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Archive for the ‘Marjorie Minkin’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-The White Tape (1986) (1998).

Phish (also known as The White Tape) is a self-produced album released by the American rock band Phish on cassette in 1986. Often cited as the first Phish “album”, The White Tape was originally a collection of original material that the band used as a demo/sample tape for venues, and was sometimes labelled “Phish”

This release is largely kind of goofy, although there are lots of kernels of songs and indeed songs that are still played today.  As Wikipedia puts it: “The album also contains avant-garde experimental pieces, instrumental passages, electronic noises and studio trickery.

“Alumni Blues” sounds kind of slapdash (at least the lyrics) and demo-y (almost a generic blues) but overall very much like a full song.  There’s some great bass lines and solid guitar.  It’s got some crazy nonsensical percussion and crickets at the end of the song.  “And So to Bed” is a very pretty guitar instrumental with lots of pretty ringing chords (it could be a Led Zeppelin song but clearly isn’t).

“You Enjoy Myself” is a one minute a capella version of the melody of YEM, it’s beautiful and weird at the same time with lots of pitch shifting on the voices.

“AC/DC Bag” is a weird, early song (that doesn’t make much sense outside of the “Gamehendge” story).  This version is very slow and kind of loungey (especially the way Trey sings the chorus).  but al of the main parts are there just like they still are today.  The rather surprising “Fuck Your Face” is a wild guitar solo (reminiscent of something Zappa might do) in 17/4 time signature.  It was done entirely by Mike Gordon (who sounds like he’s 12 years old). It ends with this declaration: “Hi, I’m Bill I was the one who the did the cover art for the Stones’ Sucking in the 70s LP.”

“Divided Sky” is an 1 minute introduction to the song played on acoustic guitar (presumably 12 strings) and xylophone.

  “Slave to the Traffic Light” is an unusual version of the song—it’s less fluid than later versions.  The opening is done on that acoustic guitar again and it’s not instantly recognizable as “Slave.”  But the voices are kind of silly.  Not that the song is serious, but it makes it even less so.

“Aftermath” starts with some crazy noises. It sounds like pure studio trickery until it resolves into a very pretty guitar instrumental.   “Ingest,” meanwhile, is the song of weird effects a weird synth with sampled laughter—pure nonsense (and not credited to anyone).

“NO2″ is more nonsense—credited to Mike–this time keyboard effects making it sound like a dentist’s office.  It’s about 5 minutes of noise—hard to listen to more than once.  However, it ends with 2 minutes of beautiful almost Spanish style acoustic guitar.  It segues into “Fluff’s Travels” which doesn’t really seem to have much to do with the “Fluff’s Travels” that appears on Junta.  This one is 90 seconds of slightly disorienting playing and odd-sounding operatic vocals.

I didn’t realize “Dog Gone Dog” which has since become known as “Dog Log” was quite so old.  It sounds like a live version here–bot too different from later version except for the synth sounds.  “He Ent to the Bog” is an even weirder Mike Gordon piece than the other weird song, with sampled words, crazy noises and then a series of really bad jokes about hamburgers told by an unspecified woman (including a joke that name checks Farah Fawcett-Majors).  And it’s nearly 4 minutes long.

“Run Like an Antelope” is an interesting version—with a jaunty bouncy folkie introduction (much bouncier than the recorded version).  There’s some wild soloing in the middle of the 7 minutes.  The spoken word nonsense is done very quickly.  There’s also cheers from some other album tacked on.

Mike’s last contribution is the bizarre (clearly Mike is the weird one in the band) “Minkin” a jazzy peace that is mostly a spoken word “infomercial” piece about painter Marjorie Minkin (who is Mike’s mother).  It’s much funnier knowing that she is actually Mike’s mom.

“Letter to Jimmy Page” is an electric guitar workout, but it’s only a minute and could be longer.

Only “Alumni Blues”, “AC/DC Bag”, “Slave To The Traffic Light” and “Dog Gone Dog” (a.k.a. “Dog Log”) have the four band members together.  And Trey wrote everything except the few Gordon pieces.

[READ: November 22, 2016] The Man Who Danced with Dolls

Back in 2014, I ordered all 16 books from Madras Press. believing that I’d been told about a cool gem of a publisher.  And I had been. Unfortunately, after publishing the 16 books they seem to have gone out of business or so. They still have a web presence where you can buy remaining copies of books.  But what a great business idea this is/was

Madras Press publishes limited-edition short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of non-profit organizations chosen by our authors.  The format of our books provides readers with the opportunity to experience stories on their own, with no advertisements or miscellaneous stuff surrounding them.

For this particular book, proceeds to benefit the New Hanover Humane Society.

The story opens with a man reflecting back on visiting his grandparents.  He is a translator and has become one most likely because his grandfather insisted that he learn German.  Since the boy’s father was more interested in learning French, his grandfather insisted on German.  So he learned fascinating words like

  • gurtmuffel: someone who doesn’t wear their seatbelt and
  • fensterln: for someone to go through a window to make love to their sweetheart while her family doesn’t know anything.

His grandfather developed brain cancer and the first thing that went was his ability to recall these unusual words. (more…)

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