CORPSE OF DISCOVERY with Bryan Zimmerman (AD038)

2010
Bryan Zimmerman

This 12" LP record release (Edition of 500) features the collaborative effort of Corpse of Discovery, a free-form music collective initiated by Bryan Zimmerman in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. In an effort to employ transmissions as a melodic and narrative element in music, Zimmerman samples shortwave radio transmissions, two-way radio communications from Brooklyn-based livery service dispatchers and drivers, cellphone interference, cellphone-processed voice and instrumentation, and other transmission-related sounds.

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Laura Ortman, renowned multi-instrumentalist, longtime collaborator with Zimmerman in the band The Dust Dive, and Zimmerman’s “other half,” appears on all six tracks playing a range of instruments, including Hammond C3 organ, violin, electric guitar, megaphoned vocals, and Casiotone analog synth. Ortman unintentionally summed up Zimmerman’s original motivation for the project when remarking that the finished record “sounds like family music!…” “For years I’d wanted to make a door-to-door recording with friends in NYC whose music I admire,” says Zimmerman. “Then I realized what a lifelong project that is, and pared this one down to Laura, some friends from Kansas who now live in New York, and a few others. Making an album with 11 musicians was enough.”

The other constant presence on the album is acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and intrepid recording engineer Jason Loewenstein (Sebadoh, Fiery Furnaces, Circle of Buzzards). “The Dust Dive had a great time recording our last album with Jason in our apartment . I asked him if he wanted to engineer, co-produce, and play on this album using his portable recording rig, the ‘jakerock mobile unit, ’” says Zimmerman. “I presented it to him as an ‘adventure album.’ He ended up crafting fun and coherent music from all of the divergent overdub sessions and jam demos.” Aside from featuring Loewenstein’s prowess as engineer, the album also features him playing drums, guitar, as well as bass on the lively and compelling Liberty Dime Under the Linoleum, Flor de Muerto.

Prominently in the mix alongside Ortman and Loewenstein are three members of the enigmatic art-punk band Dichroics, Seth Abrames, Charlie Hines, and Darin Mickey. Drums on three of the six tracks are provided by Jeff Conaway, the stellar sticks behind cult psych-prog band The Psychic Paramount. The family tree branches ever forward and backward from there: Dichroics and The Psychic Paramount both feature members of the “criminally underheard and unrecognized” ‘90s Lawrence, Kansas-based band Panel Donor—as well as ambient-noise duo Sabers; Seth Abrames and Darin Mickey are both veterans of the punk-rock trio Gift Giver; multi-instrumentalists Shelley Burgon and (K.C. native) Shannon Fields—both bandmates with Ortman in Stars Like Fleas—join in on the shimmery instrumental track Collapse of the Magnetosphere; a mesmerizing pedal-steel guitar loop by Michael Sump—who played with Archer Prewitt in the magical yet also obscure ‘80s K.C.-based jangle-pop band Bangtails—is made into Sumptown, a moody tribute to Sump; and the lineage continues to unfold. (See below for comprehensive credits).

Guiding listeners through the urban-pastoral montage are Zimmerman’s colorful lyrics and eccentric narrative flow. The lyricist receives a “a cursive text from a scorpion” in Apache slang on his cellphone in the Mexican Day of the Dead tribute song Liberty Dime Under the Linoleum, Flor de Muerto; awkwardly requests “the latest issue of Malt Liquor Spectator” magazine in gringo, Google-translated Spanish, and discovers “a mummified cowboy in the wall on Broadway/A mummified cowboy at the mall in Reno” on Junkie Observer, Malt Liquor Spectator. With odd sincerity, the opening track, My Disco Ball, paints a swirling urban-to-rural /death-to-beauty continuum, evoking—as the album name and the other five tracks also do—the Corpse’s lively and ragged urban quest for equanimity.

Reggae Delta Car Crash… was guitarist Darin Mickey’s response to hearing a rough mix of “My Disco Ball.” Sealing this nomadic, jump-cut geographic character of the album are Zimmerman’s radio samples—including a wide variety of contemporary shortwave transmissions captured with his father’s collection of WWII-era military radios, two-way radio communications from Brooklyn livery service dispatchers and drivers, and sundry cellphone-processed sounds, including a passage featuring Zimmerman’s mother playing a J.S. Bach cantata over her cellphone from a church in Kansas City.

ALBUM CREDITS

Track 1: My Disco Ball (4:49)
Seth Abrames—cowbell; Jeff Conaway —drums; Charlie Hines—bass; Darin Mickey—lap-steel guitar, guitar loops; Laura Ortman—Hammond C3 organ, electric guitar; Bryan Zimmerman —vocals, samples

Track 2: Collapse of the Magnetosphere (4:42)
Seth Abrames—glockenspiel; Shelley Burgon—harp; Shannon Fields—Casio; Charlie Hines—bass; Darin Mickey—guitar; Laura Ortman—violin; Bryan Zimmerman —samples

Track 3: Sumptown (3:48)
Travis Millard—guitar; Laura Ortman—violin; Michael Sump—pedal-steel guitar; Bryan Zimmerman —vocals, musical saw, samples

Track 4: Liberty Dime Under the Linoleum, Flor de Muerto (3:38)
After “K-Mart” by Elk City; Jason Loewenstein—drums, bass, guitar; Laura Ortman—guitar, Casio; Bryan Zimmerman—vocals, samples; Jolene Zimmerman—organ coda

Track 5: I Blew a Casket Dreamin (3:49)
Jeff Conaway—drums; Jason Loewenstein—drums; Travis Millard—vocals, field recordings; Laura Ortman—vocals; Bryan Zimmerman—vocals, samples

Track 6: Junkie Observer, Malt Liquor Spectator (5:14)
Seth Armstrong—acoustic guitar; Jeff Conaway —drums; Charlie Hines—bass Jason Loewenstein—drums; Darin Mickey—guitar; Laura Ortman—Casio, violin; Bryan Zimmerman —vocals, samples

Musical direction, songs, and lyrics by Bryan Zimmerman; Engineered by Jason Loewenstein; Produced by Bryan Zimmerman and Jason Loewenstein; Engineering assistance by Charles Burst; Mastered on the East River by Joe Lambert; Selected radio tuning provided by John Zimmerman; Artwork by Bryan Zimmerman; Printed at The Cooper Union Printshop with Lorenzo Clayton, Pablo Diaz, Cara DiEdwardo, Dan Morris, and Scott Nobles Recorded at various spaces in Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens*, April 21–June 7, 2010; Transferred to tape at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn; Pressed by EKS Manufacturing in Brooklyn

*Travis Millard’s guitar, vocals, and field recordings on “Sumptown” and “ I Blew a Casket Dreamin” recorded in Los Angeles, CA.

CORPSE OF DISCOVERY BAND TREE:

Seth Abrames���Dichroics, Gift Giver, Enduro, The Dust Dive
Seth Armstrong—Pleaser
Shelley Burgon—Rowan, Stars Like Fleas, Ne(x)tworks, Family Dynamics
Jeff Conaway—The Psychic Paramount, Panel Donor, Sabers
Shannon Fields—Stars Like Fleas, The Silent League, Family Dynamics
Charlie Hines—Dichroics, Panel Donor, Sabers
Travis Millard (Fudge Factory Comics): Ugly Boyfriend
Jason Loewenstein—Sebadoh, Circle of Buzzards, Fiery Furnaces
Darin Mickey—Dichroics, Gift Giver
Laura Ortman—The Dust Dive Flash, The Dust Dive, Stars Like Fleas, The Coast Orchestra, Family Dynamics
Michael Sump—Bangtails
Bryan Zimmerman —The Dust Dive, Dichroics