Iska Dhaaf offer two new songs in their series today via Brick Lane Records. “Happiness” hovers out solemn and chambered with Nate Quiroga’s Gibson ES-330 Hollow Body over a basin of Benjamin Verdoes’ keys, hi-hat, and kick. Quiroga sings (see: properties of the opal), “Happiness is just round the corner. Taste it, I want to taste it till I’m wasted. And I fall on my face.” Verdoes’ falsetto harmonies are cast as veneer. An urn sits on a table. The room is old. The house, older. Smell of eucalyptus resides. A beautiful house, but the structure is distraught.
“Rumi” starts from the urn with the same basin reflected keys, then enters into a faster staccato picked, '60s momentum. It calls to mind the ivy and red clay river bank aspects of R.E.M.’s Murmur. Out of a section of tremolo pause, Quiroga’s vocals spike, “Who wears my skin as a shroud?” He screams, “Who strips me when I die?” The song arrives at resolution with Verdoes unleashing cycled quick-fills around the meter and melody.
Below is a brief interview with Quiroga.
How were the sessions, recording? How were the takes?
Quiroga: We recorded “Happiness” multiple times. At least four different sessions. It was really hard to capture its spirit. There are subtle tempo shifts in the transitions. We had to record it to a click that was designed to shift, increasing and decreasing in tempo. We recorded it to 2 inch tape. “Rumi” was the first song we ever started writing together. We wrote the riff on Christmas Eve almost three years ago. Only I was playing it mostly on organ.