While working on the final touches of a 2 year long recording project called When the Sky is Clear, Tim Haufe recorded an entirely separate project called Downstairs. When the Sky is Clear was an expensive, drawn out project, and Tim had already begun writing new music before its completion. The new stuff was different, as if it had been conceived by another person, or a newer version of himself. When the Sky is Clear was an old project, made of relatively old songs. Since the recording budget had already been depleted in the studio with When the Sky is Clear, Tim had to resort to recording the new material on his own. The entire Downstairs project was done with old, almost obsolete recording equipment, which was dug out of a closet and dusted off to be used yet again for a project that was lo-fi and under the radar's radar. An old mixer and an 8 track recorder were put through their paces in numerous creative ways. They help to impart a charming tone on the album's character.
As is typical with a Tim Haufe album, all of the arrangements and instrumentation were written and performed solely by himself, with the exception of his close friend, bassist, Everett Comfort, who visits the album's personable progression for a short time on the sister tracks, "The Towne Cries" and "Together". Interestingly enough, the album's track order happens to be the same order in which the songs were recorded. They seemed to just fall into place effortlessly to form a cohesive body of work. Once recording was complete, the tracks were brought to Brian Marchini for mixing and mastering, and in June of 2008, Downstairs was born. The project took place in Tim's parent's house, in a downstairs apartment that was vacant at the time, hence the album's title, Downstairs.
The album is a musical work that is unassuming. It welcomes you into its sound and lets you experience its emotions with open arms. Its rawness hides nothing, so that you may see the vulnerable character hiding behind the songs who confesses his fears, his passions, and his desires in the most genuine way he knows of. The album begins with an unusual "Introduction Period", which hints at confusion, and a sort of spattered development from what seems like nothing. Then, as if to be awakened suddenly, "And I'll Be Saved" explodes onto the album, and acquaints the listener for the first time with the aforementioned vulnerable character, who in the song, blatantly yearns for some kind of saving grace. Through many musical peaks and valleys, the listener is led along a progression of diverse songs until the climax during "Don't Treat No One Badly", when all of the wondering and yearning and pent up frustration of the preceding songs is released in a vocalistic, yet screaming guitar solo, the only real example of guitar solo work on the whole album.
From there, Everett Comfort appears during the following two tracks, and provides some further relief until the soft and mysterious beginning of "When I'm Alone", a song whose title recalls the title of the song "When the Sky is Clear", but now with a stormy connotation. In "When I'm Alone", we again intimately hear from the album's main character, who is alone and wondering what to think of his past, wondering how to handle his present, and fearful of his uncharted future. In "When I'm Alone", we see the culmination of the album's main themes: desire to do what must be done, apprehension to go out and do it, and fear.
Somehow, though, Mr. Haufe leaves us hopeful. It might be with the little light-hearted love song he presents to us as Downstairs' closing title, "Settle Down". The song's lyrical subject, its simple guitar work, and its closing lines all shine a new light on the dark places of the preceding body of songs, as if to comfort all of the worries away and to somehow make all of the troubles presented throughout the album seem like less of a big deal. That is, for the time being, anyway.
Tim Haufe is a songwriter and composer who lives in New York. He has produced his five studio albums on his own. Of those five albums, he feels very strongly about Downstairs. Little by little, he plans to make his music more available to his fans
released July 1, 2008
Produced by Tim Haufe
Arrangements/Instrumentation by Tim Haufe
Recorded in Poughkeepsie, NY from February-June 2008
Everett Comfort- Bass on "The Towne Cries" and "Together"
All songs written by Tim Haufe
Engineered by Tim Haufe
Mixed and mastered by Brian Marchini
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