There is something so rewarding about sitting back after the hours of setup, giving talented artists every possible sonic option, and listening to them feel their way through new instruments. There’s a certain kind of a rough-edge feel about it. And sometimes there is a beautiful delicacy about it. Sometimes wild uncontrollable things burst through the speakers and send everyone running for the back door… and sometimes, something, just works. My last session with Cory Gray (producer, session musician, and currently touring with bands like the Dandy Warhols and Blind Pilot), Daniel Hindman (of Pure Bathing Culture, and formerly Vetiver), and Brian Wright (of Pure Bathing Culture and Grand Hallway) was just that. They arrived with nothing but backpacks, and were setup with every conceivable option for sound…. They did not disappoint. The sonic blending of electronic and acoustic instruments, as well as access to effects – performed live – was so fluid. The music from these virtuosic and creative players proved to be some of the most interesting recordings I have made as of late.
Littered with found sounds, droning synths, gritty beats, and some straight up wacky stuff, there’s something special about new release ‘Snowghost Pieces‘. It was a dream come true for us, having listened to early Krautrock like Kraftwerk, Cluster, and Neu! for years – and this recording trio is comprised of Kraut-royalty. Dieter Moebius charted new “Krautronik” ground as one half of Cluster. The Americans Tim Story and Jon Leidecker are two electronic musicians who could not be more different to one another. Story is known for his warm soundscapes whilst Leidecker has made an name for himself, or rather for his “Wobbly” pseudonym, with experimental adventures in sound. The reviews have already started coming in: Music OMH – “thoroughly enjoyable production and one that equally rewards as a close, detailed listen”; Billy Ray Martin – “features harmonious, electronic improvisations of the highest order”; DereksMusicBlog – “it’s a genre melting album, Magnus Opus that anyone who enjoys electronic music must own”; The Skinny – “ambitious in its depth of texture, this is experimental music from the bleeding-edge”. We feel honored that Moebius, Story, and Leidecker made the trek all the way out to Montana by way of Berlin, Ohio, and San Francisco to compose, perform, and record their first collaborative work together. Check out the first video from ‘Snowghost Pieces’, the twisting and turning ‘Defenestrate’.
Coachella 2014 was as much of a social gathering, as it was an arts and music festival, this year. I have been to numerous Coachellas, starting with the first annual, Coachella ’99 – and I have always enjoyed just being a fan. I felt that this year’s Coachella definitely put people’s appetite for individualistic social media on display. Littered with eye-popping outfits and hard-bodies, drones and GoPros, and selfie shutterbugs – Coachella was dominated by EDM – and yet, high profile DJs like Skrillex, Flosstradamus, and Calvin Harris were the observers. In this pop culture movement, the entertaining line between performer and audience is blurred.
Flattered to be included in this month’s music issue of the Flathead Beacon put together by Tristan Scott and Greg Lindstrom. Really great talking shop with those guys. I’m sure they’ll be back for a listening session soon.
We had a great time talking with Danny of Westlake Pro about all things music, recording, time management, and hanging with Dan Deacon. Check out the writeup of our conversation.
The other day my neighbor and I got into a discussion, and I found out that she was basically one of the biggest Beatles fans ever. She told me that she had all of their records, trading cards, ticket stubs from their last show at Candlestick Park, clothing, stickers, posters…. everything. And then she told me about her prized possession – a gold medallion with John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Mop tops and beatnik suits. She told me what made this necklace rare was not the limited edition photo on the front, but that it also had all of their signatures carved into the back. I couldn’t believe it. In this lonely digital age, I had found a super fan. I remember collecting baseball cards when I was a kid. I learned all about my favorite players that way. I based hang out sessions with my friends around talking shop and traded cards – it brought me closer to the game, and it gave me a sense of community… even if they were just cardboard cutout friends. I wonder if the digital music consumers of today know what they’re missing, not being able to touch and feel a piece of the music. Maybe they don’t care. Must be the fan in me.
Thanks again to the John Pizzarelli Quartet for visiting SnowGhost Music! A few of the best jazz musicians of our time, John and his brother Martin are two current snapshots from the past of their father Bucky Pizzarelli, a living legend within the jazz community. John and Bucky have also recorded their fair share of pop music, John playing on Paul McCartney’s last record Kisses On The Bottom, and Bucky on some of Phil Spector’s biggest hits. When you add in Monty Alexander on the Steinway, a man who some argue as one of the best pianists in the world, it’s recording days like these that we live for.
As I work in the studio, and watch the leaves change colors here in Montana, I realize that there are obvious parallels in music production and changing surroundings. I know that the art we produce is directly influenced by our surroundings – but I’ve never actually thought about the seasons affecting mixes. Montana is gearing up for that annual white winter blanket, and I wonder if my approach changes at all. Getting ready for those SnowGhosts!