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Members: Ben Cooper

The Family Tree: The Roots (2011):

This is the first record in a trilogy of records. I didn't set out to make a trilogy. I just wanted to write a family saga. It's something I'd wanted to do for a long time. But I was timid at first. Family is a big topic from me, being from a large and atypical one, and I was hesitant to start for fear I'd do a shitty job of it. But once I started writing for it, it all kinda poured out. I started writing for it in 2007. I came up with a fictional family tree -- a Frankenstein of random genealogy charts, my own family history, some of my personal experiences and plain old fiction -- and used that as the basis for the songs. When I started organizing the record in 2009, I had over 45 songs to work with, even after ditching the ones I wasn't so sure of.

Faced with that much material, I decided to break the content into a timeline. So this first record, The Roots, is the beginning of the timeline (from about 1800-1860). As such, I put the most limitations on it. I tried to keep the production as simple as possible, and I limited myself to 4 main instruments: acoustic guitar, piano, a floor tom, and vocals. I sometimes added embellishments beyond those, but only when the song called for it. The goal is to have the record become more and more modern with each installment, so this one is the most straightforward of the set. If you'd like to hear how a couple tracks turned out, click on the players below:

The Family Tree: The Bastards, Volume One (2011)

This EP that was released about a month before "The Roots". It's made up of the songs that didn't quite fit the full-length. It's titled "Volume One" because I will be releasing at least two more of them through the course of the Family Tree project, so that I can have a place to put all the songs that don't quite fit the LPs. All the EPs will be free until the end of the whole project, at which point I will probably collect them into a single disc. You can download them from the players below (edit: soundcloud only allows 100 downloads with a free account, so I added a link to the .zip on my server below the players).

Click here to download

Touch The Sky EP (2010)

This was a digital-only EP I put out in late 2010 because of the next record being delayed, and because of Ghost suddenly getting some exposure (it hadn't done much at all up until this point), Morr Music asked if I could put something together. I had a good amount of material leftover from the new album, as well as some alternate versions of tracks from Ghost that I had been playing live, so I finished the EP over the course of about a three weeks. A couple tracks are below.

Ghost (2007)

Ghost was released in March, 2007 on Morr Music. I started writing for the record long before that, though. I'd been collecting songs for the record since early 2004, all under the concept of making a record about houses. rBut because I'd been writing for the album over that long a period, I wound up with way too many songs, even after discarding the ones I was less excited about. So I divided those up into two categories, based on their sound. Category one was "Ghost." Category two will be my next solo record, but I'll wait until I'm closer to completion before I talk too much about that one.

So "Ghost" is a concept record. I know that's a dirty word to a lot of people, but I like concept records. It was written with the idea of houses having memories, and people leaving ghosts behind whenever they move from one place to the next. An idea that whatever we do in our homes is collected in the walls and might come out and haunt whoever moves in next. So the songs are all short stories, tied together with a theme.

The record took about 10 months of working reguarly to track, the majority of it done in the trusty old toolshed behind my mom's house, and a good month after that to mix. I had a specific sound in mind with this album, and it took a lot of shaping to get it there. And some songs used upwards of a hundred tracks, so getting them to stick together was sometimes an issue. But Emeral Cooper (my younger brother and collaborator in Iron Orchestra), Mark Hubbard, and Alex Kane helped me out on a couple tracks. Emeral with piano on "Welcome Home", Mark with some drums on the same song, and Alex with bass on "The Strangest Things" and "Glory". Thanks again, you three.

Anywho, if you'd like to hear a couple tracks from the record, click on the players below.

The Junkyard Chandelier (2003)

This is technically the first Radical Face record I ever made. I'd recorded at least 50 songs before this point, but this was the first time I'd set out to make complete record. I recorded it with a digital 8-track and 2 microphones in 2002, and finished mixing it in 2003. It was available for free through my website at the time. I'd attempted releasing it with a couple small labels, but the two that showed interest went under. So I just put it up online and moved on.

It hasn't been available for a while, so I figured I'd just leave a zip of it here on my website. Click here to download. Note: there's no artwork for it, because I never made any. Sorry about that.