The Execution of Random Actions (2005)
A Little History:
In 2002 Dumbass recorded an album called The Execution of Certain Actions, an album based on exploring the concept of ritual… particular actions taking place in particular ways, in particular times and places… As we put it at the time: “Time and space themselves are the instruments here. Recorded at night in scrap yards, railway tunnels, and atop a 40 foot metal tower, the recording process is ritualized and ritual represents the musical score.”
In 2005 we returned to the idea, but this time we decided to explore its opposite pole… we delved into the idea of randomness… if ritual is all about the significance of actions, we wanted to explore the meaninglessness of actions. As I put it in the recent retrospective:
“We explored the notion that human beings are no more able to be truly random than computers. We began each recording session with no pre-decided ideas or plans. We tried to do things randomly:
“I’ll record some drums.”
“I’ll record some bass.”
“I’ll chop up what you just recorded.”
“I’ll chop up what you recorded a week ago.”
“I’ll slow this down.”
“I’ll delete the guitar.”
Etc. etc. etc.
We plugged instruments in or miked them up and just pressed “record.” Lyrics were written the same way: I would randomly decide to lay down a vocal. Sometimes I would open my notebook and just write whatever came out, sometimes I would decide to edit this or that text, sometimes I would just stand at the mike and make it up on the spot. At one point I flipped through my notebook, reading lines and words from songs from previous albums at random. And yet…
And yet, it’s all strangely musical. And yet, lyrical themes developed (a series of song texts that revolve around the seasons, for instance). Random things should surprise you… what surprised us was just how un-random it all sounded. We had an inkling that this is how it would turn out, but not the extent (did this inkling affect the outcome?).
I like this album a lot, but it got a bit lost between the bigger projects that preceded and succeeded it. It’s nice then to put it out now where it can breathe a bit more.
This is a noisy album, it’s sonically harsh at times, but it has, I think, a strangely deep musicality to it that I have a hard time explaining (a result, no doubt, of the “random actions” forcing our musical subconscious, instincts, muscle-memory, etc. to take the wheel as our conscious planning-minds tried to forsake the driver’s seat). It’s also a lively and, I would say, again, strangely joyous album.”
I hope you enjoy it,