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New 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 Kurstin

Springtime 2006:
Tone Science with Yann Tomita and
WOW! 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 wfmu.

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 exotica.
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 futurism.

the CDs are presented not as music but enigmatically as
"the Service of Audio-Science Research Laboratories, Tokyo"
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.

Doopee Time Research Service Introduction (2meg low-fi MP3)
surreal narrative intro with a bit from each track. Right-click to download.
LOVE - 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.
Follow 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.
Here are some clips of what i've been able to find elsewhere on the web about Yann Tomita and the Doopees.

from WFMU
"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 Tipsy. (A)"

"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"

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) [RE]

Related: YMCK- 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!
YMCK example 2 (low-fi mp3) Something wacky happening here - I like it ....

YMCK is:

- Hey -
also did anyone notice that Disney corp. Bought DEVO somehow
and now has a kids version called DEVO 2.0. I swear i'm not kidding

Is this wonderful or terrible - it's just surreal!

Pamelia Kurstin
Rollerskating 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

She is enough of a theremin prodigy to have a Wikipedia page which explains
"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 " Immigrant Song"
Pamelia 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 Rocks!!
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 this archived segment of Irwin's WFMU show from January 25, 2006.

Get her CD's or more information at her official (even though it's on angelfire) website


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