Traps and Buttons

 


 

 

 




 

TRAPS:

1. Hybrid Remix of  ’Salvaging’ by Steven Wilson.

i've played on a few tracks for Steven's solo records and side projects and in return he’s done some mixing and overdubbing on some of my band/projects (like Stick Men, Tuner and KTU). from the very start, we’ve worked within the 'favor bank'. . even so, i was taken aback when SW emailed asking me to do remixes of his  solo record  INSURGENTES~ wow, hell ya! . . he sent me the link to pick a tune and i chose Harmony Korine.  He wrote back that was already taken tand to choose another,  after another listen i picked three - and asked if they were available - Steven said 'yes! which would you like to try?'. .  i replied, 'all three'. . ‘ errr, really?’, 'yep!'  my intention from the get-go was to try and make three tempo/meter variations of each song I  remixed,  an idea i’ve been toying with for a while, especially on my project ‘Tuner’ with Markus Reuter - . . we divide the current tempo by 8 (because 8th notes rule in rock music) and then multiply that by the new time signature to get a tempo. .  and off i went . . spending my xmas holiday sending out emails asking musical comrades to help. .  ‘i need help~!’  i have an idea for a Turkish string section--quick call my Turkish buddy Cenk Eroglu. I need throbbing bass—quick, call Tony Levin. i need, i need more .  in three weeks i ended up with three mixes of each of the three songs. .  SW used a few and has given me permission to do as i wish with the others. .  so here we go-

This is a hybrid of my ‘Salvaging’ remixes 2 and 3, Salvaging remix #3 is in 7/4 at 108.5bpm - -and features help from Roine and Jonas from the ‘Flower Kings’, and my Salvaging remix #2 in 5/4 at 77.5 bpm,--  with much help from Markus Reuter and Adrian Benavides. . onto which i slotted some of the Strings Cenk had done for remix #1 , and even some Pamelia Kurstin,  my Theremin playing Tunisia band mate was away on tour and unfortunately unable to participate so i raided old sessions and moved some Pamelia onto the remixes. The rest is SW.

 

2. ‘Faster than an automatic door’ by Naked Truth. 

Fast forward to 2010 and i’m doing tracks for Lorenzo Feliciata. he suggests adding Roy Powell and Coung Vu to make these tracks more of a band project. we pass the files around and, whoosh! we have a record. . but more than that, we have a sound . .  many bands i’ve worked with struggle for years to achieve a sound but we, by virtue of the players Lorenzo assembled, instantly seem to have a sound. In Nov 2011, with Graham Haynes replacing Coung  we started our 2nd record , but this we  actually got in one room together (Bill Lazwell's studio!)  to record together. yep.

3. ‘Jacaranda’ by Ktu.

We played this song live for about a year before we recorded it, and i think it shows in our more flowing-live-arrangements style. i suppose Trey will spank me for cutting off most of his intro, so do me a favor and buy the long version off his website to make him a happy boy.

4. ‘Blackwell’ by Tuner. 

Composed in my home/studio, starting with improvisation on an old piano i had just acquired (after seeing how much my daughter enjoyed playing piano at her Godfathers’ house (in France, oolala). the piano arrived out of tune I fastened it with clips and cymbals to make prepared piano that Markus and i improvised on for about an hour. then we cut our favorite bits into loops and began to compose songs over them. . this version  of 'Black Well Monotony' is drastically re-cut into an instrumental, until near the end when Markus and Sirenee sing.

5. ‘Queen’  (Phil Brown) by MPtu.

Mark Andes, Malford Milligan and Phil Brown and me--what started as a bluesy Monday night jam-band down on Austin’s 6th street  (thank you Nuno) evolved into something much more. . i got excited and i took one of our live gig tapes and transferred some into my pro tools rig and chopped them onto a  grid and then recorded new drums in my studio. .  after i had about 5 songs started like this i invited Mark over to add his bass parts. .  then brought Phil and Malford over to sing and play. .  they thought we would  be cutting tracks together live here but when they arrived i already had rhythm tracks for them to overdub on so things went fast , the guys could crowd around one mic and sing with great blend and balance. . this was a lot of fun and it was a bummer when a burst of ego and a few harsh words made the project fling into disrepair. oh well, it came too easy. .

6. ‘Dig’, by Tuner.

This one started in the shower. . i had this feeling for the double bass drumming pattern, ran right from the shower to the nearby drum kit (my studio is in my house) and hit ‘record’. then, started fussing with plug-ins called Reso and Brunno that could turn my drums 'notes' into melodies, sort of like a Vocoder for drums. .  but of course, all that would have meant nothing if Markus hadn’t found the right chords, bass lines, and melodies to make it work. i repaid the favor by suggesting, as i often do, that i record his gtr at half speed so we could get a higher mandolin-type part. ooo i liked that! one of my other favorite overdubs on this track is a sample of a mushroom- yes a mushroom - you can hear the sped up hyper friction between the knife and mushroom in the coda. The lyric , about a digging out of a prison,  is sung by Sirenee.

7. ‘Hands’ part 1, Stick Men.

Tony Levin is a genius. we all know that, even if we don’t know why. .  but i’ll tell you why—‘Hands’. it’s in his hands, just as he wrote into this song. . he likes to create with his hands. after Tony sent me the basic track and i added my drums, Mike Bernier came to visit and  i pulled the session out for him to overdub. .  wow , a mind blowing first pass. Mike did most of what you hear here live in the moment, no chords, no counting, just Mike playing by ear and finding these notes.  we went back and labored over the solo but the rest came easy.  **ooops: update, just realized the lyrics i’m yakking about are on 'Hands part 2'. my bad- i guess you’ll need to follow up and  find 'Hands part 2'.

8. ‘Alpha & Omega’ by Tovah

Another project that never really got out the door. back in the 90’s Tovah (Simone) booked me to go to Turkey and record her debut record, but her producer , my buddy Cenk,  sent her back home to do more writing. . fast-forward 10 years and Markus brings her to my place and hands me a bunch of chaotic overdubs to arrange with my pop sensibilities. . besides the Dido like acoustic and E drumming there's some percussion I added, featuring several unique instruments, like the '’kissing fish' and 'oilcancowbell'. made by Bill Saragosa .

9. ‘Kataklasm’ by Ktu

Our heavy K-tune based on riffage Trey Gunn brought to the party--we tracked this one live as a band at nearby Zone studio with Pat Manskie engineering. During these sessions i got a new hybrid cymbal, a  ‘Hell Bell’,  from John Stannard’s new company called Hammerax. . John asked me to gorilla-test it and pronounce it ‘unbreakable’. .  i  hit it often, and hard, and it broke. .  the damn hell bell broke- shut/fuk/piss . . don't worry John fixed it.

10. ‘Green Manalishi/Fread’ (Green/Holdsworth) by MPTU.

An old Peter Green tune interconnected with an Alan Holdsworth/Tony Williams tune--staples of our Monday MPtu jams, but i’ve had a soft spot for these tunes since i was a kid. i think you can tell by my production head was about  making something as cool as 'Sunshine of your Love' (as if) was still on my agenda. this one features Phil on lead vocal that he recorded back at his Apaches from Paris studio.

11, ‘XTCU2’  by TU 

A quickie Trey and i recorded up in Matt Chamberlian’s loft, on Matt’s old Rodgers drums. thanks Matt!

12. ‘Makes no sense at all’  Peter Kingsbery

The oldest track presented here, recorded in Mark Binders Blue Room around 1991 -- yep, that’s right, this one was recorded analog, but don’t get too excited . . Peter's faithful engineer/ co producer / drummer (me) fucked up and aligned the tapes to +8 . . not good. this was one of the last tracks we recorded so at least the tape didn’t sit on a shelf and shed like some of first tracks. . it features Clive Wright on his dusty desert guitar that buzzed so much it became part of the sound. . the songs still make me smile, i always think of Christmas when it hits the coda.

13. Melrose by CG3 +2

i had so much fun when i did the short west coast tour with California Guitar Trio and Tony that i asked if we could do it again, and we did. immediately from King Crimson show in Mexico i flew to start the CG3+2 USA tour in Salt Lake.  as the tour was going to end in Austin, i found an affordable studio here (thanks Stuart at Wire Studio) with suitable isolation and site lines, so the 5 of us could see each other while we played live. i went right in directly from the gig load-out to the studio load-in to prepare the session. despite my all-night effort, when the guys arrived the next day it still took 8 more hrs to get finished with the set up (we recorded drums and bass to tape and gtrs and over dubs to pro tools and the sync was a bear . . . then, the race was on to record all our material in the next 48hrs . .  and we did it, and even got outtakes and jams.

14.  ‘7Teen’  by Mastica

When Crimson stopped in 1997, i needed to find musical soul mates to keep me busy in my new home of Austin, Texas, someway to continue my musical R&D before Crim might start again. .  thank goodness my pal Bill Munyon brought Gumby and Monkey into my garage. . we recorded  most of what became the Mastica debut. .  except that silly keyboard. we didn’t have one, so Monkey and i went to the music store, where she played the needed notes and riffs on a few cheesy instruments while i recorded with a Pentastic,  that i later flew back into the track . .  like the song says ‘i was high’. This track features Taos drums and also some  mix  help from Mike McCarthy.

15. ‘Optikus’   (Pohjonen ) KTU live 

As soon as Trey and I finished recording the record we called Tu, i suggested to Trey that we get other duos and do live shows with us-- every show could be unique-- Tu +2 events. .  the first duo i thought of was Kluster (Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen) and contact them through manager friend Phillip Page and they said ‘yes’. So a few months later we flew to Helsinki for two rehearsals and debut gig and then to Tokyo for two more shows with the intention of going into a studio the next day, but the studio offer fell thru and all we had were the live tapes . .  after the first two engineers brought in to mix the tapes deemed the job impossible. i said 'send it to me', and yes  it was a real mess, everything on stage beld into the accordion,  the kick drum mic had ben knocked away and stuff like that but  after some surgical itweaking i think it made a pretty good record. .  not the cleanest, most well-recorded but it’s got vibe and spirit and balls, the sound of new energy bouncing back and forth.

16. ‘Leviathan’  by Micheal Bernier.

Mike the wonder boy does it again, just seems effortless for this guy to compose music . . it’s deep. when he asked if  i'd help by drumming on a tune, i jumped at the chance . . as you can hear, it was lot of fun . . and i got to use that little brass cowbell i’ve had sitting on the bass drum for too many years.

17. --Face ~   ruff mix from upcoming Tuner

Face!  conceived as two 35min compositions, after three years markus and I  are about done with the first side – and here i share with you a ruff mix of this work still in progress. As you can hear it’s a cast of thousands, ok maybe not 1,000 but a lot, including Chrysta Bell as the low voice singing lyrics by Stevie Belew, Tim Motzer on slide, Fabiao Trentini on guitars, Brad Houser and Mike Mordecai on horns, and reeds, strings and moans from Annette Benavides, Gumby & Monkey.

18. ‘Escapeologist’ by Tovah

One great example of a happy accident- - Markus had many clear ideas for the sound of this record and for this tune he asked me to do something with sticks (i later learned he meant the Bodhran sticks the Irish drummers use so well, to fit with the bagpipes he had already recorded that start this tune) but typical of the happy accidents i love, i picked up these Aboriginal sticks i had on my shelf that had been given to me in Australia many years ago (in fact i never knew where they came from, they where just there, on my snare drum one day at a sound check). .  and off i went, building an arrangement with just sticks and some frame drums i had brought back from Istanbul.

19. ‘Pole’ by Tuner, featuring Peter Kingsbery and Sirenee on vocals.

i had just recorded a few tunes for ‘And They Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead’ and on one song their song writer - Conrad (Keely) wanted Polynesian Cook Island drumming. That was a first foir me so I went looking for some suitable  instruments and found these large logs that worked well for that Trail of Dead  song that i kept them, and  then i later used to start this tune. many of these same Pole themes were later used on Face, 11/11 and others. .  it’s a bit of a riddle but maybe you can listen and start connecting the dots.

20. ‘Soup’ by Stick Men.

The genesis of the track was at the first meeting of Tony, Mike and i in a basement studio near Woodstock . .  then T Lev took it to the next level adding a clever story about . . well. .  super colliders . .  something relevant to all popular music.

21. ‘Ab’ remix1  for Steven Wilson

Another remix i did for SW. .  after cutting up Steven’s  gtr to follow my thinking, it got so messy i sent my idea over to CGT’s Bert Lams to execute - so that’s Bert playing these guitars. meanwhile, i had sent a version to PK to tinker with and he sent me back Dante’s Inferno!  Markus added some low sub synth bass, clouds and treated trumpet by John Swana and i had a lot of fun doing my orchestra drumming (nod to the Beach Boys) . . the coda ends with some awesome drumming that’s not me; i’ve cut up and replayed samples of Dennis Chambers drumming.