THE LEX O'BRIEN SOUNDSCAPE
PAUL FLUM
"
The Lex O'Brien Soundscape"
format:
CD-R
original release date:
December 15, 1998
track listing: RealAudio***
01. Volted Fitz
02. The Universe Is Watching
03. Duello***
04. Dover Tombs
05. Corridor Monster Spitting Seeds
06. Seven Pets For Dorothy's Purse***
07. Wild Angels***
08. Is This Like ... Rock?
09. To Die On A No Beats Rampage
10. Oh, What A Happy Planet! ***
11. That Super-Red Voltage Owned Us
12. A Mouse Flying an Aeroplane
13. OneLex Safety
14. TwoLex Safety


PRESS  RELEASE by Kevin Lundahl 080101

October 1998 – A brand “spanking” new Tascam 564 Portastudio MiniDisk Four –Track was purchased at the Mars Superstore.

The first “guinea pig” would commence on November 7, 1998 – exactly one year to the day of the “New Orleans Bath” soundtrack.

It was a cool, crisp Saturday Afternoon, and experiments with the copy and paste editor were underway. A song by “The Bubble Puppy” was being hacked to bits, so guitars, drums, and PZM mikes were strewn about Peabody Sound. The project wrapped up hurriedly, since a big party was planned for that same Saturday Evening.

Lots of people showed up, and there was much mingling, drinking, and chortling by 11PM that evening. One of the guests, A Mr. Lex O’Brien, noticed a WFL drum kit was set up in the Peabody Sound room.

“You mind if I play?”

“No, not at all”

He sat down, grabbed some brushes off the floor, and whipped up a nice lateral beat.

“You’re gonna have to stop”

“why?”

“…because, I have to turn on my 4track and set up my mikes to record you!!!”

After a brief interlude, a dozen or so folks joined Lex in the Peabody Sound Room. He played for about 8 minutes. That recording is on this CD and called “OneLex Safety.”

A couple hours, (and beers) passed. After much cajoling, Lex was urged back onto the drum stool. The room filled up again, and a slightly more liquored up Lex let ‘er rip. This recording lasted about 9 minutes, and is called “TwoLex Safety.” Then the dickhead neighbor from downstairs came up to complain about all the noise.

Lex had heard the recording of that “Bubble Puppy” song from earlier in the evening, and requested that his drums be copy and pasted into songs in a similar matter. No Problem.

This would be called,  “The Lex O’Brien Soundscape”, over 40 minutes of music, assembled from two drum performances.

The sound is largely instrumental, repetitive drum blocks, built with oscillating feedback, bass guitar, and electric guitar, with occasional keyboards thrown in.

The drums were tracked with vertical PZM mikes mounted to stands arranged tangent to the floor tom on the right, and between the rack and hi-hat on the left for wide stereo. In the mixing process, they would be pushed closer together, with either side getting a muddy wet reverb.

The length of samples depended largely on Lex’ playing; in an extreme case, one smattering of drums was 8 seconds, but it turned into, “Duello”, a 4:17 piece. “Oh, what a happy planet” is the other extreme, where the entire performance was lifted, verbatim.

“Volted Fitz” and “That Super-Red Voltage Owned Us” are two different approaches to the first drum solo. “The Universe Is Watching” is the only song with a vocal overdub.

There is also some taking advantage of the live crowd banter, in which someone quotes lines from “The Wild Angels.” Of the more ambitious rhythm melodies are “Dover Tombs”, and “Is This like Rock?,”  which divide the drums into verse/chorus scenarios.


On the more bizarre side, “Seven Pets for Dorothy’s Purse” is a cross-section of  “Skinny Legs and All” (Tom Robbins) with “The Wizard of OZ” …lets face it, she never opened her purse…and more comical then bizarre is  “A mouse flying an Aeroplane”, which is simply a swing beat mixed with oscillation, to create a Tom and Jerry effect.

The inclusion of “OneLex Safety” and “Twolex safety” is a big hit, as you can try to match up the slice and dice points. Plus, it creates a convenient way of re-sampling these drums for future recordings.

-K. L.
THE AUDIENCE SPEAKS ...

"All that lateral action...he's like a big crab...really onto that Art Blakey Tip"
                    -Wurm Morton, Columbus, OH

"I hope this is not where Jazz is going...it sounds like someone has run amuck with a theremin"
                    -Nicole Colleta, Scranton, PA

"Wow...like some sort of Public Television soundtrack, I was waiting for Carl Sagan any minute....billions and billions...nice job"
                    -Anita Toler, Leonardtown, MD

"I was glad to hear the unedited music in the end. In some cases I prefered the dryer, wide panned live show better..."Duello" is a brilliant use of minimal repetition"
                   -Clyde Palmer, Alexandria, VA

"The 'Thalidamide Lithmus Test', or 'What Beethoven sounds like to Dogs" would have been a better title...avoid..."
                    -Chaz Dermonti, Electric Diatribe (fanzine) Vol. IV

"A nice attempt....a little too loose with the cut/paste for my taste...very apprecaible oscillation...a hit and miss effort where the frequency range seems uncompromised"
                    -Stan Jefferson, Audiophile Monitored, June 1999

"This guy can whip the skins...love the bending in "Dover Tombs"... Its hard to believe all those songs came from such a short performance"
                    -Jessica Mylander, Albany, NY