48 hours left of Marathon's kickstarter

By Fran Welch

At 13, Brandon Beachum discovered the realms of punk rock, a genre that would later mold his musical palette into writing a unique composition: a 35-minute-long piece consisting of six guitar players, one bassist and two drummers.

Growing up in Herrin, Illinois, Beachum said he wanted to be “anti-everything,” riding BMX and skateboarding, exploring new bands that were fulfilling teenage angst, the likes of the Misfits and NOFX.

The speed and aggression of punk music appealed to Beachum, immersing himself within the ethic behind punk music, a DIY community, one that followed their own rules outside of an institutionalized lifestyle.

Beachum was involved in several bands that would come and go, gathering a collection of sounds and ideas from each band he was a part of. He began to play with distortion and other sounds that could be created with special equipment, tweaking his style of bass playing along the way.

While living in southern Illinois, Beachum created Marathon, a solo project that started out completely improvised with a heavy emphasis on effects. Beachum, however, said he spent more time on knobs and guitar pedals than he did actually playing guitar.

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    In 2010, he moved to Champaign-Urbana, a time when Marathon was put on the back burner until he was getting ready to leave about two years ago. He knew he wanted to reinvent his project and turn it into something more structured, less improvised.

    Now, Marathon is a 9-piece “guitarkestra,” as Beachum calls it, an ensemble that will be putting out their first record later this year.

    The record will consist of a 35-minute track, an experience that the band hopes will take the listener through the ebb and flow of Marathon’s musical journey.

    The band will be pressing this record to vinyl, an expensive manufacturing process that heightens the listening experience but impossible without the support of funding. To do so, the band and local label, Heirship Records, have started a Kickstarter; a funding process that has 48 hours left and is about $2,000 away from their goal.

    “I’m terribly anxious to get this record out, but more than that, I’ve seen it. It’s a performance; there’s a certain amount of improvisation involved, every time I’ve seen it, it’s been slightly different and has been pretty mind blowing,” said Isaac Arms, label head of Heirship Records. “It’s a unique charge to capture lightning in a bottle like that. It’s exciting to listen to, and what I have heard is really amazing. “

    Arms felt that it was a necessity to have this record pressed to vinyl because the 35-minute track requires attention that is completely focused and tangled within the listening experience.

    “More care would be put into putting a record on your turntable, and theoretically, you’ll pay attention to it more,” said Arms. “This recording to me is a tool for you to get somewhere, between you and music, between you and yourself. It won’t just be another piece of a pile of data on your device, you can actually experience it.”

    But why Kickstarter? Luke Bergkoetter, one of the two drummers of Marathon, said it is the modern way of funding a record, where the music industry today has made it impossible for bands to produce an album without the help of crowdfunding.

    “If we had written and recorded this exact same record in 1996, we wouldn’t have had a single problem getting it pressed without crowd sourcing it, and that’s because people bought records,” said Bergkoetter. “Because of the fidelity of vinyl, the cost of releasing (an album on vinyl) is really expensive. On our Kickstarter, we break down where the money is going and the bulk of it is pressing vinyl, and that’s the best way to listen to music.”

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