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Ramen Music Issue #04

April 2011
Issue #04 Cover by Alex Solis
Play All Tracks
01 Love of Mine Andy Berkhout
02 Basics of Breathing The Sound of Machines
03 Vida La Fer Isella
04 Interesting specimen Nate Henricks
05 Dinosaurs Sibsi
06 Beware. Your Heart Breaks
07 Language of Love Favela Gold
08 Hollowed Out Callings lovemummy
09 Angel Tongue The Infinity Intention
10 Someday, All My Friends and Me Matt Van Winkle
11 Catatonic Eyes David Nyman
12 Łódź Favela Gold
13 Piano 1 6121618
14 The Moon The Dukes of Rusman
15 The search is over K Sakyi
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Issue #04 cover by Alex Solis . Download HQ version.
Love of Mine
Andy Berkhout
Andy Berkhout Photo
It’s a no-brainer that we love each song on every issue. So when I say that everyone at Ramen loves this song, it’s not a strong enough statement. Let me put it this way: there are more than 10 volunteer “jury” members helping us out with curation, each with a different set of tastes — Andy Berkhout’s song was one of the first submissions to come in for #04 that made all of us swoon on first listen.

The songwriting process was a picture-perfect musical romance.
I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom at 2 in the morning with the window open, listening to nothing but a thunderstorm and my own thoughts. I hit record on the tape player and this is the song that came out.
This is one song out of 10 on Andy’s latest album “Love Without Fear,” recently recorded in a St. Louis studio. According to Andy, the process was extremely organic.
A lot of the album is just a live take of the songs in a room and they put a lot of time and energy into figuring out where to place the microphones. This approach is a little different than a lot of albums that are coming out now. I really felt like it was important to make a piece of art that was honest and sincere, and they helped me do that.
I also like Andy’s sentiment with regard to his future goals.
I’m really not attached to any outcome with any of this. I just want to make music that I can share and people will listen to. That's what seems to be happening right now and I’m very happy about it.
Backing Vocals: Abby Howard Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Lewis Mastered by Ryan Albritton at R&R Music Labs. Photo by Nate Burrell
Recorded Fall 2010. St. Louis, MO.
Basics of Breathing
The Sound of Machines
The Sound of Machines Photo
Rich Bernett, is the lead behind “The Sound of Machines.”
Over the years, I have cobbled together 8 full-length albums in various homes and set-ups. Out of these 8, there are 2 I feel comfortable sharing with anyone other than my closest friends. Out of those 2 albums, “Creature in the Whiskey” is the only one I would ever share as an appropriate representation of who I “am” as a musician.
This track was unplanned. One of those “I should get this progression on tape before I forget it” type sessions. It was about 85 degrees in my music room. The rickety old house I was renting had no central air, and it was the middle of summer.
The guitar parts came first. The immediacy of the final recording comes from never replacing the original take.
The recording went untouched for months and months. I didn’t realize at that point that it would wind up to be one of my favorite tracks on the album.
By chance, Rich asked Kathryn, a co-worker, if she played music. It turned out she played flute and sang, so he invited her over to find a place for her on the album.
What I heard blew me away. The new female lead changed the dynamic completely, adding an even softer edge to the moodiness of the piece.
A fan of using non-traditional sound sources like “propane tanks, traffic cones, nylon string attached to the ceiling and bolted to the floor,” Rich has a lovely mantra:
Recording is more fun when it’s not by the book.
One of Rich’s favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors:
“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different” —Kurt Vonnegut
Written, recorded and performed by Rich Bernett With vocals by Kathryn Dagley Mastered by Eamon Loftus
Summer 2008-2009. Washington DC
Vida La
Fer Isella
Fer Isella Photo
I’m a composer, music producer and serial cultural entrepreneur from Buenos Aires.
This is how Fer Isella humbly described himself to Ramen. Here’s a more accurate and detailed description: He has sold over 2 million records as a producer for Sony, with over 15 platinum albums credited to his name. In 2009 the British Council awarded him Young Cultural Entrepreneur of the year. That’s a scary amount of music cred.

At some point during his stint as a big label producer, Fer says he “got bored, wanted to learn more, study, improve my musical skills, and find new ways of inspiration.” He moved out to Boston to attend Berklee, and then onto New York to produce more records. After 10 years, he is now settled back in his home country, Argentina.

This song, “Vida La” got me very excited when I first heard it. Bookended with a red herring intro and outro, the meat of the tune is very creatively arranged — instruments weave in and out of the mix effortlessly around his soft voice.
[Vida La] is about the story of how i found “home” after 10 long years of leaving my country, Argentina, to study at Berklee College of Music ...then finding home in NYC; my lovely wife.
When we interview Ramen artists we always ask them to give us a good one-liner. It often is silly or cryptic — but it always gives us insight into the person behind the music. Fer Isella wrote the following:
As a “young” entrepreneur and producer I don’t like to be called “the future” of the music industry anymore.
Instead, he feels like it’s time the rest of the world caught up.
We are The Present, ex-Future.
“Doña Furia Gaucha” Produced by Fer Isella for Limbo Music. Drums: Franco Pinna Guitar: Julio Santillán Bass: Daniele Camarda voice, keys and kaoss pad: Fer Isella Recorded by Frederik Rubens in Brooklyn, New York. Mixed by Facundo Rodriguez in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Graphic Design by Jimena Oddi and Ezequiel Black for Gazz.
Summer 2005, New York, NY. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Interesting specimen
Nate Henricks
Nate Henricks Photo
The title of this song pretty much describes the nature of my fascination with this tune. It opens with the sound of “a cheap-o shoebox tape recorder” and was played and recorded entirely by Nate with a single Shure 57 microphone on his laptop in his bedroom. This is what Ramen Music is all about.
I am this year (2011) 24 years old. I now live in Denver, CO in a house with a whole bunch of friends.

I started playing music because my parents had the foresight to put me through lessons at a young age. BUT THEN: as I got older and more filled with woe and angst I found out about punk rock and experimentalism, and started sublimating my frustrations, hopes, and dreams this way.
I like lofi sounding things, and enjoy leaving little mistakes here and there.
We are going to have to a Ramen Music Festival someday. Or maybe even a Ramen-sponsored music commune. I’m serious. Either way, Nate is definitely invited, I like his aspirations.
I aspire to live intentionally and peacefully in the mountains, by the ocean, on a farm, in a house that I help to build, with lots of friends and music, and then eventually in an Dymaxion community above the clouds. I also hope that someday people stop harassing each other.
All instruments and Recording by Nate Hendricks
Spring 2009. Denver, Colorado.
Sibsi Photo
“Sibsi” is a common nickname for Sebastian in the german speaking world. Here’s his deal:
I was born in Stuttgart, which is in the Southwestern corner of Germany, in 1984. I moved to Berlin in 2004, where I’m still doing a degree in American and Film studies. Initially as a fan, I became involved with New York City’s so-called Antifolk community, which is a small scene of musicians who write beautiful songs without any technical or aesthetic boundaries.
Let’s stop here. I’ve heard of anti-folk before. I know there is a sizable group of musicians in New York and Berlin that identify themselves as anti-folk. But I was never really clear what this meant. So, I seized this opportunity to have a nice nice back and forth with Sibsi, who explained things to me. Rule #1 of anti-folk: it is not actually anti-folk, it’s pro-folk.
A lot of folk singers were kicked out of “traditional” folk clubs in NYC’s Greenwich Village because their style was deemed to “punk” or “experimental.” But these people (who dubbed the term Antifolk) saw themselves as true to the idea of “folk music” (such as Woody Guthrie’s or Bob Dylan’s) and didn’t understand that the self-proclaimed “folk” clubs valued technical skills over what I call “intuitive” expression, which can be rough, loud, or dirty.
So, what is anti-folk then? A style? An attitude? A sound? A certain laissez-faire approach to music making?
For me, Antifolk is neither an attitude nor a sound.

I would say it is a specific do-it-yourself approach to making music which allows musicians to keep their artistic integrity because it doesn't ask them to change certain characteristics of one's sound or personality (that could be anything - sound quality, dress, gender, sexuality, style of playing, way of singing) in order to make your music more marketable.
I am curious if the growth of the anti-folk movement in the 21st century could be more widely attributed to the values of the younger generations in general — growing up disillusioned by the ultra-homogenous music industry, empowered by technology, etc. But we’re wandering off topic, lets get back to Sibsi.
After going to open-mics a lot I became more and more motivated to start singing again (I quit singing altogether after an elementary school teacher made me sing a song in front of the whole class, and I failed miserably). The community’s DIY ethos made it possible for me to start writing songs.
Usually I’m behind the scenes though, promoting concerts and music festivals in Berlin (my friends and I host a monthly music event called Fourtrack on Stage) and booking European tours for my favorite bands.
“Dinosaurs” was recorded in two countries — my friend Tom Woodgate recorded vocals and guitar in the kitchen of his old appartment in Berlin-Neukölln — and my friends Nick Castell and Nicol Parkinson added ukulele and banjo in the UK.
This song was written pretty fast while I was writing an American Studies paper on California Proposition 8 — the one that banned gay marriage. The expression “endemic intimacy” is a quote from the book “Epistemology of the closet” by queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who sadly died last year.
Produced, arranged and mixed by Nicol Parkinson. Vocals and guitar recorded by Tom Woodgate Written by Sebastian Hoffmann. Guitar and vocals: Sebastian Hoffmann Banjo: Nick Castell Ukulele: Nicol Parkinson Picture: Marie Sjøvold
Written Fall 2008. Recorded Spring 2009. Berlin, Germany
Your Heart Breaks
Your Heart Breaks  Photo
Clyde Petersen is the songwriter behind “Your Heart Breaks.”
I have been making music under the band name Your Heart Breaks for 11 years. I’m a trangendered/queer artist living in Seattle, Washington. I started the band in Bellingham, Washington when I was in college.

I love: queercore & hot makeout parties. the place where unicorn and pegasus combine into one. corndogs [2 for 99 cents] pinata parties. dancing up front at all-ages shows. sharing the mic. monkeys, the squirrels of south america. & squirrels, the monkeys of north america. and a severe case of ocean waves.
Fun fact: “Beware” was recorded on a partially broken ½” tape deck. Pretty cool. There’s really a nice sense of space in the track, lots of room to breathe and daydream and it somehow manages to simultaneously sound lo-fi as well as incredibly clear.
I traveled to Anacortes, Washington for a week to use a lovely one room studio that belonged to Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie) and Geneviève Castrée (Ô Paon). Phil had an ½ inch “8” track, but some of the tracks were broken. He also had a really lovely mic. That is all we used to record.
I wrote this song about someone I dated who I felt was encroaching upon my life in a big way, taking over at places I volunteered, and generally being all up in my grill. It is about the balance of power in relationships (love and friendship), and how one person may support another so blindly, until they are totally exhausted and then they finally see that their energy has been building up the other person the whole time, and nothing is returned. It is also about what we borrow and adopt from each other to find acceptance.
Vocals, beats, bass and tracking: Karl Blau Vocals, guitar, beats, tracking: Clyde Petersen
October 2008. Seattle, Washington
Language of Love
Favela Gold
Favela Gold Photo
I met Favela Gold in “Red Bar” of the Volkstheater in Vienna right before Ramen Music #01 launched. He was hanging out with Bako (“Invincible” from Issue #02) and....how do I describe this? He stood out. You couldn't miss him.

When I contacted him for interviewing, he protested, saying that he prefers not to talk about himself. Then he sent me over his bio, a two page document entitled “Goldiography.”

Written in style completely consistent with his image (he describes himself with adjectives like fairytale/exaggerated attitude/post-pop) it was a great read:
Favela Gold was born at the stroke of twelve o’clock on New Year’s Eve during the fireworks on the roof of the hospital Szpital Św Zakonu Bonifratrów.
Favela Gold grew up in a barber shop in Graz between hair spray and hair curlers, which may explain his propensity to extravagant fashion, as well as his penchant for beautiful women.
Favela describes “Language of Love” as “sexbeat.” In case the photo didn’t clue you in, he’s a huge hardware lover and synthesizer aficionado.
This track is on one hand an experiment to transform a Rhythm & Blues groove to an electronic arrangement — and on the other hand the soundtrack to an idea for a video I had 2 years ago.
The music video for “Language of Love” (embedded above) is how I first experienced the song. It is a must watch. The film was selected as one of the 125 videos on the Guggenheim YouTube Play shortlist out of 23,000 submissions, juried by Laurie Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, and others.
Written, performed & produced by Favela Gold
Inspired by All of You
Analog mastering by Alex Joechtl
Written and Recorded 2010. Graz, Austria.
Hollowed Out Callings
lovemummy Photo
Lovemummy submitted a couple solid tracks, we spent some good time debating which to include. “Hollowed Out Callings” won out, mainly because of the great juxtaposition in sound between drums and electric guitar.
Lovemummy is a three-piece out of Boulder, Colorado. I sing and play guitar, my little brother, Zack, plays the drums, and Bobby is on bass. We used to have a fourth member, Joe, who played keys, but that didn't work out.
This track was actually recorded during a break between songs we were recording for our debut EP last Fall. While Bobby (our engineer) was fiddling with room mic's, my brother Zack started playing a beat, and I looped a guitar part over it. Voila! A new song.
My dream? I’ve always wanted to stage-dive into a crowd of thousands of adoring fans that don't move out of the way at the last second. That and get my music on the OC (kidding...sort of).
If you were to ask me who the great musicians of the world have been, sure, I might name a few who’ve carried their weight in the pop world (e.g., The Beach Boys), but sooner or later I'd end up some place "underground" rambling on about Arvo Part, Sun Kil Moon, and old Jazz Fusion records.
We should recognize the music industry for what it is, and rise above it. If you're meant to be an artist, you'll know it by how miserable you are without that creative outlet, and how incredibly fulfilled you are when you do create art.
Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer: Dylan Burns Synthesizer, Bass: Joe Reiben Drums Zack Burns Bass, Mixing/Mastering: Bobby Gibson Recorded at Coupe Studios Music, Inc Mastered at Altitude Recording Studio
Written Fall 2010. Recorded Winter 2010. Boulder, Colorado
Angel Tongue
The Infinity Intention
The Infinity Intention Photo
Laura is the front singer and main writer for the band. She has been performing for over 8 years,mostly solo. She has come from a classically trained musical background in Toronto, is a dancer, and writes poetry, has a passion for travel. Her favorite place is Transylvania. As for the rest of the band? Well they're just magicians!
The story behind this song goes something like this: The lead singer, Laura, often dreams in an epic nature. She dreamt one night, that she was being visited by a man unknown to her, whilst flying, but not just in the air, but off of telephone polls in the sky. The man spoke very closely to her ear in the dream, and all she could hear was non-sensical babble. Various other happenings took place within the dream, but in the end, she woke up and wrote about it, as she has done with MANY other epic dreams before.

“I Bit the water while I drank” is a line in the song which refers to not letting things happen naturally and in their own time. Letting things go with the flow, so to speak. Interpretation of a dream could also be a way of trying too hard to look into something.
Producer and Engineer, Bass, Synth: Mike Olsen Co-Producer, Writer, Vocals, Guitar: Laura Aidanblaise Andrew Masuda: Guitar Ryan Granville-Martin: Drums
Written 2010, Recorded 2010. Toronto, Ontario
Someday, All My
Friends and Me
Matt Van Winkle
Matt Van Winkle Photo
Matt appeared in Issue #02, and I’m happy to have him back with another strong tune.
It started with different lyrics, but the whole song came together musically in one afternoon while I was living in Koreatown looking out the window at palm trees and liquor stores.
The song got to feeling a lot stronger after I cut a line from the chorus... now there's just empty space where there were sung lyrics before. This was a big improvement, and a leap forward for the song. It’s good to know you can afford to leave some things unsaid, and the material will still come across.
Some people hear this song and think it’s a bit sinister... “You won't be around to see.” I’m okay with that. It’s a camp song — whether your camp is the cub scouts or some terrorist cell biding their time.
Like a fair chunk of Ramen artists, Matt records himself in his home.
I play everything through one mic, usually. I don't seal off the room, just try to wait until things are quiet around the neighborhood. I can't have the foam walls and everything, because I have to live in my studio.
I play live as much as I can. I think it’s really important. I played a house party for two hours this past weekend, all original material, with one cover. Like 30 songs. I remembered all the words and the chords. No one was totally listening, but I thought “cool, I can do that.” It gives you confidence to continue, and I want to continue.
I want my songs to improve people’s lives, and have an element of portability — the same way an old postcard thumb-tacked to the wall above the bed might improve someone’s life. My hope is that people will take the songs, and sing them.
Written and recorded by Matt Van Winkle
2010-2011. Topanga, CA
Catatonic Eyes
David Nyman
David Nyman Photo
David is a multi-instrumentalist hailing from Boston. He plays guitar, piano, banjo, accordion, mandolin, lap steel, and trumpet. He played all instruments and does all the singing on “Catatonic Eyes.”

David’s current main interest is in film scoring. It was his major at college, and what he’s currently pursuing as a career.
I will always be writing songs and making my own music, but working with filmmakers is a very rewarding experience. I like working within limitations. I mostly write incidental music. Some of my songs have made appearances in films, though I’ve not written any songs specifically for any film.
He also sports the minimalistic do-it-yourself recording setup common with a lot of solo artists submitting to Ramen. Heck, we may as well call it the ”Ramen setup” from here on out...
My set-up is embarrassingly simple. I use one directional mic and a usb pre-amp and Logic 9.
I’m also a fan of how David sees the changing music world:
I think that we’re in a golden age of music consumption and I think if independent musicians want to get financial support, they need to be creative about how they distribute their tunes. Whether it be through awesome live show experiences, crazy album packaging, or totally cool subscription services, there needs to be something that connects the musician to the audience on a personal level.
All parts played, recorded, and mixed by David Nyman
February 2011. Somerville, MA
Favela Gold
Favela Gold Photo
Łódź, Poland is the name of the town that Favela was born.
This track is composed as an intro for the videoclip for “Language of Love.” It describes an eastern block skyscraper atmosphere and is inspired by 70's eastern block TV series synthesizer soundtracks. I loved the melody so much that I wrote some lyrics for it, referring not to the city of Łódź of today, but of the past.
Both of Favela’s tracks on Issue #04 are heavy on synths. Although I haven’t personally heard anything else from Favela outside of these two, his friends proclaim that he’s an incredibly prolific songwriter and has written an uncountable number of tunes.

Though he has a soft spot for hardware — he plays live often, on various hardware setups — Favela says he plays around quite a bit genre-wise.
Actually, I have no process, I’m pretty chaotic and try all kinds of different approaches, from making up a melody while riding a bicycle (or being cursed with a melody ;-)) to experimenting around with instruments and rearranging recorded material.
His tracks have received radio play here in Austria. What’s next for Favela?
I dream of doing a world tour, next year. And I like my dreams to come true!
Written, performed and produced by Favela Gold Inspired by the city of Łódź and Joseph Roths novel "Hotel Savoy".
2010, Graz Austria
Piano 1
6121618 Photo
This song really struck me the first time I heard it. In particular its unique and ever-changing form. It starts with pure synthesizer, setting the tone, then adds piano and a bass drum, providing a solid sense of movement, then drops you into a static wash of synthesizers and digitally altered voice.

It was not strange then, when Tyler described this track:
This song is the first intensely personal track I’ve done in a long time.
I have been making music for a decade. I have self-released various projects during that time. I submitted to ramen because I’m impressed with the concept.
I have a home setup based around a laptop, a few mics and a midi controller. Recording has been a love since I discovered the electric guitar, effects pedals and the cassette four-track.
I prefer to write/compose/record over playing live. Changing interests have lead me away from performance, though I am considering it again for the future. A record deal isn't something I think much about. Maybe if the right situation presented itself. My ideal situation would be to work predominantly on music for picture, with the occasional solo or band project to break the monotony.
Written/performed/recorded by tyler john arnold
Written and recorded winter 2010/2011. Nebraska, USA.
The Moon
The Dukes of Rusman
The Dukes of Rusman Photo
We liked Rusman’s music so much that we accepted two of his tracks when he submitted to Issue #01. We tried our absolute best not to publish this one, but it just wasn’t an option. We had to share.

I want to copy and paste this quote of his onto Ramen Music's homepage.
I am but a man with a dream. A dream to record simplistic, lo-fi, short songs in his bedroom.
I couldn’t quite remember what Rusman did for a job.
I work at a local “no-tell” motel (we do some rooms by the hour and have “adult” movies playing)....when I first moved from NYC to central PA, I was looking for a job where I could play guitar and get paid. I landed one as a night auditor at this motel and so I just stayed up all night and played.

Now I spend most of my time tutoring kids and teens but I still work here on Saturdays. Its a pretty sweet gig — I hang out (just restrung my guitar) with the Indian family who owns the place. They cook me food and we talk about life.
I bugged him for a bit more detail on what he thinks about his music, music in general, etc. He dished out the detail:
I am a prodigious fragment-writer. Over the past few years I’ve written/recording about 50 starts to songs, ranging from 25 seconds to 2:00. Probably about 30–40 would turn into really cool full lengths if I was able to finish them. It’s unlikely that I will ever finish them. I’m sure this a common problem for people who write songs, but I don't really know any songwriters or hang out with any musicians, so...
I want to create music that will adhere to whatever moment the listener finds themselves in.....which is why recently my favorite albums have been largely ambient or electronic and not lyrically driven (Proem, Cut Copy). I feel like the real challenge is writing songs with lyrics that still allow enough space for the listener to attach his/her own experience to them (ala Lennon, Dylan, Guided by Voices, etc).
I’m currently trying to get a handle on guitar in a serious way. I had a five-year (now three-year) plan of really learning to play the guitar and putting out an EP and I’m still shooting for it. Overall though, I want to get to a place where I can sit down with any musician and just play. Writing, arranging, and recording are fun but for me, improvisation has to be the end goal. I have never played in public.
Kelly Browne. Vahe Vartan. Neil Gordon.
February 2011.Harrisburg, PA.
The search is over
K Sakyi
K Sakyi Photo
Both Phil and I got this track stuck in our heads from the first moment we heard it. We would put it on and sing it while we worked on curating this issue. We would call each other up and sing “The search is over!” to each other as a prelude or postlude to our conversations.

In short, though we felt like this tune didn’t fit with the rest of the Issue #04 mix, it would have been just plain wrong if we didn’t share this gem with our subscribers. We’ve adopted it as our spring anthem and recommend you do the same.

K Sakyi aka Daniel hails from Ghana where he is an Accounts Officer by day, recording tunes in a local studio on the side. He has definite dreams of landing a record deal and touring.

If you like his style, you can purchase more of his self-published tunes from iTunes.
Composed, Performed and Recorded by K Sakyi
Written October 2010. Recorded December 2010. Accra, Ghana

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June 2011.

Cover of Issue #05 by Alec Longstreth