Since the beginning, Alex Muller’s This Is For My Friends has cultivated a DIY mentality in its commitment to lo-fi and experimental “bedroom” recordings. Everything We Made captured musical ideas as they would have been reproduced live by a solo performer, with only a guitar and voice, while To Call This a Home developed a sense for sounds that could never be reproduced entirely—ambient noise, improvisations, and vocal layerings. In his third (more-or-less) full-length release, Muller operates somewhere between the two extremes, or, perhaps more accurately, broadens the gap between them. What begins with a bombast of instruments is eventually stripped to bare bones. Often surreal and sincere, the composition of these songs is similar, employing synthetic manipulations of organic sounds (loops, samples, cats purring) and alternating between simple two-chord progressions (“Pop Hooks,” Honesty”) and more intricate, technical patterns (“What Then,” “Red House No. 3”). Together, this cut-and-paste collage is a series of songs interested in examining the seams of their own creation, continually asking, “are you still listening?”
released December 1, 2016
Album art: Alex Muller
Collage of illustrations by Henry Vandyke Carter in Gray's Anatomy (originally published in 1858 and now in the Public Domain).
All songs written, performed, and recorded by Alex Muller.
Recorded and mixed on GarageBand for iPad.
Tracks 1, 3, and 4 were recorded, in part, at Bordeneuve, a retreat for artists, writers, & musicians in Boussens, France, an adventure that was made possible by the Geraldine Trammel Hurley Fellowship and Winthrop University.
"Elise" features homemade percussion (pots, pans, water, etc) and a sample of Sitso the cat.
The following samples were used in "Honesty": Paranoia Agent, ep. 8: "Happy Family Planning" / Allen Ginsberg, "Marijuana Notation" / A. R. Ammons, "In Memoriam Mae Noblitt"
Many thanks to many people, but especially to the following:
Noelle Thompson and the Bordeneuve retreat for artists, writers, & musicians // Brian Ernst--for giving a total stranger (i.e. me) his old Digitech JamMan loop pedal // Joe Suthers (Bonaparte, Innerout, Cepheus) // Chase Brown, Jo Garnett, Thomas Alverson, Ian Lee, Mike Dove (Senseless Beatings) // Charles Grace (Sleeping Policeman) // Josh Dunn (Grimmoires) // Patrick Bryant // Brian Roessler // Kevin Goller // Joe Giordano // Nick Juliano // My parents and family // Caroline DuPre and our cats, Tiny and Sitso
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