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Archive for September, 2010

Venusian Proclivities

The Beauty Bar, New York City

Click to download as a continuous mp3:

Venusian Proclivities

“Liquid Days (Part 1)” – Philip Glass Ensemble
“Non mirar di questa bella imago” – Sergio Vartolo/Concerto delle Dame di Ferrara
“Possibly Maybe” – Final Fantasy & Ed Droste
“Sea Breezes” – Roxy Music
“Send Me No Flowers” – Nellie McKay
“Before Cologne” – Ben Folds
“Never Tear Us Apart” – Beck, St. Vincent, Liars & Os Mutantes
“A Trail of Asterisks” – Senryu
“Your Place” – Zero 7
“Take Care of Business” – Nina Simone

So we’re on into Libra now and I felt moved to make this mix as a result.  I’m not sure how many Libra people would actually enjoy this music, but I do feel like the flow of the thing captures that Libran sense of beauty and relative softness.  Also, it’s one of only a very few mixes I have ever assembled that seems to be overflowing with romantic lovey dovey type crap.  Given the typical Libra ideas of romantic love (the effects of all planets that are not Venus notwithstanding), I don’t believe it could really be any other way.

I didn’t want to get too much into the Libra dark sides with this mix.  I wanted to keep it focused and refined.  Possibly even elegant…certainly balanced.  Consider it a birthday present, Libra people.  Jeeze.  Libra Libra Libra.

“Wanksta (Arrison Kirby Remix)” – 50 Cent vs. Arrison Kirby

I made this video a few years back and the song years before that.  It’s been on YouTube for a while, slowly gaining viewers without quite cracking that viral threshold.

Obviously, the whole thing revolves around 50 Cent and j-pop mashed together.  In particular, schoolgirl pop, Morning Musume.  This holds predominantly true for the video.  The song, in addition to containing Morning Musume and Shiina Ringo samples, additionally borrows from Weezer and Wilco covering Steely Dan.

My favorite thing about this video is that Universal Music saw it and had deliberations as to whether or not it would be taken down.  In the end, they let me keep it up.  Thanks, Universal Music!

If you’d like the track by itself to put on your ipod or whatever, here you go…

MP3: “Wanksta (Arrison Kirby Remix)” by 50 Cent vs. Arrison Kirby


Creation and Deconstruction – 9.1.2010 & 9.8.2010 – Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill

Click to download the tracks:

original artwork by Antony Gormley

“Bristol (Bare Bones)”
“Afraid of the Ghost”
“New Beginnings”
“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)”
“Anemone” (Brian Jonestown Massacre cover)
“Untitled as Yet”
“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)”
“Katie’s Waltz”

This is actually an accumulation of material from two sessions, each with it’s own unique processes for evolving the material.  Of course, that could really be said of any series of sessions involving the same material with the same people.  Here, however, the session from 9.1.2010 had us fleshing out a newly written song, and trying new arrangements on older songs.  The later session, from 9.8.2010, revolved around a thick underbelly of “organized improvisation.”  Several of these tracks contain vocal direction as we worked them out on the spot.

“Bristol (Bare Bones)” – I introduced this song acoustically in my office at first.  This is the first time it was played in the studio.  I like the minimalism of this version and kind of hate that I cut it off before finishing the song.  The interplay between ukulele (Katie), bass (Dane) and guitar (me) is particularly nice in the first verse.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – This was one of those sudden improv deals.  The entire track consists of three chords, borrowed from the bridge of a song I wrote called “Sarabeth.”  It was Katie’s idea to “jam” on this, I believe.  The lyrics are freestyled right out of my head and not entirely on key…also a bit loud.

“New Beginnings” – Anyone who has ever seen me play live a few times is familiar with this song.  Dane played bass on this version.  His idea.  Worked out well.  I kiss the tips of my fingers, in fact.  As to the abrupt ending of this track, it came at the precise moment that a glass of beer totally flew off a speaker.  We chalked it up to vibration.  Though I have set plenty of bottles and glasses there in the past with no problem.

“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)” – We had an early inclination on this song to try Dane on the bass with Katie on drums.  You know…just to see.  We let her begin the drumming and we filled in around her.  It totally worked until we got to the arena-rocky, time changed chorus that didn’t happen.

“903” – This was another improvisational tangent.  I don’t know why everything is all “devil and hell” but I think it works for the overall themes that emerge in these sessions.  Anyway.  Dane called out the time.  9:03pm.  When he said it twice and there was a quality to the way he said it that made it sound like it came out of a rap song.  Thus I suggested we do a rap song.  We picked a single key and went with it.  The “rap” is completely free-styled.

“Anemone” – This was recorded on the earlier, more focused session.  Yes.  The Brian Jonestown Massacre cover returns.  This one is much fuller than the previous one, with Dane playing bass (check out the badass slide shit toward the end) and a good grainy underbelly to the guitar.  Not to toot my own horn, but I handle my improvy little guitar solo bridge thingie pretty well, too.

“Untitled as Yet” – Despite it’s missteps, this may be my favorite version of this song so far.  Dane’s deep, concussive drumming juxtaposed with the reverb-soaked club beats is of particular bounce.  I also am fond of the second half where I find myself able to channel my inner Jeff Tweedy (or was it Neil Young?) on guitar.

“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)” – It’s not perfect but, so far, it’s the best recorded version we have of the newest written song.  This one has Dane back on the drums and Katie playing bass.  On the omnichord is Rachel Jae.

“Katie’s Waltz” – This was initially “just fuckin’ around” while I got the levels kind of correct.  But how could anyone resist the call of a waltz?

“Feedback” – If the beer flying off the speaker was not a supernatural experience then maybe this was.  There was a small but not unbearable microphone feedback going on.  We all joined in, harmonizing with it.  As we moved around the feedback stopped, but we all kept yowling or whatever.  When we all ceased. there was a new feedback, louder than before.  It was none of the microphones.  Then we realized it was the guitar, which none of us had been standing anywhere near.  So either the guitar string struck itself or the vibration of our voices caused the guitar to vibrate with us.  I’m not certain but it feels magicalish.

Katie Collins – ukulele, omnichord, drums, bass
Megan Driscoll – vocals, flute
Dane Hill – drums, bass
Rachel Jae – axillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

New Stuff in the Works for Arrison Kirby by Steve Wildsmith

Last week, I passed along a new, unreleased track to Steve Wildsmith of The Weekend section of Maryville, Tennessee’s The Daily Times.  He debuted the song (titled “All of Me All of You”) on his blog, accompanying a lovely little article that also made it into the September 3rd edition of The Daily Times Weekend.  It’s mostly a good little run down of what’s going on with the Kirby-Collins-Driscoll-Jae-Hill project (Pocket Strength?).

Click here to go to his blog and check it out.