Check below for a response by Ben Durrant, who recorded and produced Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha. In it he explains where “Self Torture” came from and even discusses other unreleased b-sides to Armchair Apocrypha.
You may remember my pursuit of this song from a bit back. I was completely enraptured by it when he performed it live and was eagerly anticipating its release on his then upcoming album Armchair Apocrypha. Unfortunately when the records track listing surfaced, “Self Torture” was nowhere to be found. Not even Andrew Birds drummer Martin Dosh had any idea of its whereabouts, or if it had even been recorded. Well, I now know that it WAS recorded because e-music has the online exclusive release of the track. This track must be heard, it is one of the best new songs I’ve heard him record in years. I’m still unsure of why it wasn’t featured on the album, the only thing I can think of is that it is a NEW recording. It sounds somewhat sparse compared to the tropical grandiose production of the live version of which I have also posted below, but its more delicate qualities do not detract at all from its sound and make for a more intimate listening.
Ben Durrant (Recorded/Produced Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha) :
Ran across your site. I recorded/produced a good chunk of the album and thought I’d give you the lowdown on that song. This and a couple other gorgoeus slower numbers (one of which – “Sick of Elephants” is a bonus tune on I-Tunes) were left off the album in order to keep it shorter, and a little more upbeat overall.
Andrew recorded some of the basic tracks for this one with Dan Dietrich in Chicago, we redid the vocals at my studio – Crazy Beast, in Minneapolis – Dosh added some misc things, we added the (as I call them) Gregorian Beach Boy harmony vocals, etc.
After deciding that it would not be on the album Andrew just had me do a quick remix on it and strip it back down to more or less the original track, but maintaining the harmonies.
There is also an alternate, very pastoral, version of the song Spare-ohs that we did here that will probably end up being released somewhere/time which I believe is my very favorite track of *all* of them, but again was nixed in favor of the (slightly) more upbeat version which appears on the disc.
Glad you enjoy the track and disc.
Visit Andrewbird.net for more information.