utorak, 28. svibnja 2013.

George Korein and the Spleen - Brain Problems (2013)

Dadaistički čudak. Između parodije i avangarde.

Condition of Air (2012) streaming

Content Provider (2008) streaming


First coming to the attention of discerning music listeners with Infidel?/Castro! and continuing with his solo releases and participation in projects such as the Naked Mall Rats (among others) and his production/electronics on Nimis & Arx by Helena Espvall, George Korein has carved out a unique niche for himself in the experimental music world. A regular collaborator with Charles Cohen, Alex Nagle, Jesse Krakow and many others, Another Corpse is yet another chapter in an ever mutating and evolving sonic trajectory.

"I'm beginning to sense the emergence of a new generation's answer to Jason Willett, Baltimore's infamous inscrutable genius of Megaphone/Leprechuan Catering/Half-Japanese/Ruins/post-RIO-dada notoriety. Both worrisome and thrilling, this prospect."  - Michael Anton Parker/Bagatellen.com

Too Many Days (2006) streaming

Lobe Stub (2006) streaming

Memoirs of a Trilobite (2005) streaming

George Korein Interview

George Korein
Story by Eric Garcia

Multi-instrumentalist, performance artist George Korein is sonically defining "non-sense".
It's as if the term "non-sense" was invented to make us think that anything expressed or even hinting to something beyond the 5 senses was to be considered non-existent. George Korein doesn't care. He knows too much. He's gonna sing about shape shifters. He's gonna tell you to fuck freely and that the bankers should bail, and that humor is just an expression of fear.
Since the turn of the century George has consistently surprised no-wave, dark-wave and just about every-wave crowds through combining hyper theatrics, improvisation, dark comedy monologues, avant-metal, experimental recording and absurdest lyrics that poke and joke at every crack and crevasse of the human condition . He makes records and performs with Colin Marston (Behold The Arctopus), his DJ fiancee Liz Walsh, Helena Espvall (ex-Espers, Drag City Records), Jesse Krakow (Time of Orchids, Shudder to Think), Keith Abrams (Time of Orchids, PAK), Dylan Sparrow (Giggle the Ozone, Zeehaus:12 Wait), and Alex Nagle (Normal Love, Satanized). Live, George is notorious for involving and invading his environment.

Watch all his live videos on Myspace
if you don't get a chance to see him live. You will thank yourself.

George generously sent me his current discography. By the visuals and titles alone ("Memoirs of a Trilobite", "God Give Me Earlids", "Another Corpse", "Somewhere On The Internet", "Art Jerks: Dysphemism Treadmill" ) I knew i was in for something new. With my first listen I realized no common theme other than George's unlimited sonic expression. No one or two genres or recording styles, but a collage of the most exotic and urban sound art-forms. The thing with George's albums is that they're all different. Some are maximalist studio albums where George mashes up sessions of noise,metal,pop,dark-comedy, and found sounds using analog/digital, electronic/acoustic equipment. Others are live recordings of part improvised part composed no-wave rock pieces. If I had to pick a favorite album (I love them all) I would have to pick "Memoirs of A Trilobyte". This studio album is based on author and paleontologist Richard Fortey's book "Trilobite!". Richard is the President of the Geological Society of London. You can watch George interview him on You Tube. The intro track for "Memoirs of a Trilobite!" is a clip from an NPR interview with Fortey stating, "By studying Trilobites you can actually reconstruct the vanished geographies of ancient worlds." The song segues immediately into spastic voice samples, slap bass funk, keyboard drums, tweaked vocals and speed metal guitar shredding. After a full dose of George's world, I can't imagine what George will be doing 20 years from now, or 20 minutes from now. Muzak meets power-violence. Dark stand-up comedy meets experimental engineering. Techno meets Music Concrete. I recently caught up with George to talk about his music, bankers, and babies.

What are you usually doing 5 minutes before a show?
I have to think about that. I'm usually nervous and still trying to pull together what planned material I have. Often times I haven't practiced at all or thought about what the hell I'm going to do until that day, so I'm scrambling. But some of the best stuff is improvised anyway, and I try to integrate the physical environment, which keeps an immediate, un-premeditated element strong, the way free-styling rappers riff on stuff going on in the room. Some things I plan, but sometimes only a few minutes in advance. But in the moment I find it's a natural impulse to touch objects, gather, meddle. It's mental but it's also physical. It's fun to try to do things you've never done before, knowing you will fail, showing people your failure as you discover it. How far can I go on one foot playing a strapless bass perched on that foot? There's only one way to find out. I don't touch caffeine. The whole experience makes me ridiculously wired as it is. At one of those cafe shows, I tried to sweep as many chairs into the stage area as I could in an unbroken stride to "sound check". That's sort of a ritual I guess. They made me put them back right away, though. Oh, what could've been.
How did you discover music?
Like anyone else. I was less musical than a lot of kids until I was 11 and needed a hobby more respectable than Dungeons and Dragons and video games. My older brother said if I learned bass then with his friend we could be a power trio. Learning to play definitely got me more into music. My dad played me Eno and my mom played me Bowie and then I heard Primus and King Crimson.
How did you come to know and work with Richard Fortey, President of the Geological Society of London?
Colin (Marston) snagged the samples off of NPR when he was at his family's place, where his dad leaves NPR on 'round the clock. The samples were perfect, so I found Richard's e-mail on the net and contacted him for permission. He gave me the okay and said to send the disc when done. I sent him a box of 30. They apparently were distributed around the Natural History Museum's Paleontology Department. I was in London with my fiancee, Liz, to see six shows of the Sparks extravaganza (possibly her favorite band in the world). Richard's e-mail had changed but I called the Geological Society and tracked him down. They didn't really know what I was on about, but he was totally game. We shot that long interview at the Society. For people who don't want to watch all 15 minutes on You Tube, I recommend the second clip over the first because the second is more about him and trilobites, whereas the first is more about me and music.
What's next musically?
I like to do different things all the time. I realize that's not good for branding, promotion, and recognition. It can actually be criticized as wishy-washy or dilettantish. A lot of people always do the same thing or refine the one idea. That can be cool but I don't know how they don't get distracted. I have too many ideas to just bear down on one for a whole career. I have a surplus of ideas that never get completed. I imagine there must be common threads through my stuff though. Now that I sing all the time, my iffy voice is a big common thread. As for what's next, I'm working on an album that I'm psyched about, entitled "George Korein and the Spleen--Full of Song". It's my first album that is done in a more conventional method. I sketched out songs, fleshed them out with the help of my rad band, Nick Millevoi (Circles) and Ricardo Lagomasino (Capillary Action, Altamira) and quickly recorded the basic tracks live in the Philly burbs at Red Planet, which looks really cool inside . Then I brought the tracks home for editing, mixing, overdubbing, vocals etc. I think it will be a more accessible, mature album, though I have no idea what listeners will think. There are ballads. "Accessible and mature" sounds like "watered down and corny", but I don't think it's going to get airplay in the Adult Contemporary format. If it did, I'd be very happy. Rock is included as well. It's a rock album.I don't know, a newborn is currently ruling me with an iron grip. At some point I need to publish my massive backlog of recordings, complete Full of Song, and start playing live again. Someday I'd love to tour again but that'd be dumping a lot of work on my fiancee. I'd like to keep putting out say, an album a year. Art Jerks and Naked Mall Rats also were live studio bands, but they had no rehearsal. Nick and Ricardo started playing with me in an even more seat-of-the-pants way -- those clips of us playing live were completely unrehearsed. Nick called me an hour before a gig and said "We've got the gear in a van. Want us to come play your show?" and they winged it remarkably well. But for the album I wanted to refine things a bit since I'd already done two short albums of that kind of free-wheeling, almost "plug in and go" stuff. It's funny. I described to friends how I was going about recording Naked Mall Rats with no rehearsal, and when they heard it they said "Wow! That actually came out good!"

Let's talk lyrics. What are some of the issues you address in "Dysphemism Treadmill"?
The lyrics are negative and almost embarrassing but I've been going in a more positive direction and I needed to get it out of my system. Some of it is stuff I was actually feeling and some of it was just being silly, like "(You live in) Inland Greenland". Also there's some comments on the whole issue of putting music out into the world and some of the contradictions and respect games and confusion involved, which is also the theme (differently) on Content Provider. I think the best lyrics, or at least the point I most wanted to make, are on the song "It's Not O.K. To Make Mistakes and Humor Isn't Funny". That's an issue I feel is important--trying to grapple with the nature of humor and whether it intrinsically contains negativity and mockery (a topic I've had tense debates with friends about), and also trying to reconcile with things that seem pathetic in daily life, and realizing that humor, negative as it can be, is a key method for that reconciliation. In the song, I reject the realization. In real life, I don't reject humor, usually. I wrote the Art Jerks lyrics around the same time I wrote the ultra-positive lyrics for a joyous planned project called the Capybara Vortex Choir, which features massed vocals on upbeat subjects such as watering the lawn, gasping while you pee and remorselessly killing mosquitoes.
What do you feel makes an successful performance?
A bad ass drummer. That helps. I do think that two critical elements of live performance that can't really be reproduced on record are improvisation and theatrics. I like to do both. But I also do songs and song sketches I haven't recorded yet, so no one has an official reference point on those.
Have you experienced any bizarre audience reactions at your live shows?
A guy hired me to act in his short film on the basis that my performance was "fearless" and "aggressively amateurish" and that it'd be easy to get me to do silly stuff in front of a camera. We went out to shoot where the deer overpopulate, with his film school sister and his dragged-along-to-carry-the-boom-mic sister and this Indian cameraman who was older. I thought "well I shouldn't assume they found this guy on Craig's List, for all I know he's a family friend" -- it was Craig's List. The guy fed us his snazzy vegetarian sandwiches. I then found out that where there are too many deer, there are too many ticks... all over me. When I've gotten "involved" during other people's performances, playing bathroom tiles or putting out all the candles in a dark room by slamming chairs into the ground, naturally that's contentious and some people get pissed. Some people find it funny, some people encourage it, but some people get pissed and while it was once something people almost expected me to do, I don't make a habit of it because I don't feel like having enemies.
What are those pink tubes you're playing in your YouTube video "There's Something You Should Know"?
Those are manufactured under the name "boom whackers". My step mom gave them as a present. An enterprising individual could build them sturdier and cheaper by cutting lengths of PVC pipe and color coding them by pitch. These are thinner, and as is somewhat visible in the video, they started to go limp from the thrashing. The thinness makes it more possible to do this safely though.
If you had a choice how do you want to be remembered?
I'd like a documentary to be made about me. It'd have clips of my friends saying how I was an unrecognized genius ahead of my time, and clips of my music so the viewer can see that I wasn't.
If you were president, what would you change?
I wouldn't want to be president, but as far as things I wish the government would do, they are pretty standard liberal desires. There is a long list of criminals who should face prosecution (but won't), including the outgoing Bush administration, war profiteers, and the bankers who are currently being rewarded with hundreds of billions of tax dollars for destroying the economy here and abroad. These guys are pocketing our money they are being supposedly "bailed out" with and laughing in our faces while keeping their jobs. Our money is literally being stolen by wealthy thieves. What's so funny is even Associated Press is like "Whoa, wait, what the fuck?": "They've been bailed out, but not kicked out. At banks that are receiving federal bailout money nearly nine out of every 10 of the most senior executives from 2006 are still on the job," according to an Associated Press analysis of regulatory and company documents. The AP's review reveals one of the ironies of the bank bailout: The same executives who were at the controls as the banking system nearly collapsed are the ones the government is counting on to help save it. Less fortunate are more than 100,000 bank employees laid off during a two-year stretch when industry unemployment nearly tripled, bank stocks plummeted and credit dried up. The fact that workers and managers experience a recession differently is hardly a surprise. What's new is that taxpayers are now shareholders in the nation's bailed-out banks, yet they lack the usual shareholder power to question management decisions or demand house-cleaning in the executive suites."
On the album "Somewhere On the Internet" there is a song called "Is There Somewhere On the Internet I Can Go?" Where do you like to go on the internet?
I am a Wikipedia addict. I like reading about the things that influence music and movies et cetera, so I can get a better picture of the way everything is part of a cultural continuum, the way one sound came from the preceding one, the way one decade follows another and people draw upon the mainstream they were exposed to as children when creating the culture of their adulthood. I also find out about things I somehow missed, like how the skinhead thing started with 60s ska fans in Britain. I also had a skyscraper kick, funny how the big construction boom is grinding to a halt thanks to the new great depression. I like reading about the etymology of phrases and boring census info about cities.
What kind of equipment do you use live or in the studio?
$30 ART Studio tube preamp, even live, even though it doesn't have a pedal for the gain boost so it's not conducive to toggling distortion on and off. I have a snazzy amp from the Acoustic company, I keep the spring reverb high. I've been playing a cheap 7-string Washburn made in China with 24 frets. I tune the B string way down so I can have low and high at my disposal. I also have this Star Fire thing with a 5-string bass neck and a 12-string guitar neck and it was left handed but I got it flipped. It was the most strings per dollar I could find on EBay: 17 strings for $210, including shipping -- that's $12.35 a string. Awkward, impractical and mostly useless, I've found some applications for it. I also took a $70 Baja Strat. copy and made it fret-less. I followed the most detailed instructions I could find on the web and they screwed me up by suggesting epoxy instead of wood filler. Took way longer and ended creating epoxy bumps like occasional partial frets. Fixed the rest in 2 seconds with wood filler and now I have another mostly useless specialty guitar which does sound awesome when used with copious spring reverb and a mellow bassy tone -- sounds like a Koto or something. Everything I own is in a perpetual state of disrepair, now worsened by the fact that a pipe burst in my basement and flooded everything. Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to Reaper Recording Software -- it's a complete DAW that you can download for free 'cause they're such nice folks. If you like it and use it though, they'd like you to send them a few hundred bucks.
What artists have most influenced your work?
I am a big Residents fan. I'll give Cheer Accident a shout here. They manage to really cover so much ground so well, without stretching themselves thin. Funny, serious, hard, delicate, power trio, chamber ensemble, complicated, simple, vocal, instrumental, studio as instrument, live treats, they can do it all. Today I'll say: Liz Walsh, King Missile, The Residents, Rakim, Swans, Cheer Accident, Peter Gabriel, Colin Marston, Alex Nagle, Chuck Stern, Snakefinger, David Torn, John Carpenter.
How has your new born influenced your music, if at all?
She hasn’t influenced it yet, but she will. Maybe I’ll make a kid’s album at some point, or something kid-friendly… I look back at my catalog and it’s all curses, cocks, gloom, doom and noise. EG

George Korein “Untitled”

October 8, 2010
By Jonathan Rohardjo
Without wanting to sound too reductive, George Korein’s self-released CDr immediately reminds one of the first Resident’s album, “Meet the Residents.”  Like that earlier record, one might lazily dismiss this CDr as “noise” on first listen.  However, on repeated listens, this recording reveals itself to be a surprisingly accessible work.  Thankfully, while this CDr recalls that earlier record, it emulates that earlier work primarily in spirit, and not in sonics; this work succeeds because it develops on that earlier one, rather that attempt to recreate it.
What sets this recording apart the most from “Meet” is Korein’s use of stops within these tracks.  The first track in particular includes a number of pauses of various lengths that separate the noise.  The effect of these pauses is oddly compelling; whenever I listen to this piece, I find myself trying to guess when these pauses will start and when they will stop, and I am rarely, if ever successful.  These pauses only rewards repeated listens; while I rarely ever listen to, say, Stereolab, because I can sing along with all the songs, I will probably never have a handle on the length of each pause in these tracks.
Perhaps the best recommendation that I can give this recording is to describe the reaction my dog had to it.  Whenever I listen to music on my stereo, my dog will frequently walk into my room and lie in front of the speakers; she likes everything from Faust to Royal Trux.  But this was too much for her; whenever I played this record above a certain volume, she would bark at the speakers.  I have absolutely no idea what might have caused her to do this; maybe there’s something inaudible in this music that Smudge’s ears picked up.  In any case, this is an interesting record that, despite its sparse, unattractive packaging, is definitely worth a listen.

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