Posts Tagged ‘ ester drang

btv046 Circle of Birds : s/t

Circle of Birds
“s/t” (btv046)
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Track listing:
1. Old Ironside
2. Circle of Birds
3. Good Fortune at Harbor Freight

Johnathon Ford of Unwed Sailor and Roadside Monument grew up in Broken Arrow, OK. Burnt Toast Vinyl recording artists Ester Drang also hail from the Broken Arrow/Tulsa region. Members of Ester Drang were friends with Ford before he moved to Seattle to pursue his musical endeavors, but remained in contact over the years.

Circle of Birds is a combined effort between Ford, Ester Drang, and members of OK’s country band Lasso. This self-titled release was recorded in forty-eight hours in a practice room at the University of Tulsa, capturing the improvisational efforts of all involved. The result is a spectacular instrumental ep that combines the airy, orchestrated sounds of Ester Drang with the energetic indie approach of Unwed Sailor and just a hint of cowboy inspired country aesthetic from Lasso members. The songs are highly melodic, cinematic, and fragile, serving as a snapshot of the recording session. The recordings were carefully mixed in Seattle by Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan and Johnathon Ford



btv051 Ester Drang : Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes

Ester Drang
“Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes” (btv051)
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Track listing:
1.Easy Money
2. One Hundred Times
3. All the Feeling
4. Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes
Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Ester Drang released their ground-breaking Goldenwest album on Burnt Toast Vinyl in 2001. Soon after those sessions, they went into the studio and recorded “All the Feeling” with Trent Bell (Flaming Lips) for a multi-media compilation that never came to fruition.

This recording features Flaming Lips’ drummer/multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd on several parts. The project then morphed into a one-sided LP with three additional tracks mixed and completed after their sophomore full-length Infinite Keys was released on Jade Tree in 2003. Aside from an out of print, self-released split 7”, Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes is Ester Drang‘s only available vinyl release to date.

Pleasure Themes and Get Rich Schemes opens with the instrumental track “Easy Money” finding the Drang using electronics far more than normal. When the programmed drum tracks kick in, you realize that this is something very different. Layers of synthesizers are coupled with a simple guitar track and the electronic beats to meet a trumpet part. Drozd’s various contributions to “All the Feeling” result in a fuller, more expansive and lush version than what appears on Infinite Keys. The side closes with the title track showcasing Ester Drang’s signature atmospheric, cinematic sound. Tracks 1 and 4 are originals and Tracks 2 and 3 are alternate versions to those which appear on Infinite Keys.

The album artwork features portrait sketches drawn by singer/guitarist Bryce Chambers and was designed by keyboardist David Motter. Members of Ester Drang have been touring and recording with Pedro the Lion, Sufjan Stevens, Denison Witmer, Starflyer 59, Unwed Sailor, and even Ryan Cabrerra. In addition, several members collaborated with Unwed Sailor’s Johnathon Ford as Circle of Birds (Burnt Toast Vinyl). Ester Drang is planning to record their third full-length in 2005 which will be released on Jade Tree.



btv056 Unwed Sailor : The Marionette and The Music Box

Unwed Sailor
“The Marionette and The Music Box” (btv056)
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Track listing:
1. Morning in the Forest
2. The Marionette’s Cottage
3. Cuckoo Clocks. The Call of the Windmill.
4. The Windmill’s Tale of the Music Box Floats Through The Air. Riding the Windmill.
5. The Music Box
6. In Search of the Music Box
7. The Meeting of the Marionette and the Music Box
8. The Floating Waltz
9. At Peace in the Forest
10. Asleep in the Forest
11. Behold! The Unicorn.
12. The Distraction. A Conflict of Interest. Enchanted by the Unicorn.
13. The Separation. A Hopeless Pursuit.
14. Lost and Alone
15. The Return to Open Arms
16. The Embrace
17. Jubilee

In late 2001, Unwed Sailor began to re-invent their sound and concept. It was so drastic a change that it first existed as a side project, but was so important to Ford and Tse that The Marionette and The Music Box became a proper Unwed Sailor full-length release. The resulting project was highly influenced by Ford’s love for marionette puppetry and fantasy fairy tales, as well as the shared influences of French composer Yann Tiersen, the Pinnochio soundtrack, and the classical piece Peter and the Wolf.

The Marionette and The Music Box is a subtle, but rich instrumental soundtrack to support the illustrated relationship of a marionette and a music box as they meet, become friends, separate, and reconcile. Ford and Tse enlisted the help of regular drummer Matt Putman and friends Matt Depper and James Mcalister (Ester Drang) to play the rich tapestry of instruments that personify the characters in the story. Unwed Sailor present the story in seventeen instrumental parts.

The music for the release blends the various influences in a unique method that takes advantage of Tse’s multiple guitar tracks that are played live through a Boomerang pedal, as well as Ford’s signature bass lines that often carry the melody while supporting the songs. The result exists as a modern classical piece.

Artist Jamie Hunt (Circle of Birds, Aspera) worked intimately with Unwed Sailor to illustrate the story of The Marionette and The Music Box. Hunt first built three-dimensional models of the characters, photographed various poses and scenes to create the story, and developed the painted panels from these photographs. Over a period of three months, Hunt brought the characters and story to life. These illustrations are as much a part of the release as the music itself. As such, both the CD and LP versions are presented with booklets of the illustrated story to accompany the music and a special limited edition hardbound book was issued for sale by the band on tour.



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