I’ve been buzzin’ around like a bee, hurtin’ everything I see. Oh wait. Those are lyrics from “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”. more or less. Some would say The Seeds recorded the definitive version back in the 1960s, but I think Alex Chilton’s take on the song from his “lost in the wilderness” period in the ’70s is at least as good. It’s got this great unhinged energy about it and eventually degenerates into complete dissonance. But for the first few minutes it’s almost maddeningly catchy, in a sorta psychotic way.
It all comes back to psychosis, you see.
Smooth segue: on Sunday Travis came over and we recorded piano and banjo for a handful of songs that will be on his forthcoming album Holes & Tones. Lots of talented people are playing on it, Derek Harrison and my current partner in jazzy madness Max Marshall among them, so I’m flattened to be in such exalted company. That’s right — I’m now flatter than ever before. I’m the flattest guy you’ll ever meet. They call me Mr. Pancake now.
But seriously, thanks to Travis for letting me be a part of it, and for allowing me to play random plinks and plonks in places where plinks and/or plonks might be appropriate. I think it’ll all be pretty spiffy once the album is finished. And you know I don’t use the word “spiffy” lightly.
Another big thank-you has to go out to Eric Welton, who surprised the pants off of me (complete with undergarments) when he showed up that same day with an Alesis Ion and asked if I wanted to borrow it for a few days. Dude let me borrow a synthesizer! That’s madness.
We all know what madness leads to: music. I’ve never messed around on anything made by Alesis before, but this is a seriously cool synth. It even looks cool. I mean, look at the thing.
If that doesn’t inspire you to start speaking German and create some dirty house music, something isn’t right.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this synth is capable of, and I didn’t bother to take a look at the manual, but Sunday night I ended up recording three songs that wouldn’t exist if Eric hadn’t given me the old synthesizer surprise. The next day there was another.
One of them still needs singing and then I think it might be album material. The other three I’m not so sure about. Two of them exist mostly as grooves and still need some work.
One of them is finished, instrumental, and might sound more like proper electronic music than anything I’ve ever done before. It was just what came out of a bit of improvising Sunday night, built up a piece at a time. The drums were played manually in pieces instead of relying on the arpeggiator to do the work for me. I don’t think the result is going to fit on any proper album I’ll be putting out anytime soon. It’s a little choppy and just seems like it would be a bizarre choice for an album track. But maybe it’ll grow on me.
Until it figures out where it wants to go, I might as well put it up here for fun.
Is it just me, or does it sound like I’ve been listening to a lot of Aphex Twin? Not necessarily the most spastic Aphex material, but maybe some of the earlier, more house-sounding stuff. The sad truth is I haven’t thrown on any electronic music at all in a while now. I don’t seem to listen to much outside music in general right now when I’m waist-deep in my own stuff, which is where I tend to be most of the time these days.
Still, maybe it’s time to whip out I Care Because You Do again. Now there’s an album with a cover that’ll give you nightmares if you’re an impressionable youth. Good thing I never laid eyes on it until I was entering the home stretch of my teenage years.
Speaking of madness, check out who’s at #6 on the CJAM charts this week. It just goes to show that nasty words and wooden guns cannot be denied. I don’t know if my album of hip-hop polkas will get the same kind of airplay, but we’ll soon find out.