Podington Bear

Thought Music from Audio Dregs Recordings

Dear Listeners,

I have heard from several people who have said they enjoy Podington Bear music when they want to let their mind wander. Or wonder, as the case may be. I thought you might like to know what I like to listen to when I want to drift, daydream, and bum about. These are all melodic, instrumental albums that never call too much attention to themselves…while never being boring. This is ageless music that would appeal to the babies and grand-folks alike. Audio Dregs Recordings is based in Portland, Or, and features a diverse roster of mostly electronic artists scattered throughout the world. These albums are highly recommended.

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E*vax – Parking Lot Music

File under instant classic. E*Vax is Evan Mast, who went on to form Ratatat with Mike Stroud. This album was released in 2000 and made on one of the simplest digital-recording applications ever, yet it sounds cutting-edge today. The melodies are timeless and enchanting. Though busy with Ratatat in the last few years, E*Vax has amassed a backlog of material, releasing only one song on the Internet as a teaser (“Ferraro”, You can hear it on his MySpace page) since then. A sophomore release is said to be not far off on the horizon.

E*vax – “Contra Costa”
(courtesy of Audio Dregs Recordings)
E-Vax - Parking Lot Music

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Lullatone- Little Songs About Raindrops

A case where the band name invokes the music, and the album title summarizes the content. This could also be described as John Cage scores The Little Prince. Shawn James, now residing in Japan, works with a palette of chime and bell sounds, occasionally weaving in subtle, wordless, vocal layers. Arpeggios sound quantized and almost algorithmic, but the tonality is very human. The melodies are complex, mesmerizing and abstract. Very few whole notes here, and pads are barely audible. Raindrops indeed.

Lullatone – “Make This Sound”
(courtesy of Audio Dregs Recordings)
Lullatone - Little Songs About Raindrops

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Carpet Musics – Weekday

This may be the Sleepytime Tea of the bunch, but there’s enough undercurrent of sound to engage the daydreamer. Sine waves and granulated washes provide sweet melodies. A side-project of label proprietor and brother of E*vax, Eric Mast, aka E*rock.

Carpet Musics – “Sleeping On Trains”
(courtesy of Audio Dregs Recordings)
Carpet Musics - Weekday

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Melodium – Anaemia

From Nantes France, Melodium impresario Laurent Girard makes music to move the muse. Girard prefers a palette of textures that would fit right in with the well branded Morr Music crowd from neighboring Germany, and the melodies tend to be more brooding than the fore-mentioned.

Melodium – “Felt Felt”
(courtesy of Audio Dregs Recordings)
Melodium

Bear Bands

Bear Band

Is it just me? Like you know how if you’re thinking about buying an old Volvo, suddenly the streets appear to be overrun with old Volvos.

Well, maybe because I’m a bear making music, suddenly every other band seems to have the word bear in their moniker. So I took a few minutes to do some research and hear are the stats:

Bands that have ‘bear’ in their name according to the top 200 results from Amazon.com’s music search and the iTunes Music Store: 53.

Number of bands on Myspace Music with ‘bear’ in their name: 892. (it should be known that this list includes many false positives like The Unbearables.)

Podcasts with ‘bear’ in their name on the iTunes Music Store: 2. The Bearfoot Hookers and yours truly, Podington.

Bearly any.

Artwork: “Bear Band” by Gemma Correll

The rollcall:

Art Bears
Avey Tare And Panda Bear
Base Ball Bear
Bear
Bear Children’s Choir
Bear Claw
Bear Country
Bear Creek
Bear In Heaven
Bear In The Blue House
Bear Vs. Shark
Big Bear
Big Bear Theory
Billy Horton Bear and The Essentials
Black Bear Crossing
Brother Bear
Cat’s a Bear
David Grover and the Big Bear Band
Digital Bear
Edward Bear
Fred Bear
Gary AKA Kelvin 296 Bear
Golden Bear
Great Bear
Great Bear Trio
Grizzly Bear
Honey Bear Klik
Huggy Bear
Jackal The Bear
Joe Bear
Kieth Bear
Lil’ Bear Singers
Lunar Bear Ensemble
Mark V. And Poogie Bear
Michael Searching Bear
Minus The Bear
Paddington Bear
Panda Bear
Papa Bear Band
Pappa Bear
Polar Bear
Poppa Bear Kool Breeze
Sand Bear
Silent Bear
Spirit Bear
Suga Bear
Sugar Bear
Ted D Bear
Teddy Bears
Tiger Bear Wolf
Volcano The Bear
Wake The Bear

The Uncontainable Energy of YACHT

yacht-forrest-magic.jpgYACHT is Jona Bechtolt (Pronounced “John-ah”. Born Jonnal of Burns, Oregon if we are to believe his fantastic bio.) He’s widely recognized as a laptop mastermind, gaining a higher profile from the success of The Blow – Paper Televison for which he plays the role of production maestro / co-writer. In fact, writers have gone out of their way to say, in a nutshell, The Blow would not be particularly noteworthy without Jona’s contribution to the songs. It appears that despite rumored deep turbulence between the duo, they are great foils for each other. Without Khaela Maricich‘s input, Bechtolt’s music alone can occasionally be overindulgent, if not grating. Likewise, you need only to sample the   of Maricich alone– lo-fi, bedroom recorded, art school confession guitar songs — of The Blow, to hear the welcome evolution. But, most often he’s right on point with YACHT, taking you deeper into sound than you’ve thought of travelling.

His bag of tricks include genre-bending par excellence, outmoded 80’s drum machine fills, crazy sonic juxtapositions, uncluttered beats, snappy, clicky tempos and an enthusiastic stage show performed by kneeling child’s-pose-like in front of his laptop on the floor, then taking the mic and running around. It’s a wonder he hasn’t stepped on or kicked his computer to death, as the music does tend to take control of his body. Live, the grating, hard on the ears tracks are positively invigorating, sounding like swarms of locusts flying out of the speakers. (Probably a great show to see high… if that’s your bag.)

Yacht’s production skills are undoubtedly honed by his expert drumming. His occasional Devendra gig has ensured that you can see him on the skins every now and then. In The Blow, he has been known to play beats freestyle with the keypad on his laptop, making the live Blow experience a little more organic than it has been of late. No slouch, that Jona.

Rumor is there’s a new Yacht album about to drop, but it’s not clear whose imprint will be found on the back. A front-runner may be Portland upstart Frykbeat. 

{2/13: YACHT’s I Believe In You, Your Magic Is Real is set to bome out on Portland’s Marriage Records in May.)

If his music isn’t enough to blow your mind, consider his mastery of web design evidenced by his regularly updated website brimming with content and his graphic fatherhood of the Urban Honking blogger collective , as well as his video production and comedic acting on display at the popular Ultimate Blogger reality TV spoof. Too much energy right?

Check this latest HOT offering courtesy of teamyacht.com:

Hock It (YACHT Remix)

This just in: “To my amazement this music does not suck.”

From Feed Me Good Tunes:

155806288_7b003a6414_m.jpg“So at the end of the day I mosey on over to Podington’s cave to see what the deal is. Once there, the mysteries only grow deeper: this cat writes instrumental electronic music and posts it on the internet to share, for free, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I thought to myself okay, cute graphics, cute persona, cute premise, but surely, it must suck.

To my amazement, this music does not suck. 15 tracks posted since January 1st and not a one is cause for wincing, or worse, boredom. At their absolute weakest, these tunes are easy on the ears, slipping seamlessly into the backing track of your day. At their best they are evocative and moving, showing care and skill in their crafting.

I was sold at the 1:28 mark in Elephants on Parade, where a well placed organ line made me chuckle out loud. Well played Bear. Well played.”

Thanks heaps to Sorry Boston for taking the time to write this up. He even includes my original introductory email with a sentence-by-sentence analysis in his post. (If he only knew in that in the same hour I sent a mass email to well over 100 humans, failing to ‘bcc’ them, he might not be so impressed with this bear’s PR skillz.)

But language always fails. That’s why computer-powered translation can be so refreshingly feeble:

“Podington Bear had a love and an interest and try to fall into in the feeling maze fortune music which they made. The mind comes to be calm.” -Google translation of:

가 사랑과 관심을 가지고 만든 감미로운 음악에 빠져보세요. 마음이 차분해 진답니다.-Korean Blog

Even Hyena

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I really like “Toboggan” from Feb 2. Is there anything to be known about Even Hyena?

-Andy

What can I say about Even Hyena? He’s an amiable sort with a big smile. He’s got a memory like an elephant and heart as big as a pomegranite. He’s a good listener and he knows a thing or two about ABCDEFG, let me tell you. He even knows what the black keys are for. Yessiree. He’s plays a mean, melodic bass guitar and before too long you’ll surely hear his low stringy notions enhancing one of this bear’s tunes.