Tuesday, June 21, 2011
ambibat (part I)
My experience in Stretch Arm Strong (last post) left me disenchanted with playing music in a band. I felt I had compromised my song writing so I quit playing music for three years. In November of '95 I started jamming with Eric Hoffman (The Intellectuals/Face Value) as a duo. Eric lived in the same building as me so it had to happen eventually. At first we were working on some new songs I had written but then we took it in a totally different direction.
We were listening to a lot of jazz at the time, specifically free-jazz. Eric and I started adding some improvised sections in the middle of our songs, then it evolved to improvisation only. Eric also started playing synthesizer and trumpet and less and less drums. To fill out the sound I developed a technique using sampler pedals where I'd layer multiple drones upon my playing. The ambibat sound started to take shape.
After almost a year playing together as a duo we felt confident in this new style to put ads in the New York Press looking for like-minded people. We jammed with a bunch of weirdos – 'cause that's the kind of people this music attracts – until we clicked with Blaise Siwula, a veteran in the experimental improv scene. Blaise recommended we jam with Chris Altenhoff, a bass player he played with in the space-rock band Alien Planetscapes. And that was ambibat.
We jammed for a few months...feeling each other out...improvising. Eric and Chris adopted my sampler technique on bass and synth so at times it sounded like there were 20 musicians in ambibat. We then booked a bunch of shows at places like Knitting Factory, Pyramid, Spiral, Acme Underground, CB's Gallery, and ABC No-Rio. Blaise is the curator for C.O.M.A. (Creative Out Music Association), a weekly Sunday night series dedicated to improvised music at ABC No-Rio, so we played there a lot.
In 1998, ambibat went into the studio and recorded our self-titled album. We basically improvised for four hours straight, until the engineer ran out of tape. We pulled the best moments and mixed them down. I shopped it around a little...got some good response...until Loud Dust Recordings agreed to distribute a hand full for a limited time. I never saw a dime – if they sold any at all – and I completely forgot about it. That is until I recently did a quick Google search for ambibat. Seems as if they're still hawking it, and even re-released it on March 22, 2005. It's on iTunes, Amazon, emusic, napster, and a slew of other music sites – you can even get ambibat in ringtones. I may need to speak to a lawyer.
Here's a few select songs from ambibat (1998)...
"A Long Way From Home"
"When We Knew How To Fly"
You can also download the album below...
[DOWNLOAD] ambibat (1998)
01- Yellow Liquid, Red Lava
02- This Is My Robot
04- When We Knew How To Fly
05- Pylon Transmission
06- A Long Way From Home
07- Cascade Valley
08- The Ketchup Episode
09- Linstead Lane/Spring
11- Denouement [A Simple Conversation]
12- I Leave The 20th Century With No Regrets
You may recognize some of the above drawings from The Devils Lived Book – a book I made when I was a child (here).
Frank Fusco - guitar, turntable/tape deck/radio, electronics
Eric Hoffman - drums, synthesizer, trumpet, recorder, electronics
Chris Altenhoff - bass, arp odyssey, tapes, electronics
Blaise Siwula - saxophone, reeds, mandolin, laptop