listen.camp | episode 020 | 03.23.22
episode 020 includes loops, drones, cat-piano riffs, and some truly heartbreaking music recorded during the current war in Ukraine.
As always if you like the music- please support the artists featured on each program. Almost all of the music in the program is available via
bandcamp, some of it at no cost. Also, please consider donating to one of the global relief agencies providing much needed services to the people of Ukraine. And, as always, special thanks to
CAMP Radio for their continued support.
01. Exit Without Saving (2017)
From the brilliant album, Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are, Chad Clark recently went back into the archive and posted some stem files and words describing the layered approach to recording and arranging to this song.
This version of Exit Without Saving is without the vocals, guitars, or drums.
As Chad Clark described the process:
I sampled the sound of the National Carousel and pitched it to the song. It's the little sparkly sound 50 seconds in. It's a detail that gets buried on the record. The guitar-like textures come from a filtered and chopped up boombox cassette of a band practice session. The "orchestra" is the usual blend of Etta James and Shostakovich samples, plus one live violin.
You find interesting things like this when you visit the
Beauty Pill SoundCloud page. Clark semi-regularly uploads alternative mixes and deep cuts from the catalogue- and some of the tracks are only online for brief periods.
02. #workinprogress (1982-2022)
Interior is the working title to this piece for guitar and electric piano. Originially written with a guy named Ken when we played as The Decadent Poets. This version is mostly just bass, drums, and vocals.
03. The Cycle of Days (2022)
This is a very introverted piece, but one that we can all relate to. Cities and Memory combines field recordings with synthetic drones into very organic/environmental pieces. The Cycle of Days is a sonic diary. Each loop marks another pandemic day. Thunder recorded in Oxford is a punctuation- an event. I found it on twitter:
04. #workinprogress (2022)
For some reason, I pulled out a copy of Brian Eno's 1975 release, Discreet Music. There is a nice diagram of a closed loop recording setup and a short description of ambient music. I had always viewed the diagram as rather cartoonish and the description simplistic. So, I listened to the album again- but did not listen to the music. I listened to the timing of the loops and tried to count the number of layers accumulating on the loop as the first track progressed.
My best guess is that each loop was 5-seconds long. A note is struck (and audible) and then 5-seconds later, when it hits the playhead on next tape deck, the signal is heard and routed back to the first tape deck. Every note is heard every 5-seconds.
So, I tried to replicate that exact process as closely as possible- using my own set of tones.
05. field recording, Washington, D.C. (2022)
My very good friend @nycslade was in D.C. during the confirmation hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. She sent me some video of a band that showed up outside of Congress. It sounds like it was a very festive day- which is probably why there was no press coverage. There was no protest. It was a celebration. I took one section and looped it.
06. Yakuka (2022)
I found a video on twitter of a fellow playing electric guitar on the street and using a portable keyboard as an amp. I am unsure whether yakuka is a type of guitar- or a traditional style of guitar playing. It looks like a 4-string guitar, but I cannot determine the tuning. Here's the video- you figure it out. I call him Yakuka Man. And he is a total badass.
07. RING 2A: Proving the Politburo Right (2014)
RING 2A: Proving the Politburo Right is the first song that has gotten a repeat play on this program. Not enough people know about Emperor X. And they should. This song was recorded in a former Politburo administrative building in Berlin. The 12th floor had been turned into a disco. While the DJ was blasting Bizarre Love Triangle he ran around the room with a portable recorder and spit out the lyrics to this song. Fucking. Brilliant.
I really like this song because:
1. The location/context
2. It is "technically" a field recording
3. IT CLIPS. HARD.
08.solo violin (2022)
Video and audio of artists playing music in Ukraine has been both inspiring and depressing. I stumbled across this video on twitter. A solo violin, playing in a subway station that had been converted to a bomb shelter. I cannot begin to imagine what was going through the mind of the person playing. I know that when life is hard- I find comfort in playing an instrument. It means that you have control of your life for the entire length of time that you play. This hase been described as the traditional folk song, Moonlight in the night. I was only able to capture 2-minutes of audio- so I looped it. One phrase is time stretched. Gongs and chimes. I think this piece is best described by the person that made the original twitter post: What we do in the bomb shelters when they bomb us from the sky.
09. Irina does Chopin (2022)
Irina comes home to a bombed out apartment in Ukraine. The only thing still standing is a grand piano. She brushes off the artifacts of war, sits down, and bangs out Chopin. A beautiful act of defiance.
Or as Emperor X said:
THIS IS WHAT WE DO WITH OUR FREEDOM
10. Slava Ukraini meditation loop (2022)
Chris Barron could not sleep. He sat on his sofa and played a meditative drone on an acoustic guitar in the middle of the night. It was a short piece, maybe 20 seconds. I asked him if I could loop it for 5-minutes. He was cool with that. Thank you, Chris.
11. cat 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (2022)
A five-part series of looped pieces. I said that it was based on samples that I mined of cats playing piano in YouTube and Twitter videos. I was joking. Looped piano and bass. Minimal guitar. Minimal percussion. Some field recording. Go to sleep now.