disappearing inK: RECOUNT
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Hear the EP Lawrence Lanahan recorded in reaction to the pandemic and political crises of 2020, with urgent vocals he recorded at the very moment Congress was under siege.
On RECOUNT, songwriter and author Lawrence Lanahan's Disappearing Ink "recounts" an incomprehensible year, with vocals recorded at a moment of national peril.
"Suspicion showers/violence flowers"
"Who's really free?/I guess we'll see"
"Hold your breath and watch truth die"
Lawrence Lanahan wrote a series of songs throughout the summer and fall of 2020 in reaction to America's political and public health crises. The first words he put to paper were, "What was it like?", reminding himself to capture the moment in a way that would ring true decades later.
After finishing the lyrics, he worried he'd overreacted--perhaps once the election calmly came and went, the songs would immediately sound dated or even paranoid.
Unfortunately, the lyrics were dead on. On January 6, Lanahan happened to be staying at a cabin at a remote state park. He'd brought a microphone to record vocals on three songs for which he'd completed backing tracks. At 4pm a text came through from his wife: "They've stormed the capitol. Barricades and guns drawn in the Senate." Cell service was too spotty to download any news. So Lanahan set up the mics.
The three songs on Disappearing Ink's "Recount" EP feature vocals recorded at the moment Congress was under siege.
"Recount" is not only a reference to the election. “Recount” also means to tell a story from memory about an experience, in this case the bewildering experience of being American in 2020. The songs are bound up with this summer's movement against racist police violence, with the pandemic, and with our political collapse. The songs are a recounting, written throughout an incomprehensible year, sung at a moment of national peril.
Lawrence Lanahan lives in northeast Baltimore with his wife Andrea Appleton and their two children. Lanahan produced, arranged, and performed on Joseph Bernstein's recent debut, 1941. Critics praised Lanahan's first album, a self-titled 2004 EP, for “intricately picked guitar work and melodious, thoughtful songs” and “wit, emotion, [and] bizarre narration.” Disappearing Ink's There Is No Time and Nothing's Been (2014) drew on Lanahan's composition studies with Judah Adashi and jazz studies with Carl Filipiak, loading jazz harmonies, guitar feedback, and horn and string arrangements into a driving rhythm section for tight tunes and occasional departures into out-jazz improvisation. In 2019, Lanahan published The Lines Between Us: Two Families and a Quest to Cross Baltimore's Racial Divide and began performing in Baltimore with a new lineup for Disappearing Ink: Mark Brock-Cancellieri on electric piano, Odell Norman on drums, and Kevin Corbin on bass. In September 2020, Disappearing Ink released Surprises.
Lanahan began a series of live-streamed performances in March 2020 when COVID-19 arrived, choosing covers and songs from his own catalog along themes like "Old Songs, New Resonances" and "Assholes, Losers, and Sad Bastards." One performance consisted entirely of covers of Baltimore songwriters.
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From 2020, Surprises:
From 2014, There Is No Time and Nothing's Been:
From 2004, Lawrence Lanahan's self-titled EP: