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"The Perfect Abomination" grew in beautiful Exquisite Corpse form, note by note, passed around from coast to coast, pushed and pulled until the song you hear now existed.
Michael Mellender, chief architect of its musical skeleton, is a mad genius. His pores shoot out lightning bolts of full-tilt guitar and bass shred. He holed up in his Oakland bedroom studio for a few days, and out popped this epic and gorgeous scaffold on which we could hang our words and melodies.
Let's not forget that Dan Rathbun, also of SGM, lent his crack-shot bass playing and gumshoe engineering to the song.
A word about the words:
Here are some of the things that went into the song:
• Malaysia Airlines MH17.
• A picture I came across of two old babushkas standing in a field in rural Ukraine, looking at the flight wreckage.
• Trying to imagine the young man (yes… that’s a guess, but a likely one) who launched the missile.
• All of the people I wish I’d been corresponding with over the last 2 decades. All of the conversations I sacrificed to my lack of communication.
• Cultivating the old lady I want to become.
A Word from the Engineer (and bass player) - Dan Rathbun:
One of the great blessings of the modern world is that people separated by great distances can make music together without ever actually being in the same room. I love to envision the travels of this song starting with it's birth in michael's tiny bedroom studio in West Oakland. Next stop, the Stolen Babies practice space with Gil Sharone supplying the drum set and engineering in Hollywood. Then to the Lost Coast of California for bass tracks from my old Ventura hollow body. Then back to Cape Cod for words and singing. Now it's back here in Petrolia CA surrounded by mountains and trees in a funky barn studio for the mix which will get touched up back in Oakland at Polymorph Recording in it's new home in the synagogue - Chochmat Halev. The song did all that traveling to be with the people it loved and now it's coming to you.
A Word From Our esteemed Guest Guitarist and Musical Scaffold-Builder - Michael Iago Mellender:
Early last month, I was approached by Rabbit Rabbit, my once and future musical co-conspirators, asking for a guitar song-start. What you hear now started as a lone guitar skeleton, recorded in my bedroom studio in Oakland. I play this musical game somewhat regularly in the Immersion Composition Society, and it’s my favorite: write and record a musical idea, and… serve! Think of it like a totally unregulated and random chemistry experiment. You concoct a protein, introduce it into Specimen A, then watch as all hell breaks loose. Playing this game with my bandmates, current and not, was a richer, more intimate affair. When I finally heard what it became, just… wow. It’s an incredible gift, a delight - I encourage anyone with the inclination to try this. It’s like making babies with your minds. Ha! With much love to my dear friends Carla, Matthias and Dan - thank you for letting me contaminate the petri dishes of your heads. -MM
THE PERFECT ABOMINATION
Give my regards to your dear old ma.
Tell her I'll visit soon, I swear.
Has she become what she was working on all these years?
I think I saw her looking at the sky.
(Pull the trigger, let the rain come down.)
I saw her standing in a field of flames.
Is she still there?
I meant to write a million times.
But I couldn't put pen to paper to save my life.
She said the fields were full of poppies when she was young.
Have I become the thing we used to run from?
They built a box that seeks all of the love that's missing.
All of the warmth and the softness of bodies.
Listen up in the thin air, the perfect abomination.
Music by Michael Mellender, Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi
Words by Carla Kihlstedt
Michael's guitar recorded by Michael under the 580 freeway in West Oakland, CA
Matthias’ drums recorded by Gil Sharone at the Stolen Babies rehearsal space in Los Angeles, CA
Dan Rathbun's bass recorded by Dan in a barn in Petrolia, CA
Mixed by Dan Rathbun in a barn in Petrolia, CA, and at New Polymorph, Berkeley, CA
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