M.GIRA/YGR NEWSLETTER MARCH Â’04
- Created on Saturday, 26 February 2011 22:01
Hello Friends, thanks again for your interest in young god records. There’s been a lot going on around here, and I’ll hereby do my best to fill you in.
|I Am Singing to
You from My Room
: I’ve just completed a new solo album. It’s now available exclusively through this website. It’s hand made, recorded at home, in my closet-like office with one mic, my guitar and voice. First edition is 1000, and they’re signed and numbered, and will be dedicated to you when I ship them out, as usual. Rather than repeat myself, I’ll ask Ted (our esteemed webmaster) to provide a link here to the text on the relevant page at this site. It includes short descriptions of each song. Here it is. Also at this page you’ll find a few photos of me making these things in my kitchen at home, as well as a short video clip of same. My usual sartorial style does not apply here! Ha ha! Also at this page you’ll find sound clips or whatever the hell you call them. All songs are running at random on YG Radio as well. Hope you enjoy.
|Rejoicing in the Hands|
: We’ve recorded two new albums by Devendra Banhart, and the first of them will be released on April 26. It’s called “Rejoicing In The Hands”. I love his music and voice on this album, and I hope you will too. The Press Release I wrote about it pretty much says it all, so here’s a link to it, at the relevant page. There’s also sound clips of each song, as well as a free mp3 of one song, and again, all songs are running at random on YG Radio. The second album, called Nino Rojo, will be released late September of this year, and it’s culled from the same sessions. Devendra will be doing a US tour in June of this year, as well as one in Europe around then. We’ll send out a newsletter with link to dates soon and post dates at this website as well….also regarding recent devendra activity: he is the curator (and one of his songs from rejoicing, with Vashti Bunyan, is included) a new compilation album (1000 copies only) released through the wonderful Arthur magazine. The album is called The Golden Apples of The Sun, and the cover is designed by Devendra too. It contains a host of hairy and psychedelicized neo folk types, including Vetiver, Joanna Newsom, Espers, Currituck Co., Josephine Foster and a whole lot more. Here’s a link: http://www.arthurmag.com/bastet.html
: I just about have all the songs written for a new Angels of Light album (many appear in raw state on the above solo venture). I have a sound, or a color, in my head for this new album, but it¹s impossible to articulate in words at this point. I have absolutely resolved that it will be much different from previous Angels releases. Am presuming sparser, sans drums/percussion, with occasional strings etc. I suppose one model for its sound might be the song The Family God on the last album. Usually, that¹s what I do take an element or idea from previous recordings, and use it as a new thread to pursue. On the other hand Life Is Chaos, so you never knowŠI¹ve talked to several friends/other musicians about working on this album, and personnel is likely to include these folks, time and schedules permitting: Bill Rieflin, Christoph Hahn, David Coulter, Thor Harris, Jerome O¹Brien, Patrick Fondiller, Joe McGinty. Also contributing will be the incredible band Akron/Family (their music will also be released by YGR soon - more about that below). Schedule for this is completely up in the air at the moment. I do hope it¹ll commence in the next few months, depending first on getting enough high caliber songs together (a few short at this point), and finding the simultaneous evil twins of time and money.
: Devendra and I did a short tour in UK/Ireland/Greece a little while ago. As usual, I hardly remember it at this point. A blur of exhaustion, ecstasy, and broken bones. Highlights included a show at the tremendous old Victorian recital hall called Bush Hall in London – where the acoustics and atmosphere are absolutely perfect, as well as a shambolic (final) show in Athens, Greece, where I for one was so exhausted I fell off my chair (which, in my defense, was wobbly!), scattering my lyrics, guitar, and body parts all over the stage. Highly embarrassing! But, the good part was getting to hang out with our wonderful Greek hosts, and having a few days off in Athens before returning home. Again, I was the typical American Tourist: “Jeeze, that’s OLD!” , but what the hell… I tour-managed the tour myself, so of course got home to discover I’d lost $1000 cash somewhere along the way. What else is new…
: Young God Radio is almost fully updated at the website now. Basically, all the songs from the young god records catalog are live streaming at random, 24 hours per day. Just click on the link on the upper left hand side of the home page. I’ve actually enjoyed it myself. It’s interesting for me to hear how diverse the music is, and makes me a little proud, maybe a little depressed too! What a ridiculous amount of work! Huge thanks go to Ted and Olivia for their countless hours of tedium getting all this material up there…
: Sometime in the next few months we’ll be releasing another website exclusive. It will be a very special package including both The Body Lovers, and The Body Haters CDs. I’m also going to include a new, extra track/piece I’ll put at the end of the Haters CD. The package will include several related drawings by Nicole Boitos that weren’t included in the first B’Lovers release. Here’s a link to Nicole’s website, by the way ( http://www.nicoleboitos.com ). She’s a tremendously gifted artist and printmaker, and a fine person too….The paper stock will be thick stock and printing will be full color. Our graphic artist, Ben Kirkendoll has designed an absolutely ingenious folding template for this package, whereby it’s all folded together in such a way that it forms a sort of double album style sleeve, with two inner pages that fan out when you open it as well, and the CDs will be slipped into the pockets of the outer pages. I can’t really describe it here, but I watched him sit down and sketch it out, then take one large piece of paper and make a model of it on the spot. An origami of sorts, I guess. I personally failed this IQ test. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to doing this release, as The Body Lovers is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. Just hundreds of sounds and disparate pieces of music all commingling in opposition and/or coherence, many of them recorded decades apart, but, serendipitously, somehow ending up working quite well together, I think. I’ll write more about this later when the time comes. For now, if you’re interested in this release, or other website exclusives, please sign up to the mailing list at home page of this site.
painted by Simon Henwood
: The illustrious Sir Simon Henwood recently did a painting of Devendra, which appears on the homepage of this site, and we’ll also be using it as a publicity image. Simon also did a new painting of me, but I haven’t seen it yet. He did the portraits of Dan Matz and myself for the What We Did CD. I highly recommend you take a look at his website http://www.simonhenwood.com . In his life so far he’s been an artist, an author of several illustrated children’s books, a magazine publisher, and an animator, a video director, often all at the same time. He’s also, as you might infer, a somnambulist. The general subject matter of his paintings is (loosely put) adolescents at the cusp of their sexuality, in all its awkwardness and vulnerability. They’re very large paintings, and appear as grimacing monuments to the erupting inner chaos of these kids. Amazing. Simon’s become a good friend over the years, and I’m proud to know him.
: My book of short stories, The Consumer, has gone out of print. 21361 has decided to let all non-Rollins (the owner of the company) go out of print. No hard feelings, certainly, and I’m grateful he saw fit to print it in the first place. It has however been published now in French, Russian, and apparently a version is coming out in German as well soon. I do have a few 21361 copies here, and will continue to make it available as long as they last. I’ve raised the price a little, primarily to compensate for the extra cost in shipping. It just dawned on me the other day that since it’s a book, it’s heavy, so it costs more than a CD to ship! Ha ha! What an astute businessman…anyway, maybe at some point it’ll be published again in English, with some newer stories I’ve accumulated over the years since its publication. Who knows? I’m certainly not pursuing it, as I have no connections in the publishing world…we’ll see what happens.
: Looks like we¹ll be working with the incredible band Akron/Family in the near future. They¹ve sent me several CDRs of their music over the last year or so, and I was so busy with Angels/Devendra/Ridiculous Amount of YGR Business, that I never really had time to sit down and concentrate on listening to it. Had a momentary lull recently (now sadly long gone) and am amazed by their music. Delicate, trenchant songs, semi acoustic based with really beautiful and pure vocal melodies and words, bleeding into vast, evolving improvised soundscapes, always with an organic and human feel. They¹ve been doing a residency at Pete¹s Candy Store in Williamsburg every Sunday night in March, and have caught both shows so far. Was amazed to see the level of their musicianship live. Live, some songs go on for 10 to 15 minutes, and despite that are always engrossing and performed with intensity, and commitment .There¹s four musicians in the group, and they all sit down when they play (at least at Pete¹s), trading off vocals and harmonies, surrounded by a thousand primitive electronic and acoustic gizmos and other assorted instruments. The ³main² singer, Ryan, has an awesomely pure and sonorous voice, too, though they all have good voices anyway. A recent show saw them entering a weird doo-wop kind of harmony section that entered after a mind numbing, improvised series of sonic passagesŠSome songs are just beautiful little sad intimate folkish songs, but then they veer off into extended instrumentals that are mesmerizing and dramatic. Sort of like a backwoods, American, down home pink floyd circa umma gumma. Terrible description (!) probably, and I hope they forgive me. Anyway, we¹ve talked to them, met with them, and we¹re very much looking forward to putting out some music by them. Looks like we'll begin recording their music in June, and it seems i'll be co-producing it with them. I can't wait. If we have anything to say about it you¹ll be hearing a lot about them...As mentioned above, they'll also be contributing to the new Angels of Light album, and the plan is to release their album simultaneously along with the Angels. It also seems likely that they will be both touring as support group for Angels of Light (when both our albums are released) and will simultaneously be acting as the Angels backing band (with the addition of my old friend Christoph Hahn on slide/and guitar). I think it'll make for a great show, if I don't die of pneumonia this time around! ha ha!
: More music heard around here with enthusiasm lately: Kathleen Baird AKA Traveling Bell of the Chicago group Spires That In The Sunset Rise. Kathleen has full, deep and wise woman’s voice, and she writes and (very inventively) self-orchestrates evocative, emotionally rich, skewed but personal songs. Again, reaching for a description here! …hoping something works out whereby she’ll do some music for YGR…Antony And The Johnsons: Simply astounding. Antony has an unforgettable voice, and the Johnsons music is classic, richly orchestrated melancholy singer/(piano player)songwriter pop. I am a huge, gushing and embarrassing fan! He played a solo show at Tonic on same bill with Devendra and it was so good it’s ridiculous. I’ve met Antony a few times now – he even came to my birthday party recently, which was an honor – and truly believe he’s a talent that will soon see much deserved, wide recognition. Enough said: go to his website http://www.antonyandthejohnsons.com and learn more, then buy every piece of music they have available. Xiu Xiu: Jamie has a great voice, writes very strangely touching and often uncomfortable songs, then completely fucks them up with his computer and electronics – ha ha! Check out the recent “Fabulous Muscles” and “A Promise”. He did a US tour with Devendra a while ago, which is how I came to know his music. Highly Recommended. On a related subject, I asked both Scanner (Robin Rimbaud) and Jamie to do some remixes of Angels and Swans material, for a potential release of that kind of thing. Both sent me very inventive takes on the material, but on listening to it, I (thankfully) realized what an obnoxious and self-aggrandizing idea the whole concept was, and nixed the project in the bud. Listening to the remixes, I just felt like a complete jackass. I HATE remixes! What was I thinking, for god’s sake???!!! So I apologized to them for wasting their time, and hereby do the same into infinity. Thank god I saw the light. Anyway, I remain an ardent fan of both of their work! Hopefully, their paths and YGR’s will cross in a more dignified context in the future…Espers: This is really good, and again, highly recommended. They sent me their music a while ago, and I was unable to focus on it due to the endless barrage of busy-work associated with Angels/Devendra/YGR/Touring etc., and now sorely regret it. I’ve just (once again) had a chance to really listen to it, and it’s beautifully done indeed. It fits somewhere in the neo folk category, I guess, but with lush (though not overdone) mostly acoustic orchestrations and vocal harmonies, creating a warmly country-psychedelic mood. If your interested after this lame, inept description, go to the website of the label that wisely put out their record here: http://www.locustmusic.com . Other music listened to around here: almost none, unfortunately. It just makes me nervous, and I flee the room!
: Recent books: War of The Rats – by David L. Robbins (re battle of Stalingrad); Stalingrad – The Fateful Siege 1942-1943, by Antony Beevor;; Enemy At He Gates, by William Craig (another Stalingrad book) Blinded By The Right by David Brock; Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken; The Great Unraveling-Losing Our Way In The New Century by Paul Krugman; Under The Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer; D-Day, by Stephen Ambrose, and also by Ambrose Band of Brothers; recently acquired after a great deal of searching, Dersu the Trapper, by VK Arseniev, the book upon which one of my favorite films of all time was based – Dersu Uzala by Akiro Kurosawa. Looking forward to this, as soon as I finish a few more tomes about the battle of Stalingrad…Recent memorable movies: Come and See (forgot director), one of the most wrenching WWII era films I’ve ever seen, re the German pillaging of the Ukraine, seen through the eyes of a young partisan who ages visibly throughout the film, from boy to old man, even though only a short time passes. Horrific, but very beautiful too. All three Lord of The Rings movies. I am a complete sucker for this stuff. Like everyone else; Irreversible – contains the two most brutally, realistically violent scenes I’ve ever seen on film, but as it evolves/.rewinds, becomes genuinely poignant, even sentimental – in my view anyway… worth seeing; The Glass Cage – a good all around allegory of control and violence; Lost in Translation – what a stupid-ass piece of shit!; House of Sand and Fog – I’m a softy. I cried throughout as this tragedy developed, especially when the Ben Kingsley character suffocated himself. Boo Hoo!…Dirty Pretty Things, Stephen Friers – excellent…Recent Art: the Lucas Samaras retrospective at the Whitney made me feel like a child at Disneyland . Long one of my favorite artists… Huge and disappointing bummer was the John Currin retrospective upstairs at the same time. Clever, cloying, ironic, and ultimately stylish but vacuous…. The Book Simon just gave me, Gotta Have ‘Em: Portraits of Women by R.Crumb. I have loved Crumb since I was a kid, and sometimes still go back to my old issues of Weirdo and curl up with them in blissful escape ….that’s it. I’ve gotta go…
OH, ONE LAST THING. I WON’T GET INTO MY POLITICAL VIEWS HERE (THOUGH I SUPPOSE THEY MIGHT GENERALLY BE SURMISED) BUT I FEEL OBLIGATED TO MENTION HERE THAT IT IS CRUCIAL THAT YOU REGISTER AND VOTE IN THE UPCOMING U.S. ELECTIONS. THE POWERS THAT BE ARE COUNTING ON YOUR APATHY. PLEASE PROVE THEM WRONG! REGISTERING TO VOTE IS EASY AS HELL. PLEASE DO IT…THANKS!
: Oh, and another last thing: If you're so inclined, please visit our Discussion Board at this site. I personally enjoy it a great deal, though I keep a low profile. The political views and exchanges are quite feisty, though generally well thought out and articulate. Other popular subjects are art/sex/literature and the occasional stupid, childish rant. It's gratifying to me that it generally steers clear of "fan" posts - in fact I discourage commentary about my own music/projects, and it has proved to be a consistently good source of information, links, and entertaining (though usually civilized) backbiting, breast-beating, and squabbling!
Once again, a million thanks to Ted Matson for all his tireless work on this website, and to Ms. Kerstin Posch for being my right hand woman and general-fender-off of the chaos I create here at the label!
All The Best,
Michael Gira / Young God Records