Archive for the ‘Jamey Gambrell’ Category


Negativland’s second album continues with the noisy nonsense of the first.  This disc actually has track titles, which is nice.  It’s about 38 minutes of experimental sounds, home recordings and all manner of noisy sound effects.

“Harry to the Ferry” features David teasing his mom who is playing the accordion–retake after retake with laughing and frustration.  Totally covered by jamming noises.  At the end his, aunt sings while his mom plays the title song.

“The Answer Is…” is simple synth sound–possibly even a demo from a synth?  It sounds like an ice skating rink.  It’s quite nice.  After three minutes we get the title sampled and then the music begins again with a bit more improv.

“Scolding Box” over menacing synths, David says “Green boy is extremely mad, he’s going to start scolding.”  The rest of the nearly six minutes is wavery, unsettling synth waves and what might be clarinet samples.

“That Darn Keet” David shouts, “Blue boy escaped!” followed by thumping and more menacing synths.

“Dear Mary” with a buzzing sound underneath and amid slamming noises, a man recites a stiff, formal letter to Mary about how hard it is to be yourself.  The end is a TV clip from a game show.

“Clutch Cargo ’81” piano improv with weirdo synth sounds bouncing in an out.

“Babac D’babc” all manner of weird chirping sounds and maybe balloons and then people arguing about their marriage.  The argument comes in chunks with each one getting more intense.

“A Nice Place to Live” a promotional audio for Countara Costa county.

“A Bee Fly” mechanical sounds and high pitched noises for a minute before it jumps to a track that actually talks about a bee.

“No Hands” starts as a song of sorts under lots of echo.  Then come voices of people at a barbecue (with more bee interruption) and meat sizzling.

“Potty Air” is basically six minutes of various electronic noises and static–seems like they are testing out to see just what their electronic machines can make.

[READ: April 20, 2019] “White Walls” 

This story is set in Russia and was translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell.

It begins with the tale of Mikhail Avgustovich Janson, a pharmacist of Swedish descent.  In 1946 he built a dacha near Leningrad intending to rent it out to city folk.  He was soon ready for tenants and a family.  But “The Lord had something else in mind,” and Janson died soon after finishing everything.

The narrator’s family were his tenants and they bought the land from Janson’s widow.   But that was years before the narrator was born–she never met Janson.  But she and her brothers found all kinds of artifacts in the house.  Items in the attic and a large iron object that the kids assumed was a bomb even though they were told it wasn’t.

In 1997, the narrator and her family decided to strip the wallpaper and make the place their own at last.   They bought new wallpaper that they rather liked and began stripping the old. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: YEASAYER–Live at KEXP, October 18, 2007 (2007).

This concert from Gibson’s is great.  It took place in 2007 and showcased songs from Yeasayer’s first album. I don’t know this album but their description of the music as tribal gospel is apt.  The music is noisy and almost chaotic, but the melodies and harmonies are wonderful.  There’s a comment that they used to be in a barbershop quartet (ironically).  And you can hear that they really know their harmonies well.

I have their two later albums which  like very much and which are slightly different from the sound of this one–but this set is really great, and it’s a good introduction to their earlier sound.

I mentioned Up All Night the other day because Silversun Pickups were on.  On this past week’s show, Yeasayer got a mention at a hipster coffee bar.  Guess that means Yeasayer are a trendy band, too.  Check out the show here.

[READ: October 17, 2012] “The Last Few Kilometres”

This is another very short story–two pages total.  It is translated from Russian by Jamey Gambrell.

In this story, a man visits his mistress, has sex with her, eats some food (after dropping a chicken leg on the floor) and then heads home.  Despite the brevity and simplicity of the story, I had to read it twice before I could really get it.  The story is told in flashback as he’s on his way home (on the train).

But the story is less about the plot than the details. I loved that he normally doesn’t like to eat first because having sex when you’re full is no fun.  But she made a nice dinner so they eat first.  Also, he left his dentures home, so he was happy the meal was soft (quite the romantic!).  Meanwhile, “She received him the way mistresses generally do in the movies,” dressed to the nines, and running around serving him.  Later, the lovemaking was indifferent, and a comment that he casually threw out had offended her. (more…)

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