We moved out of Burlington, Vermont on May 28th, 2013. It was a rainy day and we spread Frederick's ashes around a tree in the backyard before driving down 89 to our old, new homes.
After a short respite back in Newmarket, NH, I spent the next few months working and traveling around the Eastern United States with an eraserhead- less tape recorder that I bought from Joey Pizza Slice back in mid-May.
Joey does a perfect job describing what an eraserhead-less tape recorder is and what it can do in this video. My recorder is almost identical to the one you will see here.
(he also does an incredible job making music with this technology and I STRONGLY suggest looking into listening sonofsalami.blogspot.com/p/audio.html
So as I went from town to town, city to city, festival to festival, room to room, I brought the recorder with me and often jammed myself into a frothing frenzy, either alone or whoever I was with. Our "audio-journal". One lad or lass would record however much they wanted before handing it off to the other, and so on and so forth. Collaborative brainstorming that would either bring a song into luminous existence or bury it under a mass of muddy clicks and falsetto.
All the "songs" are improvised, with no forethought, organization or pen and paper composition involved whatsoever. Most are a capella and were recorded in tents, cars, or while walking. Sort of a 24 year-old musician's gameboy, entertaining him in the least electric of places.
Until I digitized it, most of the sounds on this tape existed as huge coagulations of noise and music, without clear beginnings or ends. I separated them into tracks based off of when new ideas seemed to overtake old ones, or when the recorder and I moved to a new location. The music itself, though often harsh and grimey sounding, often ended up being fairly pop-oriented in terms of influence; 'experimental music' for sure, bot more so in method than in form.
It's noisy, it moves fast, it's self-indulgent, unfocused, indecisive, sloppy, and yet boundlessly creative and full of promise (discipline depending), and therefore I think it reflects me and who I was/am quite well. Job well done, recorder!
The tape ( a D90) features friends of ours prominently. I reckon about 78% of the sounds were made in conjunction with our various accomplices. Max Weiss is on at least half of this tape, and I think his contributions deserve special attention (mainly from him, so that he can maybe develop and re-work them into true masterpieces of Wax Mice caliber soundcloud.com/wax-mice)
The following notes are mainly for my own use (as is the whole tape itself, I suppose), but feel free to read along to uncover any mysteries this mess might be hiding from you. The tape was recorded in chronological order, and is presented as such. The only things that I edited out were a few voicemails that I recorded and a 4 minute blues song that Rob played in Nashville (Sorry buddy, but I wanted this to fit on a cd-r for my mom.)
1-8 and Elliot's phone-singing at the beginning of 9 were all recorded while my brother and I were waiting for Elliot to pick us up from the greenbelt of Barnes and Noble's parking lot in Newington, NH. The Azealia Banks clips were added while I was in Florida months later. I was obsessed with that song ("Luxury"), and all it covers up is me and Cody testing out the tape recorder and getting used to it. YOU CANNOT ERASE MISTAKES ON THIS THING. Or anything for that matter, (because Joey took out the eraserhead! but that's the point, eh?) There's a small clip recorded when Dana, Larry, and I walking around Burlington right after I bought the recorder from Joey's yard sale. 8 features some nice phone-chanting from Harrison.
Small parts of 9 were recorded in Elliot's car once he picked us up, and the rest features my Evil Pit Brothers Adam and Ryan checking out the recorder on the way from Burlington,VT to Plattsburgh, NY. We were on the road to the first stop of the Toyboat- Pilot Supreme tour.
10-15 were recorded in Harrison's old room at 50 Loomis. I was back in Burlington for a few days after having left it a week earlier. Saying final goodbyes before catching a bus to Buffalo. I really like the tape recorder's percussion on 14. It's just the sound of the tape cassette spinning.
Excerpts 16-20 were recorded the night I got into the Weiss household in Clarence, NY. A few minutes outside of Buffalo. 16-18 are voicemails that I had on my phone and really liked. As for the music afterwards, you can tell I'm still at the beginner's level in eraserheadwhatever.
21-25 were recorded with Max in or next to his car. We ran out of gas and were stuck on a bridge in Buffalo for 45 minutes. I recorded some stuff while we waited for his mom Linda to rescue us. 24 was inspired by a car we saw that had bumper stickers on the back that read "Shammy" and "Spoiled So Fresh" in pink, glittery words. That's for you Shammy.
26-47 were recorded while Max and I were at the Bonarroo Music Party in Manchester, TN. We were there working on the t-shirt printing truck. The songs were recorded in our tent, in between working and concerts. Lot of beer and weed involved. We were SLAMMIN out the hits at this point. Becca joined us at the festival, as can be heard on 46. This was her first venture into the eraserhead-less world as far as I'm concerned, yet she did a beautiful job harmonizing with her voice on this excerpt. One of my proudest moments on the whole tape is when Becca sings the line "much more til then", and I repeat it 3 more times in HER voice. It sounds like her but I swear to Paul it's not! 30 is another one of my favorites, and one of the few songs that has absolutely no overdubs on it, just Max and I feeling the magic. He did an incredible job on excerpt 29, and his throaty singing on 38 is some of the best singing I've ever heard him do. Also feeling really good about the notes I hit on 39. I rarely feel good about notes I hit! Great job recorder!!! (and 42 has a really weird electronic noise that somehowegot there by mistake when I was showing the tape to someone later on)
We did 48-51 and the end of 47 once we got back to Buffalo, all while walking around the lake (I say pond) that Max grew up next to. We reached the next level in the process this point I think. Great stuff here. Except for that one part where I ruin 48. Sorry, Maxy.
52-53 were done on the RV ride to Dover, DE, where we worked on the printing truck at the Firefly festival. Low point of the tape. 52 is our coworker Jasmine trying out the recorder.
54-65 and the end of 53 were recorded at my and Max's tent at Firefly. We weren't needed very much at this festival, and spent a lot of time just walking around and eraserjamming in the tent. Lots of extreme ups and downs here, mainly due to the VAST amounts of alcohol and gage consumed in our tent. Good harmonies all around. Excellent job on 56 and 62, gentlemen. And we saw Azealea Banks kill it onstage!
We were back in Buffalo during the recording of excerpts 66-73, and briefly re-joined by Parkour Lenninberg himself. Ryan was up for 3 days to help me finish the Evil Pit Bastards album (not done yet).
74-84 and the Joe voice at the end of 73 were recorded in Nashville, TN. I drove down with Max during his big move down there, where he still is to this day. We went and got Joe and Meredith from Knoxville and brought them to Max's new house with Becca, Rachel, and felines James and Francis. All the guitar playing on these is done by Joe, and some of my favorite moments on the whole tape are here (mainly 81-84!). All of it was recorded on their back porch over the course of ten sunny days. Possibly the best vacation I've ever had.
85-86 and the first line of 87 were made during the car ride from Nashville to Knoxville, when we dropped off Joe and Meredith at a bus station.
I recorded 87-90 alone at my Uncle Beau's house in Panama City Beach, FL. I spent 3 1/2 weeks there, 4 minutes away from the Gulf of Mexico. I went snorkeling almost every day and worked as a dishwasher at a pizza place. You can hear me fart towards the end of 89. Excerpt 90 is a recording of a finger exercise I was working on with my bass, overlapped every once in a while. Preparing my fingers for Ronin Shogunate, who you should be hearing from soon.... I hope