Wind-Up Monkey (1998)
"Wind-Up Monkey" was a sort of concept album/EP I recorded in early 1998 in Seattle. The concept is hazy and hard to put into words (which is why you should listen to the music), but I'll try to "dance about architecture" a little here: my idea was to use household objects and, whenever possible, wind-up toys (that's a kind of household object, right?) for all the drum sounds on the album. AND I decided to make the songs techno songs. This is an idea I had had for a while, using toys for the percussion in techno tracks to take some of the "seriousness" out of the music. Originally, all tracks on the album were going to be jungle/drum and bass, but that turned out to be a little too difficult to pull off.
A related theme is that of monkeys (duh!), which as many of us know from our traumatic childhoods tend to manifest their insidious evil in the form of wind-up toys, often playing drums and chattering in a sinister fashion. This reference was in fact the inspiration for the name and logo of Little Man Records, the imprint under which all Sappho's Fist and vox barbara albums were released. Oh yeah, and there seems to be something about aliens in there also...?
The concept for the album extended to the packaging as well: a transparent vinyl pouch, in which would be placed the CD and a credits card. The pouch would be held shut with a little plastic monkey, of the old toy game "Barrel of Monkeys" variety.
In addition to the aforementioned household objects and toys (which really do account for all percussion/drum sounds), an Ensoniq SQ-80 synthesizer was used on the album, as were a variety of pop culture samples and the voice of Marchette Dubois' nephew Jaron. The samples were captured and run through a Casio FZ-20M sampler (a marvelous, heavy-duty piece of gear from the early 90s), and everything was sequenced using the SQ-80.
So much for the geek stuff, on to the songs!
Return to the Oddities page