TRACK BY TRACK: The Multiple Cat – Intricate Maps
The Multiple Cat is the Quad Cities based indie-rock project of singer-songwriter and producer Patrick Stolley, also co-founder and engineer of the popular music site Daytrotter. He formed the band in 1994 and released a few criminally-underappreciated albums of 60’s-inspired jangle-pop in the late 90’s and early 2000’s before going on a lengthy hiatus until reemerging with the aptly-titled album, The Return Of The Multiple Cat in 2013 via Guilt Ridden Pop Records. Now a trio, featuring bassist Ben Crabb and drummer Andrew Barkau, they are set to release their excellent new album, Intricate Maps, tomorrow via Cartouche Records.
In celebration, Stolley has provided Atlas and the Anchor an exclusive Track By Track Commentary of Intricate Maps that dives deep into the personal lyrical themes - love, loss, magic and the mind - of the album giving insight into the writing and recording process as well as the inspiration behind each track.
Stream the catchy yet off-kilter melodies and strange New Wave-inspired synths of Intricate Maps here and read-along with Stolley’s commentary below.
“Maps”: “Another installment of my fascination with perception of reality. Confusing the map for the territory is a basic flaw of the mind. The more intricate the map, the harder it is to remember that it represents actual terrain. Connecting the symbol (map) to the idea (terrain) and flowing back and forth between the two is the goal. Integration of the opposites.” – Patrick Stolley
“David”: “This is about my cousin, who was my best friend when we were kids. He was very funny, very smart. He used alcohol to make the “bells” stop ringing. He died at 44, diabetic and living in his mom’s apartment in a retirement center. A bottle of vodka was nearby, the TV was on.” – PS
“Theme for –S”: “A sound collage of bits from my kids; my daughter by the thawing Mississippi river in spring and one of my sons singing through a Space Echo into a Rhodes cabinet. –S refers to another cousin of mine who died of cancer during the making of the record. She fought really hard to stay alive, as opposed to David.” – PS“Green Ice”: “I had a girlfriend in my teens who was one of the most pure, remarkable, strong people I have ever known. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t recognize that at the time. She was very tall with green eyes. All the things I thought were kind of silly about her were really just her genuine-ness and originality. I cheated on her, treated her horribly and dumped her. Years later, she let me know what an ass I was (am). I think of her often.” – PS
“The Lovers”: “I wrote this song after reading Goethe’s story “ The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily” or “Marchen”. It is essentially an alchemical allegory about transformation and mutation. The Tarot contains a card called The Lovers depicting the male/female dichotomy as well as the above/below on/off themes of all existence. Jung would say the conscious/unconscious.” – PS
“The Boring Game”: “I got to thinking about how kids (usually girls) mess around with Ouija boards…usually sitting around a darkened room with candles burning. They’re so bored and concerned with growing up, and ask the board all sorts of mundane questions about boys, marriage, the future, gossip, etc. The entity on the other end (the hill, the place of spirit) that has to answer and move the planchette must be sick of all the silliness, and be longing for substantial questions.” – PS
“Magic That Works”: “Imagination is the key to all workable magic. It is actually occurring in the mind, not so much “out there”. The really neat thing is there isn’t really a difference between “out there” and anywhere else. The goal of imagination is to represent thought with symbols; either shapes, pictures, ritual, etc. The mind is reprogrammed by repeated symbolic exercise. Creative action=results.” – PS
“Theme II”: “We set out to foreshadow the basic melody of “Magic That Doesn’t Work”. Phil played the Moog line, Ben played the low Arp line. We did it on a 4 track reel to reel.” – PS \
“Magic That Doesn’t Work”: “Church/organized religion followed blindly and without creativity. People are given a box full of rote beliefs that they can open and eat like chocolates. It’s very easy to do, to consume and believe. It’s been going on a long time. There is truth in every religion, but not a workable magic.” – PS
“Theme III”: “This is Ben Crabb’s bass jam creation. We recorded it live to an Ampex 2 track 351 tube tape recorder, just a stereo pair of old RCA ribbon mics straight into the deck.” – PS
“Bells”: “The image or idea of a sound (map) that represents an idea (territory) constantly ringing in the background of all thought and consciousness, the inspiration for quest, creativity, inquiry. Really, it never goes away. The bell can be anything…a call to the mind to consider a thing or idea or emotion…it could be trauma, hope, knowledge. Many people take actions to try and stop it or ignore it. Many constantly listen to it.” – PS
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