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Rodion Karpov
Rodion Karpov

Eboni Foster Just What You Want Rar

Each year there would be a Robert Pollard solo album, or sometimes two. In between I'd be working on Circus Devils music. Thrown in to the mix were three records from Psycho and the Birds. For about 15 years it was like that - no time for rest or to reflect on or celebrate what was happening - just being in the thick of the music. Sometimes it felt like being at sea with Captain Pollard on a years-long voyage to parts unknown.

Eboni Foster Just What You Want Rar

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On 'The Numbered Head' Bob wanted to go off into a musical side journey - a prospect that made me nervous as a drummer. I don't do jamming. Maybe it's because I'm not a good enough musician to jam, or because I can't trust myself once I go off script. But more than that, I just don't find jamming interesting as a listener. It makes me impatient and ansty. My solution on 'The Numbered Head' was to employ what I called the "Shoe in the clothes dryer" drum technique, and keep up with the oddly syncopated fills, taking inspiration directly from Ringo.

Even before the double album idea was dropped, I decided to segregate the songs and record them in two separate groups. My dividing line pretty much reflected Bob's when it came time to split the double album in two, with just a couple of exceptions ('Folded Claws' and 'Penumbra'). 'Penumbra' was recorded along with what would become the Standard Gargoyle set. And 'Folded Claws' was bunched in with the set of friendly songs. When I think of 'Folded Claws' as part of Standard Gargoyle Decisions and 'Penumbra' appearing on Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, I think of the Yin Yang symbol, where you see the two opposing halves - one dark and one light, but within each half is a small piece of its opposite. Maybe this was Bob's way of reminding us that these two albums were once a single creature before being broken in two.

Realizing a friendly (more conventional) song meant approximating what was in my head in terms of instrumentation and treatments. Things had to be glued down tight with the proper drumbeats and all the notes on the supporting instruments had to be just right - as in "there is no other note that works but the right one."

The lonely marathon recording session at Waterloo Sound that produced these two albums went one step farther in terms of my energy investment than anything I'd done before. I felt challenged and privileged to be building these albums, working from Bob's set of blueprints. But then I was also happy to go home and leave the construction behind. There was a time when I wasn't able to simply listen and enjoy these songs the way others do. It was like having an intense relationship that leaves you exhausted. You just want some distance. But now that several years have gone by, the songs confront me now like old friends.

Maybe I'm wrong but I believe many of Bob's fans found Elephant Jokes to be a challenge, at least until familiarity set in. I smile a lot when I hear this album, but it's hard to know what sort of reaction listeners will have. Someone once told me that they "lost patience" with this album. I suspect they were just being polite because they knew I played on it. For me an album like this was enjoyable to work on because it had the feel of a funhouse with many rooms. At the same time, I was careful not to have "too much fun."

An album like this allowed me to test my ability to obey the injunction "Do what the song wants." This had nothing to do with the song lyrics. It was about how to treat the song; choosing drum patterns, figuring out accompaniment, using guitars and keys to emphasize a mood, figuring out how much delay and reverb to apply to each element and so on. One thing that helped was to treat the songs as if they were living things. As creatures they could better communicate their intentions. Whether or not my interpretations work is up to the listener. This is rock and roll after all, so the plan of attack usually wasn't a mystery. But Bob is a songwriter with a sense of adventure, and his more adventurous songs were open to interpretation. The main things I tried to achieve were to give the song the correct level of energy, apply musical dressing to enhance whatever mood or emotion was going on, and build a 3-D space for the song to live in using different reverbs and delays, and finally, to keep musical cuteness in check (when possible). A record like Elephant Jokes, along with Fiction Man, From A Compound Eye, Standard Gargoyle Decisions, We All Got Out Of The Army, Space City Kicks and Mouseman Cloud were all fun challenges because they all contain songs that allowed for adventurous treatments.

You'll notice the song sequence above does not match the song sequence on the album. At the time the notes were written, Bob was still adjusting the track order. Also, track #15 ('Squeeze the Kids') was dropped from the lineup. While I took Bob's notes as my starting point, once I began work, sometimes a song dictated where it wanted to go.

Mouseman Cloud is another album where Bob is writing for himself in a playful mood. Open-ended songs like this often lend themselves to a more playful treatment from me as well. One thing I notice is a lack of pretty, acoustic guitar-based songs this time. There are weird and funny moments like 'Smacks of Euphoria' and 'Half Strained.' 'Lizard Ladder' leads to the stars while at the same time sounding firmly grounded in solid rock, as does the rest of the album - "Solid" being a good word to describe the rhythm sections here. Among the conventional-type songs, 'Doctor Time' is a stand out. I might call it "a perfect pop nugget" if I actually used words of that kind. Since I don't plan how things will sound beforehand, and I don't document what I do, fortunate moments like 'Dr. Time' are happy recording accidents. In terms of the songwriting it's just another shining moment for Bob.

For 'Who's Running My Ranch,' Bob gave me the assignment of collecting audio clips from an old western movie. I found the movie by tuning into our local TV station for old white men. To collect the audio, I just held a microphone up to the TV speaker. I don't recall the title of the movie, but it starred Gabby Hayes; the go-to actor for the role of a grizzled, cantankerous sidekick character in the westerns of the 1930s and 40s. Gabby's voice is the one you hear in the intro. The audio was distorted by overloading the input on the cassette 4 track. Of course, in the end section I got happy with the audio clips, throwing in horses and dynamite blasts and who knows what else. Mike Lipps once told me he liked this song a lot.

My favorites on Blazing Gentlemen are ''Faking the Boy Scouts' and 'Red Flag Down.' I like to mention my favorites not because I think they are the best songs. I've noticed over the years that when other people mention their favorites to me, they are almost always not the ones I choose. This has been true all across the work I've done with Bob, including Circus Devils. One thing that makes the albums I did with Bob so interesting is the wide variety of songwriting approaches and musical styles. There is bound to be a wide range of opinions about what is best, and nobody is wrong. You might even disagree with yourself as you get older. I think the elusiveness of the songs helps to make Bob's work an endless trip of discovery and re-discovery for anyone who wants to dive in and explore. To what extent the richness of the big picture of Bob's work is recognized by the music press, I don't know. But I suspect this "big picture" is probably not even in view.

These are the crates. A place where I will be dumping links for you to search and download. No user comments will be allowed mainly because I want to keep this clean from conjestion. Keep a check every now again to see what has been put in the basement. Enjoy.

Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers? all of craigslist

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