Steuart Liebig / The Mentones: Angel City Dust (PFMCD057)

Louis Lopez 0 Comments

[playlist ids="482"]
The Mentones

Tony Atherton: alto saxophone
Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Bill Barrett: chromatic harmonica
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitars

this is an uprising. intonations that the physical world is meaningless tonight and there is no other. liebig with the sound of pianos in his head walks the city creating a logic not to be distinguished from lunacy. his stanzas hang like hives in some fauvist hell where berardi flaps the fire’s bellow, the wind that stokes, the actual bite; where barrett’s flitterings sparkle like eyesight falling to earth, scribbling a primitive astronomy amongst atherton’s groaning expletives, reed as beast of light.

this is an uprising. a kind of elegy found in space, more than an imitation for the ear. it’s in the hues not chosen or chosen quickly in an elemental freedom, flying as insects of fire into a cavern of sound where all have converged upon a common image, illimitable spheres, the law of causation suspended. liebig, brown as bread dreaming of birds. barrett, shrill as glass that will not melt in the heat. berardi, bottles clanking, water fluttering. atherton, a diviner of foam. this is a tour of shifting scenes, voices in the clouds, lion in the lute, articulate fangs, salvation through barbarous chanting. the discord ferments as liebig, a damned universal clock existing in multiple time zones, wields his groove, totemic, a hammock, monolithic. berardi, unrelenting saboteur toppling boats. and listen to that, barrett’s ululation in the city of a burning cloud, where atherton deals in the sweet vertical.

this is an uprising. of metaphysical wailers, crazed rhapsodical sound poets in the hot blast clatter of invention, where liebig, the steward, the sober man still dancing, calls ravens down from the sky.

– scot ray, montana, 3.09

fingeroo – – 1:02
wool – – 5:27
all gone – – 4:10
empty – – 2:48
locustland – – 3:52
fire & ice – – 4:21
lonelyheart – – 7:13
slow burn fever – – 5:30
kingfish – – 4:03
out, down and over – – 5:30
headlock – – 3:12
peach tree – – 2:53
topped off – – 5:32

gear thanks: fodera basses,thomastik-infeld strings,
nordstrand pickups, mike cooper,
rick turner and raven labs; seydel harmonicas, ben bouman and pat missin; paiste cymbals

photos/montages/layout
by steuart liebig
band photos by wayne peet
recorded at newzone studio, 10–11 january 2009, by wayne peet,
assisted by ellington peet; mixed at newzone studio,
by wayne peet and steuart liebig, mar vista, california, 2009

pfMENTUM CD057

PFMCD057

Steuart Liebig / Tee-Tot Quartet: Always Outnumbered (PFMCD053)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

[playlist ids="473,475"]
Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet

Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Dan Clucas: cornet
Scot Ray: dobro
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitar

Tracks

07-04-00 4:58
serenade 5:06
wrong how long 4:00
stutterstep 4:26
fearless 7:49
clean, shaved and sober 3:52
bobtail 1:54
cooked and chopped 3:15
chucktown 4:17
mercy kitchen 7:26
sunshine candy 4:24
barrelfoot grind 4:26
lonewolf 4:28

© 2008 steuart liebig/
sisong music (ascap)
www.stigsite.com

artwork and layout by Steuart Liebig
cover photos by Scot Ray
band photos by Tee-Tot Quartet
recorded by Wayne Peet, assisted by Aaron Druckman, at Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, 19–20 May 2007
mixed by Wayne Peet and Steuart Liebig, July–August 2007
Steuart Liebig uses Fodera basses and Fodera roundwound strings, the Raven Labs PMB-1 and pickups by Rick Turner
Joe Berardi uses Paiste cymbals and attack drums heads
big thanks to Tee-Tot, Wayne Peet, Jeff Kaiser, and Leslie Rosdol, Anya Liebig and Aron Liebig

Always Outnumbered

. . . is an unholy transfiguration of the jazz and blues canon—a perverted translation of the sacred 78s of Chicago jazz and blues circa 1920–1950 into a more sinister modern dialect. On the opening track, 07-04-00, you can hear some noxious sonic concoction brewing, an aural hormetic designed to make you stronger if you can survive the cocktail.

Tee-Tot are expatriate pioneers that flew a few light-years past Europe and landed in a neighboring multiverse with fewer happy endings. These four veterans of the Los Angeles new music scene bring something completely different to each tune, different from the last tune and different from anything you normally hear on their respective instruments.

Joe Berardi is a medium for myriad gods of groove. He’s a maniacal Baby Dodds wielding his contraption for the dark side on Sunshine Candy, an angry Fred Below demonstrating primal scream therapy through the art of the shuffle on Chucktown and on Serenade he’s a fallen military snare player tapping ‘help me die’ in Morse code in vain.

Steuart Liebig constructs wide melodic avenues through the hostile landscapes of convoluted tunes like Wrong How Long. As heard on Cooked and Chopped he uses compelling melodies to drive the band from beneath instead of walking the well-worn footpaths of predictable chord progressions. He reinvents the bass role as an interactive melodic instrument in contrast to the bebop obsession of “chasing a melodic rat around a harmonic maze.” He’s also comfortable playing little or nothing at all for large patches, as on Fearless, an oblique tribute to Mingus—a “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” for a lost and dispirited Lester Young.

Dan Clucas channels a deranged Cootie Williams, commands a gaggle of nuclear geese and employs various subsonic pitches possibly responsible for climate change. He employs all manner of ornamentation and virtual pedals from a very ill-mannered velar growl to a vibrato that would have made Clara Rockmore nervous. On Clean, Shaved and Sober, he celebrates the decline of a late-stage Bix Beiderbecke suffering from years of poor-grade Prohibition-era alcohol.

Scot Ray possesses a wide arsenal of portamento that would make any carnatic pandit blush. A seemingly infinite variety of sounds come out of his dobro’s resonator, from distressed ermine lamentations to the wailing of the damned. Considering today’s totalitarian atmosphere, Scot’s frenetic picking, rubbery phrasing and anxiety-provoking note choices on Stutterstep alone should earn him a place on a government list. Somewhere in hell an unfortunate freshman soul attempts to decipher his solo on Barrelfoot Grind.

Contemporary jazz and blues music lies wasting in a gurney of predictable mimicry, its circulation gone sluggish, its pulse nearly arrested as it grows more necrotic by the year. Tee-Tot debrides the bed sores of the sedentary modern roots scene.

Steuart has more than a few bands. They are all distinct from one another, draw from disparate sources and are all degenerate—in the best sense of the word. The dozen or so albums from these groups have explored everything from Muddy Waters to Anton Webern. There’s never a shortage of great melodies or superb improvisation, and this disc is no exception.

–Bill Barrett, Los Ageles, January 2008

pfMENTUM CD053

PFMCD053

Steuart Liebig / The Mentones: Nowhere Calling (PFMCD039)

Louis Lopez 0 Comments

[playlist ids="445,443"]
The Mentones
Tony Atherton: alto saxophone
Bill Barrett: chromatic harmonica
Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitars

chatterbox – – 4:17
double-blade axe – – 3:58
coal – – 4:41
back seat, white cadillac – – 7:08
hardcase – – 2:30
iodine cream – – 4:10
manchild hustle – – 3:16
way high lonesome – – 4:55
the single-double two-step – – 1:58
rocking chair – – 6:29
angel city dust – – 3:47
daisy man – – 2:00
rooster rocket – -1:53

© 2006, steuart liebig/sisong music (ascap)

photos/montages by steuart liebig;
band photos by amparo fernandez;
inside photo from david witham video, processed by joseph berardi;
layout by steuart liebig
recorded at newzone studio, by wayne peet; mixed at newzone studio, by wayne peet and steuart liebig, mar vista, california, 2006

gear thanks: fodera basses, thomastik-infeld strings, rick turner and raven labs; pat missin; paiste cymbals and attack drums heads

Liner Notes by Nels Cline:
The Mentones. The name conjures up some preconceptions: a sort of retro outfit, maybe a blues/rock or R&B thing. Dudes. Maybe Texan dudes. Or Oklahomans. The kind of band dudes get rowdy to, or maybe even couples shake their tailfeathers to. Interestingly, although the name is derived from bandleader/composer/bassist Steuart Liebig’s street name in Los Angeles County, there are shards of truth in these preconceptions. But they certainly don’t tell the tale. The Mentones—and yes, they ARE all men— actually do play a kind of blues boogie, though their brand of this is calculatedly skewed in a kind of Bartokian way. This is an all-instrumental thing, so already we’re talking some kind of FUSION band, right? The kind men might dig, since the rumbling roots of the band’s concept are blues, boogie, and some kind of out jazz freakout. HOWEVER: I have watched women groove mightily to The Mentones! I’ve heard them applaud their taut, economical solo workouts! And it’s not because these guys are working the image thing, OK? Not a hipster hat, no sharkskin, no stage presence is in evidence (sorry, cats)! What, then, IS this SoCal combo all about? Why are these hepcats and hepkittens in major DIGULATION MODE?? *** If one follows the prolific and mercurial output of CONTRABASS guitarist Steuart Liebig, one quickly gets dazzled—if not fully bogged down—in the myriad projects he has formed and for which he composes. I have truly lost count of how many bands Steuart is doing concurrently— it’s well over five—and each one operates within tight conceptual parameters. The Mentones is Herr Liebig’s rockingest combo, and it is specifically created to simultaneously refer to and mangle elements of blues, R&B, and, to my mind, surf and the old “instrumental hits” idea, particularly as it played out in the mid-60s. I am also repeatedly reminded of the early quartet music of Ornette Coleman, not stylistically, but in the tight and focused ensemble statements. There are no 5-minute solo forays here. Each piece is highly compressed, and some are over before you even know they’ve started. There appear to be other tightly controlled parameters. For example, it all seems to be about meaty vamps and unison or octave melodies between alto saxophone and harmonica. It’s a thing! I know this because I’ve known Steuart for 30 years! It’s how he thinks and works. His writing for octets, chamber trios, is rife with neo-modernist harmonies. But not in The Mentones. I cherish a fantasy (apologies in advance to Oliver Reed): Lee Marvin, looking for a out-of-the-limelight spot to have a drink or five, stops into a Salvadoran joint like Culver City’s Club Tropical. On the dance floor, The Mentones are at it, pounding out the mighty Liebig salvo, “Hardcase.” Marvin walks right up to the band, his towering, manly frame blocking the view of many of the reverent denizens. As they WHOMP! the song’s abrupt conclusion Marvin, a few Patron Silvers into his evening asks, to no band member in particular, “What are you guys supposed to be, some kind of LOCRIAN BLUES BAND?!” Too bad Lee’s joined his ancestors, but man, he’d be right! With melodies derived from obscure modes (Steuart is positively besotted with flatted fifths) or completely chromatic, the CHUG and CHURN of the bass and drums ram the solar plexus while the peculiar (and totally singular) melodies dance like satyrs in the cerebellum. *** A few words about the men of The Mentones: On alto saxophone is Tony Atherton. Sure, he sounds like he’s sucked up plenty of the toxic stench in Naked City, or perhaps worshipped at the feet of Big Satan. But the maniacal frothing of his playing is totally ROCK ’N ROLL. If he was around in the late 50s, he’d have been the kid in high school who hung out with all the older nighthawks, jamming into the wee hours—or at least as long as the benzedrine in his inhaler lasted. His imposingly tall frame and gentle demeanor barely mask what is obvious: he is a TOTALLY GONE CAT. After negotiating the written material to a tee, he then uncorks the reedy gusher of his horn/psyche. Bill Barrett plays the harmonica. Simply stated, he is one of the most cogent and arresting soloists ON ANY INSTRUMENT playing today. I kid you not. Listen to this shit! He goes from classic blues harp to fucking campfire memories to ghostly shakuhachi rushes without ever losing the moan and shriek of the blues. His playing is consistently haunted. It haunts the music like a spectre, imbuing each moment it inhabits with what David Briggs called “The Spook.” Drummer Joe Berardi has credits longer than the ‘thank yous’ on a Mariah Carey record. I’ve seen him in so many situations spreading his excellence around that it’s dizzying. Do some homework on this man. In The Mentones, Joe really GETS DOWN. Whether playing prepared drums, a tin can, or just laying it down normal-style, this is a BURNER for Joe (and beautifully recorded, I might add). There remains one question: how can a man so consistently well dressed SHRED like that? As for the fearless leader himself, Steuart Liebig here eschews his effects pedal dazzle for a virtuosic though never out-of- the-pocket piledrive through the lexicon of bass and guitar. You see, Steuart bought one of those 6-string basses right when they came out. These things were the fulfillment of a dream, much in the way the MiniMoog was the fulfillment of a dream for Jan Hammer. If only these select individuals were the only ones to bring these instruments to light! Anyway, now Steuart has 3 or 4 of these monster basses. One fretless, one fretted/flatwound, one fretless, one fretted/roundwound, all customized, stickered, slathered with the foam of the mad scientist he is. He plays slide, digs deep into involuntary bowel movement frequencies, and skitters around in the guitar’s range like a musician version of the Manster. AND OH YES, he writes all these neo-Peter Gunn, Locrian, Willie Dixon jams. When The Mentones perform, Steuart name checks his bandmates about 23 times—per set! But I hope that you, the holder of this fine CD, can take a minute to let the names of these men seep into your over-stimulated brain. *** By the way, this disc really starts to ramp up around track 9 (programmers take note!), so all you kids put on your crash helmets and don’t miss the exciting conclusion of Nowhere Calling! Cowabunga!
Nels Cline—Glendale, CA, April 1, 2006

pfMENTUM CD039

PFM039

Emily Hay: Like Minds (PFMCD022)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

[playlist ids="403"]
This recording represents various musical projects in which I have participated over the past few years. All tracks are improvisations with no overdubs or second takes, with the exception of “A Year and Two Weeks” where a vocal track was added. “Call To Unarm” and “Like Minds” are from live concert performances, and “A Year and Two Weeks,” “Swamp Moss,” “Waiting For Sara” and “Crooked Hopscotch” were recorded direct to two track tape, with no multi-track mixing. Special thanks to all of the musicians who performed on these recordings, to Lee Scott, Randy Fuelle and Wayne Peet for their engineering expertise, to Annette Buhl for her photography and to Jeff Kaiser for his artwork design and support in releasing this disc.

-Emily Hay, 1.1.05
www.emilyhay.com

Emily Hay • Like Minds

1. CALL TO UNARM 8:56
Emily Hay – Flute, Alto Flute, Voice • Ronit Kirchman – Violin, Voice • Brad Dutz – Percussion • Joe Berardi – Percussion
2. LITURGY OF SOUND 5:40
Emily Hay – Flute, Voice • Lisle Ellis – Electronics, Bass • Marcos Fernandes – Percussion, Field Recordings
3. A YEAR AND TWO WEEKS 4:01
Emily Hay – Voice • Michael Whitmore – Guitar • Brad Dutz – Synthesizer
4. BOILED CADILLAC 4:35
Emily Hay – Flute • Wayne Peet – Piano • Brad Dutz – Percussion
5. CROOKED HOPSCOTCH 8:18
Emily Hay – Flute, Voice • Sara Schoenbeck – Bassoon • Michael Intriere – Cello • Brad Dutz – Percussion
6. WE ARE 6:16
Emily Hay – Flute, Voice • Marcos Fernandes – Percussion
7. LIKE MINDS 7:09
Emily Hay – Piccolo, Voice • Ronit Kirchman – Violin, Voice • Kurt Heyl – Trombone, Voice
8. WHA’ ‘BOUT 9:32
Emily Hay – Flute, Alto Flute, Voice • Steuart Leibig – Bass • Rich West – Drums, Background Recordings
9. SPAR 2:31
Emily Hay – Flute, Voice • Lisle Ellis – Electronics, Bass • Marcos Fernandes – Percussion, Field Recordings
10. WAITING FOR SARA 3:06
Emily Hay – Voices • Michael Intriere – Cellos • Brad Dutz – Percussion
11. HIBIKI 5:36
Emily Hay – Flute • Marcos Fernandes – Percussion
12. SWAMP MOSS 2:30
Emily Hay – Voice • Michael Whitmore – Guitar • Brad Dutz – Melodica

1. Recorded by Jeff Kaiser at Ventura City Hall, Ventura, CA 2004 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
2. Recorded by Randy Fuelle, Hit Single Studios, San Diego, CA 2004 Mixed and mastered by Mark Wheaton, Catasonic Studios, Los Angeles, CA 2004
3. Recorded by Brad Dutz in North Hollywood, CA circa 1994
4. Overdub recorded/mixed by Wayne Peet, Newzone Studios, Los Angeles, CA 1997 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
4. Recorded and mixed by Wayne Peet, Newzone Studios, Los Angeles, CA 1997 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
5. Recorded by Brad Dutz, Tujunga, CA circa 2000 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
6. Recorded by Randy Fuelle, Hit Single Studios, San Diego, CA 2004 Mixed and mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
7. Recorded by Ronit Kirchman/Jeremy Drake, Asto Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2003 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
8. Recorded and mixed by Wayne Peet, Newzone Studios, Los Angeles, CA 1997 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
9. Recorded by Randy Fuelle, Hit Single Studios, San Diego, CA 2004 Mixed and mastered by Mark Wheaton, Catasonic Studios, Los Angeles, CA
10. Recorded by Brad Dutz, Tujunga, CA circa 2000 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
11. Recorded by Randy Fuelle, Hit Single Studios, San Diego, CA 2003 Mixed and mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004
12. Recorded by Brad Dutz, North Hollywood, CA 1994 Mastered by Lee Scott, Glendale, CA 2004

Photography: Annette Buhl • Art Design and Layout: Jeff Kaiser
(p) Emily C. Hay 2005, (c) Emily Hay Music, publishing administered by Emily Hay Music (BMI). All rights reserved. For more information: pfMENTUM • PO Box 1653 • Ventura • CA • 93002 • www.pfmentum.com

pfMENTUM CD022

PFMCD022

Steuart Liebig / The Mentones: Locustland (PFMCD017)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

[playlist ids="389"]
Steuart Liebig/The Mentones
LOCUSTLAND

The Mentones
Tony Atherton: alto saxophone
Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Bill Barrett: chromatic harmonica
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitar

broom – – 3:27
graveyard – – 4:41
mojave boxcar – – 4:46
drifter – – 7:47
honky tonk burn – – 6:48
westpoint, mississipi – – 8:19
small fry – – 0:45
burnt umber – – 2:50
nighthawk – – 5:43
howl & tumble – – 4:01
gasoline jelly – – 6:33
lightning bug – – 3:47
nowhere calling – – 5:57

©2004, steuart liebig/sisong music (ascap)
recorded at newzone studios, by wayne peet;
mixed at newzone studios, by wayne peet and steuart liebig
mar vista, california, 2000

photos/montages by steuart liebig
layout by steuart liebig and jeff kaiser
gear thanks to fodera basses, thomastik-infeld strings and raven labs

“First let’s talk about Steuart Liebig, the multi-faceted miscreant who squeezed the hybrid beast known as the Mentones out of his juicy mind. Steuart is well known in L.A. as one of the most significant improvising electric bass torturers and electronic manipulators in recent memory and, I’m grateful to say, a major contributor to most of the music I’ve done in the last decade and a half. The metaphor of a diamond with its many facets comes to mind, but that doesn’t quite get it. Imagine the diamond periodically reverting to its primal molten state and shooting out semi-controlled bursts of radioactive plasma melting everything in its reach. I could say that for Steuart the Mentones is an anomaly, but in a way every project he constructs is an anomaly. I will say this—there is nothing like the Mentones on this earth that I’ve ever heard of and even though you may recognize some of its disparate original elements, you will be whacked by how cohesively they come together in Liebig’s compositions. An adult dose of Little Walter crashing his Coupe de Ville into Ornette Coleman’s harmolodien. Howling Wolf gnawing on John Coltrane’s left ear like Mike Tyson. As for the other men in the Mentones: Bill Barrett takes the chromatic harp well beyond its limits like a rubber band stretched into a Mobius strip. Tony Atherton is soulful, relentless and driving. Joe Berardi grooves these odd time signatures like his mother nursed him on non-Euclidean geometry. It’s all that and it’s definitely enough.”

– G.E. Stinson

pfMENTUM CD017

PFMCD017