MFR Listening Project 020-022

Here’s the fifth part of the Listening Project series (pt.1pt. 2pt. 3pt. 4); As our fifth birthday passed in September, I’ve been listening to every release roughly in order, making notes as I go.

MFR020 – Cory Kibler, “The Silent Woods”

  • Cory did the vocal and guitar tracks in Omaha with Matt Wisecarver, so I have fewer memories of making this record than I usually would, it seems.
  • For as much music as Cory’s made, this is sort of his Solo Record to date, which kind of doesn’t seem right. But there it is.
  • Matt mondegreened “Losing track / of time in the summer” from “Top Secret Pizza Party” into “Losing track of Tommy Lasorda.” That’s him coming into the booth at the end of #7 grumbling “Where is that Tommy Lasorda?”
  • Just tonight, as I was listening and singing along to “The Silent Woods” in the car, I realized that I always sing the *harmony* parts when I sing to Cory’s songs. When I do that, it kind of feels like hanging out with Cory, in a way. I’ll have to remember to do that more when I’m bummed out, so I can feel better. I suppose it’s a habit left over from Shacker. But it’s literally hard to sing for me to sing the original melodies; it’s the harmonies that are lodged in my memory.
  • Because of its presence on “XMAS,” “How We Can Know” gave me a whisper of Christmas tonight; weird and cool. I took it as a sign that the project to reclaim and reshape our musical sense-memories of the holidays is actually working.
  • Chad’s art is beautiful; I think it’s my favorite in the MFR catalog.

MFR021 – Katherine Lindhart, “The Humble Antiphon”

  • I’m so proud of this release: 1) Katy is awesome. 2) We have art songs on our label! 3) Clara Schumann is awesome. 4) Art songs have been my avenue into listening to art music. I always enjoyed singing and playing art music, but was never a listener until I realized that there were these perfect, bite-sized pearls of voice and piano out there. This discovery came mostly through the experience of having many Opera Friends in KC, and going to their recitals. The music of The Humble Antiphon is taken from two (I think) of Katy’s recitals. The Schumann pieces, 1-3, come from 2007. The Debussy, if I remember, was recorded in 2006.
  • I know this album as well and better than lots of pop music I listen to.
  • I vacillate on the mastering work; I pushed it harder than art music usually is, but I definitely wanted it to hang with the other stuff on MFR and pop music in general and not seem overly quiet. On days when I’m feeling generous with myself I think that it updates the phenomenon of vintage recording gear’s (we’re talking victrola era, here!) inherent compression. The peak of “Spleen” crosses the line, but only for a moment, and given its place on the album we felt like it worked with the whole thrust of the thing, not against it.
  • The photo is from an opera, not one of the recitals, but we liked the theater of it.

MFR022 – Robot, Creep Closer!, “Real Awful, Real Quick”

  • This EP came as a surprise; I hadn’t really known that Robot! was in the studio, or planning something for MFR. Maybe they’d intended a CD release, then re-thought it – I can’t remember.
  • Definitely a more nuanced thing than their first EP. See: the sexy chk-chks on the guitar during the chorus of “Cockblocking,” the way “…Summer…” never rips open, and “Sexy Survival” in its entirety.
  • …though “2tally Out Of Control” is the essence of Robot!, distilled and refined weirdo party metal.