"Burner": Cooking With Gas
The New HO CD Compilation
"Burner," our first album ever, is a lengthwise fragment of the New York downtown Scene.
It features virgin ventures onto CD by Home Office Records recording artists RAW Kinder
and Pawnshop, as well as wonderful tunes by good buddies bluecowboys and exciting pieces by HO regulars Rob Schwimmer, jazz
guy extraordinaire, and Mark Stewart, the eclectic electric guitarist with the vaunted
Bang on a Can All-Stars ensemble, New York's decade-old post-classical performance orchestra
(among other modern music supergroups). All that, and liner notes by New York independent
radio madman and cult-DJ Glen Jones of WFMU-FM fame as
What do we mean by "lengthwise"? Simply this: the music on "Burner" covers a lot of ground. The sounds you'll hear on these 14 tracks run the gamut from the soulful alterna-rock of Pawnshop to the pell-mell poetics of RAW Kinder, to the suave, slinky and sinuous cool of bluecowboys. You can check out digital downloadable smatterings from all of the above in our Tune Room a couple of levels up.
You might expect that sort of range from a funky downtown buncha bands. But you might not expect to find confident classic piano-trio jazz from Rob Schwimmer tucked in there side by side with the rest, or Rob's wacky studio jaunt "East Village Hoed own" (an antic solo synth modern-day "Pictures at an Exhibition" thing, crammed into six minutes of klezmeresque burlesque -- "a plea for insanity," quoth Rob, "in a structured world"). Or the Post-Classical bravado of Mark Stewart's "Trummings," a solo feat of guitar mast ery and technique recorded live at Lincoln Center in 1996, which really defies description. Whatever that made you think of, it doesn't sound like that. Or that either. Suffice to say that when Fred Frith recorded this piece, he used four guitars to Mark's one. (We have on good authority that Mark hammers this piece with 15 of his very own fingers, instead of the usual 8 + thumbs.)
In A Nutshell: Well, maybe a really big nutshell. "Burner" was released on Sunday, May 18th, with a celebratory Warming The New Future gig at downtown's Luna Lounge. A good 120 people packed the club on a balmy Sunday night, leaving behind a trail of happy musicians and gleeful bartenders. This album is not currently getting real-world commercial distribution, although there are some plans to do some regional store stuff, so for now you'll want to buy it here on the Internet , directly from HO. Among other things, this helps us keep the prices down on this and future releases. As we're fond of saying:
Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to pick up this unusual and certified-cool piece of musical history. Catch 'em here first, while the HO train is still boarding on Track Five. And keep an eye out in early 1998 for full-length albums by RAW Kinder (slated for release on Valentine's Day) and Pawnshop (look for this one in late March or early April). Our friends bluecowboys have a private-release CD of their own out now, featuring all t hree of their "Burner" cuts, and you can email them here directly for details on how to pick up a copy.
Whence "Burner"?: This album is a piece of a time, centered on a piece of a place. All of the artists featured on this CD are staff, friends or regular customers of d.b.a., the finest premier-beer bar in New York City (rating by the New York City Beer Guide), where the denizens of HO pass altogether too much time drinking the likes of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Boddington's Pub Ale, Paulaner Salvator and, recently, fine Belgian brews like La Chouffe and McChouffe (ouch!), Lucifer, and many more. As Glen Jones writes in his liner notes to the album, it is no surprise to find life's gourmets clustered in a fine and tasty tavern: "From the dude at the end of the bar who saw the Allman B rothers at the Fillmore to the bartender who pours his drink. These are the people who have created and inspired this disc." Join us at d.b.a. at 41 First Avenue (between 2nd and 3rd Streets) some evening, if you're in subway distance. Plus you can buy "Burner" there, and save yourself the shipping costs. Oddly enough, the one thing the bar doesn't feature is live music.
If you're not in subway distance, we'll try to come to you! The HO entourage is looking forward to starting to tour lightly along the East Coast, although for the most part we're still based here in the Big Yapple. Keep tabs on us through the han dy-dandy Gigometer, our on-line listing of HO shows and other great New York City concerts we wish we had time to attend. If you'd like regular details on future Home Office Records gigs and goodies left by email on your virtual doorstep, subscribe to the HO mailing list and we'll keep you abreast of the latest happenings.
And, of course, in our little on-line store you'll find a small and choice selection of music by our circle of friends and some other unusual and fine indie bands, at prices that are hard to beat (we don't mark up). These folks are worth a listen, and several of the recordings are ones you won't find in your local store. We know a lot of you have never ordered anything from the Internet. It's not as traumatic as it sounds. We don't ask for your credit card number, just for a check or money order. Wander over there and read up on more details -- we will ship on receipt of your payment.
Photos Copyright © 1997 Pierre Jelenc.