R8T RECORDS

Russell's Eight Track Records

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MAGIC CARNIE

THE SIGNIFICANCE TRANCE

The Magic Carnie (Matt Gill) spent the summer of '05 in something he calls the significance trance. In the world of psychiatry it's known as hypervigilance. A symptom of mania and psychosis disorders, hypervigilance is a state in which a person becomes super sensitive to his surroundings. Every little thing takes on a special significance and often adds what seems to be evidence that falsely proves a delusion. It can also make the mundane majestic and things no one else notices devastatingly beautiful to the "sufferer". The episode eventually landed Gill in a psych ward in a tiny country town near Hattiesburg, MS, which was "like a hospital but with jail food." In the rec room, on an out-of-tune, snaggle-toothed piano, he hammered out parts of the songs he had been writing lyrics for since first being ordered into a hospital-adjacent holding facility, which was "like jail but with hospital food." The day he got home, he installed pirated recording software on a homemade PC and immediately recorded the song "Sun Explodes". The next day Hurricane Katrina hit. By the time the power came back on there were plenty of ideas to trap on digital tape. This is "Significance Trance", the dark, wondrous, endearingly lo-fi work from that month. The cover art, titled "Monkey with Liposuction Victim", was painted by Gill with watercolors during a stint in  rehab in '07.

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RUSSELL'S EIGHT TRACK

THE MAGIC EIGHT TRACK

“If the birds are going to ignore me, why should I care about anything?”


So said a man I will call Daniel. He came from the Baptist church where Russell Welch played paid gigs every Sunday morning. Daniel found Russell’s address in the church directory, and after a service in February of 2005 he appeared at the guitar student’s door.


Daniel wore baggy, hazy jeans, blue and yellow like the clearing sky after a dusk thunderstorm. His coat was tan corduroy with popped double-breasted lapels and pockets on either side the size of sockets for softballs. He mostly kept his left hand dug in, thoughtfully keeping closed the remainder of a one-pound bag of Skittles. With his right he reached out to shake Russell’s hand when he opened the door, surprised, between outfits, sock-footed and skinny jeans undone, wife-beater exposed. Daniel gripped Russell’s hand tightly and shook it almost theatrically.


“Russell ‘The Heir’ Welch,” he said, smirking but doing so with deference. He continued to shake Russell’s hand. Russell heard himself being called “The Air”, his feelings momentarily hurt by what at first seemed like an insult.


“The Air,” Russell said. “I get it. You’re from the church, right? You’re in the choir.”


“I stand with them, but I don’t know the tunes, much less the words. The songs are pretty bad.” He wasn’t shaking the hand any more, but he was holding it, reverently. “My name is Daniel the Spaniel,” he said and finally released the hand. Now both his hands were in his pockets. The candy bag crinkled.


“The music is all right for that sort of music,” Russell’s deference forced, but in his way he meant it.


He didn’t so much invite Daniel in as he just left the door open and stomped off toward the living room, his bony heels on the hardwood floor, hurriedly as if it were important for Daniel to follow him.

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©2020 by Russell Welch