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Ramen Music Issue #02

December 2010
Issue #02 Cover by Lisa Hanawalt
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01 everything is byte size hot bitch arsenal
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02 La Asombrosa PIARANGO
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03 Feel Real Mechanical Minds
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04 Act II, Scene I Act II, Scene I
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05 I Know My Way From Here Matt Van Winkle
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06 Costa Little Embers
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07 Romantische Stücke Igor
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08 When It Rains Peter Rudenko
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09 Invincible Trio Infernal
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10 Changes Lorin Tackett
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11 Concrete Blanket Ben Wuamett
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everything is byte size
(the sunray estate mix)
hot bitch arsenal
01
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hot bitch arsenal Photo
hot bitch arsenal is Kim Galibert and Cea Marie/Christina Abbot. Kim describes their process:
the typical session goes like this: i'll show up with a few new instrumentals (she has an uncanny ability to detect which are the 'freshest' ie: most recent, she tends to choose those), play them for her, she'll say, 'that one', i put it on repeat, she scribbles madly, works out melodies/harmonies, in a half hour or so she says 'i'm ready', i'll hit record. generally she'll do 2-3 takes of the lead, and then maybe another one or two for backup vocals (as we live-loop, sometimes it all just happens in one take, and generally the second one is the keeper).
This particular mix of the track is done by The Sunray Estate (Jez Thomas) who "reworked the entire thing, using his band of irregulars and Cea's original vocal take."
we're wordy people, book people. sensitive, as in observant, rather than fragile. as geeks, our favorite tv show is 'the it crowd', of course. somehow, it seems that we can catch a moment's emotion, and save it in a song for you. for us, it's more about play, about fun, than about getting signed. it's about using 4 dimensions instead of only 2 or 3.
After remixing a couple tunes from Hot Bitch Arsenal, Jez and Cea paired up directly and recently released a full length album, now available for purchase.
Lead vocals: Christina Abbott Backup vocals: Niki Thomas Cello/Viola: Lucy Monhemius Production/Keys/Bass/Guitar: jez thomas of the sunray estate
Written and Recorded July 2008
La Asombrosa
PIARANGO
02
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“Piarango” is a word formed from the name of the two instruments that this duo plays: Piano and Charango (a South American instrument traditionally made with the shell of an armadillo). Both members are Argentinean born. Both currently live in Berlin and travel extensively. Their formation as a duo was unplanned and unexpected:
I (José Hernan Cibils) knew my colleague Patricio Zeoli when he was playing Charango some Christmas in Berlin, 2000. We talked about music and he came a few days later to my home. I had a Charango hanging forgotten on the rack (I had studied a little Charango in Argentina). He said, oh, you have a Charango...And he took the instrument and we began to play (but like a joy) with my piano.
Piarango became official when a musician friend of theirs couldn't make a gig and asked if they could stand in. The audience loved their music. Fast-forward a few years and Piarango are planning their third tour in Japan.
We have only this recording; the CD “Misa Criolla.” It was recorded in a school in Lolland, Denmark. The piano was totally off-key. A good tuner came in the night and he charged nothing. The sound engineer, our friend Nils, was excited and charged nothing... We sell it only when we play live, it is not available in music shops.
Recording engineer: Nils Olav Kilen Assistant engineer: Mette Olsen Mixed at Kontakt Studio, Vanloese, Denmark. Charango maker: Jeroen Hilhorst (Amsterdam 2004) Produced by Piarango and Nils Olav Kilen Photos: Reinhard Görner
Written in October 2005 and Recorded in February 2006
Feel Real
Mechanical Minds
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Vocals: Russel Tate, Chrissie Loftus Ad. Vocals: Storyville Guitar: Vincenzo Guglielmello Bass: Joshua Machiz Drums: Tom Cullen Viola: Holly Fulton Cello: Monica McIntyre Synths & Programming: Matthew Weiss Written by: Matthew Weiss Ad. Writing: Joe Lowery Produced by: Matthew Weiss and Vincenzo Guglielmello Engineered by: Benny Grotto Mastered by: Jeff Lipton
Written Spring 2009. Recorded in Summer 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.
Mechanical Minds is a very unique collective; the handful of musicians involved have backgrounds in a very wide variety of genres such as Soul, R&B, Jazz, Classical and Rap.
Over the years we all started to get to know each other, doing gigs, sharing gig nights, making appearances on one another's songs, etc. Eventually Vince and I got together and decided we wanted to start up a project and asked each person individually if they were interested. Everyone said yes, so we did it.
Matt describes the process of recording the tune:
We hadn't rehearsed too much going in. Just enough to have the ideas down. I find the studio environment is good for trying things out. Chrissie, Tom, and especially Russ are all very uninhibited people (to say the least). Vince and I basically built the musical playground and let them play. The harmonies on the last verse were mostly improvised, for example.
This particular song has a pretty interesting back-story:
A computer coder writes a dating website. In it, he programs artificial personalities who lure in single people and keep them paying the monthly fees for the site - only opting out at the point when they would have to meet their marks in real life.

The story behind this song involves two of these personality algorithms meeting each other. They constantly lure each other in, only to have to break things off and start over with each other. Locked in this love and love-loss cycle, the two programs mimic human emotion, wishing and desiring themselves to be "real."
Act II, Scene I
Act II, Scene I
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This track has lived many lives this year: It began as a simple song to sing over, keeping me company when moving to Vienna earlier in the year. In the summer, it was played at the wedding of a good friend of mine, with Ben Montgomery (see Issue #01) improvising on trumpet. Later, I recorded a demo as a gift for Samo, Ramen Music's talented designer.

I aspire to make music which can sit nicely in the background as well as provide enough stimulation and detail to hold up to repeated listens and fuller attention spans. I'm a sucker for vocal samples, such as the one in the intro (part of an animated lecture given by Cory Doctorow). They allow something to be said/alluded to without directly saying or singing it myself. I'm also big fan of background/environmental noises to add mood/texture to music (this intro contains samples from Issue #01, street noise outside my Vienna window, my phone ringing, etc).

This final version comes after a bunch of tweaking, polishing, and help from a handful of musical friends. As with many of the recordings I work on, it recently reached a point where I no longer can add anything without removing something.

Submitted to Ramen with the intention of anonymity, I give my thanks to the other Ramen curators for their support and endless help!
Written and Recorded by Sudara Violins: Markus Czwiertnia Double Bass: David Desoucey Vocals: Sudara & Marlena Intro voice sample (used with permission): Cory Doctorow
Vienna, Austria. Written Summer 2010. Recorded Fall 2010
I Know My Way From Here
Matt Van Winkle
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"I Know My Way From Here" is about wanting to comfort the one you're with at a time when they might need it most. I went back and forth a lot with this one. I thought it was too sweet at one point and it became a song about a drunk, wandering from a bar in a city neighborhood, who "knows his way," to the apartment of an old girlfriend (who wishes he'd leave her alone!)
Music was always important to me. I remember watching "Hee-Haw" on television, and playing a little plastic banjo with no strings. I would have been very young, probably not yet 5 years old. I did not see how it was humanly possible to play a guitar, with the two hands doing two totally different things, and singing on top of that. I was not sure if a cowboy hat gave you the power to play the guitar, but there was no reason to think it did not.
My process has rarely been to decide on a subject for a song first, and then try to write lyrics that support that subject. Generally, a phrase or melody will come to me, already joined with a word or two, born like conjoined twins. It can be difficult to shape that into a song which would have meaning for people. A persistent problem in my writing is having two contradictory lyrical ideas come to me for the same tune... This can turn into over-thinking, hemming and hawing, and it can take me several years to get a song to a place where it's presentable.
Written and Recorded by Matt Van Winkle Photo by Kim Zanti
Topanga, CA. Written in 2008 and Recorded July 2009
Costa
Little Embers
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Little Embers is Theresa Hoffmann (me) & my husband, Anthony Rizzo. I pretty much write the songs and he provides the setting from which the tunes take flight. (However, Costa is a tune that we wrote together.) We began making music under the name Little Embers about four years ago, but we both have been writing, playing, and recording music for many years.
Costa was written in our cozy (a.k.a. compact) apartment in Astoria, while sitting at the kitchen table with our guitars and coffee. We started messing around with a riff Anthony had in his head. The song emerged pretty naturally, with the lyrics, melody, and chord progression coming together in one session.
Costa was inspired by an amazing little coastal town in Portugal, named Costa De Caparica. I found it to be an incredibly intriguing place. Orphaned dogs, some friendly, some not, run wild through the streets there. I shared my peanut butter sandwich with one of these strays. I remember feeling akin to that lost creature, and thought to myself, "I've met my soul dog."
Little Embers recently raised $5000 via the crowd-funding site Rocket Hub in order to record a full length CD. The new CD will be out in February 2011.
Lyrics, Vocals, Piano: Theresa Hoffmann Music: Theresa Hoffmann & Anthony Rizzo Bass: Craig Akin Drums: Christian Coleman Guitar: Anthony Rizzo Recorded by Phil Palazzolo at Seaside Lounge Recording Studios. Mixed by Anthony Rizzo and Phil Palazzolo Photo: Makoto Takeuchi
Astoria, NY. Written Fall 2009. Recorded Summer 2010
Romantische Stücke
Igor
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This is how Igor describes himself:
I'm the average white man, 46 years, Russian, straight, married, the father of three sons, the owner of a tomcat.
About this track:
The given piece, Romantische Stücke (German for "Romantic Piece"), represents my passion to create short and exact melodic sketches of human moods.
Igor has a rich and varied musical background:
From my childhood I have been fascinated by harmonies, sounds of nature and classical music. In my youth I played jazz and electronic music solo and as a part of various amateur ensembles. Now I compose and record music in my home studio and play the piano and synths for myself and for friends.
I asked him about Moscow, his home city:
Nobody has time to relax and just live. The strength of the entropy is very high, it affects all people and the nature. Therefore, those who live here - stronger. There is a downside: Those who lived (survived) are not only stronger but also coarser (not all, though).
Moscow, Russia. Written and Recorded February 2010
When It Rains
Peter Rudenko
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Peter composes music that he describes as "speedpainting."
All my pieces are played and recorded by draft fragments and then compiled, edited and polished on a PC. I'm a hobbyist musician, writing mostly small prelude-like pieces for piano in a spare time and posting them for free under Creative Commons Attribution license. Ramen is my first attempt to make money with music.
Peter lives in Izhevsk, Russia
...a quite small industrial town in the Western Urals area, the home of Kalashnikov's assault rifle. In Soviet Russia it was a closed town and had a sad fame to be the "capital of suicide." In the post-Soviet period, in the 1990s, it was also known as a home for the Russian electronic music scene.
Peter describes this track:
Some rainy days in my hometown, sleepy autumnal mood, gray low-res texture on the skydome and stuff.
I refused to use his photo unless it came with a story:
Nothing special, just a school photo made in early '92, and I cannot even remember why we were dressed up ala sailors. The writing on the peakless cap means "Black Sea Fleet".
Izhevsk, Russia. Written and Recorded October 2010
Invincible
Trio Infernal
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I met "Bako" (Christian Bakanic, pictured center) just before Ramen #01 was published. He was playing with a few other talented musicians in a theater piece at the Volkstheater in Vienna. His accordion playing simply blew me away. We met through a mutual friend after the show, got to talking about Ramen and he later submitted this track.
Trio Infernal is a band which was founded in 2005. We played and still are playing together in the band "beefolk", where we first met (in beefolk are playing six people). We had so much fun and it was so inspiring to play together that we decided also to play in a Trio, to have more space for improvisation and stuff like this. We all studied music in Graz, where we lived for many years. Chris and Jörg studied Jazz, Bako studied classical accordion.
"Invincible" is very precisely played and crafted, yet manages to still carry a flowing, improvisatory and light feel.
The first ideas for this track came from Chris, the bass player. He had these nice chords and the melody of the refrain. Then Bako (Christian, the accordion player) came in, we improvised around the chords and the melody and more and more we got the form of this piece, and Jörg (the drummer) brought these cool grooves and put the piece together.
Accordion, Keyboards: Christian Bakanic Bass: Chris Wendt Drums: Jörg Haberls Mixed and Recorded by Thomas Mauerhofer
Vienna, Austria. Written in Winter 2006 and Recorded in Spring 2007
Changes
Lorin Tackett
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Lorin is one of the two artists on Issue #02 who were also featured in Issue #01. We were surprised (well, delighted, actually) to have him submit again to Ramen, and in a completely different genre than the last issue.
I've been making music for a decade and a half. I grew up in a very musical household, and I've written music together with my brother for quite some time. Even after a semi-professional tour in my teenage years, I've always known that I'm not super fond of the stage. I'm more interested in being a production guy. So that's what I've been doing.
As I'm getting older and wiser (but still being pretty young and stupid) I've been making some very rational observations about life, the universe and everything. Most notably, that you get to choose who you want to be, and it's less about finding yourself and more about creating yourself -- which is something I've known and said for years, but I've never fully appreciated the forest for the trees until recently.

We all make little adjustments day to day. Little changes. Sometimes big, sweeping changes are made, getting us closer to who we want to be. And who we want to be can change, too. And it's all OK.
Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums, Electric Kazoo, Cowbell Solo, 22 Mexican Whooping Llamas, Key Grip, Original Screenplay, Orangutan Wrangler: Lorin Tackett Muse: Sarah Ohme
Seattle, WA. Written in October 2010. Recorded November 2010
Concrete Blanket
Ben Wuamett
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Ben Wuamett (you might recognize him as the distinctive voice of Sah Lin from Issue #01) nails it again, this time with a raw recording of just guitar and voice.

Audiophiles beware: This recording was made on a small portable recorder. The only surviving audio was in mp3 format.

I’ll step out of the way and let Ben describe the circumstances of the song to you:
There is a woman I know in the Montana foothills who asked me to come and sing to her as she lay dying. I asked her please not to. She said she couldn't help it.

So I wept awhile. It was a mournful day. I drank from the afternoon on. I hid in my room from anyone who might try to cheer me. It was a very good sadness. The kind where everything tingles and whispers its transience. A good sadness is almost as good as a good happiness and sometimes even better. By midnight I was very drunk and very sad (happy) and the song was there.

For Lusana. Live forever.
Guitar, Vocals, Words: Benjamin Wuamett
Portland, Oregon. Written and Recorded on the same day in 2010

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Next Up: Issue #03

February 2011. Cover by Alec Longstreth.

Cover of Issue #03 by Alec Longstreth

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