Watch TV

TR 217CD TR 217CD

Although Watch TV is only Josh Ottum's second album, it is the result of years of songwriting, experimentation, sonic exploration, and personal introspection. Recorded piece-by-piece at both Richard Swift's National Freedom studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Casey Foubert's Metal Camp in Enatai, Washington, between 2007 and 2010, Watch TV is a sonically unified album, even as it remains a study in contrasts. Josh consciously chose to utilize an accessible musical palette in both his melodies and in his instrumentation. Indeed, a lot of the programming for the album was done on the consumer music software GarageBand. There are pop hooks galore and there are heartbreaking ballads that fit somewhere between some of Paul Simon's most transparent work and David Foster-produced '80s ballads by Chicago and Lionel. As Josh notes, "I've always loved midi sounds, fake choirs and sampled steel drums. I am also aware of how ridiculous these things are. I don't like them -- I love them." But at the same time he's stressing consumer instruments and technology and accessible melodies and hooks, Josh remains interested in compositional complexity. This juxtaposition of the "accessible" with the experimental bespeaks of the larger conceptual scope of Watch TV: What can be hidden beneath that which seems simple or easy to understand? What kind of emotional content lies underneath sounds that can seem almost cliché? And in what ways are our emotions and personal lives interwoven with pop music "clichés?" It is this, the album's admixtures of human and technological, of studio musicianship and consumer software, of melodic naiveté and compositional complexity, of accessibility and depth, of cliché and expression that come together around the human experience in modern society. Much like our relationship with TV music, each song on Watch TV provides a cinematic palate for the listener to project his or her feelings onto. The album means to be evocative.