by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
Nolle Bond and doom-blues duo Freight Train Rabbit Killer have joined forces and crafted a unique audio experience, combining literature, music and spoken word.
The project is “The Curse of Yig,” Bond’s rendition and reading of a more obscure short story by H.P. Lovecraft, accompanied by a musical score by Freight Train Rabbit Killer.
The story was originally published in a 1929 issue of “Weird Tales” magazine. Bond found the story via a paperback collection of Lovecraft stories.
The genesis seed of the project was Bond’s desire to create an instrumental score. He had thrown the idea around to one of the members of Bond’s band, Sons of Great Dane. Bond was looking for something to record a score to, yet nothing he was looking into was clicking or sticking.
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While on a trip to visit in-laws, he rediscovered the H.P. Lovecraft paperback in a bag. Bond knew he had found something a score could be cut to.
“I could even hear the sounds I wanted to do with it,” Bond reflected “So, I started on the narration.”
His course of direction quickly shifted, in that Bond wouldn’t be the one working on the musical score. He approached Kristopher Bruders and Mark Smeltzer of Freight Train Rabbit Killer and asked if they wanted to be involved. They agreed. Bond was of the mind that the content and setting of the story, set in Oklahoma during the turn of the century and centered on a snake god, would fit Freight Train Rabbit Killer.
This project came into being around the same time Freight Train Rabbit Killer was in the process of doing their “Wake Snake Death Dance” project, a series of four vinyl 45 singles. Freight Train Rabbit Killer is a band that contains a sense of the macabre with their presentation , lyrics and sound. They aren’t afraid to delve into the dark side of the psyche.
Bond plays in a band with Bruders called Cadillac Flambe, also based in Kansas City, Mo. To date Smeltzer, Bruders and Bond have done one live performance of “The Curse of Yig,” at a private gathering in July 2017. Bond said doing a reading of it live was terrifying because he had to read live for 43 minutes straight with no error.
For the recording process, the three weren’t in the same studio. Bond had recorded the audio of him reading the story, and Freight Train Rabbit Killer recorded their score to his vocal track in a separate studio.
The experience of recording an instrumental score wasn’t a new experience – they had also recorded one for the Freight Train Rabbit Killer comic book released in 2016. Bruders said the process didn’t differ much from previous recording sessions.
But some differences in recording were present. Smeltzer gleefully explained the instrumentation during the recording session for “The Curse of Yig” was ran through three amps, creating a wall of distorted sound.
“Some of it becomes more epic,” Smeltzer said.
Along with guitars, a flute and bongo drums were also utilized. Smeltzer said the sound of the session could possibly influence Freight Train Rabbit Killer’s music in the future, in the possibility of doing longer songs with an epic feel.
Bruders described the recording session as “very in the moment.”
“We had a really good result, going in two directions,” Bruders said.
During the session, Bruders was making notes on when certain instruments would come in. There was no post-editing or doctoring of the score, and it was recorded in one take.
With the narration and score recorded and combined, the next step was promotion, which Bond has taken to, using social media platforms, launching a Kickstarter to help fund the release of the album, which he estimates will be out in October, in vinyl and digital forms. A brief audio snippet of “The Curse of Yig” was also put online.
If one gets the impression Bond sounds like a professional voice actor or announcer from the online audio preview, that could be attributed to his background in radio.
Bond is a 2003 graduate of University of Central Missouri, at the time when it was Central Missouri State University, where he majored in mass communication and worked in radio.
Bond said “The Curse of Yig” project is close to a 1920s radio play and is meant to be taken in like a movie. Bond discovered the works of H.P. Lovecraft in a haphazard matter of circumstances.
Joshua Hoffine, a photographer friend, was doing a Lovecraft themed photo shoot and needed the use of a creepy-looking basement. Bond was willing to oblige, with the use of his basement. At the time, he was not familiar with Lovecraft, but under Hoffine’s recommendation, Bond later looked into his works.
Bond said his goal with “The Curse of Yig” release is to “blow some people’s minds.”
“If you put on headphones, it’s going to give you nightmares,” Bond declared.
View more on the project below via Kickstarter: