The guitar player, Sken, and I have been working on this and a few other pieces in my garage without the benefit of a drummer for a little while. Although this is far from complete, after finally adding the much needed drummer, I'm too excited not to upload it. Here we, Fralex9, are practicing at "Studio A" in Seattle with Christa Kae on drums.
This month's themes (cupcake, brisk, interstitials) didn't exactly turn the inspiration amplifier up to 11, but, goddammit, I ain't one to run away from a challenge, no sirree. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. So this one goes out to you, my little cupcake. You know who you are. [more inside]
The first mostly completed track in a larger project my wife Lori and I are working on under the name Tangemeenie, called "The Gilded Age." It's obliquely about the romantic (and so often foolhardy) impulse to knock down giants just to watch them fall. Lyrics inside. [more inside]
Well, it's a few days late for the November '07 MeFi Music Challenge, but my on-the-fritz computer spent most of the month in the repair shop, plus the dog ate my homework, but better late than never, I reckon. So this one's going under the veryfewwords tag, as if the song title didn't give that away. [more inside]
Took a look at this month's challenge themes and thought: Tom Waits does a much better Tom Waits impersonation than I could ever muster, and I'm just not a 'lots of notes' kinda guy. But, "spooky"... there you go! Submitted for your listening pleasure, my version of this Daniel Johnston song. With lines like "I saw my own heart laying, black with blood", I guess you could say it's pretty damn spooky. Here's a very powerful clip of Johnston performing the song on organ. [more inside]
This is the title track for my next album and I need some backup vocals! [more inside]
For the MeFi Music Challenge. This one uses mouthbow, bodhran (but it sounds like a bass drum), a little bell, shakers, some little woodblock rattley things, a drone, and voice.
On this 2nd anniversary of hurricane Katrina, I thought I'd post this song, which I wrote and recorded in the days following the disaster. In 2005, when I first posted it to my own web site, I received some comments from folks who were pretty incensed by it. I'd never had such visceral negative reactions to a song. Should you be interested, you can read some of those comments and my replies here. I also just posted a live version (from a gig earlier this month) to YouTube. [lyrics inside]
Fellow wants to cross a bridge, but it floats up into the sky. Woman comes along but she turns into smoke. Fellow throws a fistfull of dirt in the air, gets a new idea, goes and does some other stuff. Then there's a happy ending. Written for the "bridge" challenge, but I reckon you knew that already. Guitar by Ken Kawashima, who can also be heard here and here. Lyrics inside.
For the past several years I've been regularly composing music for a fashion design company here in Tokyo, for use in their fashion shows. Here's something recent, a relatively short piece at 3:45, done for one of their upcoming shows.
Written and recorded for the serpentine challenge now underway. My buddy Ken Kawashima brought in the North Mississippi blues riff and yours truly did the rest. Apologies to animal rights advocates, but some snakes were severed during the recording of this song. Had to be done. [lyrics inside]
There must've been hundreds of times over the years that I've tapped out a rhythm on a pan full of water while doing the dishes, the pitch woozily shifting as the h2o sloshes about. At those times I've almost always thought, hey, I should put this on a track sometime. Of course, I never did, until the first MeFi Music Challenge, with its "water" theme. Along with the big metal bowl full of troubled waters, you'll hear jawharp, talking drum, bombo drum, bell, shaker and vocal. [Lyrics and more inside]
In a departure for me, this tune features no percussion, synths, jaw harps, scrap metal or hand held mini-vibrators, but is simply accompanied by... an acoustic guitar. Radical, huh? Anyway, as you might guess from the title, the tune is a kind of meditation on New York City. Hope you enjoy.
The second recording of my first visit to my school's media center. It's a song idea that I've been toying with for a long, long time. It's in 7/4... if you like that sort of thing.
Lyrics [with handy reference links!] and more information inside.
Here's a song from the RPM '07 CD that I just popped into the mail today. In the end I was able to get 8 presentable tunes together within the space of the month. Whew!
This is one of a series of short pieces (about 10 or 12) I recorded using only a JUNO 60 analog synth (found at a Tokyo junk shop for only 10,000 yen!). The Oscillendulums all share a similar structure (gradual addition and/or subtraction of layered repeating parts), with an eye toward the creation of a sort of liquid polyrhythm. I also had in mind the musical approximation of animal sounds such as frog and insect choruses from a pond, which are part of the inspiration for this series.
In a slow count of 5, here's some kind of convergence of Burma and the blues, or thereabouts. "scissors cut paper / paper blows away / stone smashes scissors / and so it goes / another day / but it's all downhill from here / at least that's what sisyphus said /ah you're fucked six ways from sunday / with the blues wrapped round your head"
If I was to describe this song with sarcastic overtones, I would say this is a regular run-of-the-mill ageispolis techno song. Well, it's not. This song is anything but typical of what I usually produce. Vocals, emotion, melody, structure... christ, what's gotten into me!?
Another bass line.
The heart is a lonely trucker
Here is another piece I'm working on.
Another of my bass lines.
Here's an unfortunately prescient political power-pop tune I penned in '02, as recorded by Detroit's own rock foursome LISBOA at our (then) modest home studio in our first collective foray into DIY recording. RIFYL: The New Pornographers and dudes/lady-dudes in that vein. Honky tonk piano (emphasis on the "honky"), a Hammond, some e-Bow, a little vibraphone, and a few too many "nah-nah-nah-nahs," but whaddya gonna do, right? Hope you dig it, friends.
This bass line came to me during a very confusing period in my life . . . a moment that still leaves a perpetual after-taste. Women are so confusing.
Here's my version of this most haunting of American folk songs. It's very stripped-down: just voice, drone, a bass drum and a shekere. In the time-honored folk tradition, I've made a few minor lyrics changes here and there, and the melody I'm using is different from the Dock Boggs or Stanley Brothers versions of the tune. Anyway, it's one of my very favorite traditional songs. Hope you enjoy.
Another bass line I'm working. Yes I love the echo.
One of several bass lines I've been creating. All of the other parts (Drums, guitar, keyboard, etc.) are still in my head. Anyone looking for a bass player?
"i blew across the great plains like a plastic bag / from the broken heart of town to the dock of the bay / there ain't that much to say about the wide wide world / people everywhere just sleepwalk in their own little way / and ain't no hope of waking up / until you kiss me babe"
This song is by Skist (my duo with singer/electronicist Haruna Ito). It's from our new CD. [lyrics inside]
This is a recently recorded song that'll probably go on my next release. I'm not sure yet about the mix, but I guess it's good enough in its current state for a spin around the MeFi block. Party down y'all. [lyrics inside]</small]
This is a tune from a 1995 release called "Samm Bennett's History of the Last Five Minutes", from the Knitting Factory label. The CD is currently out of print. The guitarist is Hahn Rowe, everything else is me. I've been thinking about re-releasing this and possibly my earlier KF CDs on my own label (Yay! Rights have reverted back to yours truly!) but I've got a bunch of new songs I wanna release first. Thought I'd just throw this one out there into the ether. Anyway, [lyrics inside] and, hope you enjoy...
Sailor Martin, a tattooed and pierced sailor puppet, sings a convoluted and inadvertently homoerotic parable about a scimitar battle in an Arabian harem. Original public domain instrumental recording by Kaplan's Harmonists, recorded in 1923. New lyrics and Sailor Martin's voice by yours truly. More about Sailor Martin here.
Acid-ambient space dub loops. This is a live jam I did with a friend while visiting him in Seattle. The rig was comprised of me playing small and very slow beat loops in Traktor at BPMs relationally fractional to a master tempo of 110 BPM, while my friend looped samples in Live, both from prerecorded and live samples from mixboard outputs and sends. There is a Macbook microphone involved in the sampling of the room and as a feedback and reverb source. There is no shared MIDI clock in use - all tempo/pitch control is manual, and listen for long beat-count tempo-drifts of loop components, which are manipulated and intentional. The majority of this dub takes place as variations of two beats in one "measure", sometimes four but never more. This cut of the track is the last ten minutes of approximately one hour of play and loop building. It is pre-release version intended for derivitive works, remixes and redubs. (If you wish to remix, sample, splice, loop, fuck, deconstruct or otherwise destroy this track, I would vastly prefer that you please contact me via the email in my profile for the uncompressed and unprocessed file and the full Creative Commons license. Please do not use this low-bitrate file.)
An original, campy, Shatner-esque take on a fictional Moon-based Patrol-squad.
Gionata (www.gionata.net) swiss artist singing italian songs
A very New York-bred outlook at old-time Cuban music, recorded entirely with .. violas! This was my attempt to create asymmetrical but memorable melodies, clear textures crammed with material, and experiment with multitrack viola as a concept, an ensemble. The sound of the classic Cuban bands had all that - except the violas, that is. This track appears on my newly released CD, the VJOLA: WORLD ON FOUR STRINGS
A trip into the mind of Francis E. Dec, Esq.
This is a song that was done live on 6/26/2006 at an afterparty here in detroit. the venue was stucco's warehouse. Listen as my audio buffer dies at the end. A proper version will probably come out someday.