Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cosmic signs and space squirbles

I spent Friday afternoon on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, at the very bottom of Los Angeles County, with Richard Derrick and Crane.

They were the primary motive forces behind the post-progressive rock project Another Umbrella, which we are incorporating into the score for The Sydney Highrise Variations, with even larger roles imagined for future scores.

Richard sent me a whopping thirty-nine CDs of their material that he had culled and edited over the years. I have listened to it all and made extensive notes, so I'll know where to look as I start to assemble what I need.

One phrase that comes up a lot in my notes is "space squirbles"; another is "space shimmer". There is a lot of spacey squirbling and shimmering going on with Another Umbrella. I love it.

Not surprising, then, that Crane - whom I was meeting for the first time - told me a UFO story, as we sucked down tall, delicious beers at Naja's Place, a harberfront hang in Redondo Beach. It's about something odd that happened one night he and Martin Tamburovich drove from San Pedro to sit in with The Minutemen at a gig in The Valley.

Crane took the time to write up his memory with precision and post it online, so I'll direct you to his short story, "A Cosmic Sign," which has a companion illustration that he also has uploaded. This illustration - the "cosmic sign" of the story title - adorns his business card, which he gave me, and which I will gleefully curate into my rather hip and happening business card collection.

I have a whole lot more to say about my day with these creative souls, but I'm trying to hold off until I get my pictures developed and scanned. I thought the above drawing, UFO Visitation, goes along well enough with Crane's story, though (disregarding the gratuitous interstellar violence).

This piece is the work of a subway artist named Joseph, who used to draw and sell his work in a tunnel under Manhattan. May still, for all I know.

To set the mood, here is some cool space squirbling from Another Umbrella!

Free mp3

"Improvisation in E"
(Crane, Richard Derrick)
Another Umbrella

Crane on bass
Richard Derrick on guitar

The first part of a five-track excursion recorded at KXLU (Los Angeles) on September 4, 1994. That's 9/4/1994 - pretty far out for a space squirble!

Richard has eleven volumes of Another Umbrella available for digital download via his Box-o-Plenty imprint. I am careful to avoid tracks he has released on those volumes when bootblogging his tunes here. Not so difficult, when I have thirty-nine volumes to pick from!

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