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Last updated 08/25/2015
On August 21 2015, Fire Records released a box set of four vinyl lps caled 'Elitism For The People, Pere Ubu 1975-1978.' It consists of 'The Modern Dance,' 'Dub Housing,' 'The Hearpen Singles,' and a live set recorded at Max's Kansas City in 1977 called 'Manhattan.' Also in the box are a reprint of the 'Datapanik '77' poster and codes for free audio downloads in the MP3 (VBR), MP3 320 kbps, FLAC, ALAC, AAC, or Ogg Vorbis formats.
Paul Hamann at Suma digitally transferred the original quarter-inch two-track analog master mix tapes at the highest resolution available, 192khz / 24 bit. That's more than four times the audio resolution of CD music. The vinyl was cut directly from those files on the best lathe Neumann manufactured. The down-sampling necessary for cd production and audio download files was accomplished after a two year study of the 'black arts' of the realms beyond human hearing. The result is probably the best fidelity that's been commercially produced and as close as can be achieved to audio transparency between the various media.
All releases are available in all territories. An April 18 2015 release of the box set in conjunction with National Record Store Day was limited to the UK and EU.
Fire has also released individual cd and vinyl lp editions of 'The Modern Dance' and 'Dub Housing.' These also include free download codes.
It's shipping now!
Although the release date to stores for Carnival of Souls is September 8/9, mail orders ship beginning August 18 from Ubutique and Fire Records. Cogs, The Making of Carnival of Souls, a 100 page paperback of 'liner notes' by David Thomas, is also now available from the same sources. The iTunes download release is available for pre-order now and doing so gets you an immediate copy of the song 'Road to Utah.'
Underscore to Carnival of Souls in Paris
The Pere Ubu Film Group (in this case, David Thomas, Keith Moliné, Gagarin and Darryl Boon) will perform a live underscore to Carnival of Souls as part of the L'Étrange Festival at Forum des Images, Paris, on Friday, September 12. This will be the original underscore that evolved into the music for the album. It will be subtitled in French. Tickets go on sale August 20. See Calendar page.
Lindsay Cooper Memorial Events
Lindsay Cooper died last year. She was a collaborator on many of the David Thomas solo projects of the mid 80s. Memorial evenings at the Barbican, London, and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival are scheduled for November 21 and 22 2014, featuring Henry Cow, Music For Films, News From Babel and Oh Moscow. Below is a tribute Thomas wrote for the program:
Lindsay Cooper was a tough old bird. There are testimonials galore to her talent. The most significant is the body of her work. But, at a certain level of the masonic Brotherhood of the Unknown, talent is a given. 'Yeah, that was a great performance but that's what you're paid to do.' Deeper within the Order is a quality that endures and speaks to the heart. Lindsay was a tough old bird.Pre-orders of Carnival of Souls
In the mid 80s, I had a trio that probably went by various names, mostly David Thomas and the Pedestrians. It was me, Lindsay and Chris Cutler. Voice, bassoon/sax, and drums. It was a surprisingly good listen, but far from conventional.
We were booked to play in Madrid two nights. It turned out to be a disco. The doors would open only after all the bars shut. The first night, we waited in a narrow 'dressing room' that was filthy beyond words. The flooring was sticky way past the point of being adhesive. Roaches and unidentifiable insects ran riot. Any time your eye rested on a spot on the wall, or floor, it moved. The smell was unique. The support was a Spanish cliche-punk band. The air compressed with every ill-timed foot drum beat. The audience had achieved a uniform post-drunkenness before we stepped on stage. We did the show, manfully enduring, manfully excelling, manfully uncompromised. It hurt bad. In the 'dressing room' afterwards someone said, "We get to do this all over again tomorrow."
The promoter swore up and down that the support band for the second night is much more "simpatico." Very simpatico. He kept saying it. We arrive as the support is finishing sound check. There are twelve of them on stage. The music is 80s Euro-pop of the worst kind. They are all made up to look like Adolph Hitler.
So, when I think of Lindsay, I remember Madrid. She was one for the trenches. You could count on her when the going got rough. Her art endured through the pain.
Chris, Lindsay and I will always have Madrid.
Pre-order the cd or vinyl from Fire Records. Pre-order the download from iTunes,'Road to Utah,' is provided at the time of ordering.
UK and Spanish Tour Dates Confirmed
See the Calendar page. More info will be forthcoming. More dates will be announced.
'Irene' single release
'Irene,' the video for the first single from Pere Ubu's forthcoming album Carnival of Souls, complies with Ubu Projex Rule #2, 'Self Expression is Evil.' Clyde, a puppet from the Daisy Jordan Weebly Collection, hosts the song. "Singers should not be seen and not be heard" David Thomas says. The exclusive b-side 'Moonstruck' is a remix of the album track 'Drag the River' by Gagarin / Moliné.
The single can be purchased as a download.
Carnival of Souls sees Pere Ubu target Prog Rock in the continuation of their 'fixing things' manifesto; "a complex and sensual reaction to living in a world overrun with monkeys and strippers who tickle your ears, cajole you to join in with their cavorting and then become vindictive when you decline." The album is Pere Ubu's 18th album over a forty year career that has seen them break rules, confuse and continue to divide music critics globally.
The album can be pre-ordered from Fire Records.
Excerpt from the book 'Cogs, The Making of Carnival of Souls'
"The worst kind of musician is a singer. The dawning of wisdom for any singer is a healthy dread of singing. There are people who are in love with the sound of their own voice and evidently believe that their singing can add to others' joy and enlightenment. This is a bad attitude and a dangerous one. It feeds ego and self-esteem. It encourages paternalism.
"Don't feed the monkey!
"Far better that a singer should resent having to sing. Singing is a nasty social habit, like spitting in the street. Sometimes you gotta do it but you oughta be discreet."
Meet Darryl Boon
Darryl Boon is the newest member of the group. A clarinetist, he is an enthusiastic advocate of Dixieland. David met him while he was playing in a jazz group in a pub in Hove.
New Album Videos
A number of song videos have been produced for the new album. Released so far are:
Road to Utah
Pere Ubu Fixes Things
Self expression is evil
Q: So the album is about the movie...
A: No. The album is not about the movie. The album is 'about' a complex sensual response to living in a world overrun by monkeys and strippers who tickle your ears, cajole you to join in with their cavorting and then become vindictive when you decline. I got rid of my TV because I don't want them in my house. I got rid of my phone because I don't want them calling me. So if you understand that and add in several more keyframes and make at least two more intuitive jumps, then you can see what role the movie has as ambient background noise - in the same way that sun shining through the trees along the Yellowstone River has as a reference point to Kerouac's 'On The Road.'
Rat puppets and Pere Ubu
Recently come to light, Pere Ubu's appearance on the extremely popular BBC kids show of the 80s hosted by a rat puppet. The fellow who was Roland The Rat was a big Pere Ubu fan and insisted that they be invited to play the show. The band was in Athens on the Saturday, flew into London on the Sunday to tape the show, and then flew back to Athens that day to do a second show. This was the Greasy Chicken Incident that had David checking into the hotel at 3am with a very large, leaking cardboard box filled with fried chickens. He left his shoes on the reception counter when the band went to the roof to consume said chicken and watch the sun rise over the Parthenon.
But, not just one rat puppet host. Here is a David Thomas appearance on a Chicago cable tv kids show.
Keith Moliné Solo Album
Keith Moliné has two electronic albums available on the Entr'acte label. The most recent of these is Crritic! (2013) It is themed around Moliné's work as a music journalist, and comprises two interlocking pieces carrying a dedication to Hans Keller, Desmond Leslie and Lester Bangs. 'I Only Asked' uses an interview recording - questions only - to modulate various sound parameters, and is a reworking of a piece first performed at Café OTO, London in March 2011. 'Hatchet Job' is based on a computer speech recording of all the negative reviews Moliné has penned for 'The Wire' magazine in the last ten years. These amount to around 50,000 words.
The album Ley (2012) is collaboration with trumpeter Andy Diagram from Two Pale Boys. It features acoustic improvisations recorded in Diagram's garden fed through Moliné's arcane modular software patches.
Both albums are available from the entracte.co.uk site following the respective links above. The following links might also be of interest:
Keith has a blog.
Ubu Sings Ubu, April 9-26
The press release:
Actor/director Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz star in Ubu Sings Ubu, an immersive theatrical mash up of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi and the songs of experimental cult band Pere Ubu. Adapted from a version of the original French text, and run through the Google Translate™ engine, Torn and company are fueled by the giddy, angular new wave rock of Pere Ubu, the cult band whose name and style were inspired by the play. Torn, who co-directs with Dan Safer of Witness Relocation, plays Pere Ubu while Muz is Mere Ubu, in a bizarre parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth, set in Poland instead of Scotland.
"I first fell in love with the band Pere Ubu in high school, when my brother Jon brought the song 'The Modern Dance' over to our friend Daniel Pinchbeck's house and we threw it on the turntable," says Torn. "The music led me to the insanely scatological play Ubu Roi, and from thence into a career in experimental theater. I first thought of doing a production like this over thirty years ago. And now it's time to put up or shut up."
Torn's adaptation process is as irreverent as Jarry's text. "Jarry's script is a scatological school boy prank," Torn explains. "He wrote the play to make fun of his high school physics teacher. The stupidity of Google Translate™ matches the intentional stupidity of the play - which is super exciting to me." In adapting the sprawling original text for a more intimate production, Torn (in collaboration with co-director Safer and poet Nicole Peyrafitte, who earned the unique title of "Merdreturge" for her work) feels he has discovered something hidden inside the famously scatological epic. "It's a love story - a disturbing and outlandish one, but very real."
Location: Abrons Art Center: 466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street) New York, NY
Interviewer: Why was there no bass player for the 'Visions of the Moon' tour in Italy & the UK?
DT: Circumstances forced a range of scenarios. At the same time I became obsessed with the new material we had been developing since July following the 'Carnival of Souls' performance. The LFS project, as I have noted elsewhere, was the culmination of a 20 year project designed to integrate improvisation into the compositional process in a particular way. The new material suggested the beginning of a new long-term project and I was anxious to get on with it rather than repeat LFS in the UK and Italy. This suggested a 'shock troops' orientation for the Pere Ubu line-up since much of the performance would be improvised from night to night as ideas were explored. Having both a drummer and a bass player in the band would constrain the process. Bass players and drummers have a foolish notion that they should play together and it's hard to shake them from their convictions. I went with a drummer - Michele had not been involved with the 'Carnival of Souls' because of scheduling conflicts but Steve had. We are now working on bringing in Michele in a particular way reminiscent of the Chinese Whispers method.
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