Gift of Sacrifice

Gift of Sacrifice

After making his solo debut in 2014 with This Machine Kills Artists, Buzz Osborne of the Melvins enlisted his old friend and Fantômas bandmate Trevor Dunn (also of Mr. Bungle) to lend a hand on his second outing. Whereas This Machine Kills Artists was just Buzz and an acoustic guitar, Gift of Sacrifice features guitar, modular synth, and Dunn’s nimble fingers on the stand-up bass. “I was going to do this tour—which is obviously not happening now [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]—so I asked Trevor if he wanted to come along as the opener, and suggested maybe we could record some stuff together for a tour EP,” Osborne tells Apple Music. “And once he started playing on the songs, it was like, ‘Oh my god!’ It added so much that I wanted him to play on this record. I’m kind of an accidentalist that way—if something’s working, I’m not going to pretend like it’s not working.” Below, Osborne guides us through the happy accidents on Gift of Sacrifice. Mental Vomit “This is a nice intro that Trevor did by playing the bass percussively with his fingers and with a bow—it’s multitracked. We might’ve added a few other things, but there’re no actual percussive instruments—no cowbell or drums or anything like that. It’s either electronics or bass or guitar. That’s it. I just thought it was a good place to start that kind of slowly pushes you into the album, like getting into a hot bath slowly.” Housing, Luxury, Energy “I don’t know what my favorite song of the record would be, but this would be close. I thought it was a strong track to have be the first song with vocals on the record, because it's definitely a lot different than what's on my first album, and the bowed bass on this is extremely cool. The title ‘Housing, Luxury, Energy’ brings up a lot of the stuff that we as Americans take for granted that I do not take for granted. I came from very little, starting out, with my family—certainly more than some people, but a lot less than others. I’ve never forgotten that stuff, and I’ve always appreciated it.” I'm Glad I Could Help Out “The music for this was recorded in one take, and then I overdubbed the vocals. We picked this one to make a video for because it’s shorter and wouldn’t be as much work. My buddy Jesse [Nieminen] from Atlanta, who did the [Melvins’ 2017] A Walk With Love and Death movie, did this video, too—and the video is a lot like the movie. The first line of the song is ‘They came to terrorize the wisest of the wise,’ which is kind of along the lines of the loose theme of the album: my disappointment in the know-nothing know-it-alls.” Delayed Clarity “I wrote this quite a long time ago—maybe three years ago or longer. I really like the ending riff—that definitely could’ve been a Melvins song. I recorded that with the idea that the only thing that was going to be on it was acoustic guitar until the ending, and then I really like the electronic end. The idea of ‘delayed clarity’ would also go along with the disappointment with the know-nothing know-it-alls: Maybe, eventually, they’ll understand what the deal was.” Junkie Jesus “This was one of those songs that, by the time we got done mixing it and adding in the little bells and whistles, it had turned into something that was a lot better than how it started. Often, with the musicians that I play with, I know I have something that they’re going to really hit a home run with. It’s about trusting the guys you play with. You have to have the ability and the non-ego to stand back and let them do their magic on it. I’ve worked with people who thought, ‘I wrote this. I’m the songwriter.’ It’s like, ‘Okay, Mozart. If you just let us do our thing, you’d be a lot better off.’” Science in Modern America “A lot of times my lyrics aren’t that specific, but the angle for this one is that science and religion are pretty much the same thing—to me. People will resist that night and day, but I don’t care. The two of them are a lot closer than people think, and that will be the ultimate revelation, eventually. For example: You can’t destroy matter. Everyone and everything that’s ever been here is always going to be here, unless you blast it off the planet. And the other idea is that what is considered absolute scientific fact right now will be considered total buffoonery in 500 years. What we think of as absolute and morally perfect right now will be immoral and imperfect in 500 years. We will all be immoral monsters—all we have to do is wait.” Bird Animal “I think this is the only song that doesn’t have bass on it. If I had added bass to it, I don’t really know what I would have done. I really worked hard on the vocals for this one—I think I spent more time on those vocals than on any of the other ones. I really like the riffs, too—how it feels like it’s going to go somewhere and then it just drifts into that nightmare.” Mock She “This is obviously a cover of Kiss’ ‘Shock Me,’ but I changed the title to the anagram ‘Mock She’ just to see who the real Kiss fans are. I have a real distinct love of certain elements of their stuff, but certainly not their entire career. I don’t know what you would call it musically, but the riff they start with on this is really cool. I’ve always loved it, and I always wanted to do it without the chorus coming in right away. Then we threw in that section from the live album [Kiss’ Alive II]. I think a part of me was thinking, if Tom Waits was going to do it, how would he do it? I can’t wait to play it live with Trevor.” Acoustic Junkie “This is a little instrumental piece like the one at the beginning of the record. In a lot of ways, they’re extensions of the same song. We could’ve put those together easily. I think we did some strange stuff on this, like putting the exact same bass riff backwards on top of the bass riff. We did so much of that stuff that we call ‘dog whistles’—stuff that nobody’s ever going to notice except us.”

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