Monday, March 8, 2010

Black Thirteen - BIRD light

It's been more than a year since my last Black Thirteen post. Which makes sense seeing how the band is on a pseudo-hiatus. However the group recorded so much during its active period that I am still in possession of a wealth of unheard material. One of the best and certainly most unusual pieces of forgotten B13 is this little record.

As many of you know, the classic B13 line-up consists of Simon Sharp, Wesley Rose and myself. We always welcomed collaborators with open arms and none more so than Jessica Collins (Née Calleiro) and on this record she played with us, recorded it and then went on mix and edit the session, basically recreating Black Thirteen in her own image. Which we later found out was vastly superior to our own image.

So what you get here are six tracks pulled together from two different sessions, four from an initial set which featured Simon, Jessica, and me. And two tracks from a second session, (lost due to hard drive failure) which (thankfully) features the inclusion of Wesley Rose.

Those familiar with Jess's BERU work will recognize her incredible cut-up/collage abilities employed to very subtle effect here. (Those NOT familiar with her Beru work will kindly stop reading and familiarize yrself now.) And those familiar with Black Thirteen's other records will probably notice the sometimes too-crisp aspect of our low-fi, all-improv approach has been dully soaked in reverb and mellowed out like a lot, turning all of our guitars into this floating pillow for Simon wonderful voice.

Jess just told me she thinks this record is some of the best work she's ever done. I feel pretty strongly about it myself and I know that Simon and Wesley do also. In fact really the only the thing to complain about is the shoddy craftsmanship of Western Digital and their "My Book" hard drive which failed out of nowhere and caused the rest of the session with Wesley to be possibly lost forever and made the resulting record a mere 23 minutes. Don't worry though you'll want to hear it twice in a row.

Simon Sharp sang lead vocals on all tracks and played an acoustic guitar.

Jessica Collins sang backing vocals and whistled sometimes and played a keyboard sometimes and also an acoustic guitar.

Wesley Rose played acoustic guitar on tracks 3 & 5.

Ben Collins played electric guitar on all tracks

and a sample of Joseph Calleiro drumming was used on one song.

Recorded, mixed, edited by Jessica

All songs collectively improvised by the members.

Album photo of Bella, taken by Jessica.

Download the album HERE

The Mooninites - TK Traxz

Back in 2005 The Mooninites spent a day jamming in a church. We used the mics and PA that were there as well the drum kit and vintage Fender Rhodes. Josh Nelson recorded us and it ended up as a sort sloppy, three piece version of middle period Soft Machine (we wish). Anyhow, at some point Travis Knowles did a handful of remixes of those sessions using some of the old synths he had access to at the dearly departed Atlanta College of Art.

Hear a track:

I'm sure at some point I'll put together a reasonable set of the original recordings, but for now these remixes are way better. And to think they've been just sitting around on my computer, forgotten, for five years now. I feel like a tool. This stuff is really good, it's all loop-based using a keyboard that could make loops which could be both pitch-adjusted and time-adjusted while playing so get all of this cool early Steve Reich-ish stuff.

And if you like this please check out TK's other stuff, especially my previous post of his newest album.

Track listing:

1. Night Train
2. The Heart of the Heart
3. And Other Stories
4. Blue Blood
5. American Pastoral

In case it is worth noting, the original sessions were roughly:

Travis Knowles on bass
Zach Smola on rhodes and guitar
Ben Collins on Drums and tapes

recorded by Josh Nelson

Photo by me of this weird time when Wesley Rose had this strange pixelated giant ruby floating in front of his head while he was sitting on this dock with a cigarette.

Download it HERE

Post Script: Thought I should mention a few house-keeping items about the blog. In case you bother to look through the archives anytime soon you may (or may not) notice the lack of the embedded IMEEM players which used to be featured in some of last years posts. Well I took them all down because IMEEM SUCKS, really really bad and they started replacing my embedded player with some stupid banner ad. So in case you or ANYONE you know ever wonders DON'T USE IMEEM! On the other hand is stepping up their game and it looks like I will be able to upload things easier and more effectively on there.