Crazy Doberman

Crazy Doberman

Crazy Doberman by Crazy Doberman; Bandcamp Link: Crazy Doberman

The difficult part about Crazy Doberman is keeping up with their releases. Not only do they seem to record 3 or 4 album a year, but countless singles, DIY tapes, etc.

If you haven’t dipped into the Crazy Doberman stream just yet, this self titled album is a pretty good place to get your toes wet.

For a Crazy Doberman release, it is a relatively mellow affair, grooves are started, maintained, then freaked out. Things get quiet again. Synthesizers moan.

It’s got a bit of a krautrock/psych feel going on, especially the first half of the first tune, “immortal hand or eye”. The second tune, “held inside/fragmented/kept close” is a bit more of a psychedelic journey, what with its guitar/flute combo, sparse percussion and panning organ-style keyboard washes. And, oh yeah, a recorder freakout towards the end.

Just let go and let it pull you under.

#CrazyDoberman #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

CrazyDoberman
Crazy Doberman

Pure Bud Silver Strands

Pure Bud Silver Strands
Pure Bud Silver Strands

Yunnan “Pure Bud Silver Strands” First Flush Green Tea, 2019 from @yunnan_sourcing.

“We have offered the “Silver Strands” 银丝 varietal green tea (a robust one leaf to one bud ratio) since 2005, but decided to also offer its first flush tippy “pure bud” counterpart.  Picked in the earliest part of spring (in Late-February) before the spring rains arrive, this pure bud pluck features small hairy silver tips with no leaf.”

Yunnan Sourcing

Darker green flavors, but with a minty aftertaste.

Expected this to be light, but those light flavors are pretty meaty/umami/mushroom in nature. Very little sweetness. Kept the water on the cool side, respecting the buds.

Aside from a bit of mint, not a lot of length, nor that strong for re-steeps.

A solid light tea, if you like them on the meaty side of green.

#Tea #Cha #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #PureBudSilverStrands #DrinkTea #TeaEnthusiast

Yunnan “Jade Snail”

Yunnan “Jade Snail” Green Tea from Mojiang, 2019, via @yunnan_sourcing.

“This “Jade Snail” 玉螺 green tea is a tippy one leaf to one bud pick but because it’s such and early spring tea the leaf is typically quite small.  The result is a balanced green tea with both robust and sweet attributes.”

Yunnan Sourcing

Thick body, light flavor.

The early flavors and scents are on the greener side, reminiscent of asparagus, but it’s a savory tea whose lingering grain-ish sweetness expresses itself the finish, rather than the early flavors.

There’s a little mid-tongue bitterness, that I can sense more than actually taste.

Just enough to keep it interesting.

Somehow, there is a lingering after-taste evoking dried fruit.

For a tea that seems simple and lightly flavored at first taste, it is surprisingly complex as the steeps progress.

Not bad resteepability for a green tea and thought provoking length.

Nice.

#Tea #GreenTea #JadeSnail #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #GreenTeaOfMojiang

Plastic Anniversary

Plastic Anniversary.

Plastic Anniversary by Matmos; Bandcamp Link: Plastic Anniversary

I’ve been thinking about this album for several days now and have been having a hard time gestating an appropriate write up.

I’ll start from the basics.

Matmos’ main modus operandi is to take found sounds, (recordings, samples, foley work,) and create new compositions from those sounds.

Generally, each of their albums will have at its core a theme or family of sounds which will dictate the choices for the album.

For example, on “A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure”, the core of the sounds were taken from various medical procedures. On “The Civil War” they used samples from vintage musical instruments. For “Ultimate Care II” they pulled the core of the sounds from their Maytag Ultimate Care II Washing machine.

In a way, they rebuild their orchestra from scratch for each album!

The theme of “Plastic Anniversary” is plastics. Most of the samples used to produce the sounds on the album were taken from plastic items. PVC Pipe, Plastic Buckets, Plastic Whistles, Vuvuzelas, a particularly tuneful pill shaped plastic container, etc.

While the theme of plastic, as it clogs our lives and waterways with nearly indestructible matter, is, at its core a bit sobering, the music is not.

For the most part is is fairly light hearted, reminding me a bit of Jean-Jacques Perrey’s early electronic music, as in the theme to the electric light parade, or more accurately, some of his more percussive work with Gershon Kingsley like “The Unidentified Flying Object” or “Spooks in Space”.

The final track, though, “Plastisphere”, is a nice contemplative change from the propulsive music of most of the rest of the album. Sounding like Matmos simply left microphones on in someone’s suburban lawn as birds chirp, the wind blows, and lawn sprinklers cycle, it is, in fact composed using foley work, and, created entirely using sounds from plastic sources.

It is a synthetic world.

The two primary members of Matmos, Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt celebrated their 25th anniversary of being together while making the album.

#Matmos #PlasticAnniversary #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Plastic Anniversary.

“Bao Hong” Green Tea

Bao Hong Green Tea

Early Spring Yunnan “Bao Hong” Dragonwell Green Tea, 2019 via @yunnan_sourcing.

“”Bao Hong” tea is from Yi Liang county of Yunnan.  It’s leaf is quite small and it carries a high level of aroma.  The leaves are always picked when very small and fresh during a two hour window of time in the early morning of mid-February.    The aroma is intense and fresh.”

In the method of picking and processing, this is quite similar to Long Jing Dragon Well tea. If you looked at a basket of the dry leaves, I wouldn’t be surprised if you mistook it for a high quality Long Jing Dragon Well tea. That is, until you brewed a cup.

While it looks a bit like Dragon Well tea from Long Jing, the flavor of the tea is very distinct from it.

Green teas tend to fall along light and dark flavor families, lighter green flavors like asparagus and tarragon vs darker, meatier flavors like collard greens and seaweed.

While still super fresh, it is a 2019 first flush tea after all, this is on the darker side of the green tea spectrum, at least for bud heavy, spring teas.

There’s something in the flavors that is super familiar to me, but that I can’t quite place. It’s not an off or bitter flavor, it’s just a bit unusual in a tea for me.

My coworker described the aftertaste as a bit like the soft drink “Sprite”. I haven’t had Sprite for years, but I feel like I remember it was heavier on the lime than the lemon. And I kind of get that, there’s a bit of the sort of dark lime-like flavor which lingers on the palate, lightened by a sparkle of darker spearmint.

If you’re tired of the usual green tea suspects, the Bao Hong Green Tea is an interesting one to try to wrap your mind around.

#GreenTea #Cha #Tea #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #BaoHong #BaoHongTea

This (is what I wanted to tell you)

This (is what I wanted to tell you)

“This (is what I wanted to tell you)” by Lambchop; Bandcamp Link: https://lambchop.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-what-i-wanted-to-tell-you⁣

⁣For a while I had been resisting Lambchop’s experimentation with the tools of the 21st Century recording studio, (vocal harmonizer, electronic beats, etc.) but the songs on this new album are just so good that I can’t resist.⁣

⁣Slightly sad musings by a guy growing into middle age in the 21st Century.

⁣@michelektel was giving me a bit of a hard time, “Look at you listening to Lambchop! Are you OK?”⁣

⁣But, as she said, Lambchop is all about the “feels”. Even when you can’t quite remember the exact lyrics or the names of a songs, through a combination of music and lyrics, they are able to evoke a feeling that is poignant and unforgettable.⁣

⁣#Lambchop #ThisIsWhatIWantedToTellYou #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

This (is what I wanted to tell you)

Huangshan Maofeng

Huangshan Maofeng has strong buds

Huangshan Maofeng has strong buds from Yin Xiang Hua Xia tea.

Huangshan Maofeng is another green tea almost always included in lists of “Big 10 Famous Chinese Teas” (十大中国名茶)”.

My notes are, “light grassy vegetal flavor evocative of green beans or asparagus with a camphor/pine aftertaste.”

This is a super elegant and light green tea, more vegetal than fruity, almost no bitterness or grip to speak of.

The English translation of the name is “Yellow Mountain Fur Peak”, due to the “small white hairs which cover the leaves and the shape of the processed leaves which is said to resemble the peak of a mountain”.

The recommended way to brew tippy green teas like this is to add a small amount (say 1g per 100ml water) to a tall, preferable tempered, water glass and cover with hot (185F/85C) water. Then wait and watch the dance as the liquid cools and the tea leaves drop to the bottom of the glass. Then, as your glass gets down half way, add more water until the liquid tastes more like water than tea. The only downside to this method is it is not as fast as brewing with a gaiwan, it enforces a leisurely contemplative pace to your tea drinking. Or maybe it is an upside? You also tend to end up eating a few tea leaves, which isn’t really a bad thing.⁣

#Tea #Cha #GreenTea #DrinkTea #YinXiangHuaXiaTea #HuangshanMaofeng

All Time Present

All Time Present by Chris Forsyth; Bandcamp Link: All Time Present

Up to this time, Chris Forsyth, when recording with a band, has usually recorded under the name, “Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band”.

This album includes some people usually in the Solar Motel Band, (Peter Kerlin, Bass; Jeff Zeigler, sonics,) and a few other guests.

I always start a bit ambivalent about Forsyth, he traffics so heavily in 1970s rock guitar tropes, but after a while, on this album, he won me over. I can’t help hearing Tom Verlaine, Robert Lloyd, Robert Quine, and Neil Young in his playing, but it seems so honestly come by, and he is such a talented guitarist, that I think I just need to let go of my history and listen to the new things he is trying to create with those gestures.

It helps that this is a longer album. It gives him more chance to stretch out and noodle, play off his co-musicians, and more time for me to appreciate his voice, rather than hearing others in it.

#AllTimePresent #ChrisForsyth #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Murder

Murder.

“Murder” by Kevin Drumm; Bandcamp Link: Murder

I’m getting a bit behind on my Kevin Drumm listening.

For an album named “Murder”, this is strangely contemplative.

Drones, sounding like choral noises, or perhaps, distant prop planes, provide the base. Within those continuous sounds, ghosts of melody and voice flit in and out, perhaps just overtones or perhaps intentional.

Majestic deep listening.

#Murder #KevinDrumm #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

Murder.

Shattered Dimension

Shattered Dimension.

“Shattered Dimension” by the Flying Luttenbachers; Bancamp Link: Shattered Dimension

The Flying Luttenbachers are Weasel Walter’s long running chimeric band. Stretching back to its earliest incarnations, in the early 1990s, many great players have participated in various incarnations of the Flying Luttenbachers.

This new iteration of the group is particularly potent, with Walter on drums, Saxophonist Matt Nelson, bassist Tim Dahl, and guitarist Brandon Seabrook.

Generally, the only constant is that the band explores the jittery febrile ground between edgy art rock and noisy improvisation.

A lot of times I’ll find myself listening to an album by an allegedly “edgy” group. Listening to insipid song after insipid song, with lyrics about “my girlfriend”, “my lover”, “my red solo cup”, or “my good dog watermelon wine”. Eventually, the band will get around to some sort of jam, and I’ll think, “Jesus, finally! They are kicking their shoes off and freeing themselves!” Only for the jam to fade out disappointingly in a few bars, just about when it seems like they are getting warmed up.

There are no songs about dogs on “Shattered Dimension”. Girls are not referenced. There are no lyrics at all.

Instead, what you get are 4 players freeing themselves of their hangups and pouring their guts out onto the floor of the recording studio.

#ShatteredDimension #FlyingLuttenbachers #WeaselWalter #MattNelson #TimDahl #BrandonSeabrook