Neon Brown | Trouble

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United States - Washington

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Rock: Extended Jams Pop: Quirky Moods: Type: Experimental
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by Neon Brown

Odd times and ambient groove. Cascading loops and vocal harmonies. Home-made instruments and funk for your butt.
Genre: Rock: Extended Jams
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tutt
Seattle Improv Meeting
0:30 $0.99
2. Match
Neon Brown
5:22 $0.99
3. Ocean Waves
Neon Brown
6:00 $0.99
4. Bang!
Neon Brown with James Whiton and James Campbell-Drury
3:49 $0.99
5. Walking the Dragons
Neon Brown with Randy Neil and Zane Williams
1:38 $0.99
6. A Place
Neon Brown
7:16 $0.99
7. N6 Meditation
Neon Brown
4:45 $0.99
8. Depth of Field
Neon Brown
5:32 $0.99
9. Sidewalk Blues
Neon Brown
7:20 $0.99
10. The Ruler
Neon Brown with Randy Neil and Zane Williams
4:08 $0.99
11. Destroyer
Neon Brown
10:25 $0.99
12. Bone Dance
Seattle Improv Meeting
1:52 $0.99
13. Smarty
Neon Brown with James Whiton and James Campbell-Drury
3:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Review by Five Philpin:

Neon Brown - Trouble
self-released, 2006

Adrian Woods - torgo 3000 and galvanator percussion stations, the human voice
Andrew Woods - the plank and various other plank-tuned guitars, the human voice

Wait, I can’t hear you... Roll down your window.
Ping! Plink! Squeeeek (like a rusty waterwheel, not a feedback guitar...) - slurp... Boom bum Boom bum Bip Bip, bassline bassline bassline... GROOVE! “I can feel the flame awake in the room tonight, set it free, burn bright...”
The varying and intensifying emotions in the two men’s roughly harmoizing voices clue you in that this is not computerized but essentially LIVE music performed in real time. A bridge intervenes, and then back to the insomniac flame: “Burn it up, burn it up, burn it, burn it up...”
What do we hear?
The occasional suggestion of a backbeat on what sounds like a drum kit, with lots of pitter-patter accents and funk rhythms in between, and chords tapped percussively on what sounds like a very crisp bass guitar... Then some more slurping, chewing type sounds and a lovely guitar melody, though a bit low in pitch for your standard instrument, and an oddly harmonized bassline, and a chill midtempo drum groove... This becomes the anthemic “Ocean Waves” but it takes its time building up. I listened to this driving with Z-Licious through the Big Sur coast road midnight and felt almost unbearably meaningful, to the point where I considered driving us off a cliff just to balance things.
“God is a giant baby spitting up seas of trees and styrofoam packing...” is how this song’s lyric finally begins. “Washing in like ocean waves, rolling out like ocean waves,” repeats the rhythmically disorienting chorus, over Beatlesy harmonies and vocal counter-rhythms. This song is what it feels like to drown happily, or maybe to be the ocean, itself. Or just mate with it. Shoulda been the soundtrack to the great movie they could but will never make of Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris (yes, that Solaris - remember: I said “great,” or even pretty good). All those who flick their lighters will be transmuted into a dimension of pure sound.
Some of these tunes were recorded, like the previous discs, in Neon Brown’s rehearsal space in downtown Seattle, and/or in their various kitchens and living rooms. Other tunes were initially recorded at their every-other-weekly improv night at Mr Spot’s Chai House in Ballard, Seattle, Earth. On these nights the duo features various notable guests and plays two sets of improvised music which varies in mood depending on the guests and on the random element which is the name of that evening’s show, courtesy of Funklove and the Chai House calendar. Next week: Tangerine Gumdrops And Peace In The Mideast.
So, for the tune that is called “Bang” on the Trouble disc, Adrian took bits of a particularly good Chai House jam and edited them down into an extremely catchy groove-based rocknroll song: “Why don’t we just bang two rocks together and make a pretty sound? ...We can get to the future through the past, let’s drive around in circles til we’re out of gas.” The bridge is an insane abstract sound collage, but the mood never breaks.
Andrew did something similar with another tune, “The Ruler”, but to very different tone and effect: “It still doesn’t tip the scale... The minutes wasted on jealousy, the hours fearing the Other, it doesn’t fit on The Ruler...” Loops and strange instrumentation, rattling and ominous though somehow good-hearted percussion...
Like Lorca-era Tim Buckley singing with MMW... Sounds good, no? The odd meters and structures are so well-integrated by this, the duo’s third full-length self-produced compact disc, that you don’t need to notice them to enjoy the mood they create.
Throughout this disc, the tunes are separated by brief interludes of acoustic instruments and strange noises: ping, plink, slurp, etc. Sometimes these lead clearly and directly in and out of the songs proper, other times they present contrast and a re-orienting of attention. Ultimately, they help to create a seamless flow from beginning to end, making this a great album to listen to in one sitting, or while driving. It is also wonderful background music to a social gathering, grooving and melodicizing unobtrusively and providing a rhythm from which to swing human interactions, and from time to time providing lyrical commentary on the perceived state of our shared universe.

Other important things to know about this music:
Andrew and Adrian are brothers. They have been Neon Brown for 5 or 6 years. They built their own instruments. Andrew’s main guitar, the plank, has a LOT of strings. He never uses a pick, preferring to tap or occasionally pluck. Some of his instruments have built in microphones so he can sing through his amplifier. Andrew has a beautiful voice and spirit. Adrian is out of his mind - but that’s a compliment. Adrian is rocknroll to Andrew’s music-of-the-spheres, arboreal to his ethereal. Both are essential. Adrian is unlike any other drummer. Andrew is unlike any other guitar player. Lastly and of note, they have thanked nearly everyone they know in the liner notes to this compact disc... How cool is that?! Oh yeah, and the cover art is STUZZADELIC beyond the pale.



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