foxy digitalis blog

Thursday, March 31, 2005

digitalis mailing list

i've had a lot of people asking me about one lately and decided to finally get off my ass and make one. so, for all the latest digitalis news, join the list:


Monday, March 28, 2005

arbors quieting the sea

so what a fantastic weekend in every way. mr. keith wood (who most of you know as the one who pulls the strings of hush arbors) spent the weekend here in tulsa at the digitalis HQ. to say we had a fantastic time is a vast understatement. despite what seemed to be an oncoming-cold, keith was the ultimate guest. anyone who shows up at my door with a six-pack of fat tire knows me well.

so the festivities started early. soon after keith was settled in a bit, we drove out to the woods with instruments and minidisc player in hand. on the way, we passed sixty donut shops which made keith happy. between the donuts and the cheeseburger tacos, i'll have keith a tulsa resident someday. i swear.

anyway, we made it out to the woods and found the most perfect spot ever. we set up next to this giant rock that overlooked a steep incline and the river. it was beautiful and enchanting. we only managed to record one piece out there ("wildwood salvation") b/c it was so cold and we could barely move our fingers. but it was great and set the mood.

we got back and hung out a bit, did a little recording, and had some great thai food. even managed to get in a little eddie izzard (do you have a flag?), which is always a plus. saturday was filled with more hanging out, more eating (we got donuts), and more recording than any two people should probably do in a day. also, by late afternoon/early evening, eden was tired of listening to was create tons of racket in our office/studio and wanted to join in. she collected various things from the apartment and sun milk was born. the three of us had a blast recording crazy, freaked-out shit. it was our secret ode to the anaksimandros. sun milk will hopefully reunite some day soon to wreak havoc on the world.

in all, it was a beautiful weekend. keith is awesome, and we got along famously (as i knew we would). eden insists we look like we could be brothers. heh. and in many ways, we are. the final tally was 82 minutes of new golden oaks material and 31 of sun milk. releases are being assembled for each project. so keith, say so long to north carolina and take another extended vacation. the donut capital of the world is waiting for you...

some pictoral proof:

Sunday, March 20, 2005

knowing your forest's roots pt. 1

the finnish underground has received loads of praise and attention over the last few years. this is by no means undeserved, but many people make the mistake of assuming that this is a new phenomenon coming out of the great white north. this is simply not the case. over the course of the next few weeks, i am going to do some posts talking about some of the great music finns were producing in the '60s, '70s, & '80s.

first up is the magnificent pekka streng. i'm honestly not sure how many albums he released, but what must be his two best, "kesämaa" and "magneettimiehen kuolema" (w/ tasavallan presidentti) were reissued in 2003 on love music.

streng's music is reminiscent of american and british luminaries such as nick drake, leonard cohen, & donovan. his music is fairly song-oriented, but with a distinct psychedelic bend. lyrically, i have no clue what he's saying (it's all in finnish, which to me makes it even better) - but i've been told alot of his lyrics are drawn from children's stories (he also used to perform children's radio plays before he was a musician, apparently).

these two albums are steeped in the rainbow of psych-folk's predecessors. streng is a gifted songwriter and composer - the arrangements and ancillary musicianship on these records is magical. from the soft opening guitar plucks and flute waves of "gilgames," you are instantly transported to place with trees in full-bloom and oceans of flowers covering the ground. it's heartbreakingly beautiful. the leonard cohen similarities are most audible on "kylmä kaupunki," but there are also hints of bill fay's inspired work.

streng's music has an underlying gentleness to it all, like great care was taken to make sure listeners feel like they're in the cradle of their lover's arms. these are albums that exude joy and beauty (even though i have no clue what he's saying). even on the most psychedelic excursions, like the mini-epic "takaisin virtaan," it is simplicity that overwhelms. this piece is filled with effects and electronics that sound ahead of their time, but throughout streng's soft voice guides you to the promised land.

eastern influences also make an appearance on these albums. "auringon lapsi," for example, is guided by a simple table beat. also, this eastern-ness is perhaps exaggerated by my belief that finnish sounds and awful lot like japanese.

there is a darker side here, too - at least musically (he could be singing about butterflies, for all i know). songs like "kaukana" and "mutta minä lähden" have an eerie feeling to them, like a person confronting their mortality head on. it's absolutely stunning, and even those these songs are short, they leave perhaps the longest lasting impression.

streng's voice is the best thing here, though. i have no idea what he's saying, but i don't care - i could simply listen to his enchanting voice for hours on end and not get tired of it. he's clearly an ultra-talented songwriter as these songs transcend any language constraints. streng died in 1975 from cancer and these two albums are the only legacy he left. 31 tracks of blissed out psychedelic finnish folk from the early '70s. seriously folks, it doesn't get much better than this. 10/10 most assuredly.

update w/ MP3s:

kylmä kaupunki

roope hattu

Sunday, March 06, 2005

christina carter, gown, & the juniper meadows

last night was absolutely lovely... the juniper meadows played our first show ever at a local coffee shop, shades of brown (not named after poo, though it definitely does seem like it!). we played one long piece that lasted about 20 minutes and it went over quit well, i think. i liked it, anyway. i was going to tape it, but technical difficulties fucked that up.

but the highlight of the weekend for me was getting to meet, watch, and hang out with christina carter and gown (aka andrew macgregor). i've long admired christina's solo work and of course the charalambides, so i was extremely excited to see her perform live. i thought they played a great set, though the yuppies at shades of brown seemed awfully perplexed. but it was great. we sat in our apartment until 1:30 am drinking beer and scotch, talking about whatever and listening to music afteward which was equally great. and so far i've listened to one of the gown cdrs and the amarillo stars cdr i bought from andrew, and they're wonderful - you all would be well-advised to check them out. i hope to post proper reviews of them soon.

so all in all, a great weekend.

UPDATED: some images from the evening