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The CBC had a report yesterday on the news that U.S. Border Patrol agents confiscated a computer hard drive with the master tracks from Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla's upcoming solo album, Field Manual.
"Walla said he had been in British Columbia working on the record," the CBC says. "Barsuk needed the music to meet its production schedule, and a Hipposonic Studios employee volunteered to drive the mixed songs, on tape, and the original master tracks, on a computer hard drive.
"Guards at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine let the courier keep the tapes, but seized the hard drive for examination by computer forensics experts, according to Walla and Hipposonic President Rob Darch.
"Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said he did not immediately have any specifics about Walla's case, but said commercial items must be formally imported through the nearby Pacific Highway border point."
This isn't as dire as it initially sounds; the agents let the courier keep the tape copies, and a backup existed on a computer in Vancouver, which Walla then sent to Barsuk in Seattle. Nothing was lost but a little time and maybe a little faith. Idolator quotes Walla waxing anxious about the mysterious black hole his files have fallen into (a little rendition, perhaps?) and lamenting the lack of a customer service number to call. Homeland Security, if they had a customer service number, just might be the only entity that could run one more maliciously useless than, say, Comcast's.
Anyway, those who are skeptical about the seizure being politically motivated (the album has political themes, and Walla's not a Bush fan) are right to be so. It's about as likely as the possibility that someone at the black hole in question—which might also house the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant by now—is just waiting for the right moment to leak that puppy.