I once danced through Tocumen International Airport in Panama to this album filling my headphones. It was a long and delirious layover and I was surrounded by moving strangers. Not all of the album made perfect sense in that environment, but I highly doubt it's meant to, and this is all just another way of saying that I really enjoy the music. Recommended listening.
Favorite track: Fun Blood Sock.
With this record, the idea that each record should explore a concept came into focus. With the pandemic coming on, we did a quick recording session as a trio (Matt Aelmore, PJ Roduta, and myself) and worked through a couple of ideas, recorded some jams. There were experiments: PJ improvising/writing in the moment two drum takes that we would add more music to later; recording big hits a la Louis Andriessen’s “Hoketus” that would be combined in the box to create a double trio; seeing if we could sound like a D’Angelo backing band (not quite).
Afterwards, when we started to patch things together and Matt and I figured out arrangements, a concept sort of developed. It’s one of those things that is almost within grasp.
The idea is to think of The Beatles as an icon. The Beatles as myth. And by that, The Beatles as material to be utilized.
There are literal references to that. "The Magic Circle" was a possible title for Revolver, and there are two references to the White Album, one via Joan Didion’s own reference to that album. There’s also the idea to embrace the eclecticism of the White Album and carry that as part of our album’s aesthetic. The actual music of The Beatles is less of a concern. It’s more their continued cultural weight.
The pandemic weighed heavily over this record, too. Drum sets were recorded in three locations; bass guitar and reeds in three other places. Resampled horns from our second record took on a Reich-ian texture. Percussion was recorded inside James Turrell’s Pleiades at the Mattress Factory--I had the lights on, though. There’s something about fractured elements and disintegration also happening. And christ, what a year.
released June 21, 2021
Matt Aelmore, bass, brass, vocals
David Bernabo, vocals, guitars, pedal steel, dry ice,
harpsichord, percussion, microvolt 3900
Patrick Breiner, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet
PJ Roduta, drums, percussion, timpani head
Lenny Young, oboe
Written by David Bernabo (Woolslayer Music, ASCAP), except 04 by DB/PJ Roduta, 02 and 07 by DB/PR/Matt Aelmore, 09 by DB/MA, and 10, a traditional.
Orchestrations by DB. Additional horn arrangements by Patrick Breiner and MA.
Recorded and mixed by DB at Woolslayer Traveling Studio, 03/2020 to 03/2021. Additional percussion recorded by DB at Mattress Factory in James Turrell's "Pleiades" installation.
Strings recorded by Dave Hidek at The Church Recording Studio, 11/02/2020.
Additional recording by PR at The Space Upstairs and by MA at Business Music Solutions.
Mastered by Carl Saff. Artwork by DB. Font by Emily Jing Sum Chan. Released by Ongoing Box, HSOB080.
Ongoing Box is a Pittsburgh, PA imprint that grew out of the activities of the band Host Skull. The imprint has over 60
releases dealing with songcraft, free improvisation, composition, and sound sculpture. We also release films, books, and limited edition vinyl....more
supported by 20 fans who also own “HSOB080: Watererer - Muggy Swollen Pus”
Blue taps directly into our hearts, transforms and takes us to that sacred non-verbal space where all the best of music and art and life lives. Gloriously generous solo piano + so many more wonderful surprises + compositions here: the "Driver's Son" ensemble performances in Brooklyn & Philly, "Songs From Aphasia" spoken word, electronics "He Was Here" and Ned Sublette's great take on "Double Life" leaving us with a final generous detour into positivity and love with "The Forecaster Hopes" 2019 Pete Dako