Oog Liner Notes

(Download)

I wander and wonder with open eyes and ears as I travel my erratic lifestyle.  I search for inspiration in the works of great artists both visual and musical, in the amazingly beautiful forces of nature, and from that difficult to pinpoint personal inner well where emotions and experience become one.

This record is a collection and reflection of my life since the completion of my last record two years ago…a musical diary if you will.

THE TRACKS

1. Green Flash

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

Sitting on the San Diego coastline watching breathtaking firey red sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, I strummed and plucked out these melodies on my fiddle in anticipation of the famed “green flash.”  I never witnessed the flash – maybe I blinked – but I look forward to another viewing excursion.  This interpretation was inspired by the drum’n’bass work of Square Pusher.  The low bass notes are from using my shoe to strike a metal room service plate cover I borrowed from a hotel in Glasgow, Scotland.

CD – fiddles, plate cover
Green Flash

2. Uncontinental Breakfast

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

While teaching at Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference I had a life changing musical experience…and those don’t come along often.  One of the other instructors was Dr. M. Manjunath, a South Indian violinist.  He played a solo concert, cross legged, on top of a table, improvising nonstop for 30 minutes.  He took me on a ride that was one of the most beautiful and amazing performances I’ve ever witnessed, playing in ways I had not imagined possible.  The next day I took a lesson with him.  Soon afterwards while on the road, hungry and stuck in a hotel room one morning, I wrote this melody.  Thank you Dr. M. Manjunath.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion, electronic mangulation
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrell Scott – pedal steel guitar
Fognode – lap steel, synth, field recordings
CD – fiddle
Uncontinental Breakfast

3. Hummingbirds vs. Yellowjackets

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

I spent a late afternoon in Carbondale, CO observing the struggle between a few hummingbirds and a gang of yellowjackets over the sweet nectar of what looked to me like a hummingbird feeder, though I’m sure the yellowjackets would contest my statement.  Thankfully they chose not to that evening, and in the end I could see no victor.  The melody had been composed earlier, but the tune felt like it needed more.  I worked further on the fiddle tune while natures battle went on around me.  This arrangement was not written about or for the creatures but occurred in harmony with them.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, electronic mangulation
Viktor Krauss – bass
Darrell Scott – electric guitar
CD –fiddles (with and without mute)
Hummingbirds vs. Yellowjackets

4. Conversation With Death

Public Domain, Arr. Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

We all have our notions of life beyond life and whether or not there is one at all.  What we seem to agree on is that time is precious, time is short, and time is unpredictable.  I used to take a few more chances with my life, feeling the invincibility of my youth.  I wouldn’t say my life is any less exciting, I just choose my battles a bit more wisely.  It’s funny how life experience and love will change your perspectives.  I believe we are all connected, not just people, but all living things.  I don’t believe that there is one true way for everyone – geography, culture, and environment just won’t let me.  My ideal afterlife is that you go wherever and experience whatever you believed in your lifetime….it seems only fair.  These lyrics are passed down to us from Doc Boggs.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrel Scott – electric guitar
CD – fiddles, vocals, mandotar
Conversation With Death

5. The Day Before Halloween

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

A new old-time melody rises from the ground on All Hallows Eve.  Pairing it to Conversation With Death was appropriately natural and seamless.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrel Scott – electric guitar
CD – fiddles, vocals, mandotar

The Day Before Halloween

6. Rose Tea Waltz

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

As a direct result of my adventures in China and around the time of my first record, I decided to make the switch from coffee to tea.  I felt more even throughout the day.  I was more pleasant to be around.  I ate food before 3pm.  I still felt human as the day continued.  For a time, I was brewing a roasted green tea called Hojicha which I would mix with rose petals.  During this phase of tea enjoyment, a new twin fiddle waltz was born.


Matt Chamberlain – drums, electronic mangulation
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrell Scott – pedal steel guitar
Fognode – lap steel, sounds
CD – fiddles

Rose Tea Waltz

7. Ashland Breakdown

Bill Monroe  (Bill Monroe Music, BMI)

I can’t seem to resist taking a bluegrass fiddle tune and messing around with it.  Learned from the fiddling of Kenny Baker, this is now a sort of Frankenstein.  There’s been an idea in my head for a while that if you learned a melody backwards, recorded it, flipped it around and played it back, the tune would sound normal again.  For the most part it worked out, however the tone of my backwards fiddle is more bizarre than I imagined – and everyone loves a backwards solo!  There are two pairs of fiddles here: backwards melody & backwards rhythm / forwards melody & forwards rhythm.  I tried out all the various combinations.  If I could, I’d change the title to something a little more appropriate like Ashland Breakup.

CD- fiddles

Ashland Breakdown

8. Hunt for the Quail Egg

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

I had one of those classic textbook dreams.  I’m in class, my dad is there, and I’m asked to play a tune in front of the class.  When I get to the front of the room, after I drop my bow and chip the tip off, I specifically remember looking down and saying, “Well, maybe I should put some pants on before I play.”  I walked back to my desk and struggled with the legs of my pants, putting both legs in one pantleg.  Later in that same dream I was in my English class and remember seeing the word “quail” on a giant blackboard.  I was asked to describe what the word meant to me.  I figured that the tune I wrote that morning when I woke up should have somehow reference my nocturnal imagination.

Matt Chamberlain – drums
Viktor Krauss – bass
Darrell Scott – electric guitar
CD – fiddle

Hunt for the Quail Egg

9. Lunar Cages

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

This journey began as an extension of an old two-person technique used by old-time and Cajun fiddle players called fiddlesticks.  The fiddle is set to an open tuning.  One person will bow a melody on the high two strings while a friend (presumably) will take two sticks similar to chopsticks and beat out a rhythm on the low two strings – two folks, one fiddle.  I had been intrigued by the prepared piano works of John Cage and his piece Bacchanole in particular.  I wanted to hear what would happen if two fiddles were tuned in harmony with each other and only played with sticks by someone with serious control like a drummer.   With the bed of harmony created between the fiddlesticked fiddles, I set out to write a melody to float on top.  This slow build was composed on the dawn of February 20, 2008, the morning of my first lunar eclipse.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion, electronic mangulation, fiddlesticks
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrell Scott – electric guitars
Fognode – lap steel, synth, field recordings
CD – 5-string and octave fiddles

Lunar Cages

10. I’m Satisfied With You

Fred Rose (Sony/ATV Milene Music, ASCAP)

I’ve been listening Hank Williams Sr. quite often in the past few years.  I also recently got into these two great Old Hat Records collections of African American fiddlers from the 20’s and 30’s.  Hank’s recording of this song was upbeat western swing, but I felt the lyrics could take the music somewhere else.  I was inspired by the rawness and attitude of those old blues fiddlers.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion
Viktor Krauss – bass
Darrell Scott – electric guitar
CD – fiddle, vocals

I'm Satisfied With You

12. Flexible Helix

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

Helix, n, 1. an object having a three-dimensional shape like that of a wire wound  uniformly in a single layer around a cylinder or cone (like a string perhaps?), as in a corkscrew or spiral staircase; 2. Anatomy: the rim of the external ear.  This twisty tune of threes fits together nice and snug as far as my ears are concerned.  I’m also reminded of the eternal balance and encompassing nature of the yin and yang swirl.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, electronic mangulation
Viktor Krauss – bass
Darrell Scott – electric guitars
CD – fiddles (with and without mutes)

Flexible Helix

12. Tao Three

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

This melody was written to my interpretation and rhythm of the following passage that I randomly opened up to one morning.

CD – fiddles with mutes

If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.

The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.

-From Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell; HarperPerennial.

Tao Three

 

BOUNUS TRACKS

14. Regarding Life Thus Far (CD Only)

Casey Driessen (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

The composition of this piece began the morning of my 28th year. I try not to place unhealthy importance on what has happened during my current time on earth or what is to come, but birthdays have a way of making you contemplate.  I feel fortunate to have experienced the love of a wife, my family, and my friends, and to have lived in a world of creativity and imagination that brings color into the world.  Things don’t always work out, or take the direction I might have desired, but they do always work in their own mysterious way.  I hope that I remain fluid to what I do not know, show compassion and understanding to all life, and above all, be true to myself and my loved ones.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion
Viktor Krauss – bass
Darrell Scott – pedal steel
CD – fiddles

Regarding Life Thus Far

14. Pennies in a Mask (Online Only)

Casey Driessen & Fognode (C-String Tunes, ASCAP)

This is a recontextualization by Fognode.  He has taken musical elements from Uncontinental Breakfast, Lunar Cages, and Rose Tea Waltz and combined them with his own field recordings and instrumental swells to create this piece.

Matt Chamberlain – drums, percussion, electronic mangulation
Viktor Krauss – basses
Darrell Scott – electric guitars
Fognode – lap steel, synth, field recordings
CD – 5-string fiddles

Pennies in a Mask - photo by Brian Siskind

Pennies in a Mask – photo “Separate” by Brian Siskind

 

THE CREDITS:

Produced by Jason Lehning & Casey Driessen

Recorded and mixed by Jason Lehning
Assisted by Rory Rositas & Kyle Ford
@ Omni Sound Studio, The Compound, & Dada Room
Mastered by Jim DeMain @ Yes Master

Photos & design by CD
Cover inspired by M.C. Escher

CD plays John Silakowski 5-String fiddles w/ D’addario Strings and an old octave fiddle passed down from his great grandfather Emmett Culligan

THANKS TO:

Molly & Emmette, Tom Karen Bridget Arthur & Regina Driessen, Madonna Nagel, Pam Holthauser, Candace Rice, Steve Rice, Rocky Cohen, Kyle Lehning, Matt Mangano, Tom Giampietro, Jason Oettel, Luke Bulla, Carla Parisi, Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck, Ben Sollee, Zach Newton, Craig Havighurst, Frank Vignola, Bev Paul, Brad Madison, Chris Faville, Val Hersey, Tim O’Brien, Dave Nokken, Tasha Thomas, Ryan Baker, Fred Carpenter, Michael Bloom, Stacy Vereen, Adam Hudson, W.O. Smith School, David Macias & the Thirty Tigers staff,  Elizabeth Gregory, Brad Henderson

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