After the completion of Sigmund Blue's second album, Long Distance Mixtape, Greg was inspired to record an album of his own using a similar approach. The notion was to collapse the writing and recording processes together so that songs would literally be written as they were being recorded. This is not unlike the "modular" recording technique pioneered by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys during the Pet Sounds and Smile! phase of their career, and Sigmund Blue's work on Long Distance Mixtape provided a working template for Greg to borrow. This allowed the sound of a recording to influence the direction of the writing, and vice versa. However, as the album developed Greg loosened his self-imposed rules and interjected some already-written songs. Greg also experimented with borrowing lyrics from previously written songs and shaping them to newly-written music. The result is a blend of old and new that flows almost seamlessly.
The following songs were written entirely anew, as they were being recorded: "Whole/Part," "Center of the Universe," "Apropos," "Drop Anchor," "Forty Nights," "Bargain Song," "Validation."
The following songs were written in their entirety prior to recording for Cathexis: "Recipe for Ruin," "Paragon," "Done (Where I'll Be)," "Turn It Home."
The music for "All" and "Faith Proposal" was written for Cathexis but the lyrics were borrowed from previously written songs. It is noteworthy that in both cases, the original music was slower, more ballad-style compositions whereas their present formats are up-tempo.
The oldest song on the album is "Done (Where I'll Be)," which was written around 1997 or 1998. The newest (when considering both lyrics and music) is "Validation." "Recipe for Ruin" was originally written for Todd Rooster, and was performed live a few times with that band.
The word Cathexis refers to a psychoanalytic concept involving the investment of psychic energy in a given "object" (which could be a person, an idea, an inanimate thing, etc.). There is meta-meaning to this title, in that most of the songs' lyrics involve a cathexis of some kind, and cathexis is a fundamental principle involved in the writing and recording processes themselves.