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Ramen Music #01
(>) 01 Free as a Hotel Ben Montgomery
(>) 02 You Move Me Joshua Wentz
(>) 03 flip top magic man sah lin
(>) 04 drown am/fm dreams
(>) 05 Blips, Mallets and Bows mmi
(>) 06 CFCs Feat. Alicia Wiley & Eric Blair Graham O’Brien
(>) 07 The Ocean is in the Clouds Daze of Resistance
(>) 08 She Learned Some New Songs Rob and Laura
(>) 09 The Ocean Holds Me Brando
(>) 10 Nightingale Martha Rose
(>) 11 Budding The Dukes of Rusman
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Issue #01 cover by Alec Longstreth. Download HQ Version
Welcome to Issue #01
I’m very proud to present the inaugural issue of Ramen Music.

The idea to start Ramen first came to me 6 years ago. My friends and I had been recording music for years. We made music (and still do) because we needed to. Because it was an essential part of who we are. Because we absolutely loved doing it. It was not just a hobby; yet strangely, most of us felt something between apathy and disgust when it came to the idea of pursuing a ‘career in music.’

Music was, and still is, at the beginnings of a subtle yet revolutionary change. Distribution is effectively now free; music production equipment and software is rapidly evolving and becoming more affordable. Anyone wanting to record music and distribute their music to the world can do so with a minimal budget.

The recording industry has had trouble adapting. Instead of passing on distribution savings to customers or paying artists more fairly, they lobbied governments and filed lawsuits. Instead of tapping the “long tail” of new artists, they grew even more homogenous and safe. Instead of seeing the incredible social and business value of freely sharing music, they fear-mongered and invented protection schemes. In doing all of this, they have lost their allegiance with newer generation of artists, and lost the respect of many of their customers.

Ramen Music was created because 10 years ago, it was what I as a music maker wanted to be a part of. It was created because today, the music industry still desperately needs innovation and alternatives that treat listeners and artists with respect. It was created because my hard-working friends and other musicians like them deserve to be heard; and you, the curious listener, deserve to be able to hear them and be a part of something sustainable, honest, and real.

*  *   *

We could have opened #01 with a bang. Solid. Pumping. Excited! Certainly that’s how I feel about launching this venture. But I also feel something else.

So, instead, we tune up our instruments. We take a few breaths. And we begin. Slowly. Quietly. And with strength.

3:42 in length
Written and Recorded
December 2009
Santa Fe, NM, USA
Recorded “in my downtown apartment and in the back of Adam's warehouse building. I worked with 2 other local producers during the recording sessions, Jay Johnson (Drums and Guitar recording) and Will Dyar (re-amping).”
More music on
his alonetone page
Free as a Hotel Ben Montgomery
Ben Montgomery is somewhat of a musical enigma, even to those who know him closely.

I lived with Ben in Oberlin, Ohio. He was finishing up his physics degree by day and whispering quirky and catchy-as-hell songs into microphones at night. I was working at a mastering studio and desperate to finish an album of recordings before I turned 21. We became quick friends. After he graduated, I convinced him to move out to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we shared a music studio together.

Ben and I used to have a joke: One day, when one of us was making good money, we would bankroll the other person’s living expenses so they could do what they loved all day: Make music. Late last year, I found myself working a full time job with decent pay, but not having much time/energy to dedicate to music. One day I woke up and realized that it was time to make good on our pact: I would help Ben take 3 months of time off to concentrate solely on music.

This track is the first track on the album he worked on during this time.
The melody was created to be the opening theme for a movie based in the Southwest. It was worked out on the piano over a period of a few weeks. The rest of the parts were constructed or improvised in the studio. [It] features field recordings of christmas carolers at the Santa Fe train station and wah pedal telecaster soloing.
If we are extremely lucky, we’ll be graced by more of Ben’s music in the future: His vocals and lyrics are immediately recognizable. He manages to simultaneously make you smile and feel an incredible sense of longing.
6:26 in length
Written & Recorded
Fall 2010
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Music and lyrics by Joshua Wentz. Recorded and mixed at Studio Winchester by Joshua Wentz.
More music on
his website
You Move Me Joshua Wentz
Based in Chicago, Joshua has been writing music for 14 years. He has been a long time supporter of alonetone (the source of several of the talented artists on Ramen #01). He’s a loyal fan of CDs (those funny donut-holed polycarbonate and aluminum discs our ancestors stored digital music on) as well as Vinyl.

Here’s what he says about “You Move Me,” specifically written for Ramen #01:
Whether I'm in a relationship or not, Fall always feels like the season for falling in love, and that's where my thoughts go when I start writing music at that time of year. This song is about very tentatively meeting someone, but feeling like there's something more, if you could just find the right moment.
Joshua has both founded and participated in many independent music and art projects. Currently, his adventures range from from a fan-funded collection of local Chicago musicians pressed on Vinyl to his “retro-electrorock band” Absinthe & The Dirty Floors and a very cool “dark science fiction” and music collaboration project called Foreshadows.

I asked him what he thought was important about music today:
I think that a lot of other issues get in the way of capital-m Music these days. Copyright? Piracy? Streaming revenue? None of that is about hearing awesome songs.

I’m extremely happy to be living in a time period where anyone can get heard. There is so much great music out there, and so little time.
3:13 in length
in the past few years
Spring 2010
Benjamin Wuamett
Lyrics, Lead Vocals, Guitar, Producer
Lucida Dawn
Edmund Thomas Burke
Bass & Banjo
Emile Ward
Accordion & Backing Vocals
Adam from Downstairs
Portland, Oregon, USA
More music on
flip top magic man sah Lin
Ben Wuamett and I lived together for a month on a farm near Lisbon, Portugal, playing music together at nights. Back then, I was the guitar player, and he sang. Rather than continue to narrate this one, I’ll hand the stage over to him:
This started as a rap song 5 years ago in Portugal and has been mutating. It was a waltz; a hymn; a dancer; a putz. It’s had this shape for awhile now though we played it for months without any real words; I just made noises which sounded like english. People advised me to enunciate.

The neighbor downstairs plays the piano and for two Pabst Blue Ribbons he added the finishing touches. It’s almost done. I hear Dervish-like wailing somewhere behind the chorus but I can't find anyone interested in assisting me. If anyone reading this is a Dervish, or knows a Dervish who can wail, please contact me.

Sah Lin has been playing together for a year. The name is nonsense, or, more likely an anagram for 'Snail H'; a childhood pet of the drummer. We play around Portland, Oregon.

We play on porches and in living rooms and sometimes dank bars with Las Vegas carpet. It is tempting to refer to myself in the third person. But not so tempting. I (Ben Wuamett) sing and play the guitar. I write the songs and convince the others to play them by cooking dinner; often pasta.
2:18 in length
Written & Recorded
Spring 2010
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada
More music over at
their myspace and alonetone
drown am/fm dreams
am/fm dreams have been playing together since 2003. They have recorded and independently released 8 albums of material (all of which can be downloaded over on their alonetone page). Confirming the trend of many talented musicians today, they never shopped their stuff around to labels. “[We] generally just give our albums away to anyone who wants a copy.”

The band consists of Damian Lethbridge (who wrote, recorded, sang on this song), his sister Danielle Poirier, his sister’s husband Marc Poirier, and recently added Ken Primmer. Their recording setup is hyper-minimal, revolving around a BOSS digital 8 track that they’ve been using for years and their 1 nice microphone.
We mic everything except synths (we use direct input for that). We record drums first by placing our mic in the middle of the room. That kind of limits us because you can’t adjust cymbals, toms, etc. individually during the mixing process, but it adds to our raw, live recording sound. Then we record each part individually over the drums, again using our single microphone. So that's it. Our recording equipment consists of a digital 8 track and a single microphone.
This song was originally written by Damian to send over to a collaborator. Though the melody had been marinating in his head for some time, he just sat down and recorded it:
This was one of the 5 demos I made for him as a guide. It was really just meant to be a rough sketch so he’d get to hear the song and re-interpret it his way. This version was never put on any of our albums. The song is just kind of about giving in when you know you’re right just to save face.
They are working on their 9th album now, which “so far is sounding pretty garage-punk.” Damian leaves us with a good quote:
"The most important thing in life is to be happy and content with your lot - whistle and sing" - Moses Lethbridge
2:57 in length
Written & Recorded
Summer 2010
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
More music at bandcamp and alonetone
Blips, Mallets and Bows mmi
MMI (short for "Me, Myself and I") is an alias of Georg Nikodym. Georg has given Ramen Music countless hours of his time listening to submissions, providing feedback, and generally being available for virtual conference. He has been an invaluable help in getting Ramen off the ground, including contributing this gem of a track.

MMI’s story is one of inspiring re-discovery:
Somewhere in the transition from rock star wannabe teen to adult, I put part of myself to sleep. I thought it was lost forever.

One day, I discovered Garageband on my Mac (over a year after buying the thing!). I farted around for an hour or two and pretty soon my first track emerged. Crappy and made of loops with some minimal synth playing but it was a start.

At first it was a bit of a secret hobby. I would put stuff up on the internet because it was “anonymous”. I didn’t have to face judgement from people I actually knew and loved.

That was four years ago. In that time, I’ve learned a great deal, grown in surprising ways and re-awoke that part which I feared was lost.

Why put out music? To communicate with my fellow humans. To explore my space.
4:02 in length
Written & Recorded
Winter 2009
Written/Produced by
Graham O'Brien
Alicia Wiley: Vocals
Eric Blair (of No Bird Sing): Vocals/Lyrics
Graham O'Brien: Drums
Casey O'Brien: Bass
Recorded by Adam Krinsky
Mixed by Adam Krinsky and Graham O'Brien
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
More music on
his bandcamp page
CFCs Feat. Alicia Wiley
& Eric Blair Graham O’Brien
Expertly crafted and engineered, the combination of textures and sounds on this track blew me away the first time I heard it. The transitions are to die for. You can hear the hours and hours of work spent on finely tuned sounds, the beautifully creative arrangement, the mix, the detail. Headphones are highly recommended.

“Genres don’t matter. Good music does” is a motto of ours. Graham proves this with his music, and the result is an absolutely original and compelling sound; something you could not find elsewhere. When I asked him to give his thoughts on the music world today, he replied:
The one thing I always remember when thinking about this modern era of music-making is a stat I heard somewhere: that it is literally now impossible to listen to all of the new releases that come out each year—there are too many to listen to, even if you listened to each song back to back without stopping. So that means be bold with the music you make!
There is something crazy you should know about this track, a testament to Graham's versatility and production skills:
One interesting thing about this track is that all of the vocals were performed to a totally different song, in the same tempo.

I ultimately swapped out all the elements and tones, bass part and drums for different parts later. I had to pick other elements that still worked with the key that Alicia originally sang in, but it actually is a bit of a "reharmonization" of her part. It was really fun to play them the finished version because they barely recognized it.
Luckily, this track is only one out of fifteen on Graham’s upcoming release “Live Drums.” If you are in the mood for more tight and creatively processed instrumentals interspersed with rhymes from Twin City hip-hop artists, don the best pair of headphones you can find and head over here.
3:58 in length
Written & Recorded
August 2010
Seattle, Washington, USA
More music on
his website
The Ocean is in the Clouds
Daze of Resistance
I’m not much of a dancer, but this track has gotten me up on my feet almost every time I listen to it. Lorin Tackett is the guy behind Daze of Resistance. By day he freelances front-end website work. Apparently, a long commute doesn’t get in the way of his productivity:
This song was created on my two-hour morning commute from Seattle to Redmond over the course of a week, while I was working on a contract in Redmond.
The track consists of a blend of mostly esoteric samples and synthesis (Lorin also plays guitar, piano and drums). More impressive than his on-the-run composing is his on-the-run synth playing:
Fun fact: I used my laptop's computer keyboard to play all the synth parts.
After pestering him regarding the song title (the song makes me so happy, I just *had* to know what it was all about), he clarified:
Well, the ocean is in the clouds -- clouds are, after all, made of water. It’s just a simple and beautiful statement of natural facts.
2:30 in length
Written & Recorded
February 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Music and lyrics by
Spencer Lee
More music on
their website and alonetone
She Learned Some New Songs
Rob and Laura
Again, I’ll get out of the way and let the artist tell the story:
Jiha Lee and Spencer Lee have been making music together as Rob and Laura since 2008, mostly in their house. Spencer runs the music collective website Jiha has been recording and playing in bands since the year 2000. She has a Fine Arts degree from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She has a super secret side project called Silver Wells.
I asked them if they ever submitted tracks/demos to labels. It seems they feel similarly to many other DIY artists:
We haven’t done much of the demo thing, outside of posting stuff for free on various places around the web. It’s not a process that appeals to us much, to be honest, which is why we prefer more nontraditional outlets such as Ramen.
Being a nosy person, I was curious about Spencer and Jiha’s shared surname: Married? Siblings?
We were both born Lees, grew up on opposite sides of the country (Jiha in Georgia, Spencer in California). We met in 2007, joked about the coincidence a few times. The most difficult aspect to having a common surname that we are getting married in less than a month and still haven’t decided whose last name we're going to go with.
About this particular track:
The song is the second chapter, so to speak, in an ongoing narrative, a sequel to She Only Knows Four Chords, in which “she” is quite young, first discovering the joys and letdowns that come with performing in front of people.
2:38 in length
Written & Recorded
Summer 2010
This track was fully written and recorded by Brando but will likely appear in the future on a collaboration album with Laura Kepner-Adney.
Tucson, Arizona
More music on
website and alonetone page
The Ocean Holds Me Brando
Brando needs no last name. He’s Brando. He does, however, deserve to introduce himself:
I started recording music over a decade ago. Originally I was interested in making arranged scores and instrumental tracks. Over the years I have reluctantly added vocals and branched out. I get the most satisfaction from exploring different genres and creating different characters and narratives. The older I get, the less I write songs about myself and the more I create stories. I don't care as much about delivering a life lesson as just engrossing the listener in a character's existence, or in the case of instrumentals, just setting a mood.
His honest outlook on the changing music scene is optimistic and inspiring:
In an age when anyone can make music that rivals that of the pop charts, I have found my place in the local music of my area and touring bands passing through, trying to make a living at their passion. From this vantage point, music appears to be at its most liberated. Musicians are less constricted in their genres, and audiences are more willing to accept variety. The notion of being a successful musician has changed (for me) from fame and fortune to respect and enjoyment.
This track was written explicitly for Ramen #01:
A few days prior, I had been talking with some friends about the massive suicide rate on the Golden Gate Bridge. I started thinking about the mindset of someone at that point and the strange comfort of dying in the sea. The appeal of the ocean to this character is that it "holds" him but also obscures his existence in its vast expanse. The importance of his existence ceases.
4:47 in length
January 2007
Summer 2010
Ben Joel - Banjo
Jessica Sea - recorder, harmonies
Joe Nathan Wilson - drums
Tom Maisey - recording and producing
Brighton, England
More music on
her myspace
Nightingale Martha Rose
A friend of mine recently went up to Berlin to play and hang out at the Down By The River music festival. Let’s call him Phil. Excited by the idea of Ramen, Phil carried a mission: To find a couple of talented independent artists and talk to them about submitting work to us. He ran into Martha Rose, “Nightingale” was submitted shortly thereafter, and thanks to Phil we are able to share this beautiful track with you.

Martha Rose played violin as a child. Irish folk tunes were her speciality.
I only started playing guitar later, when I was given one. I taught myself, asked some friends for some chords, and wrote some songs. I don't really know why I continued. I feel something good about expressing myself in this way. I love capturing an audience, and telling them true stories laced with magic.
Actually, “Nightingale” happens to be the first song she wrote on guitar, though it’s revisited here. The story:
I was first given a guitar over Christmas time. It was wrapped up in newspaper and left on my doorstep by a former lover and bandmate. I did not know how to play, nor did I imagine myself writing songs. This song is the first one I wrote. It is inspired by the idea of the Nightingale and the Rose, the story by Oscar Wilde - about the senseless death of a creature who loved too much. I felt like I was in a very similar position at the time, giving a lot to a love that did not make me happy or healthy.

This version of the song is something we came up with last year, as I started playing more with other musicians. We did not want it to get lost.
4:19 in length
Written & Recorded
December 2009
Credits: Neil Gordon & Vahe Vartan
Harrisburg, PA, USA
More music
by email only
Budding The Dukes Of Rusman
Jason Rusman blows me away. Though he began recording and making tracks about a year ago, he managed to fill our submission box with more than just a couple solid tracks. It doesn't go far enough to say his tracks are “something special” - it doesn’t properly communicate his ability to surprise you, to take you from a chuckle to a dreamy far away place.

He was very humble when I asked him about his music (from what I can tell, this is a common and “healthy” side-effect of making music on your own). He summed up his interest by simply stating “Music/guitar has become a tool for teaching me about myself.”
My favorite thing about this track is the "budding" sound that goes on throughout the first half. I was walking down the driveway, not thinking at all about music, when suddenly: "Hey you should randomly pluck banjo notes and layer them," popped into my head. I instantly ran back to my computer and recorded that part - it sounded EXACTLY like it had sounded in my head. And that was the first track of the song. Everything else was based on it. Bizarre.
Bears The Dukes Of Rusman
A wild pack of family bears chants its anthem around a dimly lit campfire in the abandoned lot behind a Detroit-area Coldstone.
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