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  • Writer's pictureIan Galipeau


As I'm working on a new album, I'm also spending some time reflecting on the things that worked (and the many things that didn't work) in regards to other music I've released. It made me think about a way-too-long Facebook post I put up last year talking about my 2018 EP releases, titled Raise / Raze. And I thought that post would make much better blog content, so I searched it out and I'm re-working it slightly to fit on here.

Since the release of Raise and Raze, I've gone through phases of regretting that naming decision because I've found it can be confusing to talk about them. But the more I think about it, the more I'm satisfied with the titles. That confusion and contradiction was at the heart of the original idea.

I remember being fascinated when I learned the word 'raze' in a vocabulary lesson in school. It felt so strange to find out that there are two words, pronounced identically, that mean opposite things. A homonym that's also an antonym. I chose those two words as the titles for my EPs as a way of trying to embrace those two sides of my music that never quite seemed to fit.

I have long felt there were substantial conflicts in my songwriting, and that there was a solid chance I was alienating my audience mid-set with musical whiplash. It's one thing to write a sentimental wedding tribute folk song, but it's another thing to follow it with a trite pop-rock joke about being unoriginal, and yet another to chase those with a Beatles-y melodramatic lament about whether anything has meaning. I suppose the silver lining is that anyone listening passively probably won't get bored... but anyone who really connected with one of those songs probably didn't get much out of the other two. One out of three ain't good, as the saying goes. Or at least, as my insecurities tell me.

So... four years ago, in my journey to overcome that self-consciousness, I set six uplifting and hopeful acoustic songs up alongside six rock songs that ranged from searching, to sad, to outright morbid. And all together, they are a single statement of artistic effort. Joyful and despairing. Subtle and raucous. Songs about love and friendship and celebration, and suffering and dying and meaninglessness.

I wanted my cover art for the two EPs to mirror that idea, and I spent a long time thinking about how I could present two images of the same thing that would capture a similar juxtaposition. And what I eventually settled on stemmed from my favorite song on them - "Man on Wire". The cover of Raise is an abstraction of an image of Philippe Petit, walking on his tight rope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. The cover of Raze is a stylistically similar abstraction - of the plane-shaped hole in the North Tower on September 11, 2001. Two images of two defining moments of the same buildings. Joyful and despairing. Subtle and raucous. Moments of love and friendship and celebration, and suffering and dying and meaninglessness.

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