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about

Every month in 2014 - the year of the wooden horse aka the guitar, we invited a guitarist to join us in creating a song. They sent us the scaffolding of an as-yet-non-existent song, and we added the bricks and mortar, walls windows and furniture.

This song, Oblivious, is the brainchild of our long-time friend and collaborator Shahzad Ismaily. Having collectively spent years on the road and in the studio with him (2 Foot Yard, Causing a Tiger, Fred Frith’s Cosa Brava), we knew that the dangerous parameters we established for Vol. 3 suited him to a tee.

Shahzad’s has penned more beautifully-crafted music nonchalantly during soundchecks than most musicians have penned in a life-time of isolated writing. I used to bring a hand-held recorder to soundchecks just to capture these off-the-cuff pieces before they evaporated into the rafters of the club.

Holing up in a studio in Berlin with former SGM sound engineer Olivia Oyama, Shahzad, with typical flair and spontaneity, improvised a jagged and melodic rhythm guitar part that is both instantly head-bobbing and constantly unnerving. It was our job to bring his spasms of joy into focus.

WORDS ABOUT WORDS:
Not so much joy here. And no need to say it more - or less - succinctly than the lyrics themselves do. The sun brings its impartial optimistimism whether we’re ready for it or not.


A WORD FROM SHAHZAD:
While convalescing in Weisensee, Berlin, i was tasked with submitting the latest guitar track for RRR collaboration. The sun doesn't shine here. I'm dark and gloomy, many Skype calls a day with my W.GF.LoML. show intense depression weighing down. No matter, it'll lift. Two days of working on a solo record, and the guitar is sounding good, amp dialed in. Time to fall into a space for friends. I've settled on a tuning moving me for now, low C G D G G-detuned D. Improvised form and structure, parts too, one take. Sent. Much excitement to see what comes. I love these people so . . .
(p.s. now trying to find my way through the earliest days of Studio One One Drop innovations. wow + yikes = time to get out of bed and play drums!)


FROM THE ENGINEER’S DESK
Right from the count off, I could tell this was going to be a special track. Thanks Shazad for sending a GREAT sounding and inspired performance. Weaving through an improbable rhythmic architecture in typical RRR form, fast and furious was the way forward. One drum take, with the room mics turned UP, a half take of guitars and bass and a stunning, improvised vocal performance by Carla turned this song into the kind of track I wish PJ Harvey still made. Onward and Upward! --Jon Evans

lyrics

OBLIVIOUS

And I remember this:
Eyes bright with desire.
I’ll keep alive the parts
The parts I can’t forget.

We cut the branch to spare the tree.
The sun poured in, oblivious.

We loosed the latch to catch the thief.
We hid inside.
The sun poured in, oblivious.

And I remember this:
Closing down.
I fight my pillow.
But I know I’m right.

Can you taste my despair in your mouth
as the the sun pours in, oblivious?

Can you smell the exhaust,
the exhaustion
As the sun pours in, oblivious?

We cut the branch to spare the tree.
We loosed the lock to catch the thief.
We tore the book to build a fire.
We couldn’t look,
But the sun poured in, oblivious.

We meet without touching.
We touch without feeling.
We feel without seeing.
We see without knowing.
We know without learning.
We learn without trying.
We try.

And I remember this:
We changed clothes in the dark.
I became you and you became me.

credits

from Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Vol. 3 - Year of the Wooden Horse, released July 1, 2015
Carla Kihlstedt: voice
Shahzad Ismaily: guitar
Jon Evans: bass, guitar
Matthias Bossi: drums, piano

Music by Shahzad Ismaily, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Jon Evans.
Words by Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi

Shahzad’s guitar track was recorded at Voxton Studios, Weisensee Berlin.
Engineer: Francesco Donadello
Assistant engineer: Olivia Oyama

Everything else was recorded by Jon Evans at Brick Hill, Orleans, MA.
Mixed by Jon Evans at Brick Hill, Orleans, MA.
Produced by Jon Evans and Rabbit Rabbit.

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Rabbit Rabbit Radio Falmouth, Massachusetts

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.
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