The Bedroom Tapes

Black Box Blues - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol. 4

Bill Ludwig

Black Box Blues - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol. 4 includes songs written and recorded between Fall, 1994 and Spring, 1995. The first tracks are again an attempt at a concept string of songs - several songs around a single narrative. The story here is of a man who receives a mysterious package and reminisces about his life and the world as he ponders what may be inside. Those who get engaged in the thing will ultimately be disappointed to find a clear lack of resolution.

Highlights include the first three songs (if you can ignore the spoken word segments) and "The Good Machine".

The second side of the cassette is a series of unlinked tunes. Some really great ones here: "Mother's Angels", "Place", "See What I See" and "Tripping Just To Fall".

A note from Bill:

"These songs represent an emergence from the sadness of my mother's passing and finding lifelong love. During this period, I was engaged to my wife Winona (as I write this, we are in our 24th year of marriage). We were young and engaged, generally broke and trying our best to get by. These were hard but happy times.

The early songs are a little cringe-y for me - the spoken word parts in particular. Still finding my songwriting voice, I sometimes felt disconnected from what I was writing... expressed perfectly in the song "Place":

"I hear my voice like some lost friend
I wish it would transcend
And give that magic back to me

'Cause I'm afraid my soul is lost
Enlightenment came and ran it's course
And now my shell is cold"

... as if the writing was just happening on auto-pilot... songs from a stranger. That said, songs like 'The Good Machine', 'Mother's Angels', 'Tripping Just To Fall', 'Place' and 'See What I See' are as good as anything I'm writing today.

- Bill Ludwig, January 4th, 2020"
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Gone - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol. 3

Bill Ludwig

Gone - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol. 3 includes songs written from December, 1993 through the Summer of 1994. Track 2, "Home" was written and recorded the morning after learning that his mother had lost her battle with cancer, December 20th, 1993.

Tracks 1 through 8 are Side One of the tape and meander along in a haze of mourning and apathy. Not the finest work Bill has done, but there are some highlights here - "Do You See?" for example.

Starting with track 10, "Chromatic Man", Bill halfheartedly begins a new "concept" - the loose idea is of a lonely man who falls in his garden and passes out, waking to find his mind has been taken over by sentient weeds. This concept fizzles out a bit after a few songs, with the "Chromatic Man Theme" reemerging at the end of the final song, "Where I Belong".

A note from Bill:

"This was an extremely difficult time for me personally. Between my mother passing and other personal issues happening, I was dealing with a deep depression. Music historically lifts my mood, but the darkness really got the better of me during these months. There are quite a few moments on here that I have a difficult time listening to.

That said, song's like "Horizons", "Do You See?" and "Just A Man" are among my favorites. Overall a worthwhile listen, I suppose - if only for the few really good tracks.


- Bill Ludwig, March 26th, 2018"
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Bees - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol. 2

Bill Ludwig

In 1991, Bill was still writing primarily for his high school punk band, "Chemical Persuasion". He knew of the idea of a concept album, though he hadn't heard much of Pink Floyd or The Who beyond what was on the radio. Intrigued with the idea, Bill decided to write a hardcore punk concept album - full of anti-social imagery and crass expletive filled rantings. A 9-song album of lyrics and spoken-word breaks were written and presented to the band who started working on it.

At the front of the album was a sprawling acoustic epic (the first Bill had written) called simply "Bees". This 7+ minute song was attempted a few times by the group and a few other tunes were cobbled together, but it never fully came to fruition as the band fell apart (as most high school bands do).

Around the time the band was breaking up, Bill had started writing and recording the songs on "Self", volume 1 of this series. With a newfound acoustic songwriting confidence, Bill thought it would be funny to take his punk concept album and set it to heartfelt acoustic melodies. The first 9 tracks here are those recorded songs.

Once side one of the cassette was filled, of course side two needed to be filled. So Bill set out to write a sequel to "Bees". Somewhat inspired by the events of the Los Angeles riots of 1992, the "Puzzleman" song set finds our hero released from the asylum and wandering the streets babbling his mad poetry to passersby as a race riot brews and eventually erupts around him. This is a far more mature set of lyrics and concepts than the "Bees" side of the cassette, and to this day, Bill cites these as some of the best songs he's written.

Here, in all their lo-fi cassette sounding glory are the second in this series of bedroom recordings (there will be four volumes in all). These tapes have been personally digitized, cleaned up and mastered by Bill Ludwig himself.

A note from Bill:

"As I said on the first volume, this was a very dark period of my life that ultimately produced some rather profound art. Listening now, I am overcome with so many memories of that time - really the last hurrah of my angry youth on the "Bees" side (words written at the age of 18), and some of the first more serious and deliberate music I had written to that point (at the age of nearly 20). Painful at times, but I'm really very proud of some of these songs. i sincerely hope you enjoy listening.

- Bill Ludwig, March 8th, 2018"
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Self - The Bedroom Tapes, Vol 1

Bill Ludwig

Bill Ludwig was writing music decades before his first album, 2014's 'The Elephant'. From 1991 to 1996, Bill's music was captured sitting on his bed using the tiny dot microphone in his Panasonic boombox, recorded onto cassette for listening to in his car on his commute to and from work. Bill would write the song, practice it, record it and move on to the next song - that taped performance being the sole record of the song having ever existed. These songs were rarely shared or played for others... until now.

Here, in all their lo-fi cassette sounding glory are the first in a series of these bedroom recordings (there will be four volumes in all). These tapes have been personally digitized, cleaned up and mastered by Bill Ludwig himself.

A note from Bill:

“This first batch of songs were written and recorded at one of the darkest periods of my life. Though some of the songs are light and even silly (or embarrassing) at times, there are heavier tunes that weren’t easy for me to listen to again as they stirred up some tough memories. That said, this batch also includes the songs I wrote during my first weeks/months of falling in love with my now wife (since 1996) – which I guess redeems the set for me.

"I don’t know if this is an enjoyable listen, but I hope you at least find the words and music of 18 or 19-year-old Bill interesting. You’ll certainly see the fundamentals of how I continue to approach songwriting: honestly and from the heart.

- Bill Ludwig, February 12th, 2018"


2018 persuading records
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