American Trilogy

Pure Sound vs. Carsten Vollmer

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Released Mar 02, 2011
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The songs in this album are licensed under: CC BY-NC-ND Please check individual tracks for their respective licensing info.
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[fm.m11] fieldmuzick mini cdr serie The roots of Pure Sound are in the 1980s British Post-Punk movement. They tell stories with words, field recording collages and instruments. Carsten Vollmer takes their recordings and cut them in pieces. The result is the pure sound of the noise of a radio transmission. The Edge Of The World Vollmer’s samples introduce the sounds of swamps alongside the Mississippi and a crowd at Preservation Hall, New Orleans. There’s the tune ‘Robert E Lee’ – a classic from the American songbook – played on the calliope, a steam whistle used to draw crowds to the Mississippi paddle steamers, and lorries going past on Highway 61, the blues highway up to Memphis. Dempester Highway Opens with the sound of the Mississippi lapping against the banks of the river in St Louis and a lovely piano phrase from Boz Hayward. More Vollmer samples mix with freight trains and gravel from the Stovall plantation in Clarksdale in this lament for a love lost on Alaska’s remote but beautiful Dempster Highway. Keep on rolling, Dempster Highway Recording Of Her Voice A story considering what we have left when people move on. Lost voices replayed have an eerie quality, while cheery postmen stuff bills through our doors and life goes on. The Chicago subway meets the paddle steamer’s calliope while those words take on an importance and symbolism far beyond the original intention. Some people have answerphone message transferred onto tape, because that’s all they have left of their loved ones. For this recording, PURE SOUND are: Vince Hunt: Bass, tapes, vocalsBoz Hayward: PianoSimon Price: Spoken wordSheona Drummond: Spoken word about the record PURE SOUND vs VOLLMER came about when Carsten Vollmer suggested we sample each other’s work and write new material from that. I knew how direct and uncompromising Carsten’s work was and thought the collaboration would highlight huge contrasts in the way artists approach each other’s work. I was curious to see what he might do with Pure Sound songs too – you couldn’t get much more different! Working as Pure Sound I gather found sounds to build a soundtrack for lyrics, bass lines and piano melodies. When Carsten sent me his 7” singles this gave me a number of ideas of samples I might take. I work in Pro Tools so I selected some cuts but then had to go to America for work. In America I gathered more sounds and stored them alongside the Vollmer samples. When I looked at the project again on my return, suddenly things started to happen. The Vollmer samples started to work with a mic check by a blues singer in Vicksburg and the sound of a swamp running alongside the Mississippi. Once I had a start, the rest was easy. This collaboration features the Pure Sound AMERICAN TRILOGY, three tracks using found sounds gathered while main songwriter VINCE HUNT was in the United States in 2008 and made with samples taken from Carsten VOLLMER’s vinyl catalogue. Once finished the songs were sent to Carsten VOLLMER for his interpretation with his unique approach to music. the american trilogy These are the sounds of New Orleans, Chicago, Vicksburg, Minneapolis and St Louis mixed up and fed into songs penned on the road by Hunt. They feature the sounds of boats on the Mississippi, the calliope steam whistle from paddle steamers in New Orleans; freight trains going through Hannibal, Missouri; the Chicago subway and the gravel under car wheels from the Stovall Plantation, where blues guitarist Muddy Waters grew up. These three songs are observations on life, love and relationships; on what we do with our time on this earth. the lyrics Edge of the World Everyone else has what they want, while my face is twisted against the bitter wind of disappointmentDestiny called me. Pulled on my vest and hat and climbed aboard that ship. I went to the edge of the world, and didn’t think about it.At the edge of the world the cliffs are rocky and brown. The wind is strong. It’s a long way down.I think of a friend who walked into the propellers of an aircraft. And the polar bear who, with nothing else for miles around, fell for the old rifle trap.Dipping fingers in the Berents SeaSo cold I have to rub them to bring back any warmthIt’s like shaking hands with a frozen friendThose same fingers hold your hand at 3amI have no control over what’s in my lifeMy footprint in some faraway place. It doesn’t matter much if it’s forward or back. Dempster Highway I feel like Franz Kafka, want to burn my work and walk awayTime is against me. You’re an accessory to heartbreak, hurtOh, you played me like a fiddle. My friends hate you because you played meMy A to Z of American back roads is damp from all the tears I’ve criedBut I’ve so learnt much from those pagesWinds through the mountains, stars in the skyTyres on the gravel, and tears in my eyesKeep on rolling, Dempster HighwayPut your love on ice on the extreme highwayWe say goodbye to our love, on the extreme highwayKeep on rolling, Dempster HighwayWinds through the mountains, stars in the skyTyres on the gravel, and tears in my eyesBy making sweeping generalisations, I’ll find no solace in days gone byI need to close these pages, and stop these tapesTyres on the tarmac, tears on the dashboardIt’s been a one-way ride. It’s all been a pack of lies Recordings of her Voice A light rain was falling, on red earth country roads I thought I’d left behindPurple, scarlet, vermilion. Two crop spraying planes beside the highwayA flash of sun, and we were goneRecordings of her voice. That’s all I have left. I have no other evidence. I would turn the world upside down to hear her say those words again.I wrote the words that she speaks, those words are all I have left. They’re diamonds from a different time, when we didn’t realise how important they would be. When we pressed Record we didn’t know one day I’d be here, like this.She was a bird that flew south, an angel that grew wings: a ship that slips from the harbour one dark night. And who will take care of these tears?A postman with a cheery smile stuffs letters through my door. But inside my house I hear her voice, downstairs. I should be tucked up against the rain, doing what I’m doing. But instead I’m playing recordings of her voice, again and again.Only a matter of seconds, only a couple of words. But the recordings of her voice are all I have, and all I have left.She was a bird that flew south, an angel that grew wings: a ship that slipped out of the harbour one dark night. And who will take care of these tears?