Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Celebrating a year-long effort — alone

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Moes Haven, an alt-rock duo who are just as happy to write and record admittedly “terrible” songs as they are to create good ones, have completed their year-long project of recording a 30-minute album for every day of 2006 (see “An Album A Day,” by Dana Jones, January 13, 2006).

To mark the accomplishment, Matt Farley, one of the band’s two members, will taking a week off work, between February 2 and 10, and listening to his own music (182.5 hours of it) for eight days straight. Farley’s goal is to sit through every song of 2006, in order, without leaving his apartment in Manchester, New Hampshire.

For obvious reasons, he expects to be alone for almost the entire time — except for weekends, when his Moes Haven partner, Tom Scalzo, will make the trip up from Boston to play video games and listen.

Farley has invited members of the media to the party — including representatives of the Portland Phoenix, Late Show with David Letterman, The New York Times, and publications based as far away as Texas, as well as friends and family. “I don’t expect anyone to come,” he says. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a shock: Farley plans to sleep through much of the music himself.

“I have a five-disc changer,” Farley says, noting that he can fit two 30-minute albums onto a single CD. “I can sleep through up to five hours at a time,” before having to wake up and reload the CD changer.

But the effort to create has always been more of what drives Moes Haven than any prospect of what others might define as success. They make “a little money” every month from people who buy selections from their 313-song selection on iTunes. (Farley notes the irony of “strangers paying us to listen to our songs, while our friends and family tell us to turn them off.”)

No one need worry about a live show. “We don’t even know how to play most of our songs,” having written and recorded most of them fairly quickly, and moved on almost immediately to the next.

Next up — apart from a 16-track professionally mastered collection of their best songs from 2006, Victory Is Ours (For Now), due out perhaps in time for the listening party, or shortly thereafter — is a five-year self-imposed silence.

To keep fans on the hook, though, after three years, the group will make some live recordings of new songs and secretly stash them between the pages of books in libraries around New England, as detailed in the last cut on the album that showcases the best songs they wrote in December. It’s called “Moes Haven’s Five Year Plan,” and describes what the band hope will become a popular treasure hunt for their newest material. If history is any predictor, the band’s members will be the only ones to hear nearly all of those songs, too.

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