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THOUGHT TRIALS explores different facets of mental health with new post rock masterpiece “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing”

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing, our nominee for post rock album of the year from Buffalo act THOUGHT TRIALS, is a study of the fragile human psyche and how our journeys are shaped by trauma and misadventure. Each song explores a different facet of mental health, sometimes from a place of optimism – and sometimes not. FOSAFSN tells its story through the use of instrumental soundscapes, real people sharing their lived experiences, the lyrics of Lauren Davis from Greybloom, and sound clips lifted from the poignant character study Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson).

The album artwork features the painting Don’t Let Me Keep It by Buffalo native Lydia Freier.

FOSAFSN was written, recorded, mixed and mastered by Josh Martin over the course of 2021 in Buffalo, NY.

For fans of: Caspian, If These Trees Could Talk, Mono

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing is a 6 track LP that is a concept album, with each track touching upon different facets of mental health. 

“Some of them were written from a perspective of my own personal experience, or some just as a recognition of others that live through it.” – comments Josh Martin.

“I’ve never really felt comfortable singing or writing lyrics, I have a difficult time translating my thoughts and intentions into language.” – he continues. “A lot of the time I’m able to get my message across through instrumental music and soundscapes. Sometimes I don’t even necessarily have a message I want to deliver, it’s just pure creative flow. On FOSAF,SN I wanted to talk about some things and bring awareness to them, but I didn’t want to say the words myself – or I didn’t know the right words to say. You’ll find audio samples scattered through this album, as well as some selective vocal passages.”

“Each song explorers a different facet of mental health, sometimes from a place of optimism – and sometimes not. I’ll share with you a bit of my thought process on each song.”

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1. Guilt and Shame

What I love about Jason Robards’s monologue from Magnolia, one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s most brilliant films, is the suggestion that rather than despise myself for past mistakes – I can use them as motivators and lessons to improve my future self. It’s not a simple task, and the emotional burden of shame can be out right debilitating. I’ve found ways to take these nasty stains of my past and actually use them as learning experiences that have helped me change the person I am today.

2. Kintsugi (feat. Greybloom)

I invited Erin Malone and Lauren Davis from Greybloom to help me with this track. I can’t even tell you how great it is to work with these women. I already had the framework for the entire song down and all the rhythm guitars. First up was Lauren’s lyrics and vocals. Wow. I shared with Lauren my plan for the song title, Kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it back together using precious metals. She came back to me with lyrics that perfectly embody the human journey of golden joinery. We then pulled Erin into the loop and she laid down the perfect lead guitar parts, really bringing the climactic ending to the next level.

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3. Self-Perpetuation

This song grew from a simple little chord progression I recorded over a year ago. It was the first thing I ever wrote on my Telecaster. I really dug in on the production of this one, and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to bring acoustic drums and distorted guitars into the fold. The little lead melodies you hear in the beginning and ending are actually samples of my guitar playing reversed, pitch-shifted and heavily filtered. This was quite the process because I wrote the melodies that I wanted to hear, and then I had to learn how to play them backwards in order to then flip it after recording it and get the effect we are left with. The song to me feels at times that its unsure if its in the beginning, middle or end – or if it is a type of never-ending wheel. Like a self-perpetuating machine, once its set into motion it will carry on indefinitely without any outside influence.

4. Hedonism

Hedonism is another track I spent a long time finessing. I knew I wanted a wide range of dynamics here, but I also didn’t want to follow the standard post-rock formula of gradual build up to a huge loud ending. I wanted to end kind of somberly, on a more meditative note. The voice samples are from recovering addicts sharing their experiences. I’m in recovery from addiction myself, so this song is extremely meaningful to me. I hope anyone else that has ever struggled with substance abuse can relate to what they hear in this song, and then have the strength to reach their hand out and seek help like I did.

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5. Noneness

Wildly personal. Listen, I know I just told you that I don’t like to write lyrics or sing – and I don’t. But sometimes the song just isn’t complete until it has words, and this was one of those songs. The style is a departure for me. All around. But it needed to be on FOSAF,SN. I’ve done my best to tell the story of someone extremely close to me and their fight for sanity. Emergency trips to the psychiatric hospital, days without sleep, manic episodes – to see someone you love go through these things is heartbreaking. While I generally am not so nihilistic, being a witness of this breakdown had me feeling quite disconnected from others.

6. Belonging

Another track that features audio samples of people sharing their life experience. We’re listening to two people tell us what it is like to live with schizophrenia – a mental disorder that I admittedly have no personal experience with. However, my partner is a nurse at a psychiatric hospital and she helps people from all walks of life when seemingly the rest of society has given up. Its gut-wrenching to hear the difficulties these people encounter trying to find their place. I don’t know what it’s like, so I won’t bother trying to explain. I’ll let them explain for themselves.

Thought Trials

Resources for Help (USA)

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health) Treatment Helpline: 877-SAMHSA7 (877-726-4727)
THOUGHT TRIALS explores different facets of mental health with new post rock masterpiece “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing”
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