Artistic planning is quite minimal for me. Bigger themes are present, but mostly it’s work-work-work until I’m dead tired of the project. Then done. The “big themes” that are utilized here came from BDW and Ritchie-Scratchy: Battle of good vs. evil and passing the baton, respectively.
Mostly though, I like sounds. I like juxtaposition. And, mostly, I have this desire to make shit (as some have noticed). I couldn’t make a poppy song to save my hide. But, periodically, I have to unload the sounds and ideas in my head and it becomes a record (gotta reduce your backlog sometimes). This one is called Free Milk Seminar. Why is it called Free Milk Seminar? Because, sometime ten years ago I said that phrase on a tape as what could be a good album name. And, I was right.
Anyway, some context. This is a good exercise (mostly to demonstrate that this gibberish is powerfully meaningful or without meaning in entirety – that still remains a secret). But, it helps the post-record depression nonetheless.
.01 - So, Free Milk opens with a track called “Butterflies.”
Is it obvious what this is about? Maybe. ‘Butterflies’ refers to both the fluttering synthesizer sound(s) that I present and to the Bren -- a butterfly fully emerging from a cocoon.
The sample layers are: two (three?) synthesizer tracks, a recording of Bren in her class among her peers, Bren and I playing drums (or dropping stuff and humming into a snare drum), and assorted other snippets, recordings, and sounds (backlog that fits and some deliberate insidery stuff).
It’s the set-up track. I’ve always favored the set-up track to an album, often I bookend an album with these contextual statements. Setting up the tone, space, and notions have been the way I’ve provided context. If the listener couldn’t get through the set-up, then the albums probably not for them. I guess I’ve been arrogant.
.02 - “Three Wise Men” is based purely on the demented ramblings of these three black interpreters of the bible. I was clicking around the TeeVee one night and through the beauty of public access TeeVee, I found these guys. They were satisfyingly riffing on the messages in the bible. Dressed in some sort of hocus-pocus bible meets medieval faire. Mostly they riff on how the bible foretells of Jesus coming back as a “big, giant, black man!” Just on and on without mercy. I loved it. I taped it. I knew that I had to build a record around them. Without these guys, this album would have never begun when it did.
Classic dialog, man. I started there and built everything else around the sermon. Including the noodling (hnad fishing) and such. So, after hours of fiddling and recasting, this so-called song emerged. G-Love loop, DPEP loop, more TeeVee madness, Hillary Clinton, and more. Then one day, I got out the guitar out and played along a few times. And, I happened to be recording (hurray for me). If I do say so, it’s interesting. Oh and the prog synths @ 4:30 came to me in the middle of the night. I've always wanted to do the Gary Numan prog synth thing. I almost forgot about adding ‘em. It’s buried, but one can just make ‘em out.
“Three Wise Men” was originally going to be the entire album. About 20-25 minutes of this shit. But, even I couldn’t take that.
.03 - “Mexican Jelly” (no meaning of title except I thought of the words "Mexican" and "Jelly" around the same time). Simply a presentation vehicle for a found archive recording from a tKoL rehearsal session; looped and recast. What’s best is most artists would never use such a track given that it is mostly ambient noise. I EQ’d it to make it work this well, but it’s not easy to the ears at all.
I love that groove and the tempo changes though. It’s one of those times where Rich and I were very locked and just jammed easily. Most cuts are fairly clean. The guitar work is splendid. The drumming smooth. Simple as that.
Obviously, we recorded so many hours of our rehearsals for a reason: future gifting. This could have never been heard again.
.04 - Same thing with “Judge Stolen.” Old (short-lived) Judge Brennan re-mixes. Simply, recast with a 2007 spin. Remixes of sounds, shapes, and snippets. I did add several layers and feelings, in particular, the guitar bridge. Yes, “Satan is our enemy.” Good vs. evil. Second track with religious subtext. Remember, everything happens for a reason…they say. Dylan Kennett (makes an appearance), Velvet Lounge improv show returns.
These two recasts deliberately follow “Three Wise Men” because the new blends with the old to complete my recollection. Some of these sounds are so precious to me; I just don’t want them lost.
Brennan, fart jokes, sex sounds. Societal commentary. Farce and not. That's how you round out a track: fart jokes and sex sounds.
.05 - “Homer Jones.” Several things: Snippet (short loop) of song form Brennan’s kid album (like 8 seconds worth), add drum loop, add other instruments, add Joe fucking “Hit Man” Biden interview. Kids awwwing, etc. Funny, little, hooky track. Add some some old poetry from airport observation (return of “I can see through knots.”
“Here lies Homer Jones; he likes xylophones.”
.06 - “Stupid Corporate Bullshit.” So, when you’re bored in your office job and you’re on a conference call with participants 1,000 miles away what do you do? You realize it’s such bullshit that you record it because nobody would ever believe the Dilbert-esque bullshit that people try to pass off as not only serious, but fucking important. Like genius and important.
Add some lonesome guitar fiddling(s) and it becomes a juxtaposition between what we HAVE to do and what we WANT to do. The mind numbing vs. the mind-expanding. Only one can win. “Cost savings” by the way are what cost me my stupid corporate bullshit job. But, my mind is free.
This shit gets no more than three minutes. Asinine.
.07 - “Mister Weems” has already been classified an “instant classic.” Bren’s breakout song. The audio is from a video Bren and I made based on a story by Mark Reed. I’ll edit and post the video someday soon (in fact, I could make a career editing Bren/Ty video). “Let it Rain” was the phrase we popularized (screamed at the TeeVee) from t2007 he Super Bowl (tm). That phrase was shouted throughout the first half and during Prince’s amazing halftime show.
But, in this video we were really hammin’ it up – shamelessly. Thus, Bren’s breakout.
Why the Who “Eyesight to the Blind”? Shit. That’s the most obvious answer on the record. I pitched it back because Daltry’s vocals are so whiney. We’ve got soul in the kingdom. She brings eyesight to the blind. Duh! Her daddy gave her magic.
Just added some ornamentation to the track and was done.
Oh, and I got this this morning:
Finally someone is bringing the plight of Mr. Weems and his trip "down town" to people's attention:
On Saturday, March 17, 2007 at 1:22 am, TFC Koch stopped a green Ford Probe for an equipment violation on Rt. 246 in Lexington Park. TFC Koch observed the driver, Clarnzett P. Weems, 25, of Lusby, throw something out the passenger window. During the course of the traffic stop, a check of Mr. Weems' driver's license revealed his driving privileges are suspended in Maryland. Mr. Weems was arrested for possession of a CDS smoking device and driving on a suspended license. He was transported to the St. Mary's County
Detention Center pending a bond review."
See. It all makes sense.
.08 - “Freak Helly Smellish Zone” or whatever it’s called is very much a classic tKoL rehearsal tape. Priceless banter, stupidity, insider stories, and good playing. “We don’t use chords…. We use hieroglyphs.” I mean, what the fuck? That all just shat out of our asses while tape rolled. Plus, there’s some beautiful performance interactions and recognition. It’s a swell improv session.
Then I played wah-wah guitar along. I hope this didn’t ruin it. But, I was trying to express my gratitude (evil) of the great recording (good). “This is how we got to this part!” Genius.
I don’t know where the 9:36 rock-out shit came from. But, I’ve always been a closet rock hag.
.09 - “Rain’s Blues” is just an expansion of a rainy day poem set to guitar and thunder. Couldn’t stand my vocals so I distorted it. I do like the second guitar sound and execution though. Mostly one-hit/one-take shit. "I wonder if I can make a blues song?"
Drain all the water
Get your self a fire extinguisher
Call the paramedics
‘Cuz I need my stomach pumped
Running down under the ground
Where it’s still last season
Consumed by filthy-filth consumption
Yes, I do see the elephants in the clouds
It’s a necessary part of doing business
Hilarity on impact
Thank you voodoo Jesus
We have the power to veto our urges
And then veto our vetoes
From pasty shins
It’s still winter…in the shade
It’s winter in the shade
“I got it”
So, there you have it. I’m glad to be able to make this make sense to you.