Last Year, Part Four (Nathan McGlothlin)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Nathan McGlothlin, HSAL founder & part of both TLVS & honeybrandy, turned in:

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#1 – St. Basil The Great, “On The Holy Spirit: After spending a year reading through an orthodox daily planner, I decided to dig deeper into works written by the people who were influential as Christianity (in various strands) came into its own. As I read, I was continually fascinated by two things: 1) the logic that 4th century men used to explain the supernatural & 2) how much of the grammatical structure I had attributed to “English” was alive, well, & utilized by the learned in late antiquity.

#2 – Mr. Robot (Season Two)”: There was quite a bit of engaging television released this year (“Stranger Things”, “Westworld”), but I found myself especially drawn to the continuation of this story. Even more so than the inaugural season, I was enamored with the way sounds & music were woven into the storytelling. Without giving too much away, the use of “story within a story” over the season’s arch may have been the best I’ve seen. Oh, & the episode where the lead character’s mind melds his world with an alternate universe based on the USA Network of the early-to-mid 90’s was fantastic.

#3 – Battle Trance, “Blade Of Love (New Amsterdam/NNA Tapes): My connection with this album was unique in that I purchased the LP via pre-order, but saw the quartet perform it live before hearing the recorded version. Hyperbole aside, the live performance was something my soul needed. It was this incredible moment of release. Times that felt like directionless wandering were suddenly important because of their beauty in their moment. When I was able to spin the record for the first time & realize that everything I heard in the live setting was orchestrated to be that way, I was all the more impressed. It didn’t surprise me in the least to see this record show up on top of year-end lists.

#4 – Todd Webb, “Basic Forms: In mid-October, honeybrandy was invited to play Webb’s gallery opening (this made sense b/c Webb’s “Oahu” project shared a split cassette with us earlier in the year). Having been a fan of his work for a while, I felt like I had an idea of what to expect. When we arrived at the gallery (“Thank You” in Norfolk VA), there was an immediate invitation to engage the art. Todd had prints of original drawings & was asking attendees to color them using pieces from the old-school 64-crayon Crayola box. He had comics that were begging to be thumbed through. He had over a dozen original drawings with different motivational or life-affirming statements. He uploaded twelve different color-coded audio files to an Instagram account & invited attendees to create their own mix of sounds by connecting their phones to a mixer & playing different files. A wonderful experience!

#5 – Tracking the honeybrandy record at BIG EGO: In November, Joey, Joanna & I made the trip out west to work with Chris Schlarb on what we hoped would become the first full length for honeybrandy. It was wonderful to step away from everyday life & focus on this project & southern California proved to be the PERFECT setting. Schlarb had arranged for some world class additions to the session – Phillip Greenlief on reeds & Kris Tiner on trumpet. We thought to ourselves “If we come away from the weekend with enough material for a full-length, we’ll call it a success”. After a day of tracking & a day of mixing, we headed back east with nearly two hours of spacey ambient jazz. 2017 will be a wild ride as we figure out how to share this one with you all!

Last Year, Part Three (Andrew Horton)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Andrew Horton, social media provocateur & young hierophant, turned in:

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#1Sound of Ceres’ live show: I loved their record on Joyful Noise, but now Jacob Graham (the Creatures of Yes, Cascading Slopes) has created a completely amazing DIY live show with lasers, fog, and more. It’s like a band brought Epcot with them on tour, even if they’re playing in a storefront space. Best live show I’ve seen in years.

#2The Makenoise 0-Coast synthesizer: I’ve been a fan of their modules for years, but this is the culmination – a small, affordable, cute desktop box that can turn on a dime and take you to entirely new sound worlds. It’s a brilliant design that does more than many full modular systems and it sounds amazing.

#3The Norfolk, VA music scene: I moved here after a long time in Chicago, where in big city style everyone is in constant competition and would rather balkanize scenes into increasingly fragmented camps. It’s amazing to see how everyone acts like they’re in it together; we just want something cool to do. People come out for shows and support each other. Bills are never not diverse. The future of music is local and provincial; flee the doomed megalopolis!

#4Health: Do everything in your power to take care of yourself and have healthcare. Beg, borrow, steal. I had a surprise incident this year that left me with $6,000+ in debt and a shaky sense of my own mortality and that’s with good insurance and a safety net. For your health!

#5Big Sur, CA: I can’t even put into words how special this place is. It’s primordial. It’s overcrowded with tourists but it’s also as alone as you can get in the Conus at the same time. One of the most legitimately magical places I’ve been.

Last Year, Part Two (James Tritten)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what James Tritten, the “dude” half of Raleigh’s Band & The Beat, turned in:

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#1 – Saturday, January 30, 2016: The first inspiration that comes to mind technically did not take place in 2015.  However, the basis of what took place revolved around the date: Saturday, January 30, 2016.  And frankly, what came out of the events leading up to that specific date are so important to me and my wife, Tracy, it deserves to be included on this 2016 list.  On November 22, 2015, I reached out to Nathan McGlothlin about scheduling a performance for Band & The Beat in Lynchburg VA for that date in 2016: January 30.  While the concert technically never happened, fast forward one year later and what I can tell you is this… I am so thankful for having reached out to Harding Street Assembly Lab, because Tracy and I now have a beautiful, new friendship with two amazing people: Joanna and Nathan McGlothlin.  It is one of the many examples, and things that I do not take for granted, about what keeps me going, working in the music industry.  Many of our closest friendships are with people like Joanna and Nathan, spread out all across the USA, from similar encounters.  Thank you both, Joanna and Nathan, for your continuous support, but more importantly, your love and friendship.

#2 – Tuesday, August 2, 2016: This is the day that Tracy and I lost one of our most favorite people, Renee (REE-nee) Olson.  She was 101 years young, and lived in Tucson AZ.  We had been friends with Renee since 2006. She had such a tremendous influence on our lives, from the very first day we met her. She told us her ‘secret’ – everyone that lives to be near one hundred years of age has a ‘secret;’ something that keeps them going / keeps them young – was raw garlic and her beverage-of-choice: Vodka Lemondrops.   Renee Olson had more style in her lil’ pinkie than all of Hollywood combined.  We used to play poker with her (nearly) every Saturday night; for quarters, but it was still damn fun.  I’ll never forget that time she pulled out a (B.B.) gun.  We will simply never forget Renee, and everything she taught us.  We love you, and miss (the heck out of) you, Renee Olson.

#3 – Friday, September 23, 2016: The day Gus died.  Well, he did not really die.  But, in regards to Band & The Beat, and Gus being our trusty 1987 Volvo 240 DL Wagon that was being used as our tour vehicle… he died, Friday, September 23, 2016.  We were scheduled to play a show on that date in Richmond VA with our friend Anousheh, and her friends Way, Shape, Or Form at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.  Tracy and I both were really looking forward to the show, and seeing Anousheh again.  Unfortunately, Gus was not able to make the trek between Raleigh and Richmond, and since this was not the first time Gus left us stranded with our travels, we had to officially retire him from his touring responsibilities.  I too had to retire my own dreams sailing Gus through the concrete rivers of America, and face reality that were going to need something a bit more reliable (and modern).  Now we have a monthly reminder (at least for the next six years, unless we can pay it off faster) that some things are not worth taking a gamble on; sometimes it is best to just play it smart (I did not want to say “safe,” but that too).

#4 – Friday, October 14, 2016: “Ahhhh,” the official release date for the Band & The Beat cassette tape with Harding Street Assembly Lab.  For me, this day is a reminder that someone else, other than my wife or family, believed / believes in what I’m doing.  Someone else was / is passionate about something that I personally created, and wanted to share it with the world / with others.  This is another thing that keeps me going, especially with making music; support.  You can’t do it without the support of others, and it is a great thing to feel when it is there, and genuine / from the heart. Those little pink cassette tapes came out lookin’ pretty sweet.  For the fifty people that own them, I hope they are enjoying the music.  We are hoping to write a lot more music in 2017, for Band & The Beat and Tracy Shedd, so maybe that little pink cassette tape will get a few brothers and sisters soon.

#5 – Friday, October 21 and Friday, November 11, 2016: I have been happily married to my best friend for 16 years.  I love my life with my wife, and it makes me very happy to see others share a similar bond. So, when I have an opportunity to witness others in love make their own lifelong commitment to one another, it reminds me how very special my life is with Tracy and keeps me focused on nurturing our own marriage.  This year presented two such special occasions: the wedding of our friends Tina and Charlie Banks in October, and Andrea and Chad Irwin in November.  At the Bank’s wedding, the minister not only had Tina and Charlie read their wedding vows, but he had vows for the family and friends in the audience to read aloud as well, holding all of us accountable to provide nothing by positive support and influence toward the newly married couple.  It was the first (and only, to date) time that I had witnessed something like that at a wedding, and I have to say I thought it was a pretty powerful and important thing to do.  As family, or friends, we should all be held accountable for looking out for each other.  That’s what we are supposed to do for each other.  I appreciate that Tina and Charlie asked that of all of their family and friends, and I’ll be sure to live up to my end of the bargain, for them, Andrea and Chad, and everyone else that I care about.

Last Year, Part One (Benjamin Mauch)

We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what from the last twelve months inspired them. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Benjamin Mauch, whose “Golden Bay Garden” rates as one of our fave releases from 2016, turned in:

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#1 – Jeremy Bible, “Music For Black Holes (self-released): When I found out that this album was coming out, I immediately placed an order for the physical copy, and was not disappointed. Long form drone that is beautiful and dark in the best ways possible.

#2 – Bibliotheca: I also immediately placed an order for this when it was showcased on Kickstarter, but it was over two years ago when I did. Following the development and production of this project has been fun, and the final product (a Bible with a reworked translation that is void of chapters/ verses and is meant to be read like a book) is perfect.

#3 – Kevin Drumm, “Artificial Organ (self-released): A surprising release from a prolific artist. Listening to a new work by Kevin Drumm is like inviting a ghost to stay in your room for a while; it’s initially disturbing, but after chatting and listening, the ghost tells you things that would have never been revealed otherwise.

#4 – Andy Stott, “Too Many Voices (Modern Love): Andy Stott has made me appreciate techno, albeit the experimental kind. “Too Many Voices” is brimming with interesting textures that make it worthy of many repeated listens, especially while driving in the city at night.

#5 – Eluvium, “False Readings On (Temporary Residence Ltd): This is by far the most beautiful and heart wrenching album Matthew Cooper has released. It’s gorgeous.

HSAL #33 – “Iconostasis”

Last month, Joey & Nathan tracked what will become honeybrandy‘s debut full-length. While they are working out details for that record (NOTE: it’s really a next level affair. Stay tuned!), the duet has turned in “Iconostasis”.

Tracked in Nathan’s basement, which doubles as the group’s rehearsal space, this collection of 2016 recordings hints at the skin in which this duet will continue to find comfort. It’s a 32-minute vigil where tension is established between solace-inducing drones & found sounds that play like nearly-forgotten memories.

 

So, THAT happened…

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(clockwise from left: Joey Wright, Phillip Greenlief, Kris Tiner, Chris Schlarb, Nathan McGlothlin)

To say this past weekend was magical would be to understate its impact. HSAL traveled to southern California to mix down some new TLVS tunes & have honeybrandy cut a record with some seriously heavy hitters.

Nathan & Joey from TLVS spent a day working through the sounds that Chris Schlarb had captured at the Old City Cemetery Chapel back in July. A tweek here, an assembly direction there, & the involvement of a vintage Lexicon Prime Time delay unit later…the group now has fresh recordings of two new songs that have been bookending recent sets (“Stencils”, “Fragaria (Virginia)”). We are currently exploring options on how to share these tunes with you all.

On Friday, honeybrandy set up in Long Beach’s Big Ego Studios for a whirlwind session that drank freely from session guests Kris Tiner (trumpet), Phillip Greenlief (reeds), & studio owner Chris Schlarb (electric guitar). In the span of a day, nearly two hours of complete improvisation was captured. Reflecting on the session, Tiner described it as “weightless, effortless, sensitive and transcendent music”. Alongside of Schlarb, the duo took to listening back & mixing down the material on Sunday. Needless to say, we are ecstatic with the results & can’t wait to unveil this work.

…oh, & due to our avid fandom of “Arrested Development”, we paid a visit to the RMS Queen Mary, which has been docked in Long Beach harbor since 1967.