1. Make The Old Guy Run, pt 1 (2:30) IL2
2. Laydown Delivery (18:31) IL1
3. Make The Old Guy Run, pt 2 (2:17) IL3
4. Bits Of Tid (2:32) IL3
5. Muted Craters (8:45) IL1
6. Readiness (2:48) IL2
7. The Madagascar Wombat (1:54) IL2
8. Give Him What Four (9:51) IL2
9. Pork Chop Sandals (3:03) IL2
1: Make The Old Guy Run, Part 1
HS: This CD wastes no time getting into some of the more 'experimental' music. On this piece Greg plays unamplified 6-string acoustic guitar while I play one of my cymbals with a violin bow. (After trying the bow on several cymbals I found that my 20-year old 16" A. Zildjian Paper-Thin Crash was extremely responsive to the bow.) So on this piece (and on Part 2), every sound you hear that's not acoustic guitar is coming from that cymbal. This was the first take, and you can hear a few times where the bow failed to "grab" the cymbal's edge, but I still managed to coax all manner of odd sounds from that cymbal.
GS: Hyam and I were discussing how to stretch his sound into stranger territory when I reminded him that the bow from the bowed device was on hand and ready to serve. I had no idea he was so good at it. I'd done a little bit of bowed cymbal on my solo work earlier in the year but really was not prepared for the sounds he coaxed out. Who knew a cymbal could get that low roar? Not me.
2: Laydown Delivery
HS: This begins with Greg playing some way cool Hawaiian-sounding legato slide guitar on top of what I can only describe as very busy "lead drums". Listen for the 7-string guitar bass that kicks-in at around 4:50, then for several minutes of crisp ensemble playing that climaxes at 11:02 in one of the most beautiful, magical passages that Greg and I have ever played. I especially like Greg's staccato playing and the drum punctuations that begin at 15:45, followed by the call-and response that begins at 16:42. Good clean fun for the whole family!
One interesting note: This piece prompted me to change my drumkit's setup. At the time of this recording I only had room for one ride cymbal on my set, so I would have to guess which one to use before we began playing any given piece. Being that Jugalbandi's music is largely improvised, I sometimes found myself in the middle of a piece thinking "Damn, I wish I had the other ride cymbal up there now". Being a particularly involved IL1, 'Laydown Delivery' was definitely one of those times. (I had my 21" A. Zildjian Sweet Ride on the set when we began, and I soon realized that the music would have been better-served by my 22" K. Zildjian Heavy Ride.) After Greg and I reviewed the recordings of these sessions, I changed my cymbal setup so that I can always have both of the above rides (plus my 22" A. Zildjian Swish-Knocker, which I also frequently use as a ride cymbal) available.
GS: Hyam's work makes this piece for me. Most of the time when I'm listening to it I don't even hear what I'm doing, I get caught up in the drums. What's funny is to watch Hyam and I listening to a piece of music (someone else's): he plays air guitar and I play air drums. One reason why our interplay is good is that we each really appreciate the other instrument. This helps when you're trying to hear the overall music being created in a drum-guitar duo while it's happening, you have a realistic assessment beyond what chops you've displayed. I'm always annoyed when I hear melodic players who don't understand the drums as more than a way to go crash and bang (something I've actually heard said more than once). How can you improvise music with other instruments if you can't appreciate their role, their range of musical possibilities?
3: Make The Old Guy Run, Part 2
HS: Since this was the second take, I was able to get more sounds out of the cymbal, so my playing is much more active here than on the first version. I especially like the bass cymbal note that closes the piece. And please, let's hear it for Greg's marvelous acoustic guitar playing - quite extraordinary, really.
GS: Shucks, 'Yam, tweren't nuthin.
4: Bits Of Tid
HS: I can't remember which one of us made the suggestion to put odds and ends into Greg's guitar strings, but I remembered that John Cage composed several pieces for "prepared piano", which had all manner of things stuck-into the strings to alter the instrument's sound. So Greg grabbed several small objects and after a few minutes had a delightfully twisted-sounding instrument with which to wreak musical havoc. I play tabla.
GS: I've been putting things between the strings for many years (since the Paper Bag days); in fact, the technique used here, of playing with things in the lower strings while playing the higher ones with a slide turns up on at least two PB albums. However I mostly did this with electric guitar in the past. I think this is the first recorded time I did it with an acoustic guitar.
5: Muted Craters
HS: For me this is definitely one of those pieces that from the very first moment took-on a life of its own. In a way I felt like I was being pulled-along by the music - a very neat feeling. I love Greg's forcefulness and the very strong sense of forward motion all throughout this piece until the groovy half-time ending that begins at 7:54.
GS: When we go through the paring-down phase- listening back to the tapes to hear what we've got and what we're going to use- I can't always tell the first time out what's a keeper. I went back and forth on this one many times before it stuck with me that this is one of the most subtle and strongly developed pieces on the entire CD.
HS: This piece picks up where "Approaching Readiness" (on 'The Cram And Stuff Method', Great Artiste GAJG003) leaves-off, with me playing very active "lead drums" against a wall of very un-guitar-like sounds supplied by Greg. One of my floor tom legs collapsed at 2:45, sending the drum crashing-into my leg and forcing us to cut things much too short, but the piece started-off so well that we decided to include it here, with a judiciously-placed fade-out (you can barely hear the drum collapse just before the volume fades-out completely).
GS: I think the collapse of the drum was a fortuitous accident. It's nice to have a piece like this that's short, and we might not have managed that otherwise. Of course it's true, it may have gone someplace very different or developed into interesting changes; but its length absolutely assured it was a keeper, which I'm very happy about. As far as the title, the piece just seemed like a natural extension of "Approaching Readiness". So rather than be "Still Approaching Readiness", we figured we'd just get there and leave it at that.
7: The Madagascar Wombat
HS: For this one I laid several small cymbals on the carpet, aimed a mic at them and 'voila': I had improvised a 'Cymbal Gamelan'. Playing them with a pair of rubber mallets I was able to get lots of different tones and many different melodic patterns from the cymbals to complement all the different sounds Greg coaxed from the slit drum. The interplay on this piece is especially good (and we totally stuck the killer ending!). The title is something that popped-into my head when I was around 12 years old, and just sort of rolled-around in there ever since.
GS: This one just clicked immediately and I can't believe the ending. Of course the whole piece is totally unplanned, beyond the decision on what instruments to play. That ending is one of those magic moments you always hope for when improvising.
8: Give Him What Four
HS: Out-and-out fusion jamming. The opening and closing passages are reminiscent of the stop-start improvisations that Greg and I would do during live performances of "Mach Turtle" at Dog Neutral concerts. The piece starts-off in 5/4, but by 3:00 I've pretty much abandoned strict metric playing until good ol'4/4 takes-over at around 4:00. I love Greg's ultra sinister-sounding melody, and the extra dimension that the 7-string guitar adds to the proceedings, but my fave part is the dotted 8th/16th pattern that kicks-in at 7:30. A whale of a good time.
GS: Four? What for? Fore!
9: Pork Chop Sandals
HS: I used rubber mallets on the kalimba, while Greg does his best Dick Heckstall-smith impression by sometimes playing two recorders simultaneously. (and adding tambourine accents with his foot!). The tabla was right next to me, and the temptation to add the occasional punctuation mark with it was just too great for me to resist. For those curious about the title, it comes from a true story (happened in Australia). Seems a fellow won some pork chops in a raffle, then went to a tavern. However, the gentleman wasn't wearing shoes (it was summertime), and so was refused entry into the fine establishment. Being rather resourceful (and more than a little thirsty), our hero managed to find some twine, and quicker than you could say "Bob's yer uncle", had fashioned the pork chops into a pair of improvised sandals, put them on his feet and was thus granted entry. Now, the word 'residue' doesn't immediately come to mind when one thinks of sandals, but this gentleman's new footwear in fact had a severe residue problem, to wit: greasy fat (evidently, Australian pork isn't quite as lean as what we're accustomed-to here in the US), and soon the tavern's floor bore some distinctive 'sandalprints'. Sad to say, another patron (sober, of course!) happened upon the slippery tracks, fell, and was injured. He successfully sued the bar for permitting someone wearing porcine footwear to enter, creating a hazard. Lesson: Your mother was right all those times she told you not to leave the house barefoot.
GS: This was one of those nice times when the acoustic stuff really clicked. The inclusion of a wider range of instruments, and the ability to play and record them any hour of the day or night, was really beneficial. This is one of my favorites of the acoustic pieces. Hyam proves his melodic sensibilities (for any fool in doubt). We need to get him more tuned percussion.