Mats Gustafsson: Countdown

Mats Gustafsson: Countdown

Pretty much a harsh noise album. The passages of sound where the instruments in the credits are identifiable as themselves are few and far between. Mostly wet sound coming off of whatever live electronic processing is going on. There are some nice bits about 15 mins into the first track. I also liked the framing device for the second track, sound of piezo mic’d cardio and/or respiration.

“Compositions by Mats Gustafsson (STIM/NcB). Baritone and bass saxophones, organ, live electronics, bass drum.”

#SuperPang #SP06 #MatsGustafsson

Akira Sileas: Jump Skiff

Akira Sileas: Jump Skiff

“These works form a study of an experimental implementation of a waveguide synthesis algorithm.”

Metallic KO. Almost all the sounds on this recording sound like they were generated from some sort of metal striking another (even though they were probably entirely digitally generated.) Well, one thing I like about recordings on Superpang is they usually use very original sample sets and sound sources.

“Composed/performed by Akira Sileas”

#SuperPang #SP05 #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #AkiraSileas

Elias Merino: Synthesis Of Unlocated Affections

Elias Merino: Synthesis Of Unlocated Affections

A group of shorter abstract electronic pieces. The rhythmic sensibility feels more like that of spoken language than music. Described as, “Un-ornamented and Brutalist”, I was expecting it to be a bit more harsh than it is, while not exactly Brutalist, it is enjoyable and original electronic music.

“Composed and recorded by Elías Merino between CeReNeM (Centre for Research in New Musics) and Madrid.”

#SuperPang #SP04 #EliasMerino

Liminal Kicks: Guy Birkin

Liminal Kicks: Guy Birkin

If you want to give your speakers a workout, play this loud. (Various extremely high bpm manipulations of sounds from drum machines.)

“Explorations of sounds created by drum synths + saturation at very high bpm. Mathematica software was used to generate MIDI files in which the bpm increases/decreases exponentially, with an exponent set at the Golden ratio (1.618 or 0.618). The tempo of the drums goes up to 300,000 bpm.”

#SuperPang #SP01 #GuyBirkin

Bang: Kevin Drumm

Bang: Kevin Drumm

The only information accompanying the album is, “Microphone + Computer assistance.”

Mics left live in the wind? Mics inside a crumpling paper bag rolling in the wind? Those are my best guesses, but I’ve no idea what systems or devices Kevin Drumm used to create this album. Still, despite its mysterious origins, a strangely compelling recording.

#SuperPang #SP02 #KevinDrumm

EVOL: Goofy Tape

I do love a project. Anyway, I drive to Oakland every Monday for band practice. On the way home, I usually listen to something. But, anything too long gets cut off. I decided, the SuperPang catalog is a good choice, as most releases around 20-30 minutes long and all, (so far,) seem to be at least pretty interesting.

Goofy Tape by EVOL.

It really is pretty goofy, vintage video game like sounds over stompy quasi-dance beats. I swear some of the sounds come from frogger. Changes frequently enough to stay interesting. Perfectly appropriate for late night driving among the Uber drivers and tech bros Tokyo Drifting from one exit to the next.

“A pair of long wabbit acid techno pearls from the infamous trans-European duo: Roc Jiménez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp aka EVOL.”

#SuperPang #SP03 #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Scott Walker

Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel; January 9, 1943 – March 22, 2019) left the earthly plane this spring.

I’ve never listened to his critically acclaimed solo albums, so I figured, perhaps a fitting tribute would be to listen my way through as many of his albums as I could (easily) find.

Scott Walker first came into the public’s eye as the front man for the American Pop Group, The Walker Brothers. Their two biggest hits were “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)”.

Scott.

After departing the Walker Brothers he launched his solo career with the album “Scott”, aiming a bit away from his mainstream pop music past, and more towards world weary Jacques Brel cabaret. In fact, his English versions of Brel’s songs were some of the highlights of his early work.

Scott 2.

His next album, “Scott 2” continued in the same vein, with even more Brel tunes and a bit of a folk tinge.

Funny, no matter how pleasant the musical arrangement or how mellifluous his baritone voice, he cannot resist twisting the knife of weirdness with his lyrics.

Also he really seems to like singing songs about prostitutes and brothels.

scott 3.

“Scott 3” is a far more consistent album than the previous two. Plus, I’ve had it on repeat all morning and haven’t noticed a single mention of prostitutes or bordellos.

It seems like this is the album where he first got everything together, there are some pretty great songs and very good vocal performances.

scott 4.

Oddly, “Scott 4” was actually Walker’s fifth album, but “Scott Walker Sings Songs From His T.V. Show”, his actual 4th album, is not easily available.

While Walker’s earlier albums felt like they could be made almost any time in the 20th Century, Scott 4 has its feet firmly in the 1970s.

On many songs he jettisons cabaret stylings for electric guitar and rock vocal tropes. “Boychild” and “Duchess” are the stand outs here. “Boychild”, in particular, provides a template for much of the record label 4AD’s early sound.

til the band comes in.

On the previous “Scott 4”, Walker had added a new voice/persona to his arsenal, that of the pop jazz vocalist. Unfortunately, he continues that persona for several songs on “til the band comes in”, sounding like a dime store Tony Bennett. Particularly bad are the songs where he attempts to imitate African-American speech patterns. Embarrassing.

That said, “The War is Over” is as good a song, and performance, as any other he had put to vinyl up to this time.

Climate of Hunter.

Walker’s record label had been increasingly frustrated with the sales of his solo albums. After “Scott 4” and “til the band comes in” failed to chart, they saddled him with increasingly onerous producers and projects. When none of those worked out, eventually they dropped him. He found other labels and even participated in a reunion of “The Walker Brothers”. After a few albums from the reformed Walker Brothers, Walker dropped out of sight for about 10 years and didn’t release any recordings until 1984’s “Climate of Hunter”.

The first thing that struck me is the center of his voice has moved. On the early records he’s a chest/throat singer. On Hunter, his voice has moved to his head. Also, he is singing with a consistent persona, rather than flitting from one to another from song to song.

Musically, it reminds me a bit of Brian Ferry albums from this period, but without the backup singers. Interestingly, Evan Parker provides soprano sax parts on a couple tracks!

Lyrically, he has really found his voice, though I would be hard pressed to tell you what any of the songs are about.

The only distracting thing are a few horrible mid-1980s style guitar solos.

Overall, it feels more compelling, and, perhaps, honest, than any of his earlier albums.

Tilt.

I’ve been listening to “Tilt” exclusively for two days now and I don’t really feel any closer to understanding it.

It feels alien yet compelling. I’ve no idea what any of the songs are about, but the words seem to make some sort of dream-like sense.

The same with the music, light classical might be alongside samples of power drills or feeding back guitars.

Some sort of hermetic watershed or culmination of his work up to this time. Eerie and astounding.

The Drift.

Uh.

Someone really should have warned me about “The Drift”. This is one of the darkest pieces of artistic expression I’ve ever run across. Seriously. And I’ve read some dark shit.

This is going to haunt me.

I’m gonna be seeing the flayed and dismembered bodies of various animals out of the corner of my eye for weeks.

Reminds me of some of Ben Wheatley or John Hillcoat’s early movies.

Disturbing.

Bish Bosch.

⁣⁣The lyrics on “Bish Bosch” are nearly as opaque and gruesome as its predecessor “The Drift”, but somehow there’s an air of humor over the proceedings that makes it a bit less of a claustrophobic ordeal.⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣In fact, the longest song, “SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)”, clocking in at over 20 minutes, is pretty much nothing but a series of, often unaccompanied, well, I hesitate to call them “jokes”, but, at least, shaggy dog stories. The stories in sequence, one after another, as not-quite-jokes, actually gets funny, after a while, in the way William S. Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” is “funny”.⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome.⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣Bish Bosch seems to bring together Walker’s early obsession with the world weary cabaret songs of Jacques Brel and fuse their sensibility with the gruesome black humor of his later work.⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣It’s not exactly pretty, but it works.⁣⁣

soused.

⁣I guess if you were only familiar with Scott Walker’s work with the Walker Brothers or his early solo work, you might be a bit surprised by “Soused”. Handsome “Pop Singer” works with bearded, robe wearing, drone metal dudes!?
⁣⁣
⁣On the other hand, if you’d only heard Walker’s Tilt, The Drift, and Bish Bosch, you’d be, like, why didn’t this happen sooner? It would have prevented those bad 1980s guitar solos on “Climate of Hunter”!⁣
⁣⁣
⁣Anyway, this is mostly Walker, with the Sunn O))) boys providing the correct atmosphere for his bleak, gruesome songs. Pretty Great, if you are a fan of Walker’s later work or Sunn O))).⁣
⁣⁣

Live at Fort Miley

For the last couple weeks I’ve been a bit obsessed with recording my Soprano Sax in various acoustic environments at Fort Miley Military Reservation near work.

I tried as much as possible to include environmental sounds, from birds to skateboarders to passersby.

I think it is an interesting slice of where I am as a Soprano Saxophonist and improvisor.

Live at Fort Miley, by Erik Ellestad

Live at Fort Miley, by Erik Ellestad

6 track album

Source: erikellestad.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-fort-miley

Seven Minutes, More or Less

After finishing with this phase of the Lutheran Hymnal Project, I wanted to move in a different direction, and cover some popular songs, along with learning to use techniques like real time audio effects and looping.

The first primary sound source is my recording of Lutheran Hymn 602, aka “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”, aka the Doxology. The second primary sound source was a feedback loop I made of the ambient sound in my work office building.

Everything is chopped, mangled, and looped in various ways, mostly using the features of an audio program called, “AudioMulch”.

Play it loud.

Seven Minutes, More or Less, by Erik Ellestad

Seven Minutes, More or Less, by Erik Ellestad

7 track album

Source: erikellestad.bandcamp.com/album/seven-minutes-more-or-less

Autumn Leaves

For my second recognizable tune on my next album I wanted to do “Autumn Leaves”, a standard made initially famous when it was sung by Yves Montand.

For the song, I wanted to make it sound a bit like a Mechanical Orchestra, so instead of having one part play the melody, I split it between 4 instruments. Then had them hold the chord which is created.

The second time through, the 4 clarinets are assigned the notes, but given no indication when to come in, sounding a bit like the Mechanical Orchestra has broken down.

For the final time through, a single clarinet plays the melody with the bass clarinet accompanying.

These are the original French lyrics for “Les Feuilles Mortes” by “Realist” poet Jacques Prévert, translated by google translate. This is the version Yves Montand sang in the soundtrack to the movie, “Les Portes de la nuit”.

Oh, I wanted you to remember
Happy days where we were friends
At that time life was more beautiful
And the sun is more hot than today
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
You see, I have not forgotten
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
Memories and regrets also
And the north wind prevails,
In the cold night of oblivion
You see I have not forgotten,
The song you were singing
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
Memories and regrets too,
But my silent and faithful love
Still smiles and thanks life

I loved you so much, you were so pretty,
How do you want me to forget you?
At that time life was more beautiful
And the sun is more hot than today
You were my sweetest friend
But I do not regret
And the song you were singing,
Always, always I will hear it
This song reminds me of us,
You loved me, I loved you
And we lived, both together,
You who loved me, I who loved you
But life separates those who love each other,
Gently, without making noise
And the sea erases on the sand
The footsteps of disunited lovers

The American songwriter, Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics most associated with the tune “Autumn Leaves”, and performed by a wide variety of Jazz and Pop vocalists, from Jo Stafford to Frank Sinatra to The Everly Brothers. They’re a little lame, in comparison to the French lyrics.

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall