Posts Tagged ‘eric sarmiento’
Yes, the top notch blog Get Off The Coast just posted the new video for the spacious interlude “Bilumsman” from Eric’s latest The Friend Is This Animal. The video directed by cinematographer and director Jeffrey Palmer (also former Pistol Arrows drummer) is a surreal meditation on movement, space and shadow that compliments the ethereal music really well. Calling to mind Thích Nhất Hạnh Jeff says “the layered images and layered music creates a magical space of mindfulness.” We quite agree. Check out the video below and visit Get Off The Coast here.
Eric breaks down some of the inspiration and meaning behind the songs on his steam gathering The Friend Is This Animal LP over at excellent site Indie Rock Reviews. These kinds of pieces can often be a bit boring and predictable (ie VH1 storytellers) but Eric manages to tie his world travels, academic and intellectual perspectives and unassuming musical and personal stories into something interesting, erudite and never trite. Of track “There’s So Much” he says “One night, I was walking home through Nezu, my neighborhood in Tokyo, and it suddenly struck me that there was some kind of odd, almost rhythmic logic to the world, and that it could be seen in the layout of the streets of that grand city, Tokyo. Not just the street grid, but the geometry of the streets, little square houses and tiny, plant-lined walkways of Nezu, as well as the topology between specific points that I knew and loved in the city: the public bathhouse, the big stone staircase in Ueno Koen, a gyoza shop in Ueno Station, the pond in Yoyogi Koen, the little French bistro down the street from Grapefruit Moon, the hilly street in Kamakura where Jack and Chie live, a karaoke booth near Omote Sando where Kenzo and I sang Beatles songs, the laundry mat, the zoo, and the smell of tatami mats in the bedroom. All of this served as the germ of a song, and eventually connected with the snowy streets of Highland Park, New Jersey…”. Read the rest here.
Happy Friday! We have another new Eric Sarmiento video for you today. This time from The Friend Is This Animal track These Little Winters. The video is edited from the early claymation short Gumbasia by Art Clokey (of Gumby fame). Enjoy.
Here’s the second part of my recent interview with Eric in which we delve deeper into his recording and songwriting process, recent European travels and his research into alternative food systems and collectives.
I and I: How do you generally start a new song? Is it an intellectual process of thinking what you’d like to do or is more jamming and experimenting to get ideas and then embellishing and refining those? Did you try any new songwriting techniques or processes on this one?
Eric: i guess i don’t have seem to start a song the same way twice, really, but generally i seem to start with a germ of an idea, which i’ll record on keyboard or guitar, and start messing around with. i think most of the tracks on ‘the friend’ were pretty well fleshed out musically before i added vocals. in most cases, once voices are added, i tend to go back and change certain aspects of the music, usually carving out more space and minimizing parts. things that sound good when there aren’t vocals on a track seem to compete with voices once they’re added. a couple of the tracks on this album — ‘strange power’ and ‘we waited for nothing’, i remember writing on piano and wurlitzer. as for lyric-writing, like i said before, much of the lyrics just kind of came to me at various times, in contrast to the way i’ve often written in the past, which was often about writing a ton of stuff and then paring down to essential lines or something.
I and I: Can you say anything about the title ‘The Friend Is This Animal’?
Eric: the title, ‘the friend is this animal’ is a direct nod to the amazing philosopher elizabeth grosz. i took a class with her on feminism and the animal, which basically looked at how western philosophers have understood the animal, how those understandings have been and are enmeshed with how we see the human. more than that, the class attempted to look at and think animals as not just something we ‘project’ our human notions onto, or a kind of ‘outside’ or opposite to ‘society’ or ‘culture’ and such, but as beings with their own worlds, cultures, creativity, and so on. in her great book ‘chaos, territory, art’, liz grosz argues that what we tend to think of as ‘nature,’ a thing we generally oppose to our supposedly more elevated human ‘culture’, is actually the basis from which all art and culture emerges. getting back to my album, i was really moved, while working on this record, by nietzsche’s way of talking about animals and the human animal, especially the relationship between zarathustra and ‘his animals,’ who restore zarathustra to health when he enters his convalescent periods…these animals, an eagle and a snake, tell him that to get over his nausea caused by the wretched ways that humans often treat each other he should learn from animals, especially songbirds, who sing and dance and affirm life to the fullest extent. it’s hard to do justice to these concepts in this short interview, but i found these ways of thinking about the animal to be quite helpful in my own life, for a number of reasons related to the deep changes and rich experiences of my recent years that i talked about earlier.
Though Eric’s outstanding track Strange Power isn’t exactly hot off the press, this cool new video is. Eric says “What attracts us, and how do these varied forces transform us and the world we create? Shot and produced for the Alchemist Records Collective by Monica Barra and Eric Sarmiento in Valencia, Spain and Siracusa, Sicily.”
It’s kind of funny that Eric and I are always talking about music and things but we don’t often get to step out side of our normal context and ask questions from a more objective viewpoint. So with that in mind I’ve been conducting an interview with Eric regarding his new record The Friend Is This Animal and tangentially related subjects. It’s an interesting way to get some perspective on his thoughts and experiences behind the music. So without further ado:
I and I: A lot has happened since 2008′s The Declaration of Interdependence. How have you changed and how did that effect the process and finished result of the new album The Friend Is This Animal?
Eric: yeah, it has been a very full several years since ‘the declaration’ came out. for one, i’ve been immersed in graduate school since 2008, and much of the stuff i’ve been reading and working with there — social theory, post-postmodernism, theories of space, the body and affect — has fed into the ways that i think about and write music. more personally, i experienced some major changes in regard to ‘relationships,’ health, and family stuff. finally, i haven’t been playing live much the past couple of years, focusing more on recording and writing. taken together, all of this stuff comes through on the new album in various ways, i think. lyrically, this record is a lot more ‘personal,’ i guess you could say. it deals with both the difficult parts of recent changes in my life and the ways i think i’ve changed for the better as a result of dealing with those challenges. musically, in some ways the album is more focused than the last one…there’s still a fair amount of variety in terms of style, but to me there’s a lot of elements or motifs that tie the songs together sonically and production-wise. one of the challenges of recording in one’s own studio, for me at least, is the never-ending list of possibilities in terms of sound and instrumentation. but with this album, although i did spend a lot of time messing around with ideas and sounds, it seemed to kind of dictate a fairly limited set of parameters. especially as the album developed…by the end it got to the point where i was waking up in the middle of the night knowing how to finish a song, and just getting up and doing it.
Yup today is the day friends that Eric’s awesome new album ‘The Friend Is This Animal’ hits digital and physical shelves. The limited c40 tape is 7$ and the cd 10$ order up here. In honor of the release we have a new free track for you to peep. It’s called ‘These Little Winters’ although it feels rather Summery. We’ve got lot’s more stuff including some videos, an interview and more tracks coming from this one so stay tuned.
Only two weeks or so away from our wandering troubadour/scholar Eric Sarmiento’s phenomenal new album The Friend Is This Animalhits the shelves. This is a real full album lovers album so we have the whole thing streaming here, for your enjoyment. Dive in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!