What’s that you’re drinking?

New song.

It’s called “Bury the Bell,” and I wrote it last summer (the lyrics may or may not make that apparent). Some friends had organized a project within a Facebook group dedicated to a particular musician (Robyn Hitchcock) wherein a group of us would demo a song to be recorded by another person in the project. Participants ranged from people with half a dozen albums to their credit to rank amateurs (raises hand). I was assigned to write for a guy whose music I barely knew—which was actually freeing, in that although I obviously enjoy trying to write in particular styles, that works when I’m quite familiar with the style…and so instead of trying to write for the guy based solely on the one or two stray tracks I had (along with a CD which he graciously sent to me), I’d go for a lingua franca based on our mutual Hitchcock fandom. So of course, Hitchcock has worn his own influences like his trademark polka-dot shirts: everyone who knows his music knows that Dylan, Barrett, Bowie, and the Beatles are huge influences.

I went with the Beatles…as will be immediately obvious upon listening.

The demo has the bass and keyboards and much of the vocal arrangement (although different vocals). When I decided to flesh it out on my own through sheer impatience (as you’d imagine, the project—which is still live—is taking quite a lot of time!), I just went full-on late-’66/early-’67 Beatles: weird-noise coda, vocal harmonies, curious orchestral touches (how I got an orchestra in my Garageband I’ll never know).

One thing I’ve been spending more time on lately is working with EQ, levels, compression, and stereo placement to make my mixes sound more coherent and open. I think that’s starting to pay off: these and the last two recent new mixes of newish songs have sounded better and begun to solve the mysterious “this just doesn’t sound right” thing that sometimes plagued earlier recordings. (Aside from my usual complaints re my own technical and performance limitations, of course: blatant manipulation and fakery abound.)

The phrase popped into my head a while back (already used for one of my mixes), and then I had to figure out what it meant. I bypassed interpretations that would lead me to Zappaworld (ahem)—and landed where I landed. Plus which, quotes and allusions to Radiohead, Jonestown, Isaac Newton, Repo Man, Sparks, and…well, I wrote it last summer.

Bury the bell—
What if it's ringing?
No alarms, and no surprises…

Lead in the well—
What's that you're drinking?
Raise a toast to your half-lives.

Because…if I go further than others,
it's from kicking the balls of those giants,
so they fall by the side of the roadway.

They think
that their brains
run so much smoother
and then quote
some asshole named
"Dunning Kruger."

Bury the bell—
(sink sink sink sink sink sink…)
What if it's ringing?
(oh well)
No alarms, and no surprises…

Lead in the well—
(drink drink drink drink drink drink…)
What's that you're drinking?
(so kool)
Raise a toast to your half-lives.

My GPS says turn right here
Beautiful evening…
and drive off the cliff
you can almost see the stars

These pants ain't big enough for the both of us,
so I'm wearing them—cover your assets.
Forward! Full-speed, torpedoes and angels

scattering,
rushin' in
fear from those snowflakes
melting down.
Everyone knows news is fake.

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I know, she knows…but what does ‘e know?

Another new song. [UPDATE: that’s the original mix. The new one–with, I think, better balance from messing with the EQ and compression–is here.]

Here’s a blog post of mine from August 2007 (to give you an idea of how long some dumb things percolate in my brain):

For some reason, it recently occurred to me that there’s a bunch of mostly non-related, semi-famous guys named Eno. I am not entirely certain what to do with this information.

Our Five Guys Named Eno are: Brian (“non-musician,” “sound landscaper,” theorist, and known bald man), Roger (a/k/a “Brian’s younger brother” or “the Eno with hair” (??)), Jim (Spoon’s drummer and a record producer), Will (the playwright), and William Phelps Eno (a/k/a the dead one).

One possibility is to make up a quiz testing one’s knowledge of all things Eno. I figured it’d be more fun if two people competed, and then when one person gets an answer wrong, the other one can shout “it’s the wrong Eno!” really loud.

Another idea is to pitch a sitcom. I’m thinking something like…Brian’s in New York City giving a lecture on, I don’t know, the effects of tape-delayed bell tones on people’s perceptions of perfumes, for which Roger has agreed to provide the music. Jim’s in town because Spoon has a gig the same night, and Will’s attending opening night of a new play. As it happens, after all these events conclude, the various Enos coincidentally end up at the same bar when – the co-presence of so many mostly unrelated Enos calls up the ghost of William Phelps Eno himself. Wacky hijinks ensue, from which various Enos might learn something or other.

Took me long enough…but eventually, I made a song of it. Lyrics have (mostly) been around forever, as are most of the musical ideas. I did steal a few ideas from the most prominent Eno of the bunch…some are obvious if you listen, some less so…such as the fact that with the exception of a few vocal tracks, this is really two different versions of the same song, one in the left channel, one in the right channel. There’s a cut-and-paste sax solo counterpoised to sound effects, and I spent a fair amount of time massaging a sound into something that plausibly could have been a Well-Known Eno Guest of the era on the guitar solo…

The lyrics follow: they’re basically a variation on the sort of dance-craze song that describes a particular dance and encourages you to do that dance (Eno rang some changes on this in “Kurt’s Rejoinder”), only it’s about the rules of this trivia game (which, in keeping with the dark wit of early Eno, involve a rather severe penalty for losing, in the bridge there…). I therefore felt entirely justified in composing lyrics-by-Wikipedia: random facts about various Enos make up most the lines. That and cramming in as many internal rhymes and assonance as I possibly could. The busy countermelody in the bridge is me being dissatisfied with the textural/harmonic sameness of the song…so I decided I’d rig up some nonsense in a tricky rhythmic pattern built on words with short “e” and short “o” sounds. (Which are Eno’s vowels, shortened—which I just realized now.)

It’s rather goofy, really.

Perfumes and strategies, and systems of bells…
Plays based on nothing, magnets thrown down a well…
Sibling assembling random tones by the hour…
A hero to cabbies...engineered rhythm power.

But which
won’t switch at the transfer of fingers?
This name
the same evokes ghosts, a view lingers.
As spirits are raised, drained, and 
summoned in praise, strains
of puzzlement will quiz all
present and still, this is it:

The game of the curious surname that is Eno.
There’s Brian and Roger, and Will, and Jim, plus the ghost we know
as the father of traffic laws, the eminent William Phelps Eno:
Pray name them correctly...or prove you a naive bambino!
 
Semiconductors, mixing, Wurlitzer, too—
Unembarrassed to work with that harmonica dude…
Title and deed, indeed a season of flu…
Used to blow the euphonium...could not drive but still you 
 
Will play the game of the curious surname that is Eno.
There’s Brian and Roger, and Will, and Jim, plus the ghost we know
as the father of traffic laws, the eminent William Phelps Eno:
As spirits are drained, crazed, as tumbling strays pray,
as Enophile connoisseur voices pile on as your…
 
Bits flame if you name the Wrong Eno!
Did you get it? If not it’s exotic, but it’s not a set-up
Please reform your poor form before we know
thought, but a lot of what gets unknotted ought to be thought.
you’re a scam at your amateur plea, no…
Let it upset its setting, better bet it gets a guess then
You’re a poseur who chose the Wrong Eno!
vet it, or rot it: yes, it’s set, not stopped at bottom.
 
Play the game of the curious surname that is Eno.
There’s Brian and Roger, and Will, and Jim, plus the ghost we know
as the father of traffic laws the eminent William Phelps Eno:
Pray name them correctly...or prove you a naive bambino!
 
Random code set in bold Palatino…
Going vague in a Vegas casino…
Super placid in acid amino…
No remorse quick divorce in old Reno…
Beta decays: hooray, a neutrino…
All aboard Stan’s old Ford Gran Torino…
Fast asleep wearing cheap fake merino…
Sing some lines whose words rhyme, end in “Eno”…
 
 
 

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Crimsonessence

For no good reason, a few years back, the idea of setting the lyrics of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” to the music of the Beach Boys’ “Cabin Essence” (sometimes spelled as a single word) popped into my brain. I probably had some sort of fever.

In any event, over time, ideas on how to do that continued to occasionally occupy my brain–and with my recent re-interest in having a pool of monkeys type things, I finally realized this idea.

I used an instrumental track from the Smile sessions box. I added a few sample snippets from the King Crimson song (which is also available sans vocals—although as it turned out, the parts I used did not require that mix: amusingly, I did not need to change the pitch of the part I used—nor even do much with the tempo! It just fit…). I also added a few bits to glue the song together…you might notice a harp and glockenspiel, or a low piano, or a mellotronish flute (all fake) here and there…

Monkey Typing Pool “Crimsonessence”

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2020 songpiles…all the songs

WordPress makes it impossible to import tables…so I’ll just insert these screencaps.

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The Book of Elevations: selections from my 30 favorite albums of 2020

Yes, “albums.” I am Old, and therefore allowed to act as if “albums” are still a thing. (Yet, they are…they keep getting released, notice.)

I’ve followed a similar logic to the last few years in terms of selecting tracks from the albums: if the point is that the whole album is strong, it shouldn’t much matter which track I choose (and makes my job easier), and so…this year, I went with the 6th track on each record*, because I happened to run into an ancient e-mail from a non-online friend of mine (Crystal P.), who theorized that the sixth track is a good guide to whether an album’s really good or not. Anyone can start a record strong (well, NOT anyone), and similarly, finishing with a strong track is one…but it’s the deep cuts in the middle of the record whose strength speaks to how good the entire album is. (Of course, sometimes, track 6 is the opener of side 2 on vinyl…but since I don’t listen on vinyl, I have no idea.) These are in order for musical effect, not ranked. See below for more comments on 2020’s music.

* if for whatever reason I did not think track 6 fit, I used either 5 or 7—sue me.

First half:

  1. Gretchen’s Wheel “Infernal Machine” Such Open Sky (0.00)
  2. The Bye Bye Blackbirds “Watch Them Chime” Boxer at Rest (3.23)
  3. Rolling Blackouts C.F. “The Only One” Sideways to New Italy (5.55)
  4. Anton Barbeau “Chicken” Manbird (9.39)
  5. Andy Bell “Cherry Cola” The View from Halfway Down (12.48)
  6. Guided by Voices “Please Don’t Be Honest” Mirrored Aztec** (16.52)
  7. Bob Mould “When You Left” Blue Hearts (19.19)
  8. The Asteroid No. 4 “Juniper” Northern Songs (21.49)
  9. Throwing Muses “Upstairs Dan” Sun Racket (25.57)
  10. The Psychedelic Furs “Ash Wednesday” Made of Rain (29.40)
  11. Wire “Oklahoma” Mind Hive (35.00)
  12. The Black Watch “All I Know (Is That the Moon Is Beautiful)” Fromthing Somethat*** (37.59)
  13. Spygenius “Café Emery Hill” Man on the Sea (42.28)
  14. The Corner Laughers “Sisters of the Pollen” Temescal Telegraph (47.19)
  15. Bob Dylan “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” Rough and Rowdy Ways (49.56)

Second half:

  1. Stephen Malkmus “Shadowbanned” Traditional Techniques (0.00)
  2. Car Seat Headrest “Deadlines” Making a Door Less Open (3.17)
  3. John Foxx & the Maths “New York Times” Howl (8.16)
  4. The Mekons “Buried Treasure” Exquisite (11.49)
  5. Algiers “Chaka” There Is No Year (15.38)
  6. Torres “Good Grief” Silver Tongue (19.23)
  7. Destroyer “Cue Synthesizer” Have We Met (24.23)
  8. Luke Haines & Peter Buck “Andy Warhol Was Not Kind” Beat Poetry for Survivalists (28.16)
  9. This Is the Kit “Coming to Get You Nowhere” Off Off On (31.51)
  10. RVG “I Used to Love You” Feral (35.07)
  11. Phoebe Bridgers “Chinese Satellite” Punisher (38.36)
  12. The Strokes “Why Are Sundays So Depressing” The New Abnormal (42.10)
  13. Girl Friday “Earthquake” Androgynous Mary (46.37)
  14. Thurston Moore “Locomotives” By the Fire (50.05)
  15. Sparks “Stravinsky’s Only Hit” A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (1.06.47)

** GBV put out three (!) records this year: the third has not yet arrived at my house, the first was Surrender Your Poppy Field. They’re both really good, but I gave Mirrored Aztec a slight edge…these days, I’m preferring the more “produced” GBV, while Surrender has more of the lo-fi and more of the weird. Probably just depends on my mood from day to day, really…

*** The Black Watch also put out three records in 2020: Fromthing Somethat, Brilliant Failures, and an EP called The Nothing That Is. As usual, they were all excellent…but again, I’m giving the slight edge to the later of the two full-lengths.

Second tier of releases: Elvis Costello Hey Clockface, Tanya Donelly & the Parkington Sisters (s/t), Eyelids The Accidental Falls, Hum Inlet, Laura Marling Song for Our Daughter, Nada Surf Never Not Together, Of Montreal UR Fun, and Soccer Mommy Color Theory.

Third tier: Anton Barbeau (also with three albums…) Presente: Kenny vs. Thrust, The Beths Jump Rope Gazers, Dolph Chaney Rebuilding Permit, The Dream Syndicate The Universe Inside, Fleet Foxes Shore, Momus Vivid, Morrissey I Am Not a Dog on a Chain (the singer is politically repugnant but artistically strong: thankfully, you cannot derive his politics from his lyrics here), Muzz (s/t), Pretenders Hate for Sale, Protomartyr Ultimate Success Today, Tom Sanders (Pete & the Pirates vocalist) Only Magic, Maria Schneider Orchestra Data Lords, Taylor Swift Folklore (yes, it’s a good record—have not yet heard its companion release from later in the year), Mike Tittel Sleeping In, Waxahatchee Saint Cloud, Saul Williams Encrypted & Vulnerable, Vinyl Williams Azure.

Best titles of the year: Fireproof Sam & the Selfsame Four (KC Bowman) To Keep You Vultures Happy, in which every song title (and the album title) is drawn from a line in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Best EPs: Beauty Pill Please Advise, the aforementioned Black Watch EP, Flock of Dimes Like So Much Desire, Gold Connections Ammunition, Lake Ruth Crying Everyone Else’s Tears, Alex Lilly Love in Three Colors, Suuns Fiction, Swervedriver Winter Depths.

Some disappointments that never quite grabbed me: releases from Brian & Roger Eno (Mixing Colours), Joe Pernice (Richard), John Vanderslice (Dollar Hits…although it was billed as “experimental”), and Jonathan Wilson (Dixie Blur).

Also: yeah, it seems this year’s list is dominated by older artists…much more so, at least, than my quarterly “songpile” mixes. Still, there are enough newer artists here (note: as above, I am Old, so “newer” means “in the last ten years”) that no one should be giving up and expecting all good music to shuffle off this mortal coil…

Finally: some so-far-so-good records that are too new for me to rank: Fiona Apple Fetch the Bolt Cutters (so I’m slow…), Blesson Roy Think Like Spring, Samantha Crain A Small Death (for language mavens: contains a song in the Choctaw language), The Mountain Goats Getting Into Knives, Mike Viola Godmuffin…and some guy named Paul McCartney, who’s put out a record called McCartney III. Apparently, the guy’s kind of a big deal.

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Polite and Spotless: Jeff’s second covers songpile of 2020

Covers.

I like them.

Here’s a nice set of playlists, sequenced and segued, covering my favorite covers of the second half of 2020.

Part 1:

  1. Simon Raymonde “Days” (Tom Verlaine/Television cover) 0.00
  2. Mountain Man “Slow Burn” (Kacey Musgraves cover) 4.05
  3. Jonathan Segel “Here Comes Sunshine” (Grateful Dead cover) 7.34
  4. Omni “Art for Art’s Sake” (10cc cover) 13.49
  5. Lea Roberts “Alright Now” (Free cover) 18.43
  6. Ewan Stephens “Mindless Child of Motherhood” (Kinks/Dave Davies cover) 21.52
  7. Mathilde Santing “Ghosts” (Japan cover) 25.23
  8. Nada Surf “Sick Day” (Fountains of Wayne cover) 30.52
  9. Daniel Romano’s Outfit “Jokerman” (Bob Dylan cover) 35.09
  10. The New Piccadillys “Complete Control” (The Clash cover) 39.58
  11. The Score “Please Please Me” (The Beatles cover) 42.14
  12. The Besnard Lakes “You Make Loving Fun” (Fleetwood Mac cover) 44.52
  13. Queens of the Stone Age “Never Say Never” (Romeo Void cover) 49.33


Part 2:

  1. Taylor James “Pardon My Heart” (Neil Young cover) 0.00
  2. Robin Pecknold “Hammond Song” (The Roches cover) 4.53
  3. Lianne La Havas “Weird Fishes” (Radiohead cover) 10.33
  4. The Hot Rats “The Crystal Ship” (Doors cover) 16.25
  5. White Reaper “Only a Shadow” (Cleaners from Venus/Martin Newell cover) 18.56
  6. Richard Thompson “Black Crow” (Joni Mitchell cover) 22.31
  7. Geoffrey Oryema “Listening Wind” (Talking Heads cover) 26.34
  8. The Rock*a*Teens “The End of the World” (Skeeter Davis cover) 30.42
  9. Tanya Donelly with the Parkington Sisters “Different Drum” (Mike Nesmith/Linda Ronstadt & the Stone Poneys cover) 33.53
  10. Aimee Mann “Avalanche” (Leonard Cohen cover) 36.41
  11. Molly Tuttle “She’s a Rainbow” (The Rolling Stones cover) 41.49
  12. Swervedriver “Days” (Tom Verlaine/Television cover) 45.31
  13. (bonus) 48.54

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Quartersawn & Countersunk: Jeff’s Winter 2020 Songpile

Being a compendium of musical delights which hath tickled mine earholes lo these past three increasingly frigid, ever-shortening days: some are as babes in the proverbial woods, while some are like unto hoary strangers newborn in my acquaintance:

Part the First:

  1. Robert Harrison “Memorabilia” demo (0.00)
  2. JARV IS… “Sometimes I Am Pharaoh” (3.49)
  3. Erroneous “So We Wait” (9.01)
  4. The Wombats “Black Flamingo” (12.35)
  5. The Black Watch “Half My Dreams” (15.52)
  6. Little Hag “Get Real!” (19.58)
  7. Lisel “Rabbit Rabbit” (23.12)
  8. John Powhida International Airport “Michael 3 O’Clock” (26.07)
  9. October Surprise “(Just Can’t See) The Attraction” (30.06)
  10. White Denim “Queen of the Quarantine” (33.32)
  11. Ted Hearne “The Source: S/As Boy/As a Boy” (37.32)
  12. Jamila Woods “Blk Girl Soldier” (41.16)
  13. Michael Penn “A Revival” (44.56)

Part the Second:

  1. Freelance Whales “Spitting Image” (0.00)
  2. The New Lines “Windimir and the Gift of Death” (2014 version) (3.58)
  3. John Cale “Lazy Day” (6.49)
  4. Sharon Van Etten “Let Go” (12.42)
  5. Julien Baker “Faith Healer” (17.21)
  6. Big Troubles “She Smiles for Pictures” (20.11)
  7. Jessica Lea Mayfield “Emotional Abandonment” (23.00)
  8. Stella Donnelly “Old Man” (26.32)
  9. Jenny O. “Color Love” (29.59)
  10. V.V. Brown “Crying Blood” (33.11)
  11. Jon Anderson “Go Screw Yourself [Election Edit]” (35.39)
  12. Robyn Hitchcock “The President (2020 Version)” (40.01)
  13. bonus (43.23)
  14. bonus (45.47)

How weird a year was 2020? Weird enough that Mr. Hippie-Dippie New Age Love Peace & Hope himself, Jon Anderson, calls out right-wingers as “motherfuckers” in song.

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A proven faction was created…

About 45 days ago, my friend Brian Block posted to Facebook one of his AI experiments. He’ll submit some text or other to an online AI agent and see what it can generate (not sure of all the details). In this case, he submitted the lyrics to a currently popular song.

The results were, as usual, amusing…but what struck me was one line in particular (and, upon further examination, several other lines), which reminded me of something that might come from the writer of one of our mutual favorite bands. (I am leaving the identity of both the popular song and the favorite band as an exercise for readers…) I assembled and edited the lines that most seemed to fit, and put them together into a new song lyric.

Logically, of course, I then needed to write music that was (sort of?) in the style of said fave band…well, that’s what I did. I started off with no clear idea in terms of the lyric “meaning” anything: it was just a coincidental stylistic resemblance, and I was content if the lyrics were basically nonsense vaguely suggestive, if only to me, of another writer’s work. But as I moved lines around, adjusted them slightly for something like scansion, and so on…damned if something like sense didn’t start to emerge.

It’s also true that I had pretty much completed the lyric, and therefore begun to have a sense of key lines and moments in the song, immediately after the election…which I think influenced the direction I took.

As it evolved, I think what we have here is a sort of science-fiction story. The narrator and Nagata (relationship unknown, but they’re close in some way) have been through some sort of ordeal, stemming from some sort of financial issue, and sustained at the hands of some sort of corporate/state hybrid. But they have been through it…and they’re out the other side. The details are only suggestive, glancing asides, language used among two people who, knowing what they’re talking about, needn’t be over-specific.

But that’s where it ended.

The music ended up being simultaneously the most technically complex thing I’ve done (there are 36 tracks…wait, really, 38, and one or two are mixdowns) but, musically, fairly simple, in that except for the bridge, the verse and chorus sections are each based on simple, four-chord cells, both relatively standard progressions, and both in the same key (of A). There’s some sneakiness…in that the ending portion recycles the chorus chords but sounds rather more as if it’s centered in E than A…but harmonically, aside from the bridge, nothing too weird is going on here. Oh–and for some reason, it’s mostly in 7/8 for the verses. I didn’t originally hear it that way…but somehow waiting for the next phrase when it was in 4 always felt…delayed. And there’s something about the way the rhythm offsets itself that works with the situation…and allows the ending to be more intensely what I intended it to be, by contrast…

Monkey Typing Pool “The Proven Faction [update 2/8/21: this is a second mix. Lancelot link to the original in comments, if anyone wants to compare]

The Proven Faction

Let's borrow the money, Nagata
snoring like a credit card
Quick, put on your boots and jacket,
adjust the appearance of this display

I said, a proven faction was created,
seven days to seven.
Get the game out of your weaknesses,
tell me the details of this lake

(chorus)
I did not eat, I did not clean
I walked away before I removed it
I did not eat, I did not clean
They decided before I arrived

He bought a phone just for pictures
it was deleted before I saw it
But to my surprise, I was arrested
you must pour before you arrive

It's true, it shook my application—
this damper is included
Drain the water if you wish to,
dry it in a beautiful spring

(chorus)

Check out anti-water exercises
He got the money, then I went there
I want to put them in touch with the deceiver
Lean forward and hope for anything...

(bridge)
There are saviors in the house
There are saviors in the house
Please use my name when you release the disc
There are saviors in the house

(chorus)
I did not eat, I did not clean
(severe conditions for heavy transport)
I did not eat, I did not clean
(slip the hook in and leaning forward)

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well past the edge…

So, inspired by this blog post, I went insane in creating a hypothetical 4-album box set containing (most of) the solo records the members of Yes put out between 1975 and 1976 in the hiatus between Relayer and Going for the One…resequenced alongside other members’ songs. I liked the idea of seeing how different members’ stuff might work alongside the others’…and I also decided that rather than just sit the tracks next to one another, I’d create a cohesive flow of segues among the tracks on any given “album side.”

And, naturally, came up with a sort of backstory in the hypothetical universe in which this thing actually existed…which was that the actual recordings linked below were what the band used to (re)learn the parts for an enormous tour which found them accompanied by (stealing ELP’s move) a small orchestra on several tracks (Squire’s, mostly…but some of Howe’s, and you can imagine parts on some Anderson and Moraz tracks). I kinda wish this had happened, actually…if only so someone else could sing the lead vocals on Steve Howe’s tracks: he’s a decent backing vocalist, but his upper register exposed as the sole instrument can be a bit painful.

Anyway, the fun part was figuring out a sequence, finding ways to fit them to the length of a single LP side of the era (originally, I was going for a triple-record set à la Yessongs…but that was not working). I split up one of Anderson’s tracks: amusingly, originally it was going to come out of a different song entirely, but rearranging and adding a few things to make it work in the 4-LP version changed that plan…

A couple specific notes: I did not use any of Alan White’s record. I like a couple-three songs on that record…but he didn’t write them, or play anything but drums on them…and it felt as if including them might as well have allowed the inclusion of, I dunno, any track any band member played on outside the group. Also…there’s a little Yes-historical joke tucked in near the very end. Everything was almost completely done when–literally half-asleep–I thought, hey, I wonder if… And at first I thought I’d have to transpose the section I was thinking of (in Audacity)…but lo and behold: same key and everything! Oh…and I used the recent stereo remixes of the Chris Squire material except…why in the name of all that is holy and wholly bass did Jakko Jakszyk eliminate the bass solo in the latter part of “Safe”? Aside from the bass solo, the rest of the music is static: clearly, the solo is THE POINT of that section. So I created a hybrid mix using the new mix and fading (hopefully unnoticeably) to the old mix so that solo’s still there. (If anyone know what’s the story there, I’d really like to know. Also: some do not like the new mixes of Fish Out of Water: I’m okay with them, but the old ones are there, with a bit of polish, so all’s well…)

The title of this comes from a comment on the blog post I linked above, from someone thinking that it’s just the sort of dumb not-really-a-pun that the band actually used in titling a few things (the couple-few that incorporate “yes”…but also…uh…that record with the tomatoes thrown at it).

(the entire thing as a zip file if you don’t want to click 8 times)

Yessolos
(record 1, side a)
Ocean Song (JA)
Will O' the Wisp (SH)
Silently Falling (CS)

(record 1, side b)
Impact/Warmer Hands/The Storm (PM)
Moon Ra (JA)
Doors of Sleep (SH)

(record 2, side a)
Australia (SH)
Chords/Song of Search (JA)
The Nature of the Sea (SH)

(record 2, side b)
Lucky Seven (CS)
Solid Space (JA)
Best Years of Our Lives (PM)

(record 3, side a)
Hold Out Your Hand (CS)
You By My Side (CS)
Lost Symphony (SH)
Symphony in Space (PM)

(record 3, side b)
Pleasure Stole the Night (SH)
Quoquaq Ën Transic/Naon/Transic Tö (JA)
To the Runner (JA)
Ram (SH)

(record 4, side a)
Break Away from it All (SH)
Dancing Now/Impressions (The Dream) (PM)
Flight of the Moorglade (JA)

(record 4, side b)
Meeting/Sound Out the Galleon (Garden of Geda) (JA)
Safe (Canon Song) (CS)

Had a brainwave…revised record 3 side a to include Moraz’s “Descent” as a lead-in to the two Squire songs. (You can hear that version here.) Why? I liked the way the supersped-up theme from that track echoed the little piano lick at the very end of “Best Years of Our Lives”…and reproduced it here. But getting it to lead into the Squire track just was not working…until it occurred to me that the opening synth bit of “Incantation (Procession)” (the next track on the Moraz track) opens with a 3-note synth line (c e-flat f) and holds on a chord that has a sort of suspended character…and that Squire’s song opens with a suspended chord on c-sharp. So, using Audacity, I changed the pitch of the Moraz piece up half a step (I also rolled off the superslicy treble a bit) and sure enough, now when the Squire piece entered on the suspended chord at the beginning of “Incantation,” the pitches matched sufficiently to make musical sense. (There are two other musical callbacks on this thing. I split Anderson’s “Moon Ra/Chords/Song of Search” in half…but “Moon Ra” includes a big chord that opens “Chords.” Similarly, the last thirty seconds or so of the opening song (Anderson’s “Ocean Song”) are reprised as they fade into the next track on his album, “Meeting”…which opens the last side of this set. In other words, the last “suite” echoes the first one. The “Moon/Chords” thing is fairly incidental…but the “Ocean”/”Meeting” one brackets the whole production, while the “Best Years…”/”Descent” one occurs midway through. I kinda doubt that two such gestures in two hours and twenty minutes are really going to “unify” the thing…but every little bit counts!)

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Latchstring Catchphrase: Jeff’s Fall 2020 Songpile

Alright…’ere it is, a little number called…LATCHSTRING CATCHPHRASE.

The usual: new-to-me songs that have come my way over the last three months, poised, delicate, carefully refined and segued together.

Part 1:

  1. Black Pumas “Black Moon Rising” (0.00)
  2. Songhoy Blues “Worry” (3.39)
  3. Lake Ruth + Listening Center “Law and Disorder” (6.41)
  4. Nation of Language “Automobile” (10.02)
  5. Menace Beach “Sentimental” (14.32)
  6. Winterpills “Golden Waves” (17.03)
  7. Jorge Elbrecht “Ancient Grief” (21.10)
  8. Vinyl Williams “Lady Tiger” (24.24)
  9. Elvis Costello “No Flag” (27.23)
  10. Sampha “Without” (31.15)
  11. Gold Connections “Iowa City” (35.01)
  12. Blesson Roy “Soothe” (39.33)
  13. The Asteroid No. 4 “The After Glow” (42.15)


Part 2:

  1. Shamir “On My Own” (0.00)
  2. Algiers “It All Comes Around Again” (4.10)
  3. This Is the Kit “This Is What You Did” (7.15)
  4. Alex Lilly “Amuse Me” (10.24)
  5. The Rosenbergs “Houseboat” (14.15)
  6. The Spires “My Favorite Cigarette” (18.40)
  7. Bob Mould “Forecast of Rain” (21.58)
  8. W.H. Lung “Symmetry” (24.22)
  9. The Dovers “About Me” (31.13)
  10. Robert Harrison “Candy Lilac” demo (33.11)
  11. John Hiatt “All the Lilacs in Ohio” (35.26)
  12. Kate NV “Plans” (38.58)
  13. The New Division “Special” (44.35)
  14. — (49.29)

You may be wondering, why are there 26 songs (and a bonus track) rather than the usual 25? And the answer is: because I cannot count.

You may also be wondering, “what’s a ‘latchstring catchphrase’?” It’s a phrase made of the two words with the most consecutive consonants in the English language, that’s what it is.

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