Posts Tagged ‘ unwed sailor

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.



btv071 Unwed Sailor : Circles

Unwed Sailor
Circles (btv071)
Buy Online | cd 2xLP
Track listing:
1 Circles I : Mist
2 Circles II : Mesa
Johnathon Ford went to Bloomington, IN to work on some remixes of an out-of-print Unwed Sailor 7”, The Magic Hedge, in the spring of 2005 with Dan Burton (Early Day Miners, Ativin). The two had previously worked together on the first Unwed Sailor full-length, The Faithful Anchor,and the Stateless collaboration between Unwed Sailor and Burton’s Early Day Miners. There were good vibes in the Burton basement studio and the remixes were quickly engulfed by the goal to finish the new full-length, The White Ox. Ford’s bass, guitar, keyboard, and percussion parts were joined by Burton‘s guitars, extra bass from Phillip Blackwell (Questions in Dialect), and drummer Matt Griffin (Early Day Miners) to mix up their medicine drawing on ambient production influences from Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (with whom Dan Burton had interned). The Circles ep is a sprawling 16+ minute opus with two separate movements, “Mist” and “Mesa”, originally intended to be part of The White Ox, but strong enough and different enough to stand alone and precede the full-length’s arrival in late August. UK artist James Marsh was enlisted for the cover artwork for both Circles and The White Ox. His distinct mystical images have also graced the album covers of every one of legendary band Talk Talk’s releases.

Born in Seattle in 1998 at the tender age of intent, Unwed Sailor is helmed by Oklahoma-born songwriter Johnathon Ford. The basis for the instrumental project came into being while Ford was still writing with Seattle luminaries Roadside Monument; pulling toward a bass guitar oriented sound, the songs he’d begun to craft did not wholly feel right for Roadside Monument, thus the unbeknownst predestined forming of Unwed Sailor. Not aiming for Unwed Sailor to fall into the regular confines of a typical band, Ford’s ever-evolving cast and crew has been tirelessly composed over the years of good friends and company, as the band has since been relocated and based out of cities across the United States including Chicago, New York, Jackson, MS, Little Rock, AR, and back now to Seattle. With over 13 U.S. tours and 4 in Europe, the band has traveled almost as much as it’s evolved.

Since their 1998 debut release Firecracker, the band has continued to endeavor side door studies into the pictures behind sound, opening myriad avenues of instrumental excavation on their first full-length The Faithful Anchor to short-film soundtracks for filmmaker Chris Bennett, resulting in Stateless (a full-band collaboration with Early Day Miners) and the music to For Johnathan alongside bands like The Album Leaf and Tarantel. In 2003, the shape of Unwed Sailor changed dramatically as the sound ensued less a standard suite of songs, becoming more like a growing creature, cinematically operated and tell-tale both in its sonic and packaged presentation. The resulting album was recorded and released as The Marionette and the Music Box; music set to tell the painted story of a lonely little marionette in search of a cherished, lost music box. Describing the picturesque rushes and swells of a rather unique orchestra, Ford has become a maestro in his own rite, leading his band through pieces as suited for concert halls as they are the hot, impassioned stages of dark nightclubs from city to city. And as a live performance, the music is only more chaotic in its finely tuned restraints; here audiences are treated to a powerful performance, played out as though on the screen, and walking away from the shows as though from a theater, excited and curious about the world again. On stage, Unwed Sailor as people melt away, becoming nobody and everybody at the same time; a two-hearted octopus with every arm working twice as hard.

The band toured four times during 2005: a brief stint in the spring with three keyboard players, bass, and drums; a European tour with Burton and Ford playing as both Unwed Sailor and Early Day Miners and collaborating to perform their Stateless material, August and September as a five piece with keyboards, two guitars, bass, and drums; and the fourth during November and December as a four piece with two guitars with boomerang pedals, effectively doubling to four guitar parts, bass, and drums with members of Louisville bands Parlour (Temporary Residence) and Elliott. Johnathon Ford has recently moved back to Seattle and has made some final additions to the sounds of The White Ox. He’ll briefly hit the road with Ester Drang (Jade Tree) this spring and take a Seattle-based Unwed Sailor on the road to both the U.S. and Europe later in the Spring and Summer. Circles marks the return to recording for Unwed Sailor as the first new material in over 3 years and will be released in early 2006 as the band embarks on the lonesome, always stretching road.