AHT 105 – Limited Edition of 50 copies with individually designed and hand drawn sleeves.
Purchase digital version on Bandcamp here.
Alexander de Large – Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
Painted Faces – California Bakeage
Harry Cloud – Squid Friend
GypsyCab Co. – Home Sweet Texas
The Hex – Pale Days Pt. 2
Phil Yates & The Affiliates – Caraway
Axos – Texas
Dr Spaceman – Staying Home
Monogamy – Wimpy Drummer
Indignataries – Today Was Bright Red
Wholewheat – Covid Song
Caleb Fraid – Howard Hughes
Gary Alien – God Is Not With Me
Kids Of The Atomic Age – Old Hearts Die Young
Nutrition Fun – Start At Haunted (VI)
Douglas C Keith – C19 C46 C85
Elton Wong – Luigi’s Tree
Tiny Cities – Sequestred Love Song
Lovers Turn To Monsters – Anxious To Live (Caleb Fraid)
Death Club – Untitled
Bob Bucko Jr. – Go On Red
Parents – Incarceration Blues
The Reverend Terry Rice – I Tried
Stephen – Hvis Du Ville Være Så Sød
4min – Desert Runner
Keith Hell – The Blood
Chris Smith – Animal
DarkWater – Eye Of The Beholder
Buffalo Bunny – 2 Meters
The Cannanes – Moonhands
Peter Jefferies and Hamish Allan – GhostWriter (Live)
Isik Kural – Hopefully Hopefully
Little Whirls – Renovated Film Stills
Isaac Levine – Smoking Together
The Debts – Golden Carriage
Ed Nolbed – Head Hang Low (Julian Cope)
Will Simmons – Try Telling Yourself
Wio – A Desolate Scene (Quarantine Dream Version)
I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE – I AM THE SINNERS SANCTUARY
Elisha Morningstar – Untitled
Amps For Christ – The Way To Ursa Major
Mike Mus – Green = Grass (Wio)
Douglas Kramer Nye – Which Side Are You On? (Florence Reece)
Ghost Grove – The New Coven
Mr. Ray Fork – When I Have The Time (Live at Fort Point)
Goosewind – Diamonds In Rust (Joan Baez)
Kitchen Cynics – Companion
Kiss Hello – Lost In Screen
Simon Joyner & The Lonesome Ghosts – Black Eyed Dog (Nick Drake)
Peter Jefferies – Unknown Beach (Live)
Allen Callaci and Jeff Fuccillo – Harden My Heart (Quarterflash)
Goosewind – Bats Are People
Restaurnaut – Useless
Razors – Canary Miner Ballad
The Death Of Pop – The House That We Built
Wovoka Jr – Drumlin Tree Builder
Buffalo Bunny – Drone
Cerebral Visions (feat. Rik Albatros) – COVID Isolation In The Stratosphere
Tom Violence – Everything
Antti Tolvi – Vacuum Cleaners Home Alone
Peopling – Altars Of The Moon (For Edward Abbey) (Live)
Jed Town – Ufo’s From Cloudscapes Of Aotearoa
Country Conservation District – For March
Celie – Cold Bath And A Mouthful Of Seeds
Will Milner – 6-24-20
C. Worth – Take Heart Luigi
Kiss Hello – Echo 75
Poostosh – Essential Inward Trips
Danny, Bear and Wilfred – Ping Pong In The Time Of Corona
Charles LaReau – Late Nights Of April
Eric Morrison & The 100% Storms Ensemble (feat. The Falagario Family) – The Foxes Have Returned
Right when the lockdown was announced, I invited people to send me songs that will portrait the moment we were all living.
Eric Morrison sent me a message on March 15th at 22:06 when I was ready to go to sleep. He wanted me to record some words, “siamo tutti in quarantena e le volpi sono tornate”. With less people around, he explained, foxes were taking possession of the spaces occupied by men. I did it, I sent Eric recordings of my voice, my wife’s and my little daughter Emilia’s. At 23:35 I received an email from Eric with a song in attachment. It featured the voices of all my family.
“Portraits From The Quarantine” is Almost Halloween Time Records most ambitious project.
A collection of 71 songs coming from 4 continents collected between March and August.
These songs are special to me and have been with me for all these months. It’s finally time to share them with you. The compilation is out today.
About the artists and the songs:
4min: Chris Foreman is an incredible musician, in the last few months apart from desert runner the 4min piece that is part of portraits, I have been lucky enough to listen to many of his productions, piano pieces, rock songs, songs of all kinds and genres. Chris is at ease whatever the genre, in front of any musical instrument. The surprising thing is that most if not all of his songs are unreleased. Desert Runner is 4.44 minutes long. By 4min. Perfect!!!
Alexander de Large: He does not know yet but he has quickly become my favorite political scientist, ideologist and columnist. I don’t know much about him, maybe he was born in Bari like me. I sure saw him open a Matt Elliott concert in a squat. On the back wall of the stage one of my favorite maxims: “the only church that illuminates is the church that burns.” Alexander de Large records for Lepers Productions, makes his debut on Almost Halloween Time with a one-piece cover by Neil Young.
Here are some of his aphorisms: ”when does this fucking covid end? I can’t wait to be able to keep a safe distance from people by my exclusive choice”, or ”being an influencer at the time of the covid is a rather disrespectful thing!”
Allen Callaci and Jeff Fuccillo. No need for introductions here. During the lockdown and living in different corners of the world, the two longtime friends recorded a cover of ”Harden My Heart” using a platform for the exchange of music files. The experiment and the remote collaboration went so well that they recorded other covers of 80’s songs. There’s an album in the making. The original by Quarterflash is not in my chords, but their cover is deadly. ”A transcontinental bedroom cover” as Allen has pointed out.
Amps For Christ: Henry Barnes has recorded this song during the lockdown especially for this project. I wonder if he used one of his legendary musical instruments. Amps For Christ’s discography is vast, they sound like noone else in this world, between experimental noise and traditional folk. During one of my trips to the United States, I was lucky enough to attend an Amps For Christ concert and see in person the modified musical instruments. My grandfather, who was a prisoner in South Africa and who in the years spent working in the diamond mines built a banjo with his own hands and learned to play it, who never wanted to tell me which party he voted for or his political faith although he greeted and knew everyone at the local headquarters of the Partito Comunista Italiano, would have loved Amps For Christ, Henry Barnes and this song.
Antti Tolvi: Perhaps his contribution is the symbol song, manifesto of the whole collection. A suite for piano and vacuum cleaners that kidnapped and conquered me, listening after listening, by sucking my senses like a speck of dust depositing them in who knows what place or non-place. Apparently this is the only existing recording of this kind of performance and I’m really proud of this. Some people spent the lockdown maniacally cleaning their homes and belongings, Antii went further, using an appliance to make music.
Not sure if Kirigirisu still has copies of Leijunta, but if you want to hear more by this incredible artist, I definitely recommend you try to put your hands on that album.
Axos: The plan is this, I’m going to dig a hole in the living room floor and keep digging and digging. When I reach the center of the earth I will be halfway there. Plymouth, New Zealand where the Axos come from, looking at a globe, it seems to be located exactly on the other side of the world. ”Texas” is a demo recording made between 2015-2019 before the pandemic. Axos are Jet Jones, Poppa-John Phillips, Justin Rangi, Maurice Paurini, Lazza and Peter Jefferies.
Bob Bucko Jr: BBJR is an incredible artist, there are countless projects he is part of, countless musical instruments he plays. It is impossible to establish the exact number of his collaborations with other artists or the releases on his Personal Archives label. Bob and I met a few years ago when Bob sent in a couple of songs that ended up on Crock Rot. Since then, Bob has recorded an album for AHT and is a constant presence on the compilations I have released. Bob is on “Lodger Dol Three”, on “Imaginary Donkey”, on “Road To Istanbul” and now on “Portraits”.
Buffalo Bunny: Buffalo Bunny are Jamie Scott Palmer and Victoria Singh. Experimental pop punk, dream pop soundscapes from New Plymouth, New Zealand. Buffalo Bunny contributed two songs to the compilation, both inspired by Peter Jefferies, both perfectly themed. New Plymouth is one of the hottest places in the world right now. I have always dreamed of going to New Zealand, now I really feel the need.
C. Worth: Thanks C., your music warms my heart and it did so even in the hardest, darkest and saddest days of the lockdown.
Caleb Fraid: Howard Hughes, to which the homonymous song is dedicated, is the father of all germophobics. This song by Caleb Fraid is also included in Randemic and it should have anticipated the release of ”Randemic” but things went on for a long time. On the other hand we are talking about a compilation extended on 4 cassettes of 70 minutes each. Over 4 hours of music. Perhaps only Caleb Fraid managed to collect more material in the same period, material written by himself of course. Prolific as only the best songwriters can do. The Bob Pollard of the hometapers.
The Cannanes: Every time I invite Frances and the Cannanes to contribute a song for a compilation, there is something great going on. It can be something exciting, The cannanes were on tour while I was collecting subscriptions for Imaginary Donkey, it can be something painful, this time the obstacle was a global pandemic. The Cannanes song was one of the last to arrive at the end of August. I listened to it watching the sunset and the night that fell on the trulli. A poignant spectacle made even sadder by the notes of the Cannanes. I cried.
Celie: One of the most poignant songs of the entire collection, poignant as only the sound of a trumpet can be. Celie is a really talented botanist, author and painter.
Cerebral Visions (feat. Rik Albatros): Cerebral Visions are Scott Meade’s project, it is not the first time we collaborate but it is the first time that one of their songs ends up on AHT. For the occasion, Scott avails himself of the help of an absolute legend, Rik Albatros (Bacchanalian Revel, M-Ways). Happy to have Scott and Rik on board.
Charles LaReau: “Early Morning April” was recorded over a couple nights between 3-4am, it’s a photography of the Chinese sky. Charles is a member of Naturaliste, Das Torpedoes and Voost Viszt.
Chris Smith: Animal is the first ever song I’ve heard from Chris Smith. I liked it so much that I asked Chris to hear more. So I found myself in my hands, in my headphones and on the home turntable, a copy of Second Hand Smoke of which Animal is part. “Second Hand Smoke” has been a constant part of my lockdown soundtrack, a masterpiece. I am so crazy about Chris that I decided to reprint his first work: Cabin Fever.
Country Conservation District: Country Conservation District celebrated his 18th birthday in the midst of a global pandemic, “For March” is the soundtrack of his special day.
Danny, Bear and Wilfred: After listening to ”The Unexamined Life ” by The Supreme Dicks, I had to put in place the jaw, which had remained open for the whole time of listening. Even today if I listen to ”Strange Song” or ”Garden Of Your Past” the scene repeats itself. The sense of estrangement that is felt is the same suggested by the album cover. I approached The Supreme Dicks after reading an article in my favorite music fanzine, Blow Up. I had and I have a fix for Lou Barlow, for everything he does, and in the review of the album his named appeared. Said, done, I purchased the album. The web is full of legends about The Supreme Dicks.
Apparently they never disbanded even though they haven’t released a new album for years. It is said that for a time due to the transfer of some members from one coast to the other of the USA there were two parallel formations, The East Coast Supreme Dicks and The West Coast Supreme Dicks. In addition to Lou Barlow, Beck, Cat Power and members of the Neutral Milk Hotel are also rumored to have been occasional members of The Supreme Dicks. Someone who had seen them live a few years ago swears that they played only unreleased songs and a few years ago I almost managed to convince them to release a new record, a split with a group that recorded for Almost Halloween Time and that now there is no more.
Daniel Oxenberg is a historical member of the Supreme Dicks, his last two solo albums with Bear Galvin are brilliant and the song featured on ”Portraits From The Quarantine” is by a new project: Danny, Bear and Wilfred. Very importantly his song will give me the opportunity to paint the plague mask that plays ping pong.
DarkWater: DarkWater are an Alt/Rock Band based in New Plymouth, New Zealand. I listened to their portraits song for the first time in the company of my 4 year old daughter, Emilia. At the end of the song, my daughter said: this song is sad. Yes, this song is poignant and sad and I love it. Their other music is nothing like this track, they’re a 3 piece band with a heavy edge, so completely different to what I have been sent.
Death Club: I don’t know much about this project, Death Club make an appearance on Almost Halloween Time Records for the first time. I know for sure that there is a cassette of theirs out there, released by Rabbits Unlimited and that this cassette is extraordinary. Look for it.
The Death Of Pop: one of the most beautiful discoveries made during the lockdown. It was their cover of Stereolab’s “Percolator” that caught my attention. The boys have courage, to pay homage to one of the sacred monsters of the avant pop world and one of my favorite bands. I fell in love with them and contacted them. I was very lucky and they were very kind, The Death Of Pop were working on some new material and they gave me the possibility to put “The House That We Built” on Portraits.
The Debts: “Golden Carriage” was written specifically for this compilation, The Debts really couldn’t miss and their song is perfectly themed. 2020 may have been bad and long but it also saw the publication of “Customer Service” which I certainly put positive things on the scales.
Douglas C. Keith: Keith, I think I’m the author of your new stage name. In the booklet of “Imaginary Donkey” I involuntarily reversed surname and first name and from Keith C. Douglas you became Douglas C. Keith. Douglas or Keith is a member of Wholewheat, and this is his second appearance on AHT. During the lockdown and during these months we have often spoken, we talked about art, about Shrimper and Lou Barlow. My favorite topics.
Douglas Kramer Nye: Florence’s song asks an important question. One that we should all ask ourselves on a regular basis. Which side are you on?” I often think of Douglas as a brother. His last album, on Almost Halloween Time Records, is titled ”The End Is Nye”, perhaps the end is really near, the end of the world as we knew it for sure, but this is also a good opportunity to start again from scratch, to work on building a more humane society, where nobody is left behind.
I still have in my eyes the image of the Vlora, a cargo ship that sailed under the Albanian flag one day, 8 August 1991, arrived in the port of Bari in the aftermath of the fall of the communism in Albania carrying tens of thousands of refugees. An unprecedented mass arrival that caught Italian authorities unaware, but not us, the people from Bari. My family as well as a lot of other families in Bari opened the doors of our houses to welcome and give hospitality to these perfect strangers. The images of the Italian television are impressive. Esat and Arthur lived in my house for months, my father helped them to find a job. And the same
script was repeated in other houses, by other families. During the Italian and German occupation of Albania in World War II, Albania was the only Nazi-occupied country in Europe to see an increase in its Jewish population, as Albanian Jews were not turned over to the Germans thanks to an Albanian set of laws known as Besa from the Kanun. A lot of Italians, therefore, found refuge in Albania. History always repeats itself.After having seen that boat for me is really difficult to think about racism or closed borders.
Dr. Spaceman: for his debut on AHT, Dr. Spaceman chose a song called ”Staying Home” which perfectly hits the theme of the compilation. Written in 2013, it anticipates the lockdown by a few years. Ambient minimalism, soft-synths, electronic sounds, for fans of Füxa I read on the Ear Candle Productions website, and it happens that I really am a fan of Füxa and I dig Dr. Spaceman music.
Ed Nolbed: “You may sit alone like me
But, please, don’t sit alone like me
My world’s very beautiful today”. Ed Nolbed’s contribution to the compilation is a cover of “Head Hang Low” by Julian Cope. Since Ed Nolbed returned, he hasn’t stopped for a moment. A cassette on powdered hearts, an album and a cassette on aht, another album out soon on Gazer Tapes, me trying to convince Ed Nolbed to make a collection of 110 covers, a song from each of the albums of which I am painting the covers for Breaking Up Is Never Easy I Know.
Elisha Morningstar: The last song that entered this collection is by Elisha Morningstar. One of the three Italian artists who contributed a song to the compilation. I don’t know much about them, I know they are huge fans of Amps For Christ so much so that one of them got one of the American band’s logos tattooed. I hope to deepen my knowledge of this group soon.
Elton Wong: The story of ”Luigi’s Tree” begins before the first lockdown, exactly the day I moved from Bari to my new home. A cedar from Lebanon towers majestically in the neighbors’ garden. the name can be misleading. The tree does not produce sweet fruits, the fruits of the cedar of Lebanon are pine cones which, split in half during ripening, disperse the seeds, a yellow powder that enters everywhere and in particular in my nose. I discovered that I was allergic to the seeds of the cedar of Lebanon despite myself. Elton Wong has the power to talk to plants and trees, I commissioned him this song a few years ago, he gave it back to me in time for this year’s bloom … and believe it or not, between October and November I didn’t blow my nose once.
Eric Morrison: This song has and will always have a particular meaning for me, linked to the particular moment in which it was recorded and to the voice of my daughter who at the age of 4 experienced her first pandemic. Emilia laughed listening to her voice again and I do the same every time I listen to the song again. Thanks, Eric.
Gary Alien: The most beautiful and saddest song ever written by Gary Alien. Listening to it for the first time I felt the same feeling of loss that I feel listening to the darkest tapes of Daniel Johnston. Which planet did Gary Alien end up on? How far is he from home now? What does he feel? I am sure that where he is now, the landscape around him is poignant and he is holding a guitar in his arms and plays this song alone in the vastness of the universe.
Ghost Grove: The lockdown gave us a new Ghost Grove song, included here, and an entire album that you can find on his bandcamp. Great news for me as a huge fan of theirs. I’m not sure I can reveal Ghost Grove’s true identity, but the voice and style are unmistakable.
Goosewind: Two songs taken from “Bats Over Boomtown”. Goosewind at their best. The story is well now known, one day Rick finds an old 8 track in a pawn shop, brings it back to life and records an entire album.
GypsyCab Co.: There are two songs on ”Portraits From The Quarantine” that are explicitly dedicated to Texas. One of these is ”Home Sweet Texas” by GypsyCab Co. Exactly one year ago, I attended the Tex Mess Junker music festival and I fell in love with Houston, Texas and the Texans. I felt at home. I know very little about GypsyCab Co., Boot Arreola who is the drummer is a friend of mine, he also played the drums in a song on Plundershop’s ”Pink Into Gray”. For several months I have stopped reading the news in the newspapers, this Covid story hurts and it hurts me to know that Texas is one of the most affected American states. The song is beautiful, I want to go back to hug my friends in Texas.
Harry Cloud: I return to talk about Harry Cloud after having reviewed their latest album in one of my previous posts and after having releasing ”Florida” on my label. In ”Squid Friend” Harry Cloud sings: ”The fishes are dying can’t you see it in their eyes”, there is something very sinister in this sentence repetead in the midst of a world pandemic, but the death seen in the eyes of a fish also makes me think about my mother. She, like many of my fellow citizens, is convinced that on the fishmonger’s stall, it is possible to identify the fresh fish by looking at its eyes.
The Hex: ”Pale Days Pt. 2” by The Hex is the last song that became part of ”Portraits From The Quarantine”. I waited for them and patience was rewarded by this wonderful song. Recording a piece in a studio when you are a group and there is COVID around, it’s not a simple thing. The Hex became part of my life one evening when Mark Szabo sent me a video in which these Canadian guys sang a Good Horsey song in his homage, having recognized him in the audience. Legendary. Since then, I have been following The Hex and I hope to be able to release an album from them sooner or later.
I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE: I’d like to meet Gos someday, hear him play live. The story of I AM THE SINNERS SANCTUARY is very simple, Gos receives a banjo as a gift and records an extraordinary song.
Indignataries: Indignataries are one of the many projects, creatures of Bob Fay. Bob Fay was a member of Sebadoh, Deluxx, Unconvinced, Sommerville Players and Crush. Deluxx’s ”The Forgiveness Towel” always drives me crazy, so enigmatic. And I often find myself singing ”I Smell A Rat” a Sebadoh’s somg written and sung by Bob and included in ”Harmacy”. The recordings of the Indignataries date back to the early 2000s, ”early pro tools days” according to Bob.
Isaac Levine: Isaac joined the AHT family in the draw for Road To Istanbul. “Smoking Together” was one of the first songs I received for “Portraits”, in the hardest days of the lockdown when everything seemed to fall apart. If I close my eyes, I can smell the cigarettes.
Işık Kural: I have often talked about isik recently. I really like his music. After the cassette released this year, isik donated Hopefully Hopefully to this compilation. His music is unique, very personal, fascinating and full of literary references. What can I say more, I can’t wait to listen to isik’s next work.
Jed Town: Jed Town has an obsession with Cloudscapes of Aotearoa. He videos the skies daily hoping to capture something amazing. Now close your eyes and imagine the clouds.
Keith Hell: Keith Hell is the leader, singer, poet, father of Keith Hell And the Black Skulls. The song here, “The Blood” is Keith’s debut on AHT. I don’t know much about him, I read on the internet that one of his dreams was to release a rock record, a goal that he achieved brilliantly. Keith Hell draw influence not only from other musicians like Nick Cave, Patti Smith and The Stooges, but also from poets and Beat authors like Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Rimbaud. Hailing from Nashville, Keith Hell is himself a published author.
Kids Of The Atomic Age: Kids Of The Atomic Age always have the perfect song for the compilation you are working on, I say this from experience. Bryon is also an excellent baseball player who knows what fair play is. In houston, during the game that has now entered history between Team Doormat, TX and Sardines, I occupied what I thought was a base and instead it was a crumpled plastic bottle. Bryon, who played for the Sardines recognized that there was ambiguity between my supposed base and the real base.
Kiss Hello: the rising star of the AHT catalog. The two songs included here follow the splendid “Songs For Shell Beach” and are the prelude to the release of a new album.
Kitchen Cynics: Almost Halloween Time Records was founded in 2001, if today it has become what it is, I owe it to Alan and his Kitchen Cynics. In 2011 after dark years for the label in which I lost great opportunities and in which I didn’t publish anything, I felt the need to go back to producing the music of my favorite artists. In that period I was rediscovering the Kitchen Cynics, looking for material on them and above all records, music. Alan gave me music and the next step was to ask him if he was interested in making an LP for AHT. The answer was affirmative and after a few months ”Wooden Bird” saw the light. The beginning of a new era. For fun, for recklessness or for madness, I thought I could draw and paint all the 110 album covers and today I find myself having painted more than a thousand different covers. Kitchen Cynics are back on AHT with a song written during the lockdown. Finally I can go back to drawing something for them too.
Little Whirls: Little whirls are among the first names that come to mind every time I think about making a compilation. I really like their songs and “Renovated Film Stills” is no exception. That all the songs that have contributed to the compilations are the prelude to the release of a lp on aht? I hope so, we are working in this direction.
Lovers Turn To Monsters: Lovers Turn To Monsters are huge fans of Caleb Fraid and the Doormat, TX universe. I’ve found out over the years that Kyle has a reverence for Caleb Fraid. Last year, fate decided to unite them. Through a draw I made, Lovers Turn To Monsters teamed up with Caleb Fraid to become They Ran Out Of Blue. The two recorded an entire album and one of their songs ended up on the “Road To Istanbul” compilation. Never has the draw been more fair. “Anxiety To Live” is the continuation of this love story, Lovers Turn To Monsters, in fact, pay homage to Caleb Fraid, with the cover of a piece that the American artist recorded years ago.
Monogamy: I have followed Monogamy since the very first steps, when they were exclusively Don Lyons’ creature. The cassingle on Rok Lok, ”Leaving Ludington” on Human Male Press, the self-produced ”Posture Smiles Upon You” till ”Semi-floral” the ep that Almost Halloween Time Records coreleased with a team of other labels. Today Monogamy is a trio and without the shadow of a doubt they practice polygamy. Yes, I’m sure, they do. Bedroom pop has never been so relevant now that we are all closed in our homes.
Mr. Ray Fork: Mr. Ray Fork was one of the first to answer my call. I received his song on March 16th and played it for the very first time at 8:00 in the morning. Clouds were gathering over our heads and I was worried and scared. Previous bass player with Phil Yates and The Affiliates, Mr. Ray Fork has written this song a few years ago, when he was driving back and forth to band practice. He knew it was coming out of a old country song vein and he kept making himself sing it slower and slower until he found the right tempo. According to his tale, it took a couple of weeks back and forth in the van. He didn’t play it on an instrument until he had all the lyrics and melody figured out. Social distancing in a van.
Mus: for the first time on these frequencies. Mus is from Belgium, and it was Wio to introduce him to me. If staying at home is strongly recommended, if putting your head outside the door is not convenient and it is dangerous, at least you can go away with your mind and dream by letting yourself be taken to a place where ”the green is grass and dreams come true”. Mus’ version of ”Green=Grass” is radically different from the original version by Wio. It has the soft rhythm of heart beats, and goes slow, slower, to the strenuous.
Nutrition Fun: Nutrition Fun apparently took advantage of the lockdown to record a flood of albums. The song included in “Portraits From The Quarantine” is part of these sessions that also generated the b-side of “Parerga und Paralipomena” and certainly a second album that I was lucky enough to preview. But there is a lot more coming.
Painted Faces: I don’t know how many albums Painted Faces has recorded during the lockdown, alone or with his roommate. ”Multiple albums” he swore to me on May, 23rd and he has probably continued to write more synth noise/drone stuff to this day. Painted Faces was ready to take a plane to Europe when the situation started to fall, and he had to cancel his European tour. California is one of his creepiest songs.
Parents: “Incarceration Blues” was supposed to be Parents’ debut on AHT. Things went differently and today the Parents debut is “Shitbrain”, the cassette released a few weeks ago. I’m a huge fan of these guys.
Peopling: Recorded at a live show in Brooklyn Nov. 2018 but composed in isolation one night in 2018 at a campground in Utah. Peopling makes his debut on Almost Halloween Time after he has stolen a piece of my heart with his live set in Leverano (LE). During the lockdown, Peopling has been making noise in nature. Alone, wearing a mask. These sessions, that are available on his facebook wall, are really worth your time.
Peter Jefferies: the live version of one of Peter Jefferies’ masterpieces, my favorite piece, a song that I love to madness and that comes back often in everything related to AHT. In “It’s Time To Leave This World Behind” by de portables there is a song inspired by “Unknown Beach”, in “The Breakthrough Album” by Wio there is a cover of the song and in all these years the story of this man who wants to help his parakeet get home has been the soundtrack of who knows how many hours spent painting.
Peter Jefferies and Hamish Allan: what we have here is a beautiful live version of Ghostwriter. Peter Jefferies lives exactly on the other side of the world and every morning, during the lockdown, I found his messages waiting to be read, with ideas, proposals, projects and encouragements.
Phil Yates And The Affiliates: Another old acquaintance and a constant presence in almost all the compilations released by Almost Halloween Time Records, Phil Yates & The Affiliates could not really be missing. I was lucky, in fact, Phil, stuck at home, was working on a new album. I sat on the sofa, I prepared the popcorn and I waited because ”Caraway” required also the aid of The Affiliates and a break in the lockdown.
Poostosh: a few years ago I found in my hands a Poostosh cd by chance, I swapped with a Russian discogs user a 7″ of an Italian hardcore group for it. I immediately was catapulted to Siberia, I was a snowflake inside a blizzard. Poostosh members meanwhile live miles away. The song included in Portraits was written specifically for this project. An honor.
Razors: ” I don’t mind spending my life in a cage ” try to take this song off your head. I’m really happy to be hosting the Razors again on AHT. There’s a new album coming out, which the Razors have been working on for quite a while.
Restaurnaut: The boy ages and does it like good wine. It’s been a lot of years since the day I received the demo of “When The Hue Was More”, in between many other productions, a lathe cut 7″ for aht, cassettes for Kerchow and Unread, a couple of meetings in the United States , the promise of an LP that I hope to make someday. ‘’Useless’’ arrives on AHT after the fantastic cover of ‘’Broken Freeways’’ included in ‘’Imaginary Donkey’’. The atmosphere is the same and already I can’t wait to hear the next song.
The Reverend Terry Rice: Rev wrote this song at a time that he was in a horrible horrible depressed state of mind and was about as lonely as you can get. The full studio version is on another one of his records but he recorded this version the week of Christmas one year when he was so poor he didn’t have any heat in the house, he had no food, he was alone and pretty much as hopeless as one could be. And I think that really came through on this performance. When I said isolation and sad he instantly thought of this song. This is also one of the first songs I have received for the compilation.
Simon Joyner: what about Simon Joyner? There really is no need for introductions. Last year I missed the chance to meet him. I worked on organizing his tour, but destiny wanted his Italian dates to coincide with a trip to Houston that I had organized some time before. What a pity. I’ll have to take Simon back to Italy. For this appearance on AHT, Simon chose the cover of Nick Drake’s ” Black Eyed Dog ”. It’s heartbreaking, get ready.
Stephen: Stephen speaks Danish, the only words I know in Danish are humle, vand, brygget malt, appelsinskal, øl. My favorite brewery, Mikkeller, is Danish. Apparently in Danish there is no direct translation for the world “please”, instead they may say “hvis du ville være så sød”, meaning “if you would be so sweet”. The song was recorded to a Sony m-430 microcassette recorder then from there, using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, recorded to a metal type cassette on a sanyo talkbook trc 1148. This was because Stephan have no 3.5mm to rca cable. From there he played it in a pioneer ctw205-r twin cassette deck, transferred to pc by a behringer ufo202.
Tiny Cities: The song is based on a true story. Alex and Brittany were supposed to be married on May 9, 2020, go to Europe for their honeymoon and start looking for their first home. None of what was planned happened because of the reasons we all know. Don’t worry, the wedding was only postponed.
Tom Violence: The song that made me think the most. Where has she been hiding all these years? I know that one of the members of this project has an infinite record collection, it certainly went like this, the original tape it was contained on must have been placed by mistake in another shell and Darren found it putting his collection in order during the lockdown. It was not easy to find a collocation for this song which could very well be a b-side of Talk Talk or Pet Shop Boys. What if more recordings come out? I could finally update my playlist of favorite 80s songs and turn the clock back to release a bizarre classic.
Wholewheat: ”Covid Song” by Wholewheat will enter your head as easily as the virus enters your lungs. a contagious song, you will wake up in the morning singing it, you will find yourself in the shower repeating the refrain. Definitely themed with the compilation. For Wholewheat it is the third appearance on Almost Halloween Time Records, they are starting to be many. Should I ask them to record an ep or an album?
Will Milner: an improvisation for guitar recorded on June 24, 2020. Where were you that day? We will remember 2020 for a long time.
Will Simmons: One of the finest pieces in my cassette collection is Will Simmons For Luigi, a cassette that Will recorded especially for me when I was ordering Bees Make Honey cassettes. Will’s music is very personal and I could recognize one of his pieces on first listen. How many of you have a copy of Milk Badger’s Triskelion EP in the 7″ collection?
Wio: what’s more poignant, heartmelting than a cello? a wio song in which there is the accompaniment of a cello. If you are feeling the lockdown on your skin and it’s raining outside and you are in a nostalgic mood, this song is for you. Personally it also works well in the open air, driving through the countryside around Bari with the sun shining.
Wovoka Jr.: an old friend and a new member of the Almost Halloween Time family. I wrote about it a few days ago, drawing up the list of 10 records that have influenced me the most. In the Waffles and Windmills compilation there is a song by Wovoka Jr. that drives me crazy and that I have to listen to repeatedly every time I put on the tape. ”Our schools and after school team athletics are shut down now for the next 3 weeks here in Wisconsin. I noticed that the kids are now no longer doing online things but old fashioned things like playing/climbing in or around trees and playing basketball and other games outside.” Something positive, right? The song is a bit of a lament how childhood passes so quickly.
Special Thanks: Eric for the above reasons and for being the first to submit a song pushing me to carry on the making of this compilation, all the musicians and artists who participated and who have been close to me, have never felt alone, no social distancing for me in recent months, indeed.
Covid-19 for inspiring the songs contained in the compilation.
Peter Jefferies for involving so many musicians and dedicating himself to this project with love.
Jürgen De Blonde who mastered this compilation making it sound like a coherent collection of songs. Four 70-minute cassettes are almost 5 hours of music. I love you Jürgen.