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"Songs" is the culmination of the work that Jason Talbot and I were doing as a live/improv noise/?? band in the early 00's in Boston. The scene was one of those galvanizing moments in time/space that seem to coalesce around young students. We'd frequently gather in galleries, record shops, or university rooms to make noise and figure things out... listening, talking, experimenting, getting psyched about new music, making up ad-hoc bands to play the following week.

Jason and I were a regular duo for four years or so. We were cocky 20-somethings with something to prove. By the time we made "Songs", we'd played countless concerts, toured a few times, and the band was red hot. People seemed to enjoy our high-energy live sets, but we had a hard time translating that electric charge to a recording. Sticking a microphone in the audience and playing a concert never quite resulted in a CD that was what I'd consider a satisfying home-listening experience, no matter how dynamite the show being documented was. With "Songs", though, I think we nailed it.

The pieces were all recorded live at Twisted Village, Wayne Rogers' home studio (aka his living room) to 8-track reel-to-reel tape. It was a simple, yet controlled set-up. Just a few well-placed microphones and direct lines. Jason's single turntable and my table full of half-busted cassette players. We bashed the whole thing out in a couple of evenings, if I recall, and mixed it quickly. The tracks are hardly edited; what you hear as the beginnings and endings of individual tracks is pretty much what we played in the studio.

If I step back as a (much older, slightly wiser) listener in 2012 and imagine that this racket was made by someone other than me, I'm impressed by these kids' nervy sense of off-rhythm and screwy telepathy. The atmosphere is so tense and unsettling. What were we thinking?! To my ears, "Songs" is the sound of naive youth trying to take over the world. I could never make this music today. Hell, I'm just too calm and happy to make a noise so stubborn. But as a document of a time gone by, I think "Songs" is still some exciting blurt.


released June 1, 2003

Howard Stelzer - tapes
Jason Talbot - turntable

Produced and recorded by Wayne Rogers at Twisted Village. Mastered by Jason Lescalleet at Glistening Labs.

Originally published in 2003 by Intransitive Recordings as a CD in a limited edition of 500 copies.



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Howard Stelzer Lowell, Massachusetts

Stelzer's music is assembled out of cassette tapes, tape machines, and a stubborn refusal to admit defeat. By day, he teaches middle school in Lowell MA, where he and his family live in a really big room behind a power plant. At night, he hunches over stacks of tapes and makes this stuff. No one knows why. ... more

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