so i realize this crosses over with the "other projects" category. however, this project is more or less a reflection on where I've been, what I've been doing, and where I am now. creating and sharing music has been at the center of my life for well over a decade now, and it has taught me so much. it truly is a spiritual activity. i have met so many amazing and talented people, and many of my most intimate and closest friendships began as peer musicians sharing our music and love for music. through music we learn to open up to things that are different, abide peacefully in what we enjoy, and take comfort in the enjoyment of others. it hasnt been a very easy or even comfortable journey, but all in all it has enriched my life and granted me lasting peace and happiness, even when it didn't look like it. i hope to share some of this equanimitous bliss with you and hopefully encourage you to take a journey into your very own enjoyments and adventures and share them with people you love.
July 2020 -
I am writing this at a strange time. A viral pandemic has gripped the world that refuses to face its own impermanence. The idea of truth has been so distorted that there are now several alternate timelines co-emergent and intertwining in a mess of vine reclaiming it’s stolen territory. I am forced to look back and within, as I now live in Florida amid this time of collective insanity. And yet I still feel clear and hopeful.
I have been a musician since childhood, yet I have been a (oh, how you say… “psychedelic electroacoustic experimental free jazz folk self published DIY musician and producer”... is there any other way of saying it? What has music become these days, at the dawn of a dark and beautiful and terrifying 21st century? What does it mean to be a musician in the age of hyper-commodification and memes? I’m not going to try to answer this question, I’m just gonna talk about myself and my history as a ——- musician) musician in this “new era” of music. And perhaps these are just the words and sounds from another kid born in the late 80’s ripping off every era of Animal Collective and lacing that with Dan Deacon, Grizzly Bear, Lightning Bolt and other breakthrough artists of this era whose influences are proudly worn on the sleeves, so to speak. Who knows. I dont mean to reduce the art ive spent well over a decade creating to such claims, however it has always been a thought in my mind, whether it was before during or after making the song. It certainly became less of a thought as time went on. All I know is at some point early I admitted to myself that ultimately I’m gonna end up playing the music I want to hear, and for a long time all I wanted to hear was Animal Collective. Like many other youngsters I was obsessed - I had never heard music like that before. And the more i learned about them, the more music history i began to learn and explore and experience. I was caught up on all progressive and forward thinking music of the last half century. I learned about John Cage, which was my entrance into Buddhism.
So now that THAT’s out of the way, onto the main event- commentary on the tracks!!! The last 13 years have been so many things- i always thought of it in terms of this idea you’ll encounter along this mixtape called the “Spectral Storm” - a skirmish of good and bad influences, happiness, sadness, frustration, disappointment, redemption, ecstasy, everything- all swirling together as one calamitous boom. Ultimately I feel as though I have found lasting joy.
(where the band name is omitted, it is to implied that it is a solo effort)
Lights (2007) - A nice little ditty I recorded in a fancy new MacBook that the college I was attending included with all the tuition that I’m in debt for and currently diligently paying off. I got pretty good use out of it, recording dozens of collections and editing several short films and music videos, some of which still survive in the deep recesses of the web (hopefully whats left will be collected on this site). I recorded it in the living room of my mom’s apartment back in Wilmington.
Egg Sandwiches - Bobdignananthony (2008) - Similar story to the one above, however this version was recorded with Kian in our little weird duo. We recorded over a 3 day period at his family’s beach house in Lewes Delaware. Was supposed to be a ditty for a local cafe.
Cindy Electronium [Raymond Scott] (2009) - This was my first ever solo set, I was ill prepared, as I was for most things in life at that point. We set up a Halloween party show in our basement at a house me and some friends lived at during college in south philly. The house was located near broad st and Ellsworth. We called it the Batcave, and it was the last house I lived in before moving out of Philadelphia after failing out of college. As soon as I discovered sound manipulation and home recording, nothing else really seemed to matter. We used to get served beer at a local beer distributor.
Velvet Red Curtain [Electric Version] - Lettuce Park (2009) - I can say a lot about lettuce park, and perhaps someday I will. For now, all I can say is lettuce park was the most important shit show that got us all playing and hosting shows. This recording took a long time for, most of being recorded at Andi’s mom’s house in Newark on the back patio during a hot summer. The rest was re-recorded again and again piecemeal by myself at the Batcave in south philly. ive always been impressed with t's singing- she had a good voice, could actually sing, but made it sound like she was singing through effects and shit without anything. she influenced me profoundly. from then on i tried to make sure that on the most stripped down elements that it sounded effected in some way, that way we could use further effects and processing as additional instruments instead of hiding behind the effects. im not sure if ive always been successful at this but damn it made some bizarre and raw music.
Rt. 61 (2009) - Another batcave production, this time a concept album about centralia pa, which we used to take trips to semi frequently.
Ultimate End (2009) - visiting my mom in Delaware on summer break during college with nothing else to do was the best time to hit record, sometimes. Her neighbors got pretty upset, it was a small apartment complex in the hills. A reference to a final fantasy 7 summons.
I’ve Lost my Button - Lettuce Park (2009) - An improv jam from the same session as the first part of Velvet Red Curtain previously. Hot summer porch at Andi’s mom’s in Newark Delaware. A reference to a short film we made in freshman year called “El Burrito”, which the mythos of such is still very much alive today.
Rubber Chickens (2010) - Rejected theme song for UD improv comedy team “the Rubber Chickens”, which involved good friends and collaborators such as Katie Dill, Jackson Phinney, Eric Sweder, etc. they all lived at house with Aaron aka No Sir E called the Coop that has since been demolished. This song represents the peace of those times. I made a short film mockumentary about the Coop with the improv team and it was probably the only good movie I ever made.
Untitled Banjo Song (2010) - Katie Dill had left her banjo with my roommate Angela, so I borrowed it to make a noise track. I didn’t know what electroacoustic music was at the time, but I felt compelled to make this style of music. At this point I was living in downtown Newark Delaware at a really old strip of rowhomes called “skid row” and was a popular party row. It was cheap and I recorded so much music during this time.
Ganesh (2010) - This is part of the same collection of songs as the previous one. I played drums with mallets and tried doing this silly free form jazz thing, and then overdubbed the pitch-bent arabian scale guitar. I would often skip work at the endoscopy center (run by Kian’s family) to spend the day recording like this.
Ancient Pool Loop [Feat. Katie Dill] (2011) - Me and my girlfriend at the time, Britta, moved into the apartment below us at skid row, on the very end, right next to Delaware ave. Me and Sweder and Ray had moved this heavy-as-fuck electric organ from the Coop which was like 4 large city blocks east on delaware ave, and that’s what your hearing as the drum beat, the built-in drum machine and its tempo knob being modulated. just the tempo knob was my instrument for that element, and then I took samples of Katie singing in this giant pool in an abandoned house that was deep within white clay creek state park just outside of town.
Luvalis Eye - Tendrills (2012) - Adhering what seemed like an inadverdant suggestion found on an Eric Copeland record cover, we “recycled sound” from the previous track for one of the first Tendrills tracks of all time. We had a contact mic on Andi’s snare drum and had that running into a multi-effects pedal (flange, baby, flange). The thing about the abandoned pool was that from the outside, it didn’t seem as big. But once we knocked out the boarded up windows of what looked like the garage, there was a HUGE indoor pool, impossibly larger seeming that what the building could physically hold from the outside appearance. It was a mystical spot. Katie had her ukelele with her and the samples were recorded on an android phone, the audio quality perfectly smashed down into ghostly bits. I was obsessed with these recordings and the building itself, a standalone rancher house far away from any development and deep in the woods of white clay creek state park. I filmed scenes for a short film there, a mysterious Lynchian chase scene, which you can see if you ever find my short film called “Golden”.
The Magic Garden [Excerpt] (2010) - This take was a practice run for a show I got booked at on south street in philly, at a place called the Magic Garden. It's a world famous art project with documentaries about it. A labyrinth of sorts. It's a spectacular place, and I used to live up the street from there. I got asked to play the show after I moved back to delaware. The samples used behind the guitar parts became my album “April Showers”. I plan on releasing this full collection someday. Bits of it can be heard on other compilations of mine. This particular take was recorded in my bedroom at skid row in newark delaware, and is entirely live. It was my first dabble with performing acoustic live music with sample manipulation done live as well.
Mansion of Secrets [Excerpt, pt 1] (2010) - I began a fiction novel based on several dreams I had journalled since high school, and this was to be part of the writing process: an improvised electronic noise set done in the living room of my skid row apartment. I think this was still just prior to having a sampler, I don’t remember using one, but i had in my possession Brian Waterman’s Kaoss Pad, and for running samples i had cut down recordings on the computer and had them on loop from an ipod.
Mansion of Secrets [Excerpt, pt 2] (2010) - Also in the mix was my trusty boss RC-2, which I still use to this day, a multi-effects pedal and a DD7 which I think also belonged to brian. I'm so grateful to him and his unending generosity. If ive ever met a bodhisattva, its Bri. Anyways, I'm still writing the novel (its been changed and edited heavily since then). The meandering and randomness of the progression of the track is meant to mimic navigating a maze-like mansion with ever-shifting halls, secret doors and passageways, ornate yet decrepit reception halls, stairways, and hidden dungeons. I've had (and continue to) have so many dreams about such things. If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear a tease of Dirty Projector’s “Three Brown Finches”.
Paintbox Remix [Pink Floyd] (2011) - I wanted to make Pink Floyd relatable to myself and my time.
Deep Blue Sea [Grizzly Bear] (2011) - I love this song. An early attempt at recording a “normal” song at home.
The Circadian Instrumentality Project (2013) - “Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They’re Vanished” meets Philip Glass
Spectral Storm Light Band 2012 [Excerpt] - SSLB2012 (2012) - You can find more info below in the “band key” about SSLB2012, but basically, after the demise of Hex-I-Am, me and Angela and friends wanted to keep making music that maybe had less abrasive textures and more abrasively sing-songy jam - band - like. This is me playing in a “jam band”.
Telescopes - Hex-I-Am (2011) - One of the most important bands I've played in. The drummer was a friend of many aeons “Grog”, and he was adamant about progressing spiritually through the music. This has forever been imprinted upon me on my path.
Sunshine on a Landfill (2011) - From an early psychedelic acoustic collection recorded at skid row in newark delaware based on hiking in the White Clay Creek, based on the landfill outside Wilmington. kind of an attempt at some sort of "yin-yang" type imagery.
Death - Plake 64 & the Hexagrams (2013) - Features samples from Earthbound, a super nintendo game that i love but never beat. Allusions to the bardo and intermediate life/death states of being and consciousness and potentially how it relates to video game narratives.
Harshmellows - Tendrills (2013) - My favorite Tendrills song from the “Ouroboros” era. Andi was finishing up their degree at MICA and I was working at the Crown and Shapiro’s Cafe. Had so much fun with this one. Makes me think about Rusty Burke for some reason. more yin-yang imagery.
Shiteater - Tendrills (2014) - This is Tendrills’ most elusive and ridiculous song. We tried recording studio versions for years, and never felt good about the way any of them turned out. It’s an ode to chaos that culminates into a catchy tune. We played it live a lot and was our tightest song. This version is one of the less precise versions and very drunk.
Hell Motel [Excerpt] - Weedcop (2013) - Weedcop only played two shows, and both of them can be heard in this short clip. Remix by yours truly. I had a label called “Apartment 421 Tapes”, very limited runs, bad dupe quality, and im back to doing this with agh tapes. I did a run of split tapes, and this ended up on one with Josh DeLorimier. A shit show for real. You can find out more about Weedcop in the band key, but I will say although we only played two shows there were quite a few people who I guess were expecting more, and we continually make plans to reboot the project in the future.
Shiteater - Solo Version (2016) - I had to record a tonally-precise version for posterity’s sake, and heard here is the last part of the song. I used the Casiotone 405 that is heard on the Small Axe albums and Plake 64 albums during 2016-2018.
Rooftop Jam (2012) - Smokin’ weed on a Bolton Hill rooftop with MICA students on a warm spring day sometime during the year of our lorde 2012. Showing off to the kids on the nice n easy nylon strings. I once taught a whole MICA apartment show how to shotgun beers, fulfilling my duty as a Delawarean abroad. I think we also drank everclear mixed with tap water. yuk. so dumb. ahh the folies of youth
Whistle While U Weed [Feat. Katie Dill] - Tendrills (2012) - Living room jams with our friend Katie Dill at skid row, newark delaware. Has early autumn in delaware vibes.
Final Friday Intro / Black Mountain- Plake 64 & the Hexagrams (2013) - A little excerpt from a show at an early Delaweird Final Friday, a series of monthly noise shows held by the Tabs Out Cassette podcast that happened every last Friday. It was in a gutted row home I think on e. 7th street in downtown Wilmington owned by this dude Rob who was friends with Dave Doyen, and was a brewer at some fancy brewery in Greenville DE, i forget the name. We named the venue "house of one thousand island dressings". Anywho these songs are typical for this era of my live shows. Masturbatory Roland 404 jam with distorted vocals. The opening chords were randomized using D&D die. The next part is the Plake “Darkstar” and had several names: catshit (based on “ammonia frenzy theory”, more on that coming up), Catawba, and now is just called Black Mountain.
Philly Art Museum (2009) - Early experiments using it feedback through a guitar amp, distortion, and ye ole whammy pedal. Thanks Dan Deacon. There’s an RC2 looper in there somewhere. The last part is a little ditty based on a “visionary journey” through the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It splices into its acoustic version of itself.
Centralia [Feat. Kian Sorouri] (2008) - Me and Kian lazily jamming in me and my brother’s bedroom in my mom’s apartment in Pike Creek. The beginning of “Bobdignananthony”. Based again on Centralia PA.
Greenspring Valley (2008) - My girlfriend in college lived in green spring valley and it was always a treat for me to visit. Her family lives in this really old and beautiful and big southern house. The valley is beautiful and a wonder of the mid Atlantic region of the east coast. I was really into ripping off Animal Collective during this time, and through doing so learned a lot about how to play music with both conventional and unconventional instrumentation. In the past I would have been ashamed to admit this but now I don’t really care.
Kundalini BROga [Feat. Ben Grimm] (2011) - That’s yr boy on drums. Me and buddy Ben Grimm in Newark got together at my house on Skid Row and jammed a series of silly jams. Me and my girlfriend at the time we’re not very clean people, and we often would neglect to clean the cat’s litter box. This led to a semi permanent ammonia piss smell lingering in the house and me and Ben, while jamming, realized that the ammonia was inducing a mystical trance state, which influenced jams like this one here.
TMNT Song - Lazy Edwards (2005) - First song I ever wrote. Live at kahunaville, an arcade / family entertainment complex near the riverfront in Wilmington. we were teenagers and got booed by bikers at the bar
Basement Jam Philly (2009?) - Me and my college roommates lived in a rowhome in south philly, between broad and 12th on Ellsworth st. We called the basement the “batcave”, and it became the first place I booked a DIY show. This was from a drunken summer jam with one of the local kids playing drums and me playing on Babu Cwee’s les Paul. Rock on dude. I was 20 I think.
Battle Scene on a Tandem Bike - Lettuce Park (2010) - Also recorded in “the Batcave”. andi was going to college in portland oregon and flew out for three days to record. philly got hit by an insane blizzard. we had a good time chillin and jammin
Sky Guy - Tendrills (2013)
Sky Guy - Solo Version (2012)
Plake Outro (2011)
Excerpts from Bobdignananthony (2009)
Untitled > Shah > Percblunt - Amphetamine Pterodactyl (2013)
Tide Pools - Lettuce Park (2010)
Untitled Skid Row Jam (2010)
Untitled Acoustic Song (2014)
De Soto De Sun [Animal Collective] - Small Axe (2016)
Experimental Babies at the Breasts of the Infinity Psychodelic Mother [Excerpt] - Plake 64 & the Hexagrams (2013)
Space Prophet Dogon [Sun City Girls] - Plake 64 & the Hexagrams (2016)
Meth Head Actor - Tendrills (2016)
Drunch Punk Love (2012)
Nobajasublava - Tendrills (2016)
Crumbling the Colussus (2017)
Autumnal Meditations [Excerpt] - Plake 64 & the Hexagrams (2018)
Rest [The Crown] - Rest (2017)
Druidz [Excerpt] - Rest (2020)
Also notable omission from this compilation is “Heumann Homan Highway / the Sea Caucus”. More information below:
Lazy Edwards: Kian Sorouri, Matt DeDonato, Justin Muzzi. I played a Gibson SG and distortion pedal. Your typical high school rock band, we covered Green Day and Nirvana. We had a few original songs, most notably the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Song, which to this day is only one of two rock songs I’ve ever written. It was the first song I ever wrote with lyrics.
Bobdignananthony: named after the comical trio leading the events of the film “Bottle Rocket”. I played the boss rc2 loop pedal with mics and guitars and Kian Sorouri played the Microkorg and Roland 404. It was named after those characters because me, Kian, and our friend Stoops would always get into arguments in the same manner as those characters, and when we saw the movie we thought it was so funny because of how similar the antics were.
Lettuce Park: Consisted of Andi Scotti, and at one point included Taylor Webster, Jim Whitman, Britta Peterson, and Brian Waterman. Prototype for Tendrills. I played guitar and did sound manipulation as well as drunken absurdity. “Why won't you let us park here?’ We wanted to make “aggressively positive sounding music”
Spectral Storm Light Band 2012: there are actually two versions of this band, the other being entitled “Spectral Storm Light Band 2013”. For some reason we wanted to include the year of activity in the band name. This band was composed of Angela Corradino on vocals, Teo Castillon on bass and bongos, Brian Waterman on guitar and sound manipulation, and Jack the dog. I played electric guitar.
Hex-I-Am: psychedelic noise 3 piece spazz out space rock band. Angela Corradino, Greg Meredith. I played the Roland 404sx sampler, floor tom and china cymbals.
Amphetamine Pterodactyl: my boy Ray Gedd had some solo folk songs, so we got an amp and started a sloppy punk two piece. I played snare and china cymbal.
Weedcop: a no-wave inspired trash art band which is the brainchild of my good friend Holly Firesheets and I, with her on vocals and me playing guitar.
Tendrills: it began as just me and Andi Scotti, wanting to start fresh from the ruins of Lettuce Park. Eventually we added Josh DeLorimier on live visuals, then Nathan Pasko on keyboards and sample manipulation, and later on Esha Kallianpur on keyboards and vocals. In the beginning I just played dual Roland 404’s, and then I ended up just playing electric guitar in the later years. Andi played drums. Tendrills has begun working on new material as of summer 2020.
Small Axe: the pet project of Esha Kallianpur which I acted as producer and bandmate. Mostly acoustic, however we tinkered around with synths and keyboards and drum machines later on.
Plake 64 & the Hexagrams: by and large a solo project, however there have been some collaborators and sit-ins by notable guests, namely Zoie Reamer, Esha Kallianpur, Stone Filipczak, Yer Bage Bara Ka aka William, Adrienne CN Berry, and Delaware Dan.
Heumann Homan Highway: Consists of Dave Heumann (Arboretum) and myself. Began as discussions while volunteering at the True Vine Record shop. Dave plays solo guitar and I manipulate samples for psychedelic textures.
The Sea Caucus: Heumann Homan Highway + Dave Bergander (Little Hawk, Celebration, Drums of Life, Boadrum 88), except this time I use live loops and manipulate their sound.
Other solo projects, when I wasn't just using my own name, was sometimes called “AH” which are my initials, “Ahhh”, also related to my initials, and Plake (which came to me in a dream).