Robbing Graves, the new album
“The negative form of the self exercises a loosening power as well as a binding power; at any time it can quite arbitrarily start all over again, and no matter how long one idea is pursued, the entire action is within a hypothesis.”
Robbing Graves is the new release from Dumbass.
It is an intense expressionist and experimental suite of music in two parts. The first part (the title track), is a 54 minute piece of music that is both sonically and lyrically challenging. It is deeply intertextual, both formalist and freeform, with lyrics in 4 languages, and music that moves from minimal and quiet to brash and noisy.
Robbing Graves weaves the past and present together, figuratively and literally through extensive use of archival recordings and incisive self-reflection.
The second part plays more like a traditional album, with more manageable song lengths, but it is in fact a continuation of an overarching narrative that moves, from bar 1 of part 1 towards its inevitable conclusion in the final song.
The album is available to download for free here at the Dumbass website.
It is also available in a portfolio edition, with 2 CDs, a liner-book, and 4 hand printed woodcuts. Contact us through the Trash Records Facebook page if you are interested.
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,
God’s Garden is an organic and experimental album that feels like a logical development from the movements of the previous several years of work. This release sees Dumbass recording largely live on many tracks rather than building up songs piece by piece in the studio, mixing elements of noise-rock and post-punk with more (and less) traditional experiments. New member Stanley Pushkin adds his talents on bass, keyboards, and guitar.
01 God’s Garden
02 Lie Beside Me
04 Monogamous Binaries
05 Life Dirge
06 Night Active
07 Touching Eyes
10 Maria Theresa
11 Santa Maria
15 In Flammeolum
16 Aphrodite’s Eyes & Manifold Names
17 In Absentia
18 The Concept of Anxiety
19 Falling Atoms
01 God’s Garden
03 I Love You
06 Faces (Long Version)
08 God’s Garden (Hellhole Remix by Pin)
09 God’s Garden (Paradiso Remix by Pin)
11 Seldom (Infrequent Remix by Pin)
12 God’s Garden (November 2007 Version)
13 You and Me
Die Mauer was conceived by the light of a desk lamp late one October night in a hostel that had once been a telephone factory in Berlin after a flash of inspiration at the longest remaining stretch of the wall. The initial tracks were recorded all over the wilds of British Columbia on rocks, bridges, power towers, trees, etc. then studio work was added. Still regarded as the best Dumbass album by both the band and the fans.
01 The outline of the hypothesis
02 Expansion of the particulars (part 1)
03 Expansion of the particulars (part 2)
04 Unlimited horizons
05 Infinity as a unity
06 The human wager
08 The unitary cause is infinite
09 Tempus est aligatus
10 The tunnel
16 Causality leads to determinism
19 The test of time
01 Beautiful horizons
02 Summer song
03 The reasons why
04 Elapsed time under 12 seconds
06 Try hard as you will
07 Complications in the summer heat
08 Making this thing
09 Winter song (Miss Timid)
10 Flower petals
11 Twilight in summer
12 Seasonal affected disorder
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.
Possibly one of the least accessible Dumbass albums, but also one of the most significant.
01 Execution # 1 (railway tunnel with approaching train)
02 Execution # 2 (modem machine music)
03 Execution # 3 (guitar and environment)
04 Execution # 4 (hostile piano)
05 Execution # 5 (40′ metal tower)
The History of Idiocy was the second Dumbass best-of collection. Spanning Dumbass’ most fruitful period to date these songs are not only the best of 2002-2008, but are some of the best Dumbass songs created.
02 The Outline of the Hypothesis
03 The Unitary Cause is Infinite in its Constituent Parts
04 The Tunnel
05 Reflexive knowledge
06 Execution #3 (Guitar & Environment)
08 Miss Captivating
09 The Reasons Why
10 Execution #4 (Hostile Piano)
11 The Human Wager
12 Beautiful Horizons
13 Random Action #2 (Summer)
14 Processing Plant
15 End of the End
01 God’s Garden
02 Deep Eyes
04 Bored & Stupid
05 Cash (Single Version)
07 Execution #1 (Railway Tunnel with Approaching Train)
08 The Audacity of Your God Astonishes Me (Live)
09 History (Live)
10 Random Action #15 (Spring)
11 The Expansion of the Particulars (Part 2)