STATIC FILMS was born in 1997 as the musical outlet of Mark Trecka. It has consistently included collaboration with multi-instrumentalist / arranger Douglas Tesnow, in addition to various other performers, but always the songs of Trecka. The life of Static Films has so far been an exploration of experimental tone assembly, noise-rock, folk, rock ‘n roll and poetry. Static Films has walked and stumbled and rolled along these paths for seven plus years, to find itself in a place where it is embraced from all sides by soul and blues, folk and rock, and most notably, an impassioned desire to communicate the sense of the strived-for; to call out across the Great Divide. This is done with a thoughtful, albeit shifting aesthetic and an undeniably commanding presence, which Trecka believes not to be his own, but that of the Spirit.
Static Films’ second full-length ‘Love of Light’ illustrates a marked progression in both style and method for the ever-evolving songwriting of Mark Trecka and arrangements of Douglas Tesnow along with the revolving cast of players. While the first Static Films full-length, ‘Force Over Distance’ was recorded over three years at six sites in two different cities, ‘Love of Light’ in great contrast, was recorded in just six days in one location. Locked in the windowless Projects Studios of Bloomington, IN, producer Jim Zespy and Static Films (as a group sometimes numbering ten players), executed over a year’s worth of heavily contemplated arrangements alongside a sense of spontineity in but a few all-night recording sessions, producing a coherent work of urgency not unlike Nico’s ‘Desertshore’ or Tim Buckley’s ‘Lorca’.
‘Love of Light’ is a record at once gothic and bluesy, varying from the piano and pump organ grandeur of the opener, “Loss of Light”, to the minimal acapella of the meditative “Calling”. Revolving around themes of impermanence and the struggle to embrace life in the face of death, ‘Love of Light’ achieves a conceptual cornerstone in the soulful ballad “The Hanging of the Inevitable”, which sounds something like ‘Songs of Love and Hate’-era Leonard Cohen covering Cat Power. Espousing an emphatic and active condemnation of death as a paralyzing notion, much of the album sounds like a last-ditch effort of one bearing the weight of a spiritual hangover. But like the aforementioned works along with perhaps Van Morrison’s ‘Veedon Fleece’, ‘Love of Light’’s sense of urgency rises as an uplift, an empowering call-to-arms rather than a sort of beaten-down surrender. Any sort of “heavy” mood that ‘Love of Light’ hinges on manifests not as depressing, but simply as urgent and quite serious. Trecka’s voice calls out in the mounting piano and swelling organ and chorus of voices, an ultimatum of love and abandon: “Day has come to decide where I stand / but I will lay in a crease in the palm of Love’s hand.”
The release of this record, as well as the subsequent months of touring to support it, will hope to establish Static Films as contemporaries to such artists as Bright Eyes and The Microphones. But while Static Films become a contender for the hearts of fans of these artists, they clearly stand as unique in their own right. Static Films has performed in the US and UK supporting bands such as Songs: Ohia, Appendix Out / Alasdair Roberts, Scout Niblett, Azita and others.
“In an era where chemicals are prescribed to maintain bland facial expressions and level off emotions to a flat-line, Static Films’ intensity is distinctly out-of-place. But that’s just the point... like Leonard Cohen singing hymns in a church backed by Mogwai and The Rachels.” - UR Chicago
Download contains JPGs of the original lyric booklet art, and a PDF of the original presskit.
released January 18, 2005
• CD = ltd to 500 copies
• DIGITAL = unlimited
digital re-release 15 February 2014
original liner notes:
Mark Trecka – vocals, piano, guitar
Douglas Tesnow – clarinet, organ, melodica, vocals
Evan Hydzik – drums, melodica, vocals, organ sounds
Elizabeth Remis – vocals, melodica
Mike Dixon – double bass
Paula Daughtry – cello
Eric Baytala – oboe
Joe Edelmann - mandolin
All songs written by Mark Trecka, arranged by Static Films.
Recorded and mixed by Jim Zespy at The Projects, Bloomington, Indiana, late 2003 and early 2004.
Mastered by Jim Zespy.
Design by Mark Trecka and Michael Anderson for 4K Design.
Acknowledgements: Patrick Thomas, Andrew Furse, Annie Brancky.
Thank you: Jim Zespy, Mike Anderson, Chairman Meow, Alyce Ornella, Chris and Secretly Canadian, the Tesnow, Trecka, and Hydzik families