[Click here for lyrics and liner notes]
In 2011, after releasing Cathexis, Greg found himself with the itch to work in the studio, but not enough time to start a new album. Expecting his first child in January 2012, Greg knew that once his son arrived there would be less time and focus available for studio work. He began two new projects that he believed could be completed before January. One was the covers project, and the other was a remaster of his 2002 two-volume set, Greg Goldman Volume I and Greg Goldman Volume II.
It had bothered Greg for years that this collection of songs, some of the strongest and most accessible of his entire writing career, had been recorded in conditions that compromised sound quality. In particular, the drums for these albums were recorded and mixed to only two tracks (one channel contained snare and toms, the other contained kick and overheads). This meant that the brilliant drum tracks provided by Andy Goodson, Charlie Platt and Justin Howell could not be given the appreciation they deserved. His mastering job in 2002 also left much to be desired.
Then there was the packaging. Greg had omitted only two of the 22 songs recorded for the 2002 releases, and there was a wide variety of songwriting styles represented on the original albums. While this was somewhat of a strength at the time, as the years went by Greg became increasingly desirous of a package that contained only the strongest, most well-received, most accessible songs. A new fan purchasing their first Greg Goldman album would perhaps be confused or even turned off by the way the songs were originally collected on Volume I and Volume II. Greg therefore selected only 12 songs from the original releases, allowing for a single, streamlined album.
In the process of reviewing the original recordings, Greg rediscovered the two songs that were left off of Greg Goldman Volume I and Greg Goldman Volume II. They were omitted at the time due to technical constraints (for example, one required a piano sound which Greg could not produce convincingly enough for his taste). They were both written in the 1990s. Either Way it Works was written during Greg's days with Somah and performed live with that band semi-regularly starting around 1996. I'm Not Gonna Sit Back was recorded in 1998, shortly after Greg left Somah and was attending the University of Vermont. Both songs were only partially completed, bearing only basic backing tracks and vocals. Greg began with these tracks (in truth, some of the new recording for these started in 2009 while Greg was living in Michigan) and rounded them out with full instrumentation. I'm Not Gonna Sit Back is the only song on the album to feature Greg on drums.
Greg then moved on to the 12 other songs. For each song, he began with the raw, dry tracks and loaded them into his digital audio workstation. He then isolated each instrument and applied sound processing elements until the instrument sounded as ideal as possible. In some cases, Greg was unsatisfied with the results of this process and simply re-recorded instruments. In one case (Concession Stand), Greg re-recorded the lead vocal track. In some cases he added new instrumental parts (particularly keyboards, which his present studio is much more able to accommodate than was his studio circa 2001-2002). In many cases Greg altered amplifier sounds using software plug-ins (particularly for the bass guitar tracks, most of which were originally recorded direct-in and therefore somewhat without adequate color and power).
For the drums, Greg used drum replacement software and matched drum samples as closely as possible to the original drum sounds. He mixed these new sounds with the original two-channel mixes to create a fuller, more aesthetically pleasing overall drum mix.
These new song mixes were subjected to a rigorous mastering process that continued over the course of several weeks. Greg was determined to release an album with excellent audio quality, while also honoring and presenting in the best light possible the work as originally conceived.
For the album cover, Greg chose to re-use the original cover created by Brandi Parker for Greg Goldman Volume I. This innovative cover was created by Brandi by taking a poorly lit photograph of Greg (circa 2001) and scratching it with sharp objects. It was a natural choice to present the remaster bearing this work of art. Several album titles were considered (one frontrunner was "Volume Adjustment"), but ultimately Greg decided to simply self-title the new release.
This 2012 is now considered the definitive version of the 14 songs included. Due to a change in Greg's digital music distributor, Greg Goldman Volume I and Greg Goldman Volume II are no longer commercially available (as of this writing). Thus, the eponymous album is also the only collection of these songs currently available.