Nascent Echo

…An Oral History

This is a picture of my good friend Al “Lavaman” Murdoch wearing a Quicksilver Night T-shirt as he wields his guitar in service to the Quicksilver Night catalog. Sadly he has largely retired from recording projects for personal reasons that are not mine to divulge.

Lavaman’s ample contributions to Quicksilver Night include the songs Precipice, Navigation, Sojourner, Nihil Tactum, Legerdemain, and Chrysalis. You can also his amazing fretwork on our short-lived side-project MurdRuss Intentions with As Proteus Falls, Better Than Life, Salient, and Singularity.

You can listen to all of these at digital retailers everywhere (and four of them are also on the “Reliquary” CD) BUT one song we never officially released – and one of the best, really – is the instrumental “Nascent Echo”. It’s not officially available anywhere (although it’s likely been pirated somewhere) but you can ONLY listen to it here. Check it out!

We recorded this in Arlington, VA. My friend Brian Archer helped me convert the MIDI tracks to audio and then recorded me playing several live guitar tracks over it – a relatively new process to me at the time – before we sent it off the Al in Scotland for him to add his guitar to it and mixing it all together. I wish I could remember in greater detail although I can’t imagine those details would be of much interest to you folks.

“Mists of dreams drip along the nascent echo and love no more [end of line]”

“With moments of quiet beauty that cascade into insistently galloping lines of harmonized and contrapuntal guitars, ‘Nascent Echo’ features the stunning fretwork of Scotland’s Al ‘Lavaman’ Murdoch”… so why didn’t we release it? It’s my fault in the final analysis but you can also thank an unnamed executive at NBC Universal. I was/am a big fan of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series and I wanted to use an audio clip from the show within the song. I could’ve made a really strong case for fair use and at any rate I highly doubted they would’ve pursued litigation over such a small thing but I figured I should do the right thing and offer to properly license the clip from NBC Universal. I couldn’t find any sort of licensing link at the time on their site so I sent a general correspondence explaining what I wanted to do and asking for the right person/office to contact. With said information at my disposal I contacted the person in question and the exchange went something very much like this:

Exec: “It will cost you $10,000.”
Me: “What? Why? Audio clips of the length I want seldom go for more than $25 or so at this level of licensing.”

Exec: “It’s for technical assistance.”
Me: “What technical assistance? I don’t need any help with it. I’ve already got the audio clip that I needed and it’s already emplaced in the song. All I want is proper licensing and I’m willing to pay a small fee.”

Exec, again: “The fee is $10,000.”
Me: “That’s ridiculous. I refuse to pay $10,000 for what is essentially zero work on the part of your company for brief audio clip from a show that isn’t even on the air anymore or currently in syndication. Either you guys can profit from this by $200 – my offer although I think even that is far more than it’s worth – or you get nothing, your choice.”

Said executive then engaged me in debate, a lengthy attempt at justification based on investment by NBC Universal, my response to which was essentially all of the reasoning was spurious; they’d already made their money back several times over and it was a matter of public record. The end result of this debate was the executive’s flat reiteration that the fee was $10,000 and my response to the effect that they were insane and that I would give the song away first. We had easily exchanged a dozen or more emails in the process but it all went less than nowhere.

“Nascent Echo” has largely languished since then, hidden in dusty corners of the Internet. I tried offering it in exchange for donations to Friday Night Progressive but it didn’t get a lot of traction; I think it garnered something like $22 at the time. “Nascent Echo” is here now here at this site and available for streaming, gratis, solely via the link above. Enjoy!

Honestly I’m debating whether or not to put “Nascent Echo” on my next all-instrumental CD as a bonus track. We’ll see.