|kNIFE & fORK — The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation (2013)|
kNIFE & fORK — The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation
¶ kNIFE & fORK is a soundtrack for dreams, rife with symphonic textures, rhythm, dissonance and distortion, saturated in ethereal vocal melody and harmony.
¶ Southern Gothic chamber pop swampily seduces.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: February 21, 2012
Record Label: The Bureau Records
1. Tightrope (3:22)
2. Chariot (3:45)
3. I Count The Days (3:15)
4. Tailspin (4:32)
5. Pocket Rocket (4:46)
6. Nicotine (2:59)
7. The Revelator (10:16)
8. Bury (4:52)
¶ Laurie Hall
¶ Eric Drew Feldman
The Hornblow Group, USA: 845-358-7270
¶ "kNIFE & fORK is Laurie Hall of psych-punks Ovarian Trolley and Eric Drew Feldman. Feldman has worked with some of the most influential, experimental and pioneering artists in rock, including Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger, Pere Ubu, The Pixies, Frank Black/Black Francis & PJ Harvey. Including Ovarian Trolley, Hall has composed, recorded, and toured the known world with the family vocal trio 'The Hall Flowers' and folk-noir band 'Ruby Howl' for nearly 20 years. Rolling Stone magazine described their co-written songs as ''atmospheric alchemy — classic blues filtered through avant garde composer Tony Conrad.'' PJ Harvey called them ''one of the only bands that have affected me in recent years. Unpredictable, beautiful, powerful and moving, quite unlike anything else.''
¶ Un album intéressant, au charme insidieux et qui ne laisse pas indifférent. A découvrir, donc.
Reviewer: Coral Williamson; Score: 7/10
¶ When the title of an album is taken from a Salvador Dali quote, you know that, at the very least, it’s going to be an interesting listen. It’s worth obeying the order you get from ‘I Count The Days’ to “Listen closely / Hear the nature’s sounds,” although arguably there aren’t many natural sounding noises on this record. ‘The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation’ is the exact opposite of easy listening. In a good way, of course. Like the works of the artist from which its name was taken, it’s a surreal delve into darkness and emotion, with evocative sounds being the order of the day.
¶ ‘Tailspin’, one of the more ordinary songs on the album, is a slow and slinky example of the darkness that pervades the album, with Laurie Hall’s vocals balancing ethereal and deeply real at the same time. It’s followed by album highlight ‘Pocket Rocket’, with its heavy guitar riffs and strong sensuality; spelling out words isn’t the most original way to come up with lyrics, but here it works. Here, even a descent into jazz, as a saxophone starts freestyling over guitars towards the end of the song, works. ¶ It just does.
¶ Another standout track, ‘Nicotine’, possesses levels of theatricality that might befit a song called ‘Heroin’, or some other hard drug rather than one named after the “sweet perfume” of cigarettes. Hall’s vocals, again, are a big part of why everything fits together so well. 10 minute opus ‘The Revelator’ is certainly one of the most interesting listens here; it meanders, lazily, almost enticing you into a kind of trance; but then, half way through, Hall becomes almost an evil witch, a Disney-esque villainess who threatens with sickness whilst at the same time being sick herself. There’s something fallible about her, even whilst her vocals and the music as a whole takes a turn for the sinister.
¶ With one of half of Knife & Fork being comprised of Eric Drew Feldman, a multi-instrumentalist with a back-catalogue that includes work with the Pixies, Captain Beefheart and PJ Harvey, it would’ve been disappointing if ‘The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation’ had been anything less than what it is. Heck, it could’ve been even weirder, even more experimental, and it probably would’ve still sounded awesome. ¶ The album is kept short(ish) and, for the most part, easily digestible, if not as a whole then with individual tracks. It might take more than one or two listens to really appreciate it, but it’s worth your time.
by Peter Culshaw; Monday, 03 September 2012
¶ If the name is both banal and irritating – seemingly you are expected to spell it kNIFE and fORK – this album is a triumph on its own terms. Despite it being at times overly self-conscious, there are occasional flashes of dark genius.
¶ The band are a duo, Laurie Hall and Eric Drew Feldman, who last made an album eight years ago. They have attracted raves from PJ Harvey and Frank Black, although as Feldman has worked with both artists, and they are probably mates, how seriously should we take their plaudits? Still, it gives you some idea of the aesthetic parameters, as does the fact that the album's title comes from a Salvador Dali quote.
¶ Feldman also played with the late Captain Beefheart. Half of the record was recorded at the Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco where Beefheart recorded, and the shade of Mr Van Vleit's dark, crunchy, avant-blues hovers over this disc, notably on “Nicotine” and “Pocket Rocket". More original and fetching than the post-Beefheartisms are the first four songs, which are cunning and beautifully arranged Southern Gothic miniatures. There’s something haunting and dream-like about them, by which I mean the type of dream you have where you are somewhere familiar but suddenly some detail makes it clear something is terribly wrong. You think you may have heard these songs before but you haven't, and Laurie Hall’s pleasantly malleable voice works perfectly portraying an Everywoman who has taken the lift to the bottom floor and discovered some monsters.
¶ Rather than Frank Black, I found myself reminded more of Jack White's fringier projects, like the Danger Mouse produced Rome album, with its intense love of retro texture put in the service of new songs. But if Rome was a little precious, this lands on the right side of the line between artifice and heartfelt. Its intensity gets slightly hard work towards the end; a couple of spare ballads might have given the listener more time to breathe in the suffocating gloom, and the last track goes off the plank into melodrama. But within this inventive album there are several rock solid gems, such as the addictively rocky opener “Tightrope”, the stuff-a-wild-bikini poptastic “I Count the Days”, and the superbly moody “Tailspin". (http://www.theartsdesk.com/)
BY DAVID, JUNE 13, 2012; Rating: 6.6/10
¶ "I’m glad this one came by me so I was able to catch up with an old influence and see what’s new, it makes me wonder what else he’s dreamed up the past… 20 years or so- time to start digging!"
By ALEX GALLACHER; 9 AUGUST 2012
By Geraint Ellis (@geraintlellis)
¶ "Own this record. Fearfully ominous and bleak as it may be, it is startlingly beautiful, monstrously disconcerting and entirely moving. And it is very well named."
¶ Laurie Hall is also part of underground San Francisco band Ovarian Trolley. Plus, for nearly two decades she has composed, recorded, and toured with the family vocal trio ‘The Hall Flowers’ and folk-noir outfit Ruby Howl.
¶ Eric Drew Feldman, a keyboard, bass and synthetics player, composer, producer and sonic architect, had been studying at UCLA with electronic music pioneer and analog synthesist Dr Philip Springer, when Beefheart asked him to join his Magic Band. ¶ He then spent five years touring the US and Europe, and featured on the albums Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), Doc at the Radar Station and Ice Cream For Crow.
¶ Throughout the 80s Feldman worked with many people including Serge Tcherepin, designer of the Serge Modular synthesizer. Known for his collaboration with Snakefinger up until his death in 1987, Feldman co-produced the records Manual Of Errors and Night Of Desirable Objects.
¶ In 1988 Feldman then joined David Thomas’s Pere Ubu line-up. He played synths and keyboards on the Cloudland tour, plus Worlds In Collision. By the following year Pere Ubu were supporting the Pixies on tour; it was here that Black Francis and Eric Feldman met, which led to an invitation to perform on the final Pixies album Trompe Le Monde.
¶ Since then Feldman has produced FB’s solo albums Frank Black and Teenager Of The Year. Feldman and Francis continued to work together from his 2000 album Dog In The Sand to The Golem, a score to the 1920’s silent film classic of the same title, and NonStopErotik.
¶ By the mid-nineties Feldman then joined PJ Harvey’s touring band as well as playing on Is This Desire and Dance Hall At Louse Point – her project with John Parish.
¶ Feldman’s association with Harvey continued through the new millennium on tours and albums including Uh Huh Her, White Chalk and the Harvey/Parish collaboration A Woman A Man Walked By.
¶ In between, he has toured with The Residents and produced several albums, including the Polyphonic Spree‘s Together We’re Heavy.
¶ Other E.D.F. projects include producing dEUS‘s album In A Bar Under The Sea and Sparklehorse‘s UK hit Happy Man.
Albums I have released/been a part of:
Projects of mine that I’ve contributed to as producer, engineer, and player of musical instruments:
º ‘Miserycord’ — kNIFE & fORK
º ‘The Higher You Get the Rarer the Vegetation’ — kNIFE & fORK
Albums that I have contributed to as a player:
º ‘Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)’ — Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
º ‘Doc at the Radar Station’ — Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band
º ‘Fuck Christmas’ — Fear (single)
º ‘History of the Blues’ — Snakefinger
º ‘Worlds in Collision’ — Pere Ubu
º ‘Trompe le Monde’ — Pixies
º ‘Is This Desire?’ — PJ Harvey
º ‘Dog in the Sand’ — Frank Black
º ‘Black Letter Days’ — Frank Black
º ‘White Chalk’ — PJ Harvey
Albums that I have produced and contributed to as a player:
º ‘Manual of Errors’ — Snakefinger’s Vestal Virgins
º ‘Faster Frightwig, Kill Kill’ — Frightwig
º ‘Night of Desirable Objects’ — Snakefinger’s Vestal Virgins’
º ‘Frank Black’ — Frank Black
º ‘Teenager of the Year’ — Frank Black
º ‘Weisenheimer’ — Custard
º ‘In a Bar, Under the Sea’ — dEUS
º ‘Jet’ — Katell Keineg
º ‘Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb’ — Tripping Daisy
º ‘We Have the Technology’ — Custard
º ‘Happy Man’ (single) — Sparklehorse
º ‘Grey Will Fade’ — Charlotte Hatherley
º ‘Together We’re Heavy’ — The Polyphonic Spree
º ‘The Deep Blue’ — Charlotte Hatherley
º ‘The Golem (How He Came Into the World)’ — Black Francis’
º ‘Nonstoperotik’ — Black Francis
º ‘Heaven Hides There Too’ — Ruby Howl
º ‘Heirloom Music’ — The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore (producer only)
º ‘Holidaydream’ — The Polyphonic Spree
Q+A/ SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 BY VALERY AMADOR:
Name: Eric Drew Feldman
Born In What City: Los Angeles, California
Current Band(s) I Play With: kNIFE & fORK, Black Francis, Ruby Howl
Former Bands I Have Played With: Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Snakefinger’s Vestal Virgins, Pere Ubu, Pixies, PJ Harvey
¶ ::Describe The Way You Play Bass:
Δ Ha! With grim determination; I react to what I hear. That is the primary reason of playing music with other people. ‘If you got ears, you gotta listen.’ – Don Van Vliet. Often, I don’t really care about which notes I play, some have probably noticed. I care about the notes between the notes, where they are placed, and how they make the music feel. Technique-wise, I usually use a medium/heavy plectrum, or I use the fleshy part of my thumb, which gives a big fat sound with little attack, which is just perfect some of the time.
¶ ::What Made Me Decide to Play Bass:
Δ In the prior mid-century elementary school days, one could get out of participating in some of the required curriculum if one would condescend to play in the school orchestra. I was always game for that. I spent a school year at the age of eleven schlepping around an upright bass. Interesting, but I wasn’t into it enough to pursue it back then any farther. And I did spend my time in early bands playing some guitar, bass, and keyboards. Nobody wanted to carry around keyboards, and I wasn’t all that competitive, and there was always another guitar slinger in the wings, so I played keys. Δ When I became a member of The Magic Band, I was recruited to play bass on minimoog. For the new music that was created for the versions of the band that I was in, this was fine. It was very non-standard, often atonal and psychological in nature. Δ For some of the older material that we would perform live, I wasn’t satisfied with what I could accomplish playing moog bass, as there were chords played in the old parts, and these were not possible on the monophonic mini. I started to pick up a bass and found I could play the original parts as composed by Don. I proposed to him that I try some of the older songs on bass. He agreed, and gave his general sage advice of how not to play. He liked angularity, and for instruments (not just bass) to be hit, struck, kicked (whatever) most viscerally (generally), with a lot of conviction. This appealed to me, and the approach has generally stuck with me to this day………uh, what was the question again?
¶ ::Musical Influences:
Δ Ludwig van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky, Howlin’ Wolf, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, Howe Gelb, etc. etc. etc.
¶ ::Favorite Musical Styles:
Δ Everything and nothing.
¶ ::My Bass(es):
Δ An old beat-up 1966 Fender Jazz Bass, purchased in a pawnshop somewhere in North Carolina in the early 1980’s for $160, a lucky find even back then. My other favorite is an early ’70’s Gibson EBO. There are some others that seemed like a good idea at the time, such as a late ‘60’s Hofner violin bass and a Fender VI, but mostly these sit hanging from the wall, mocking me. But someday I will tame these beasts.
¶ ::My Amps and Other Gear:
Δ Ampeg SVT, that mostly sits in storage, and an early 60’s Fender Bassman (2×12 cabinet w/separate head); and something (usually) to help overdrive the tone a bit. I like distortion. I have been using an old bass pod, but it seems to have gone missing recently. There is an SWR ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ rack thing in my room that is a hell of a paperweight. It has way too many knobs and controls. But I think I will try to tackle that, since going out and buying a new bass pod seems redundant.
¶ ::Best Bass Advice You Ever Received:
Δ In 1977, while on a short east course tour with CB and the MB, the opening act turned out to be the truly amazing blues pianist, Sunnyland Slim. (If you don’t know who this is, you should Google™ him). He was quite an elderly gentleman at the time, and was touring with just a young drummer, who was also his tour manager. Don’s manager at the time, a Mr. Harry Duncan, suggested that I play bass with Mr. Slim one night. I was truly intimidated, as I was just entering my life-long love affair with the music of Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters, and I felt so unworthy. Also, the only bass I was touring with then was a short-scale Dan Electro, which just seemed so inappropriate (I now realize how wrong I was, and how correct, for me, everything was that was happening). Anyway, at Slim’s sound-check, I think I played pretty horrendously, and Slim said after the second song or so, ‘Aaeerr-rric, you gotta play with the backbeat! Δ You gotta play with the backbeat!,’ while slapping the back of his left hand with the palm of his right hand over and over again. And the light bulb above me lit up, ‘Oh, it’s a backbeat thing.’
¶ ::One Piece Of Advice For Other Bassists:
Δ Listen. Listen to the kick. Listen to the singer. Listen to everything. Listen. Reach for that which cannot be reached. And, check your tuning; as often as possible.
¶ ::Favorite Quote or Life Philosophy:
Δ ‘Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.’ — Leroy ‘Satchel’ Page
¶ ::Most Amazing Gig so Far:
Δ Hmmmm…. I suppose that it would be the first show I ever played with Captain Beefheart and those Magic Guys. It was at an extinct, small jazz club in San Francisco that was called ‘Keystone Corner’. I was in the right place at the right time; downhill ever since.
¶ ::Dream Gig:
Δ I think I’ve already had several, so I can’t really say. If you’re still reading this, you would probably agree that I have been fortunate in this regard.
¶ ::Most Embarrassing Moment on Stage:
Δ I went on stage with Frank Black at a large festival somewhere in Australia in 1994. Festivals are where you rarely get a sound-check. We trotted triumphantly on stage to the warm welcome of tens of thousands of music fans. I put on the bass, song immediately starts, I can’t really hear a thing but loudness, but I know something is seriously wrong. I stare at my fingers on the fret board. They are in the right place, playing the right notes. Charles is somewhat in front of me, singing away, looking like he has a neck ache, occasionally casting darts in my direction. It finally occurs to me that the bass is WAY out of tune. I start checking my tuning. The road technician that tuned my bass that night was normally our front-of-house engineer, who was helping out with stage work, as everything was rushed. He didn’t know how to read a tuner, I guess (or he really disliked me) and had tuned every string a half-step sharp. Pretty hard to play around that when one plays a lot of open strings.
¶ ::Favorite Tip to Share on Traveling With Your Bass:
Δ Don’t go forgetting it on the luggage carousel at the airport, or in the trunk of the taxi that takes you to the hotel. And while at the hotel, never play the electrified bass while taking a bath.
¶ ::What Would You Be Doing If You Weren’t A Musician:
Δ I don’t know. Perhaps living in a cardboard box under a freeway. I could see myself not having music as a profession. But not ever playing music. It’s like wondering what I would be doing if I was a black rhinoceros.
¶ ::The Question No One Ever Asks Me, But I Have Been Dying to Share:
Δ No one ever asks how I stay looking so young after all these years. If they did ask, I would answer exercise and the right kind of food.
Δ OK. OK. I’ll try to be serious about this. No one ever asks why I would do what it is that I do. There isn’t a lot of money in it, so far, And not a lot of glory. The answer is, it is fun. Recording in a studio is my favorite place to be. It is not, and shall not, be a cynical place, if I am there and have any say in it. And when I play a show that excites people, or participate in the making of a recording that stimulates, I believe that is a positive contribution to the human condition. At least, that’s the best that I can come up with to explain myself at this time.
¶ ::What You Can Look Forward to From Me This Year:
Δ I’ve just finished making a record with a Texas outfit called ‘The Polyphonic Spree’. Δ It is called ‘Holidaydream’, and is a Christmas record for people that don’t particularly like Christmas records. I know that sounds like another idea in a long line of questionable ideas, but it is a very good listen. The Spree and I have already started a proper album that should be finished this fall.
Δ My songwriting partner in kNIFE & fORK, Laurie Hall, and I have started work on another record, and I’m determined that this one shall not take so long to finish as the last. It should be done by the end of this year. And I’m itching to play some live shows with kNIFE & fORK, but the right opportunity has not yet been found.
Δ And I’ve played a couple of short tours with Black Francis the last couple of years with just Charles on guitar, and me on piano or pump organ, or bass. This falls under the high order of fun, and I have to figure out how to trick him into thinking that this would be a good idea for us to do again. (http://bassmusicianmagazine.com/)
|kNIFE & fORK — The Higher You Get, The Rarer The Vegetation (2013)|