Thursday, November 13, 2008

James Ferraro: The Clown Prince of Noise and Bedroom Pop

I'm not an expert on noise. I don't really like most of it, actually.  I never really got into legends-in-their-own-time noise group The Skaters and why they are so important, and frankly I don't care. I do however enjoy the solo efforts of two of the group's memebers, Spencer Clark and James Ferraro, far more than their work with their most well known project... but please don't let me stop you from going into a long discourse about how The Skaters are going to cause the second coming of Christ through nothing more than practice amps, cheap mics, digital delays and throat noise . 

The thought of trying to describe James and Spencer's music makes my head spin so I'm not even going to bother. I listen to this stuff for one reason alone: its fun ear candy. So don't be afraid, I won't bore you with the patented, "……this is the sound of being tele-ported through a transistor radio in your subconscious as radio jingles from hell stick toothpicks in your brain…..". I did read one review on some random blog that said, "James's music is like being on drugs in hell". I found that really funny. More important is the fact that I'm posting some of Jame's full length works for your listening pleasure, so take advantage of it and give it a whirl.

 Most of the music from these two San Francisco based weirdos has been "released" (for lack of a better word) on limited copies of tapes and CDR's which have long been sold out. Some Lamborghini Crystal tapes have fetched as much as $200 on ebay. I can't imagine the type of person who would have $200 to burn on two stoners banging on pots and pans while screaming in front of a recordable boombox. Oh wait, I know-- an asshole, that's who. For now, I am only going to talk about James's projects. There is no telling how many hours of music he has put to tape (easily in the 1000s), so the projects I am posting only scratch the surface of his catalog. If I get around to it I will do a post on Spencer's Monopoly Child Star Searchers, which is excellent in its in own right.

James represents the more playful half of Skaters and that is immediately evident in the titles of his solo projects alone (each new project has a new name so it can be tough to keep up). He has recently finished up some more focused solo efforts actually titled, "James Ferraro"…..awww he's all growns up and he's all growns up.

Lamborghini Crystal: There are four or five full length tapes/CDr's of this stuff. Each one is slightly different but they are essentially pop rock sound collages. The last two minutes of Video Head Cleaner capture the essence of Lamborghini Crystal.

Video Head Cleaner MP3


90210: This recent project is the perfect blend of the playful pop of Lamborghini Crystal and the more modal drone and noise James also delves into.  It's one track, 30 minutes of synth and guitar. A very strong project from James and an easy, fun listen.

90210 MP3


Postremo Mundus Techno Symposium: This new project moves to the other extreme with two twenty minute pieces of modal sounds. One of the most horrifying projects I have ever heard. James creates a hellish fantasy world and belches it out on a cassette. The drunk trumpet in the background blended with the muffled screams in the foreground is enough to give me the willies.

Postremo Mundus Techno Symposium MP3



Edward Flex's Liquid Spring Break Skeletons: Okay…..let's go to the other end of the spectrum. By all indications (the title and cover art) this is the ultimate party album from hell. I think this project was a pre-cursor to Lamborghini Crystal but don't quote me on it. One very long 71 minute track of fun, sun, beer and steroids. I can only take about 40 minutes of this,tops, but its worth it alone for the hilarious "weight lifting" sequences at 7 and 19 minutes. The rock theme immediately follow the 2nd weight lifting "sketch" is actually very pretty. There are some really cool sequences in this and some not so cool ones too. James is a true original.

Edward Flex MP3

In closing, there isn't much info out there on James, Spencer or any of their projects. They don't have MySpace pages and from what I have read aren't really "into" the internet. I think a lot of their communication is done via snail mail and pay phones, so if anyone else out there would care to share anything about these two special and bizarre individuals, go for it. Enjoy!

20 Comments:

Anonymous adub said...

this shit's nuts. i love it.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous adub said...

this shit's nuts. i love it.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my kid could make that music

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i still like it anyway

1:07 PM  
Anonymous adub said...

postremo thing is really disturbing. makes me uncomfortable. flex shit is dope funny/good time

3:05 PM  
Anonymous The Ape-Like Hippocampuses said...

Fuck! Fuckn' fuck yeah!--This. . .is the most def ass shit I've heard since I gave head to that mexican blackbird out in san pao. Fuck!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

90210 @ 19:15..........yea!!!!!!!

3:15 PM  
Anonymous celestial fucker said...

awesome post! nice that yr spreading the word about these guys! lamborghini crystal, pacific rat temple band, and the stuff that james ferraro makes just under his name is some of the best, and most far-out stuff out there right now. completely indescribable. you could call it psychedelic. you could call it drone. noise, tropical, whatever. but nothing fits.

you really should post some pacific rat temple band! probably my favorite stuff of his! reminds me of bizarre musicians making music on a desolate island in the pacific during a hurricane whilst their buddies are engaging in cannibalistic activies.

for those looking for full-album download links, look here:
http://take-off-your-shoes.blogspot.com/

there's probably 30 or so albums up for grabs there. all of which you should download, because they're all fantastic!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Howard Bob Johnsonn said...

yes this is the author......I'm having trouble logging in on my name and commenting.

good shout out to take your shoes off Celestial. I meant to reference him. There is a lot more of Spencer and James's material at that blog and I got some of the stuff I posted from that source. He promises to post more of their music in the future. I recommend that site to everyone, especially noise and drone fans.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i first heard of lamborghini crystal from that blog too. cool shit. there is a great drone band on that site called caen.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous thanks, but no thanks for this artical. said...

You know Howard Bob Johnsonn the way you criticize noise music really makes you look like a stupid asshole. You are debunking the same music you are praising. Why do you have to make it seem like people into noise are idiots/assholes.. that is complete ignorance. Yes its cool to mention these guys and there "pop" stuff but then to debunk and ridicule their tribute to the noise genera is complete bullshit and so is your view on noise in general, (SOME of these "skates POP music" projects would be considered "noise", and are not that far from some actual Skaters sounds, so maybe you should be more specific as to what sub-genera of noise your hating on, and decide what you actually like and don't)...Some would not even consider The Skaters "noise" depending on who you talk to. Even though at first i was thrilled to see them (Skaters) get some coverage, after reading i think shitheads like you should leave you opinions to yourselves within a genera you know nothing about,FUCK YOUR WRITING AND FUCK YOU! Thanks for nothing asshole.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous thanks, but no thanks for this artical. said...

You know Howard Bob Johnsonn the way you criticize noise music really makes you look like a stupid asshole. You are debunking the same music you are praising. Why do you have to make it seem like people into noise are idiots/assholes.. that is complete ignorance. Yes its cool to mention these guys and there "pop" stuff but then to debunk and ridicule their tribute to the noise genera is complete bullshit and so is your view on noise in general, (SOME of these "skates POP music" projects would be considered "noise", and are not that far from some actual Skaters sounds, so maybe you should be more specific as to what sub-genera of noise your hating on, and decide what you actually like and don't)...Some would not even consider The Skaters "noise" depending on who you talk to. Even though at first i was thrilled to see them (Skaters) get some coverage, after reading i think shitheads like you should leave you opinions to yourselves within a genera you know nothing about,FUCK YOUR WRITING AND FUCK YOU! Thanks for nothing asshole.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

I don't really think HBJ was being that harsh towards Noise. He just said he didn't like it. I happen to like a lot of it, but I didn't really think he was being overly offensive. Sometimes some of us just like to act like jerks, but I think its usually clearly that we are at least sort of kidding.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Howard Bob Johnsonn said...

to thanks but no thanks.....

this is the author by the way. Your absolutely right, I don't know anything about noise and I don't like most of what I have heard but I never slagged it off. I never said anybody who liked noise are assholes or idiots, a lot of my buddies like SR are into it. I did say that whoever is willing to pay $200 for cassette might be an asshole, maybe that was harsh. Skaters has a mythical status amongst intellectuals like yourself but c'mon boy I need sweet jams!

James's projects are a unique "twist" on noise/drone. They are more like sound collages of pop, industrial, tropical, rock and god knows what else. It immediately distinguishes itself from most of the noise/drone I have heard. I didn't feel like trying to go in depth at putting James's work in the context of other noise artists. I don't think I would even know how to do that and I don't care to. Hey man, bottom line, I ain't got no patience for that slow,methodical shit, crank them sweet jams baby!

........Barak O'bama and shit........

6:07 PM  
Anonymous celestial fucker said...

@ thanks, but no thanks:

i completely agree with HBJ and SR. HBJ was simply pointing out he doesn't like most noise music. i didn't see any hint of trying to dog (sorry for the lack of a better word) noise or the people that listen to it.

quit being such a dick man, and appreciate the fact that HBJ responded to your comment in a kind and appropriate manner.

6:36 PM  
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7:51 PM  
Anonymous jake crow said...

its important to know that james uses no samples in his music from other artist.
he creates all of the sounds himself from scratch using old digital samplers/synths and weird keyboards and stuff blending things together.
besides using some beavis and butthead straight of the T.V. I read in a italian magazine interview last week, it was cool to hear that because I was under the impression he sampled alot of his material, really adds a really cool dimension knowing that its all from scratch.he was being interviewed from his apartment in las vegas at the time september of last year.
was asked about all the internet slamming and replied by saying he doesn\'t mind what people think
\"I imagine most of the people contributing to it to have some inner turmoil they have to get out
and it just manifest itself in that way ,\" and as far as it being information, the writing is so bad, so sometimes I cant help but interpret what I read as a reflection of their own self hate, the words dissolve and its just the energy behind it, which appears to be pretty black, hopefully it doesn\'t spread to far out of the arena,but it seems completely natural for communication to evolve into this\'\' a lot of its okay with him though he goes on to say.
he views it as \'\'a virtual cage of online persona crucifixions and those as \"psychological throw downs\" but he \"loves a good roast\'\' and if it makes some one feel good until the next inability to cope with reality puts them in front of the computer thats cool with him. also from an aesthetic
point of view he thinks it\'s really cool and makes it easier to understand t.v. shows like CSI LAS VEGAS and Survivor, it\'s like watching the central brain of a world on autopilot, and its cool to be
in there somewhere.
and ended with saying \'\'some times when the rage travels outside of the fun house people should just pull their own plug but you gotta let everyone
have their fun, it\'s sadistic I love it!
killer, seems like a cool guy to me, gonna go see em soon I hope in chicago spring tour I heard.
check out take your shoes off blog they have some stuff you can download from these guys

7:11 AM  

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