even agree with any of this; I’m just kind of saying it knowing he won’t read it. I know, for one thing, that Mike wouldn’t want this bio to be “all about me,” but what the fuck am I supposed to do? I mean, I’m writing about Mike. I was chosen to do it, I’m doing it, and that’s my subject matter. Jeesh.
   But life is a balancing act, and after all the bullshit of Inside In, Oustide Out, Upside Down, and whatever the fuck, Mike has kinda gotten inside, and is no longer outside. Yeah, right.
   PS: I lied when I said that life was a balancing act. Never trust anyone who uses the word “life” in a sentence… Such tripe!
   Start by cold-rinsing one Modulus TBX bass (through-neck), add a teaspoon of Jerry Dunlop 1.5mm triangular graphite pick, bring to a boil a pack of Ken Smith Slickround™ (half flat) strings, and peel and chop two EMG DC pickups. [For a lighter meal, try a Dave King A Series headless/bodyless bass, ans season with an RMC piezo bridge pickup, an Aguilar preamp, and a built-in tuner], Source Audio Bass Envelope Filter Pro, Source Audio Bass Distortion Pro, Eventide Eclipse, Eventide Space, MXR graphic EQ, Boss graphic EQ and Electro Harmonix Super Ego.
   In the kitchen of Phish, the instrument was thickened with vegan effects like The Meatball envelope filter by Lovetone™, an Ibanez stomp box flanger, and an Eventide 4500 Harmonizer (Mike marinates with at least ten Eventide patches on a regular basis, such as “Echospace Of God.” These effects were simmered, char-broiled, and braised by a CAE switching system, complete with hard-bypass, on-off loops and MIDI.
   From there the signal was cajun-blackened using an Eden WT 800 amp into a  Meyers CP-10 parametric EQ, and onward toward a Meyers powered speaker system: One 750P 2×18 and one 750 PL 2 x 18, two UPA-1P on top.
   In the current era, Michael has been cooking with The Lovetone, an Akai Deep Impact pedal, as well as a Korg TU-something tuner. Finishing the sound he goes straight to the Eden WT800 driving a single Eden 4×10 cab, sometimes enhancing with more  Eden 18's and more power.  All signal is passed through phish fabricated cables.                                         © Photo credit: Dave Vann
   Gordon and Scott Murawski penned the songs for Overstep during a series of writing retreats in New England. He turned over the producing reins to Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo, Pixies) and invited a few new players into the studio, including legendary drummer Matt Chamberlain (Jon Brion, Fiona Apple). Distant industrial noise gradually gives way to lush guitars and welcoming vocal harmonies in “Ether,” the album opener (listen to the track here), while “Jumping” is a rhythmic puzzle box, detailing a series of thoughts that take place in a fleeting 1.5 seconds. "Yarmouth Road", the infectious, reggae-inspired number is already familiar to Phish fans after its debut (along with “Say Something”) on the band’s Summer 2013 tour.
   Many of these songs promise huge payoffs in a live environment, most notably two plunging grooves that seem capable of bringing a house down. “Tiny Little World” opens with a polite reverie about a fetching woman in a coffee shop, but morphs quickly into pulsing boogie as the narrator is carried away by desire and bravado. Debauched exhortations to dance surface again in “Face,” which chugs along atop Chamberlain’s simple but undeniable pocket.
   The songs on Overstep also speak to Gordon’s evolving ability to develop three—dimensional characters, and to speak more directly to the truth of their condition. He hasn’t lost his appetite for metaphor, and he still leaves plenty of room for interpretation, but listeners may find themselves recognizing the human portraits in songs like “Say Something” and “Paint” in a way they haven’t in Gordon’s previous albums. Still, happily, Gordon embraces absurdity as he always has — conceptually, lyrically, and musically.

Mike Gordon — Overstep (2014)