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Music I've Discovered on WFMU
There is so much great music out there - the internet
is the best way to diversify your musical sensibilities.
I love all types of music but here are my latest fascinations:
Yann Tomita & The Doopees
and Virtuoso Thereminist Pamelia
Tone Science with Yann Tomita and The
It all started with an enigmatic steel-drum band singing
a long narrative about UFO's landing.
This caught my attention and i recorded the tune from
my WFMU radio stream. Hmmm ... that was weird even for
Then later I downloaded the ASTRO AGE STEEL ORCHESTRA
"Theme for Happy Living" which was described
on their blog as "A Christmas tune, covered Caribbean-style
by Japanese artists. Think you can top the novelty of
this one?" Hell no - but something seemed familiar
here, a certain kind of cosmic weirdness!. Then I heard
the totally unexpectable song "Doopee Time"
which somehow got stuck on mental-repeat even though it
was was too cute - like hello-kitty come to life as psychedelic
To study this phenomenon more closely, I saved the tune
... and then did a Google search and found that composer
and avant-garde electronic/conceptual artist Yann
Tomita is the genius behind both the "Astro-Age
Steel Orchestra" and the hit "Doopee
Time" sung by the Doopees - Suzi Kim and Caroline
Novac. There is a running theme throughout the works of
Science, Cuteness, Medicine, UFOs, steel drums and retro-jetsons-esque
the CDs are presented not as music but enigmatically as
"the Service of Audio-Science Research Laboratories,
- was this a joke? Is there such a place?
WTF? This is all very oblique yet playful and sincere
... impossible to pigeonhole or classify. Thanks Yann
and the Doopees, you made me happy for no aparent reason
other than feeling ok about bizarre sillyness.
Time Research Service Introduction (2meg low-fi MP3)
surreal narrative intro with a bit from each track. Right-click
- by the Doopees (1.5meg low-fi MP3)
a good example of how out-there this is. Get the Hi-fidelity
trax linked below for the real experience.
A little research disclosed that Tomita is a big
fan of SUN-RA, which explains the familiar space-age quirky
humor, eccentric sincerity and sense of cosmic style that
i noticed in the Doopees and Astro-Age Orchestra.
Mr. Tomita has a long history in the world of experimental
electronic music as well as steel-drum orchestration.
His sublime compositional and arrangement skills are in
effect on the doopee records, i look forward to getting
ahold of some of his works from the 1970s and 80s.
this Link to download the other 9 MP3's
and pay homage to the Amazing Power of WFMU
the ONLY Radio Station left on the planet that
is worth a krap.
are some clips of what i've been able to find elsewhere
on the web about Yann Tomita and the Doopees.
"Here's a strange and wonderful
record called Doopee Time. Trying to describe this record
(or Tomita) is difficult - part muzak, part dada comedy,
part I Dream of Jeannie, with a running commentary by The
Doopees, two Japanese doll women named Suzie and Caroline.
There's a few other tracks from a Yann Tomita mini album
as well. Enjoy."
music review from web: "What'll
you'll find on "Doopee Time" are tracks ranging
from the straight forward (The Beach Boys' cover "Caroline
No", "Air Vibes") to experimental sampling
numbers ("Medical Service", "Doopee Time").
The first half of the album is purely experimental; tons
of blips, samples and beats. Whereas the other half of the
album is filled with lush orchestrations and soft narratives.
In a sense, this album is almost beyond description.
There's something so wonderful and enchanting about this
album. It succeeds in capturing the essence of a capricious
oddity. It's cute, quirky, whimsical, and addciting.
This album is recommend to fans of Chappie, Cornelius, and
"Yann Tomita, enigmatic wielder
of steel pan and transistor radio produces mysterious band
"Doopies" led by the equally mysterious "Caroline
Novac". Its CUTE!!!! :) This is not an "idol pop"
cuteness, however, this is pure unadulterated, unfiltered
CUTENESS extract, just add water"
MUSIC FOR ASTRO AGE:
WORLD IN SHADOW - Yann Tomita
Two cds of steel-pan dub taking a meeting with John Cage
and Sun Ra, presided over by nut Tomita. Wow. And that's
not a metaphor: there is a cover of 4'33" on here,
and a dub version (all echoes!); three incredible versions
of "We Travel the Spaceways", which might be the
best Sun Ra covers I've ever heard, sung in super super
deep voices with jazz and steel pans. Tomita originally
heard the pan steel on a Van Dyke Parks record, and went
to Trinidad and Tobago to learn. He also is a master of
electronics and effects -- there's even an analog-tape violin
played here. Much more musical and (thankfully) much LESS
goofy than Tomita's other Astro Age Steel Pan record and
his pop group, the Doopies. Recommended. (Released 1992)
Video Game Jazz/Lounge
YMCK is similar to the Doopees for the fact that it's
future-retro electronica from an alternate and happier
dimension. It's basically some rather complicated jazzy/latin
arrangements played thru Atari-level 8-bit synthesizers
with vocals by Doopee-ish sounding painfully-cute japanese
women. I suppose my early video-game experiences make
this appealing ... plus the killer arrangements.
YMCK example 1
(low-fi mp3) Notice the 8-bit walking bass line! Too Much!
example 2 (low-fi mp3) Something wacky happening here
- I like it ....
- Hey -
also did anyone notice that Disney corp. Bought
and now has a kids version called DEVO 2.0. I swear i'm
Is this wonderful or terrible
- it's just surreal!
Theremin Asskicker Extraordinaire!!!
On Irwin's wednesday afternoon
WFMU show I heard a
fantastic Thereminist i'd never heard of.
Her name is Pamelia Kurstin, she plays Theremin and according
to her website ... "piano...
upright bass... i can bullsh*t a little on the guitar
and flute... used to play cello... violin... viola in
junior high... ummmmm.... whatever instrument i can have
access to i at least try to play a song on!"
For those who don't know -
*The Theremin is one of the earliest fully electronic
musical instruments. Invented in 1919 by Russian Léon
Theremin, the theremin is unusual in that it requires
no physical contact in order to produce music and was,
in fact, the first musical instrument designed to be played
without being touched. The instrument consists of an array
of circuitry including two antennas around which the user
moves his or her hands to play.* - Wiki
is enough of a theremin prodigy to have a Wikipedia page
"Pamelia Kurstin (born May
28, 1976 in Southern California) is a world-renowned thereminist
who has played and recorded with such prestigious artists
as David Byrne and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
and has performed on the television show Saturday Night
Live. Her musical training on the upright bass has led
to her unique "walking bass" theremin technique.
Until recently (late 2005) working out of New York City,
she currently lives in Vienna, Austria."
Here is a clip from Irwin's show
where Pamelia improvises along with Led Zepplin on "
Improv over Zepplin (3min 674k MP3) She follows
the melody but then check out what she can do with the
BASS range of the theremin on this tune!!! Duuude that
Check her on Upright bass - Pamelia
Kurstin on Upright Bass with Gerry Gibbs
(2min 620k MP3)
she has great technique and amazing energy. I can hear
a beautiful positive, freaky, fun-loving personality in
this bass playing. This carries over into her bass technique
on the theremin ...
but her main contribution to the scene seems to be using
the theremin as a vehicle for extended free-improvisation,
often employing loop pedals to create ever-shifting repeating
segments that are permutated and morphed along with her
train of thought. A very exotic and otherworldly sound.
She will probably kick ass when the next step beyond the
theremin - direct "Thought-to-Music" technology
- is introduced in the near-future. You can hear her explain
the theremin & play improv, jazz and more live in
archived segment of Irwin's WFMU show from January 25,
Get her CD's or more information at her official (even though it's on angelfire) website
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