Thursday, January 31, 2008
I've been working on finishing the City Center 7" pretty much non-stop with all the waking hours in any day off work I have, and I have officially gone bonkers. It's just two songs, a new version of "Gold Girls" and a brand new song called "Bray All Day", but for whatever reason, trying to make it all make sense in the mix has driven me to the point of neglecting my basic hierarchy of human needs. I set a deadline of Feb. 1st to have it done so I could have copies back for the small tour I'm putting together for South By Southwest, but at this point I'm so burnt on this 8 minutes of music that it's gonna have to wait.
However... considering the majority of this project's music only exists here, in a no-money, no problems, (no, thank you) sort of way, making a 7" is kinda secondary anyway. Though I do like records, and when I'm on tour I love to buy candy bars and eat dinners, and sometimes having some sort of thing to sell at your show can help with getting more or better dinners or larger and more hurtful candy bars.
But I digress. Here's a mix of "Bray All Day" that's just the voices. The song is pretty heavy and crashing with layers of guitar and noise, so the vocals get really buried. Not to mention the hilarious samples. I hate the supreme court!!!
City Center "Bray All Day (just voices )"
at 12:16 AM
Monday, January 28, 2008
Boundless/Countless took part in a small performance on Russell Street in Greenpoint on Friday, Jan 25. Really impromptu. Some wires, some lights, some braying, some wind. The sound element for the first part is included below. Alex took the photos.
Boundless/Countless "(Because You Know) What Love Is Made Of"
at 12:02 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Another amazing Scott in my life is my man Scott DeRoche. I've also known DeRoche for years and years, played music with him in multiple forms, seen a lot of crazy shit and generally just rolled through a spiritual party with the dude the entire time. Scott has been jamming in a billion different bands since I met him about ten years ago, including some recent work with the amazing band Beak Full Of Rubies. Scott's work goes all over the place, as he's more of a music fiend than almost anyone I've met. I remember so vividly a scene about six years ago, driving through insane Manhattan traffic, late as hell for a show and four small-town Michigan boys stressing hard in the big city. DeRoche was playing Terry Riley's "You're No Good" piece as we tried to navigate the maze of cars and lights, a really early tape-loop/sound collage that incorporated a rudimentary sample of a soul song, eventually building loops on top of loops until there was no song, just a warm meditation and some respite from the din. A din to combat another din. It was an amazing moment, and has become not only one of a series of sweet memories I link to DeRoche, but a pretty formative selection of what's influenced my work, especially with City Center.
This summer I was coming through Ann Arbor from Portland, on the way to NYC and just seeing old friends for a couple of weeks in my hometown. Me and Scott got together in the underground cellar-type room of his basement business space and had a sick jam. I had just got a pristine 1/4" tape machine, and we recorded straight into it for awhile, then into the computer, playing back what we'd just recorded and manipulating the sounds as we went. It was a super hot late June night, and the muggy subterranean vibes mixed with multiple fancy beers culminated in some seriously spooky and somewhat damaged sounds. Scott played prepared guitar and some percussion, and then did the majority of the mixing. I played some guitar but mostly did samples, tape manipulation and vocal loops/delay jamming. The entire session became a three-song CDR called "Tunnel", which I hope to eventually make into a limited LP if either of us can scrape the money together. This is the last piece we did, and the last song on the "Tunnel" CDR.
Scott DeRoche & Fred Thomas "Third Coast"
at 10:26 PM
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Today's post is for Scott Sellwood. Scott is one of my best friends in the world. We've played music together for the past five years, traveled the world, spent hours and hours together in conversation, lived together in vans and basements, narrowly escaped horrible situations repeatedly and celebrated every second of the way. I have no idea where I would be without him, but I'm sure it wouldn't be as wonderful of a place as I've ended up. Not the least of the amazing developments of my friendship with Sellwood is that he fully got me into the Grateful Dead.
I met Scott in 2003 when he moved from San Fran to Ann Arbor because his sweetheart started grad school. The keyboard player in my band at the time had, oddly enough, just left Ann Arbor for a job in San Fransisco, and Scott got in touch to audition and join. At our first meeting he was telling me about his musical background, and mentioned the wide variety of musical avenues he'd been down, including all the touring and different kinds of bands he'd been with or been into. "I've always been really big into jam bands, too." he said, "I followed Phish and the Dead for many years." I can't remember if I had any external response at the time, but in my mind, the years of punk rock ethos said "Uh yeah. I don't think this is gonna work out."
But it did, and how. Two dozen tours later, with most of the music in the van radiating between mellow indie rock, baroque 60's pop and occasional experimental noise or free jazz stuff (Tu Pac if Juan was in the front seat) we're driving down the 5 from Portland to California. Sellwood stealthily puts on some digitized iPod versions of Dead songs he taped at shows himself, and the entire 9 hour drive becomes a transcendent experience of rolling, foresty hills, fresh spring air through the windows and beautiful, lilting free sounds. That was just about a year ago and the disease has just worsened since. All successive tours have been full of Dead drives, mostly through the night with some intensely rare Dick's Picks shit or Sellwood's own recordings. Once someone asked me "Why do you like this music?" and I couldn't articulate any sort of answer or cohesive explanation, cause really there's none. I think the Grateful Dead is, at it's best, the least self-conscious music ever created, with only wide-open doors and zero hang-ups or fears. At it's worst it's still remarkably interesting, if only how ridiculous a lot of the bad choices they make are, and wondering how a single entity can be so many different things, in a full spectrum from golden glittering sound to utter shit.
This is a cover of "Box Of Rain", the first song on their album American Beauty, and a song they rarely played live if not as part of their acoustic sets. Dedicated with love to Scott.
City Center "Box Of Rain"
at 5:37 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Haven't put much up in a while because I've been working near exhaustively on getting together the first City Center 7", and a bunch of other recordings for the future, as well as working every day and selectively dismantling my room and selling the debris on eBay, so apologies for the lack of new sounds or ideas here.
However, one of the things I recently finished was a song by Saturday Looks Good To Me for an upcoming His Name Is Alive tribute CD on Kenedik Records. The collection is called "We Believe You", and SLGTM has been working on our contribution fruitlessly off and on for (!!!) 2 years. Not sure how we managed to flake so fully and end up the last one to the finish line, but we made it, so now on to new lasts.
We chose the HNIA jammer "Nice Day" off an EP of the same name from 1997 or 1998 I think. The original version was always one of my favorite HNIA songs, and a definite reference point for SLGTM's original sunshine vibes sound, but for our rendition we chose to take the song apart and dim the lights at the funeral home a little bit. This song also features my first collaboration with Tammy Sprinkle, who's spine-tingling duet vocals make the song. This is a super janky unmastered mp3 version, so be sure to check out the CD when it comes out.
Saturday Looks Good To Me "Nice Day"
"We Believe You"
His Name Is Alive Tribute CD
AMP – Summer of ESP
Saturday Looks Good To Me – Nice Day
Little Princess – Some & I
Jessica Bailiff – Sort Of...
Oneironaut – Little Red Haired Girl
NorthSea – This World Is Not My Home
k. – Last Train
The Beat Up Lunch – How Ghosts Affect Relationships
Kazuya Ishigami – You Need A Heart To Live
Soulo – Send My Face To Your Funeral
Everything Is Fine – Love's A Fisheye
Robert Schipul – Send My Face
The McCarricks - Are We Still Married?
More new City Center songs and even some possible shows coming up. And everyone who wrote me about getting the CDRs, there's still some left, I will get back to you asap. Be sure to check out my other auctions, leave positive feedback and shit... when was the last time you saw that movie "Pump Up The Volume"? It came out in 1990, I watched it last night. It's still amazing.
at 11:44 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I put together a CDR of City Center jams from last month. It includes a lot of the stuff posted on this blog, but a fair amount of new and unheard pieces as well. I really believe in physical media and I think I always will, so there probably won't be a time when I ever make music that's strictly web-based/whatever. The CDRs have both sweet sleeve art and music from high-quality AIFF files, unlike the mp3s available for download. Drop me a line if you want a copy, or check out Ypsilanti Records' myspace page for this and other recent weird sounds.
January 2008 CDR
Edition of 30 copies
4.Just A Feeling
8.I Want What Everyone Wants
10.Ice Tragedy Tape
Total Running Time 35min 1sec
at 12:28 AM