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“Moineau” is a sister from another mister with an older tune of ours “Merci Vielmal,” which not so coincidentally also featured Fred Frith on guitar. While “Merci Vielmal” was a conscious mash up of many languages, “Moineau” is very much a stab at actual French. Carla has a knack for French. Matthias has a knack for ghosting Carla’s vocals. The lyrics in English are quite stark and hard, so tempering the coldness of the English with a flowing French translation seemed to be the trick. There is now a dreaminess to the vocal that would otherwise be lacking. It’s as if Sophia Loren stepped in to overdub a stilted English performance by Werner Herzog.
And then there’s the ambiguity of the french ‘vous’ form, which connotes either a formality, or a plural ‘you.’ Yours to decide.
As with all of this years songs, we asked our esteemed guest to send us a rhythm guitar track for a as-of-yet-nonexistent song. Fred sent us 13 tracks. All in the same tempo… a puzzle for us to solve. It was our job to push and pull them, to tease a song out of his modular guitarisms, which we did by cherry-picking 5 sections that flowed nicely back-to-back.
Tallulah improvised a haunting melody in a made-up language over the form. Perhaps we should call it a spontaneous language. We chose to highlight her in two sections. A free association lyric-writing session commenced. We deemed the English words too pointy and fierce, so we translated them into French, and voila!
Leave it to Jon Evans to help us navigate some arrangement descisions (a touch of drums and bass.) A slight massaging of the faders, a bit of punishing with the Massive Passive. There seems to be a song having been born.
A Word from Fred Frith:
I was remembering a piece I wrote for Rosalind Newman back in 1986. She had spent a lot of time complaining about and wanting to change what I had done in The Technology of Tears, the first piece we’d worked on together (and quite rightly so, her changes made it a much better piece). But I decided when we worked together again that I would recorded vast numbers of bars in the same tempo and meter (9/8) and leave it up to her to decide how she wanted to construct them. It was—logically enough—called Jigsaw. I imagined all kinds of possibilities, and made a rough edit to give her an idea of what the process would look and sound like. She liked it so much that it was never changed at all from that moment!
For you, my dears, since you would add yourselves in as many guises as you wished, I figured I would be sufficiently raw and experimental in my approach that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to leave it the way it was! And what twists and turns you have found, what joyous harmonic tricks. I expect no less!! - FF
From the Engineer’s Desk: A Word from Jon Evans:
Start with a pile of made up chords, add a made up language, a little bit of French, which I'm not sure is a real language either. Put it all together with some swirling non note ebows and Poof! - you have the latest RRR offering. This one was mixed for and by unicorns. Special thanks to CK for learning Tallulah's brand new mother tongue in triplicate.
JE NE SUIS PAS VOTRE PROBLÈME
JE VAIS S’ENVOLVER COMME UN MOINEAU
LE VENT EST VOTRE VOIX
NOUS TOUCHONS À TRAVERS UN MUR
CONTINUER À PRÉTENDRE QUE VOUS ÊTES MOI
ESSAYER D’ÊTRE HUMAIN
NE MARCHEZ PAS SUR LE VERRE NOUS AVONS
CASSÉ LA NUIT DERNIÈRE
S’IL VOUS PLAÎT CHANGER VOS VÊTEMENTS
LAISSER LA CLÉ SOUS LE TAPIS
ÉCRIRE SI VOUS VOULEZ
Fred Frith: guitar
Matthias Bossi: drums, melodica, voice
Carla Kihlstedt: nyckelharpa, voice
Tallulah Bossi: voice
Jon Evans: bass, guitar
Fred’s guitar tracks were recorded by Myles Boisen at Guerilla Recording, Oakland, CA.
Vocals, nyckelharpa, and melodica recorded at KihlBossi Studios, Falmouth, MA.
Everything else was recorded by Jon Evans at Brick Hill in Orleans, MA.
Mixed by Jon Evans at Brick Hill.
Produced by Jon Evans and Rabbit Rabbit.
Rabbit Rabbit Radio is the song-spinning duo of Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi. Collectively, they are founding members
of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat, 2 Foot Yard, Causing a Tiger, The Book of Knots, and Fred Frith’s Cosa Brava.
Drawing on their love of both art & folk song, industrial & improvised music and heart-wrenching balladry, their songs are raw, beautiful, sparse and rich....more