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cover art and inserts.
1990 - Tommy Boy/Reprise Records
Catalogue # - TBLP 26258.

Hack album

We toured extensively on our first album. Too long, in my opinion. There was two years and 4 months betwwen the first and second album.
We started pulling together new material for the second album in the fall of 89. I think that both Paul and I tried to branch out a lot stylistically. Since the first album was a success, we were fairly self-indulgent, allowing ourselves 15 songs with almost as many completely different styles. I feel that this is the great weakness of Hack. Many of the songs are very good, but I always had the unpleasant sensation that there was always something on it you wouldn't want to hear no matter WHAT mood you were in.

We started recording in January of 90, with Fred producing again. We recorded at Francois Kevorkian's Axis studios on 54th St. in Manhattan, 16 floors above the Studio 54 night club, at which we had played at least 4 shows over the years. Fred had his own room there, in which we did pre-production before going over to the 24-track room for recording. We mixed upstairs in the A-room with the SSL. Bob Rosa engineered.

The female vocals were done by India and Mariuccia Nocera, who had some dance singles of their own.

This was when digital recording gear began to show up. The 48-track mix recorder was digital. But what was really new at the time was when we were done, and it came time to SEQUENCE the album. Sequencing is merely the process of assembling all the differnt recordings together into one long tape that can be made into the final album CD or LP. Until then this had always been done by cutting and taping together quarter-inch audio tape. Around this time, however, digital computer recording equipment was available. Fred decided to sequence the thing on some monster Mac's that Axis had. We had to rent, at phenomenal expense, TWO of the biggest hard disc they could get for the Mac: 660 megabytes! It was the first time I or anyone else involved had ever heard of a computer with more than a gig of storage. We thought we were so cool... As Fred kept saying when there were problems: "We're pioneers". And there were problems. We'd be running the stuff off the hard discs onto DAT, and there'd be these little popping drop-outs... barely audible... Even after Fred got it sorted out with DigiDesign's tech support, we were constantly listening to little percussion sounds and nervouly wondering if they were actually drop-outs...
The interesting thing, though, is that this method of sequencing had a big influence on the sound of the album. One of the reasons that Fred decided to try this new method is that we were insisting on having all these little segues between the songs. If all of those had been on tape, sequencing the record physically would have been a nightmare. So we loaded everything up into the computers and just started spinning it off. It didn't take us too long to realize, however, that we could mess with all the songs and segues however we wanted to! The fall-off of the pitch at the end of SEEK200 was done on the computer during sequencing. The Portuguese radio segue between Think and Knife & A Fork was completely assembled during sequencing. At the end of "T.V. addicts, The repeating " from a machine-machine-mach-from a machine...", the stuttering end of "Come With Me"... all of these exist only because we were playing with Direct-To-Disc for the first time.

The whole process took until the end of 06/90. We made the "Think" video in 07/90, Peter Hewitt directed. (He went on to make the films "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (which he told us was going to be called "Bill & Ted Go To Hell") and "Tom & Huck"). The album came out in 09/90, and we began touring on it in 10/90.

A great deal was made of the name, "HACK". We were using the name much more loosely than most people assumed. True, we were thinking of computer hacking, but we were also implying the idea of musical hacks, meaning, getting the job done efficiently and moving on. Or, as Jim liked to say, it meant that "we cut up meat!". Truth is, things like that rarely mean as much to the band as they do to reporters and fans.
The "Warning, this is not art" thing was supposed to have been a sticker on the outside of the shrink wrap. Oh well. Of course, the album actually IS art... the idea here was to joke about taking ourselves too seriously, which we always tried not to do.
Those silly symbols were made by someone at the record company, and although we didn't like them too much, we didn't want to hold up the process by complaining about it. (Now I just make my cover art at home using Photoshop. Thank god for computers.

There was a small number of CD's printed with a full-color image of a close-up of part of my car, for promotional purposes only, not for sale. (Top row, right) I have one. Ha ha.

Don't ever write to that fan club address on the back. That only lasted about a year.

Equipment used on this album included:
Voyetra Sequencer Plus MIDI sequencing software
DigiDesign's ProTools
Akai S-1000 sampler
Roland MKS-80 analogue synth
Roland MKS-50 analogue synth
Roland D-50 PCM synth
Roland D-110 PCM synth
Roland U-110 PCM synth
Roland D-550 PCM synth
Oberheim Matrix 1000
Roland SRV-2000 reverb
Eventide Ultra-harmonizer
Yamaha SPX-1000 multi-effects
And a whole lot of other stuff.

Song Clips

Trk. # Song title Audio Excerpt Comments
Sample-Fest 1...
How Long
Pop Apogee...
Back on the radio...
A Knife & A Fork
Rhymes and reason...
Now That I Have You
Loops and bites
Fire Tonight
War is in the air...
Can't Slow Down
Jim and India...
Hard Currency
Sample-Fest 2
Move Out
Change and re-assembly...
InSoc, Molly, and You...
Sample-Fest 3
If Only
Come With Me
I am Nomad!
Slipping Away
Look Ma! MIDI
velocity sensitivity!

Follow this link to purchase this album.