Distances was recorded between 2009 and 2013, in a flux of impermanent spaces. The bulk of the songs were tracked at a former Pocono resort in an abandoned recreation hall dubbed “The Rec Room”. Many believe the building to be haunted. A stream flows underneath The Rec Room, and a vegetable garden was pioneered around a once glorious swimming pool, now teeming with life. Vocals, keys and atmospheric elements in The Rec Room, along with the contributions of collaborators. The remainder of the album was produced in various locations throughout the throughout the Lehigh Valley, PA and at Supreme Sound Studio in New Jersey.
The Pinehurst was one of the premier resorts in the Pocono's from the 1940's to the 1960's. The resort was a retreat for city folk looking for tranquility and relaxation in the outdoors. As tourism declined, the resort was turned into apartments, and the property saw years of neglect with the pool and Recreation Hall becoming dilapidated.
Tom moved into one of the apartments soon after the release of Almanac, and began to transform the abandoned Rec Room into a recording studio. Crates of wood were stacked to contain the sound, and an "igloo" was created to continue recording through the winter in the unheated space. Tom's girlfriend Judy turned the pool into a vegetable garden and farmed it through the summer months.
THE REC ROOM
The Rec Room was a magical space where most of the album was written and recorded. In the pictures below there is evidence of the tarps and blankets that were forged together to create the "Igloo". A stream literally flowed beneath the room, and graffiti was visible, etched in the walls from the 1950's.
As with previous Dragon Turtle efforts, we worked with an amazing cast of friends and collaborators to flesh out some of the instrumentation.
Andrew Xue spent a few days at The Rec Room recording cello parts and various other sounds and noises.
Mary Lattimore laid down some amazing harp parts on several tracks.
Brian Csencsits and Kyle Page (We Have Heaven) helped out with drumming on several tracks.
We also received generous contributions from the following:
Ian Anderson: Synth, Russell Higbee: Piano, Jay Hudak: Bass, Ben Keiser: Drum Machine, David Kresge: Electric Guitar, Voice, Darius Mehundrew: Voice, Jeremy and Jerusha Robinson: Voice, Lou Rogai: Bass, Lapsteel, Josh Steinbauer: Voice, Lou Tambone: Voice, Mike Tedesco: Voice, Judy Zarach: Voice.
During the process of recording this record, Tom moved five times in three years. Recording studios were created out of friends living rooms, basements, garages, and anywhere we could hang our hat.
With Brian in Brooklyn and Tom living in PA, much of the album's lyrics were written on the bus while traveling back and forth to record.
Life, paying the bills, and losing family members brought complexities to work around while recording. There were periods of inactivity and reflection in the midst of creating Distances.
Tom took a recorder out to sea and recorded oceanic sounds, waves, gulls and ambient sounds on the Atlantic ocean. those sounds were rammed through Leslie speakers and reverb chains and placed all over the album.
We knew our friend Jeremy Blakeslee would be the perfect person to ask for help in finding the right visual for this record.
The Sutro Baths in San Francisco were the perfect combination of abandoned earthly decay and celestial movement through long exposure photos.
The photos were taken at both halves of the day. The morning rising to the east and the setting of the day on the Pacific.