The Hideout, midnight
Somewhere between the icy sonic avalanche at the beginning and the ornate choir sounds at the end, you begin to wonder: How is it possible for a new band self-recording their very first album to create a 10-minute epic reminiscent of Sigur Rós?
"The secret is time," says Scott Oliphant, drummer/primary engineer for Austin's Halley.
The track in question is "Kites Are Slow Downers" off Halley's luminous debut, 2002's Forget the Leaves, Autumn Will Change Us. It's as expansive as the rest of the album, a feather-dusted ride through terrain ranging from frenzied, overdriven space rock to eerie electronica and glassy-eyed narcotic balladry.
"We wanted to make something that if you're just hanging out, it would be suitable to listen to it all the way through, not just pick out songs," explains singer/guitarist Trace Faulkner. "We feel like every instrumental track, every vocal track, even the little noise stuff going on, is so important."
So important that Faulkner, Oliphant, and twin brothers Gary (guitar) and William (keyboards) Ankeny spent nearly two years recording the album at home -- and not just intermittently. They didn't even bother looking for a bass player till the album was finished, eventually adding John Clement.
"Everything on there is deliberate, even as screwed up and crazy as it is all together," says Oliphant. "Some bands, even bands I like, you get the record and it's the same song 11 times in a row. They're all really good, but ..."
"It doesn't really move you," interjects Faulkner. "The whole thing goes back to just having something that people can listen to, people like us who dig music but don't have any kind of genre they cling to."
"I think every band should make a record on their own at least once," says Oliphant. "In a studio, $150 an hour clicking by is always in the back of your mind. You feel like you don't have the time to try things out, to throw Trace in a bathroom somewhere or put a mic in a couch or something."