Saturday, October 18, 2014

Audioblogging: Lemon Fresh Pinetones Play In The Dark, 1988

Oh, sorry! Forgot I had a blog for a bit. Ha.

Anyway, picking up from where I left off with the audioblogging, here's another of the handful of live recordings by my "garage space prog" hand, the Lemon-Fresh Pinetones!

This was a very interesting show! We wanted to play, but since my musical endeavors had become notorious in San Diego, it was hard to find a venue. Our solution was to reserve one of the video production rooms at UCSD and invite a select audience to hear us.

Being an improvisational band has its drawbacks, as you can imagine. My previous bands and solo performances had all been tightly planned and formatted, so playing with the Pinetones was always somewhat terrifying, because there was always that chance that nothing would happen, that the three of us would simply fail to musically connect.

Indeed, every Pinetones performance has moments where this happens, where things just fall apart. In the case of this performance, the falling apart happened right at the very beginning (these parts are not included here). Mortified, we knew nothing good was happening, and our small audience was obviously disappointed. What were we going to do? Just stop, apologize, and call it a night?

Luckily, one of us (I can't remember who) suddenly came up with an idea: turn out all the lights, and see if complete darkness would prove to be an inspiration.

It worked, as I like to think the ensuing 30-minute recording uploaded here demonstrates. It still got off to a shaky start, but then it gets better and better, and finally at about the 19:30 mark, it really gets cooking and, from that point on, unexpectedly became our best ever collaboration.

Instrumentally, it was a simple setup: John had two synthesizers, Joel had his electric guitar, which was run through "The Fourth Pinetone," the mysterious effects box covered with unlabeled buttons and knobs. I used a Casio sampler and two cassette machines.

The recording quality is surprisingly high (with a few typical cassette issues), and the sound is interesting. John alternated between baroque harpsichord-type runs and noisier wooshes and layers of non-melodic noise. His interplay with Joel's guitar becomes increasingly complex and responsive. I mainly provided rhythm in the form of loops, samples, and keyboard "drumming." At this point, too, Joel and I were interested in exploiting "glitches," so there's a lot of line noise and machine hum used as texture as well.

Overall, I think this is a really credible piece of improv prog. It has peaks and valleys, numerous changes, and some nice lyrical and  rhythmic sections alternating with noisier/spacier bits.

It ain't no Phish, that's for sure. We may have been a "jam band," and we may have been "trippy," but we were never mellow.

The 200mb single 30-minute track is zipped up with artwork and available to download here.

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