Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Season of Rust Track by Track

The wonderfully multi-talented Mike Langlie, from the amazing music project's Cat Temper and Twink the Toy Piano Band, suggested that I write a track by track breakdown of the recent Tim Mungenast/Astro Al experimental album Season of Rust. So here it is. 

First a quick about the album sort of thing; Season of Rust was spawned from a gigantic series of recordings we did with Tim Mungenast a few years ago. It's the second and final (I think) album in our Rust series. The first being The Poetry of Rust. Perhaps its more like a musical double feature.

  1. The Hum Told Them- Tim Mungenast wrote the words. This tells a piece of a larger story about a construction or destruction crew guided by something unseen. They are still there. Much of the sounds come from Tim, DNA Girl, and I pounding on a metal pole at a lake in Weirdfield MA. There's also a buzzing painting sound that I tried for weeks to capture. Wind chimes from the backyard too.
  2. The Desert Swirls Through the Ancient Saucer Wreckage- Mandolin, metal on metal scraping. Guitar swirls. This was built out of multiple spot recordings and bits and pieces of one jam. It became a big audio collage. Musique concrète? Perhaps, except its metal. Metal on metal baby.
  3. The Sophisticat Explores the Beauty of Corrosion-  Rust doesn't just happen to metal. Rust happens to the mind. I played bass on this track. I think its the first time I played bass on a recording. Tim played swirling guitarscapes. DNA girl smashed horseshoes and other odd bits of metals. The original spoken word bit was so much longer than the music that I had to edit it down quite a bit, which probably made it better, but also made it a little more non-sensical. I dig DNA Girl's narration performance. Dr. Klang and Lev who had previously been characters on our prior album The Poetry of Rust, return briefly. I'm so glad that Seaweed Orchestra's only exist in a black rust spot in my mind. All the buzzes and statics are there on purpose. How else does rust sound?
  4. The Jet Set Find the Magic Mural-  Another spoken word bit. Drawn from a dream. Dreams don't dare enter my sleeping mind that often, but this one seeped in. I would like to have a rich aunt and uncle. If someone wants to volunteer, feel free. Tim of course played guitar. I purposefully didn't speak on this album. Figured the world deserved a break from my nasal tones. Tim did a great job with the narration. It feels like he wrote it. Airport diners are either good or annoying. This one is good and leads to zen. Layers upon layers of jamming piled on top of each other. 
  5. Awakening of the Metallic Bats-  Our characters, from the previous track, witness the metallic bats rise. Lots of metal scraping with a stick on this one. Mandolin patterns sketched by DNA Girl. Guitar beauty by Tim. 
  6. The Digging Continues- The story of the poor souls in the pit continues. Dig. Dig. Dig. Lots of real life construction sounds worked their way into the track. We had to redo Tim's voice because there were police sirens in the background that clashed with everything else. I think I played with a live guitar lead on this one. DNA Girl smashed metal. I layered it, so it sounded like Tim was having a call and response guitar dual with himself. DNA girl also did some percussion stuff and vocalizations. I think we alternated banjo playing on this one too. 
  7. Is There Rust in Space?- Flange flickering over horse shoes smacked together by DNA Girl. I think the jam this was culled from was close to seven minutes. This track is almost four minutes. Often times, shorter is better. I try to keep albums near the 40 minute mark. Most of my favorite albums are in that range so why not follow suit? I think the mind tires after that mark. Tim's swirl guitars are lovingly whacked. 
  8. The Heart of the Robot-  I played some effect loaded synth pattern on this one. I also made a feedback static sound. Tim rolled Baoding balls in his kung fu grip. DNA Girl experimented with metal. It was a tasty one to end the album with, at least I think so. Again, I tried to keep this one short.

That's it!

Hope you dig some Season of Rust. 

-Yours in Rust,

Count Robot

Sunday, March 14, 2021


Count Robot's Favorite 3 Albums of 2020

In 2020 there was an incredible amount of excellent new music.

I could drone on like a years worth of drone music, that was created by drones but I will jus keep it to my three favorites. So let's get right into it.

I prefer to remember 2020 as the year of Blue Oyster Cult. After years of no albums, I lost track of how many albums BOC released this year. Six? I don't know.... Incredible!

3. Albert Bouchard: Re Imaginos: 

I am not going to go into the whole bizarre history of the original Imaginos album. If you want the background, check it out here. With Re-Imaginos, former BOC member Albert Bouchard, reshapes the songs into old world/new world music. This is Bouchard performing broken down in the best way possible, musical theater. Wonderful production, such beautiful sounding violins! Heavy metal songs are transformed into semi-acoustic sea shanties in this excellent release. There's a tune called, Girl That Love Made Blind, which is a Christmas song filled with strange astrological creepiness presented in a politely, pretty, pagan, waltz. Girl That Love Made Blind never makes me tired of hearing the word, Christmas.

Such an excellent re-arrangement of Astronomy. Lost desert highway three AM country music is the sound that Gil Blanco County fills in my head.

Re-Imaginos could be an incredible musical. I would go see it.

Al Bouchard's vocals have a scratchy broken beauty, filled with ancient lore. He's the narrating invisible wizard. I've heard that Bouchard plans to make it a trilogy. I am all, all, all in.

2. Blue Oyster Cult: The Symbol Remains

The Symbol does indeed remain. It remains in my head. It makes me think of old BOC because of the title being a throw back to an older BOC album, Revolution By Night. This album popped right into the number two spot on my list after one listening. All sorts of interesting lyrics. Catchy riffs. Solid thick production. Tainted Blood is a vampire song! BOC has a great tradition of vampire songs, so I was glad to get another one added to the list with this album.

The chorus on Stand and Fight smacks you right in the face. 

Alien abductions return with the Edge of the World which has a grizzly howl of defiance in Eric Bloom's booming voice. 

One of my favorite songs on this album is Train true. It's so bonkers in the off kilter style that BOC used to work in quite often (anyone besides me remember the BOC ditty, She's as Beautiful as a Foot?). Nice to see a strong return of innovative fun. Buck Dharma's vocal deliver is righteous, slick, insane, and so good. Cheers BOC. You all rocked this one home!

1.  The Gypsy Moths: Wollaston Theater (EP)

Yes, this is not a full length album. As my man Ed Wood, would say, “So what?” 

Wollaston Theater is a treasure of rock and roll with soul, horns, guitars, and song craft. It's been in constant rotation. As a download, as a CDR, as a vinyl album too, yes all the formats for me. All so rock and roll awesome.

These Days Will Run is the opening song. Get's us pumped up right into the best party you've always wanted to have all in four classic songs. 

The Continuing Story of Arthur Duffy is a song about a real life criminal. It's a wild story of a song with so much guts. I could picture this song being blasted out of a jam packed juke joint in the middle of nowhere with people coming from hours away to experience this awesome slice of early rock greatness. A classic. As the lyrics say, “Let's go!”

City Point is a forlorn slick slice of rock and melancholy. I dig that. Often the best songs are sad, which makes us feel. This song is one of those in the best lush way. Those vocals! If you don't feel anything while listening to this tune, check your pulse.

We Can't Go Home is the final song. It's a great romp about skipping... school. It's so good it makes me want to go back to school just so I could skip school. This song has such an earnest wistfulness to it. Sweet melancholy that you can make dance. Skip with me now, is one of the lyrics. The eternal urge for escape from Monday morning. Let's skip, not just school, but the rat race. I dig it. 

One thing that blows my mind about this album, is that they love it so much in Europe. The lyrics are so wonderfully Boston, MA centric in vibes, that at first I didn't get how the astute music fans in the EU, and beyond, picked up on this great collection of songs by the Moths.

Now I get it, it's the afar romance that people have for us, as I have for the afar romance for London, Rome, Montreal, and more. It is the window into the other. That's what the Gypsy Moths have so deftly given the rest of the world, a view into the life of Boston.

Excellent production. Raw enough for you to feel it, slick enough to make you feel a little dirty. Pounding drums, crunchy, punchy guitars, phat horns, nice old school keys, and rock and flipping soul filled vocals are masterfully performed and captured. On the first listening I thought to myself, I'm picking an EP as my favorite album of the year.

So there it is, another favorite albums of the year post.

Late as usual

Lately yours,

Count Robot 2021

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Few Words for the Expired

A friend died today.

On Fucked Book how is that any different? Somebody dies there every minute.

Someday I expect to see a story about how some guy who cleaned the set toilets for every movie ever made, died, and I should be moved, by his moving on.

This friend who died today, is a real friend who died, not just some virtual de-coded autocratic, nomadic, algorithmic Fake Friend on Friend Bitch.

He's a mystery in some ways, that's ok. 

Why shouldn't your friends have some unknown legends in their background?

I want to be happy.

He's no longer in miserable pain.

I want to be sad.

He's dead.

Is it covid quarantine that's put all my emotions in a box?

People are dying. 

People are less real than I am.

How do you scream at every daily tragedy?

I ask questions over and over, but what answers do I have?

I feel like a lowercase i.

My emotions go no where.

Unbox the box they're in.

This is fucked.

Make art?

Somebody just died.


Why shouldn't I be?

I remember when my now dead friend offered his theory about conspiracy theory loving cult suckling Trolls, they want the world to end to prove them right.

Who wants the world to end?

Life is better.

Life is what I want for everyone, even the Trolls.

Maybe if the Trolls live long enough, they'll learn to stop hating.

My now dead friend, we were going to make some writing together, right?

Would it have been art? Who knows? I don't care.

It would have been fun. 

You sold stuff, that always impressed the hell out of me. Selling words is a Troll pit.

I want to own that pit, not be owned by it. You were never owned by it.

That makes no sense.

Back to the point, working with my now dead friend, would have been fun.

I needed to get some records down first I said. I wasn't even sure what we should do, but I was thinking about working on a short story with you. Who knows. I should know. I should have put off the records. I couldn't stop my full speed self.

That's me, being the biggest idiot in my own story, which is really supposed to be about my friend. His nickname was Zell.

When we first met, Zell thought my nickname was my real name. 

It was that kind of meeting at the cable access show we crewed on together for a billion years of beers, strange stories, free pizzas, directions, misdirections, occult invasions of our video, freakish forms waving disembodied limbs in a mutation wave, the night with the equestrian with the riding crop, who wasn't really an equestrian, you were very freaking funny.

I remember that skit you did where you never even said anything. 

So funny. Laughing. Thanks for all those laughs.

Your blog had more variety than a variety store commercial in the middle of a TV variety show on the Variety channel.

You told emotional stories about childhood, funny stuff about encountering obnoxious buffoonery perpetuated by empty skulled blithering trog-bogs, why did people ask you, you Zell, the sarcastic bastard of comedy, why would they ever ask you such stupid questions and not expect you to verbally eviscerate them? You are like a sarcasm artist spraying acid sarcasm everywhere, burning everything around you.

The stories you told about the weird things you saw everyday...

Were you starring in a cult movie directed by a crack addict?

I remember that concert we saw, although we both had gone separately not knowing the other was there. 

Good taste I guess.

The intention had been to keep this rant short.

I'm sick of my emotion box that unwraps in no way that makes sense.

Tired from being tired of the quarantine dishwashing soup bubble floating in the stale air.

So, Zell I'm running out.

See you again some better day, even if I don't see you.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My top 3 albums from 2019

The List No One Other Than Me Wanted!
My top 3 albums from 2019
The number one slot was so easy to pick. The number two and third picks were hard to select because, damn 2019 gave a lot of excellent music offerings!
Honorable Mention: Hawkestrel: The Future is Us.  How could I not include an album that has William Shatner performing Sonic Attack?! Shat goes full Shatner on Sonic Attack. It is incredible. Alan Davey really laid out a great slab of music. More honorable mentions go to Nik Turner, and Tim Mungenast & Eric Dahlman (I can’t really review their album as I’m biased since I was in the audience while it was created). I’m going to stop with the “honors” because there were so many other great albums out in 2019 that I could drone on and on about.
Now to the top 3.
3. Third Ear Experience with Dr. Space: Ear to Space
 This album rips space rock up, down, both sides, and to beyond infinity. My discovery of the band Third Ear Experience came at the 2019 NASR show in Austin Texas. NASR (North American Space Ritual) wasn’t just a show, it was a wild musical ride that deserves it’s own chronicle.
Screams of Eagle Bone is the opening track, which clocks in at 14 engine churning minutes of space ship rock. If you want to blast off, this is your song. If you don’t like this song, then don’t bother to listen to the rest of the record because this is your launch sequence. The album is full of slamming space rock synths, sax, sounds and sun scorching guitars. I can’t wait to hear more by this band. I feel really lucky to have seen them in concert. Hope to catch them again and again and again. Dr. Space is a guest on this album.
Another stand out cut is Dreams of a Caterpillar, which is a little over 20 minutes long. It starts off as piece of synth bubbling ambience before becoming a delightful trancey-dancey-spacey-jam then mellowing out again only to rise up on last time.

2. Opeth: In Cauda Venenum
Freaking wow. Music that goes in so many directions it almost gives me whiplash in the best possible way. German 80s synths, prog metal, “bowed instruments” and more collide all over the place. This is what music should be, exploration! Amazing that so few of the songs even have a chorus (do any of them? I should check). Opeth is not afraid to defy song structure and make things new. This is a late arrival to my collection, which is part of the reason it took me so long to compile this list.
The opening track would fit more in an early Tangerine Dream album rather than an album I bought in the Heavy Metal section of a record store. I am so often struck by how to me, Opeth (in their post death metal phase which they currently occupy) could be the modern version of Queen. Great songs, amazing vocals, and heavy guitar attack. Another thing that blows my mind about this release is that it’s recorded in English, which is the second language for their incredible singer Mikael Akerfeldt. How does someone sing so beautifully in their second language?! The second disc on this set contains a Swedish language version of the album, which I am looking forward to diving into.

1.    Cat Temper: Henry
This isn’t just an album; this is a landscape of sound. Henry is Cat Temper’s alternate soundtrack to the David Lynch movie Eraser Head. Where as the movie has a more noise-based layer of sound behind it, Cat Temper gives it a quirky diseased keyboard vibe that is vaguely funny, but thoroughly strange.
Drums? Ah yes, the pounding pop synth drums ringing with the right layering of dirge over them are fantastic.
You can watch the movie with this amazing soundtrack and feel the vibe of the movie change, or you can listen to the album by itself. I’ve listened to it on it’s own many times, so I honestly feel it stands apart as its own piece of sonic art. It’s great to drive around to, or to listen at home.
There are so many stand out tracks on an album filled with thirty (yes thirty) great audio sculptures.
Opening track, Man in the Planet sets the tone wonderfully with quirky 80s synths with an undercurrent of chaotic menace. Darkly cute music? Maybe.
Those drum sounds I mentioned earlier? They sound incredible on a good stereo with the volume up. Crank it for maximum power!
The fifth track Mary has a haunting piano-esque sound that sticks in my soul. Chilling yet compelling. A very short song but so meaningful!
Track six, Meeting Mother is a hysterical sounding grotesque of a song sounded like a psychotic kids ride at a futuristic abandoned carnival.
Henry, like the movie Earserhead, is a surrealist phantasm of synth tones, ambience, sequencers, and pure fun. Moments of pop bliss, dance in the darkness.
When this album first lit up the stereo there was no doubt that, Henry, by Cat Temper would be this person’s favorite album of 2019. 
Go forth and freak out

Yours in Music,
Count Robot

Saturday, March 2, 2019

North American Space Ritual

This month I will be living in a musical dream world for two nights.
            March 29th & 30th I will be in Austin, Texas for the first time in my life.
            This is where the North American Space Ritual will take place.
            What is this show all about? It’s two nights of musical madness. Jazz, rockabilly, heavy metal, and space rock will be performed live. Performers from distant parts of the globe, England, California, Russia, and more will come together to make a maelstrom of musical madness.
            Michael Moorcock, author of the amazing Elric series, lyricist for Blue Oyster Cult and Hawkwind will perform with the band Moon Hawks which also features former Hawkwind alumni Alan Davey and Nik Turner.
            My friend, John Pack from the Georgia based space rock ensemble Spaceseed has kindly invited me to perform with them.
            This is a… I don’t know what to type about this all. My head is swimming. I hope we all put on an amazing show for everyone. I hope that it will be as transcendent for you all as I know it will be for me.
            Come and voyage with us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Weird Sound Generations

             A recent acquisition for the Astro Al audio armada was the Weird Sound Generator.
            This is a wild synth built by hand by Spektrum Electronics.
              Spektrum Electronics
            One of the wonderful endearing things about this unit is the sense of humor. All the knobs go to 11!
            Check out the sounds it makes.

            This is a wonderful vintage style modernist instrument. Totally makes me feel like I’m making sounds for a Silver Apples/Hawkwind/Portishead tribute album.
            I am super excited to be using this instrument for the first time “live” with Spaceseed at the North American Space Ritual.

Yours in Weird Sound Generation,
Count Robot

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Count Robot’s 3 favorite albums of 2018

Here it is, the yearly list no one except my sadistic, validation-seeking, subconscious, asks for, my three favorite albums of 2018.
3. Adam Holzman: Truth Decay
This album was a pleasant surprise. I read Holzman’s description of it on his Flakebook page, which interested me enough to buy it after Steve Wilson’s gig at the Berklee Performance Center.
So glad that I made that purchase. What a wonderful diverse collection of music! Jazz, prog, sixties rock, thought provoking lyrics, fusion, and a pleasing plethora of sounds swirl through this music.
Sweeping you right along from the opening jazzy drum smack of Ectoplasm to the smooth-ish jazz cool of Are You High? This album is a delight to my ears from start to finish. Thank you Mr. Holzman.

2. Squirrel Nut Zippers: Beasts of Burgundy
Firstly, let me say, that if you told me last year, before I went to see the Squirrel Nut Zippers for the very first time, that they’re new album would be one of my favorites of 2018, I sure wouldn’t have believed you.
How wrong can I get?
This is a New Orleans bawdyhouse of musical repute that makes you want to drop your pants after you drop the bottle of booze you just emptied in one gulp. Total voodoo fever fun times.
This album also features a song that is now one of my all time favorite torch songs, Fade.
This song, like so many others on the platter, sounds as though I’ve heard it before in the best way, but it’s all original music rooted in a classic vibe. Beautifully familiar, yet an exciting stranger in the musical boudoir of my brain.
Here is that wonderful new torch song that burns in the dark night of the soul.

1. Gypsy Moths: Alright
This album is a party anywhere it is played. A flipping fantastic party with gin, bar fights, dancing, romancing and rock and fricking roll.
           There’s such energy captured in this platter of good times and sad times and drinking up a storm times, that it’s hard to not gush praise out every time the needle or laser drops on the wax or CD.
This is music made to dance with.
This is music made to party with.
This is amazing rock and roll.
The Moths get the party started just right with The Boys Are Back In Town. Yes, all the songs are cover tunes, but the Moths don’t just go through paint by number motions, it’s almost as if all these tunes were written for them to take to the dance floor and rock and roll all night.
            So how are the players? The band’s horn section is always on fire. Guitar playing is gritty and smooth at the same time. Keys are classic sounding. Drums on point. Bass is bouncing and big. Vocals? Hell yeah! Everything lands perfectly.
I seriously totally dig this album so much, that it is mentioned more than once in a trilogy of novels that I’m writing called, Song and Deth.
            Here’s the Moths, live and in flight
Subversively yours,
Count Robot
1/13 /19