Pulverizer of the Past

My friend Chris got some great NYT facetime with this article about his zany intermissions project. Some of the listening is really interesting, and the concept is a riot. Chris is someone that has a very unique relationship to sound, and I love him for it. The only thing weird about the article is that they put "sound-artist" in quotes as though that is a term which is either from another language or just not acceptable yet. Good job Chris, if anybody could get the word sound-artist in the Times you could. (Though usually you say Phonographer no?)

I came across these quotes that are relevant to Chris' work today:

"The musician, once outside the rules of harmony tries to understand and master the laws of acoustics in order to make them the mode of production of a new sound matter. Liberated from the constraints of the old codes, his discourse become non-localisable. Pulveriser of the past, he displays all of the characteristics of the technocracy..." (Jacques Attali)

"...In other words, digital freedom comes with a price attached: confusion gets disseminated from the fringes as much as from power centres. It therefore becomes the task of acoustic engineers to make a humanised noise, to wrestle the new tools into a language usable and accessible by the listener." (Rob Young from Worship the Glitch)

Audio Clips From “Music Before and Between Beethoven, Stravinsky, Holst”
Audio “After Beethoven” (mp3)

Audio “SF Variations” (mp3)

Audio “Holst, Hitherto” (mp3)


The Ladybug Transistor

My dear friend Kyle, Lisps emeritus and current Ladybug member, informed us on the road us of the tragic passing of San Fadyl, the drummer for Ladybug. I've posted below his letter remembering San.

Ladybug is performing tomorrow at Bowery, with Bowerbirds and Rosebuds, and their excellent new record is out June 5th on Merge.

As some of you know, my friend and bandmate in the Ladybug Transistor, San
Fadyl, passed away on Wednesday. Some of you knew San better than I did,
some of you didn't know him at all, but I wanted to share my thoughts on San
as I knew him. I also posted this on the blog set up about him at


The first time I met San Fadyl I was late for rehearsal and he was already
behind the drumkit. It was the first practice for the recordings that would
be my first with The Ladybug Transistor and, as it turns out, San's last.
Six months before, Gary Olson, a guy I had known through friends and seen
play with Ladybug the one time I saw the band, years before at NYU, had
asked if I would ever come over to work on some music with him. I was
surprised and flattered by the offer, and even more surprised, really, as,
over the next couple of months, I became more and more involved with the

I'm not sure when I even learned that the drummer was a guy named San who
lived in Switzerland. I do know that, on the day when I rushed down the
stairs of Gary's house, I had never seen a picture of San and I don't think
I knew that San wasn't actually FROM Switzerland, although maybe I did. So
obviously he made a surprising and distinct first visual impression. Look at
this short guy with unbelievably gorgeous hair and unbelievably gigantic
hands! And what a voice! And I'm almost positive he was wearing his novelty
DUNKIN DONUTS parody "FUCKIN GONUTS" shirt. We shook hands, I sat down at
the keyboards, and San counted off the song the rest of the assembled (Gary,
Ben, and Julia) were already working on, "Always on the Telephone."

This was one of the first songs I had worked on with Gary when we started
working together the previous autumn. The demo we had been doing was with a
little drum machine track, and did not even begin to prepare me for the
sound of this song as soon as San started drumming. I still distinctly
remember the feeling when we went into the first chorus, San switched to the
ride cymbal, and started playing the hi-hat (with "ching ring"!) on all (or,
actually what felt to me like way way way behing all) four beats. What a
feeling playing with this guy was!

So, my memory of this is slightly hazy, it might have actually been after a
different song, but I'm pretty sure that after we finished that very first
run-through of that song, Gary made a comment to San about something he had
been playing and San paused for a moment, then replied something like, "YES,
GAZA! I would be GLAD to do that! But, in THAT CASE, this will be my LAST
RECORD, as I am SICK to DEATH of playing this FUCKING TWEE MUSIC! FUCK!" I
was shocked, of course. After another song (again, slightly hazy memory of
this) Gary suggested that San try playing with brushes "to make it sound
like Fleetwood Mac", to which San replied, "Gary, if I had to choose between
sounding like Small FACES or the ZOMBIES, or FLEETWOOD MAC, I would NOT
choose FLEETWOOD FUCKING MAC!" These outbursts, I quickly came to
understand, were San's trademark, and his dedication to cranking them out
(with a truly breathtaking consistency), seemed to make them funnier and

After that week of recordings, I was exchanging e-mails with Julia, and she
wrote something really good about this: "Wait until you tour with
San....then you'll have a wealth of San-isms on heavy rotation in your mind.
You too, will start speaking like a bougeouis raving lunatic. Resistence is

I thought again of the "bourgeouis raving lunatic" line when we were on tour
in Spain last November. San was talking politics with Andy the tour manager
and being typically radical in his indictments of the wealthy, the
corporations, the military-industrial complex, etc. Andy called him a
"champagne socialist," to which he shot back, "Yes, Andy, I am a champagne
FUCKING socialist! I live in FUCKING ZURICH!"

San's convictions, about politics and music mostly (OK, also sex and
relationships, chocolate, potato chips, the media...), were expressed with a
unbelievable vehemence. I think he really enjoyed overstating his case,
knowing the amusement it brought others. I remember when we played a show
without him, opening for the New Zealand jangle pop band the Bats at
Maxwell's in Hoboken, and he texted Gary something to the effect of, "Ah!
The Bats! The music I TRIED to ignore in New Zealand in the 80's! It's no
ELP or Genesis!"

San's specific devotion to the decidely unfashionable (ESPECIALLY in his
chosen circle of friends and musicians!) genre of progressive rock (note:
writing this to Genesis' "Duke", although I know San would have prefered
Gabriel-era Genesis, of course. Sorry, dude.) was representative of his
contrarian nature, but more importantly, his absolute devotion to the craft
of music. I mean, the only reason I can think of to, as San ACTUALLY did,
listen to Phil Collins' fusion side project Brand X, is the appreciation of
music being played at an incredibly high technical level by people who have
spent years honing their ability to do that.

But, in this musical regard, what was so amazing about San was that, unlike
so many musicians who achieve this high level of craft, he was totally
concentrated not on showy technical stuff, but on "GROOVE" and "FEEL," as he
was always happy to talk about. Recording with San, he rarely needed more
than one take to play his part flawlessly. BUT, if he did make mistake, he
would still listen carefully to the take, and if he liked the FEEL,
disregard the mistake in service of what he considered more important.

Truly amazing also, given San's near-perfection in recording and performing
(I still remember one of the rare onstage mistakes I ever saw him make,
miscounting a measure in "Telephone" in Goteborg, Sweden. Immediately after
the song, San audibly yelled, "FUUUUUCKKK!" And never made the mistake
again) was the fact that I don't think I ever saw him criticize anyone else
for making a mistake. In fact, I never even saw him get frustrated while the
rest of us struggled to figure out how to play songs that he could already
play perfectly time after time. This is a patience I've found in almost no
one else I've ever worked with.

In fact, San was probably the most supportive person I've ever played with.
I just found this e-mail, from right after the EP we did together was
finished, subject: "I'M SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS... :) from San in Swizzy."
(This e-mail also reminded me of the joke San had, early in our time playing
together, of writing "Who the fuck is Kyle?" or just a question mark,
everytime I came up). "Just letting you know, after listening to the
master(piece) EP, how proud I am to have played with all of you....
especially Kyle (?)... :) the EP was beautifully recorded, and all of you
played wonderfully in it." I still remember how good it felt to read that
the first time.

The warmth of his personality, as it came out in his e-mails (the most
amazing e-mails, by far, I've ever read, from anyone) and in person, was
really amazing. In a group of people with very complicated relationships, he
was above every conflict, the only person NO ONE had anything negative to
say about. He was fiercely protective of the people he cared about. I
remember recording something with him late at night. Gary was engineering.
He had just found some space on the tape, but there was a chance, if we went
longer than expected, we would tape over part of a song Julia had written.
San yelled, "Gary! Do NOT tape over JULIA'S SONG!" It was like wathching a
mother bear protect her young.

Something that I've been surprised by the last few hours I've sat here is
that the times I've gotten really choked up were when I was writing about
San as a musician. And I think that really would have pleased him. He was
one of the most beautiful people I have ever met, but when he was playing
the drums he brought out a beauty in the people he was playing with too, and
I will never forget that and will of course always think of him and try my
hardest to do the same.
The Lisps Homecoming Bash @ Luna Lunge 5/14/07

Keith Zarriello

Jeremy Double Dutching

Salt and Samovar

The Lisps

Sammy broke her tambourine...

Salt and Samovar joined us for the finale..

Lisps pictures by Jeri Keimig

I didn't get pictures of DDWTYH because I got sacrificed again and then had to go set up!

This is a Tour and We Went on it

So things have been quite hectic ever since landing back home to New York, but here's a shot at illustrating the utter joy that was the Lisps tour...

From Las Vegas we went through Death Valley...

and over the Sierra Nevadas...truly amazing....

San Fran

was super wonderful. Kate Saturday from DeatHat painted my face, we were going for Darryl Hanna from bladerunner but it turned out a little more like the Hamburgular.

Death Hat...

We met our new best friends Agent Ribbons...Who stole all of our hearts and cooked us breakfast.


Sammy hung out with her famous boyfriends:

had some shots...

We were charmed by Parson Redheads...

played Pictionary...

San Diego was special. Jesse from Princeton was cute as a button and has an amazing voice...

Scene Bar in LA...not the best show.

We were off to Denver...sped past our beloved Vegas...over the rockies...and we all felt like we were going to barf because of the altitude.

Laura Goldhamer put together a great show for us...

Bad Weather California was fantastic.

Paper Bird
...oh Man.

Imagine three of the most attractive girls you've ever seen singing impeccably executed and extraordinarily complex harmonies, with two cute as crap boys playing trombone and guitar...and that's paper bird. The were even missing their virtuoustic banjo player...man they were great.

(video to come)

We hung out with them later at their house which is apparently the International Headquarters for Youthful Idealism, and general Joie de Vivre.

Laura Goldhamer played us a few songs. She is so wonderful and weird. And she is good friends with one of my favorite bands in the world The Books.

and then we were off to Kansas....

isn't it amazing that kansas actually looks like that?

Lawrence was a very great show...the only bummer was that I broke 3 strings during the show which caused a lot of bad joke telling to kill time.....the altitude changes seriously f'ed up my guitar I think. Coat Party was very fun....They should get together w/ Ear Pwr.

Coat Party

Sammy w/ Melissa from WJHK

St. Louis

Way Out club was very cool...it was a country western bar in the 30s and 40s. Lot's a class.

obligatory Arch shot


so good...so many friends....

Pool of Frogs rocked

This show was one of the most surreal of my entire life. It started off as a beautiful outdoor house show. The Yspi noise-folk allstars rocked and we played about half our set in this little puppet theater-esque porch thing.

But of course the Ypsilanti police showed up and shut us down...so we moved inside and Eric played a tambourine, cowbell and scrabble pieces.

And then the amazing Carla Harryman joined us for a an improvisation (video coming)

and THEN we were led to a remote location by Double Dutch will take you Higher...

and treated to an amazing moonlit jump-rope-o-rama!


This was Day 2 of our 3 day lovemaking session with/ DDWTYH...and it was a carnival of activities and beer.

We all did Caricatures of one another:

I was sacrificed

Sammy did pretty well in the Hula Hoop contest:

DDWTYH killed it:

Standard Hijinks:

Cutest Dog in the World: Definitely..no that's her name: Definitely (Deafinitely?)

And we were homeward bound.

Baba was happy to see us, she got a fancy pink collar while we were gone.