Ever So Transient

by vonHummer

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    Immediate download of 9-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire. PLUS the video for "Gemini Days."

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about

As the first non-soundtrack album post-"Indiscreet Where You Live" (which was a stripped-down as anything I've ever done) I wanted to do a full album. A big full album. Thanks to the equipment influx from the film budget of "Bübiwulf!", I now had a Zoom digital 16-track recorder, a vocal harmonizer, and an extra pickup added to my bass that captured only the high set of strings, and I wanted to put it all to full use.

I did that already with the songs on "Bübiwulf!" of course, but those songs were done under high-pressure deadlines, so I didn't really get to take some time and experiment with them. I did with "Ever So Transient," however.

Starting with about 8 songs recorded as demos—a set I called the "Gemini Demos" which I'll release here sooner or later—the only song to make it on EST was "Gemini Days."

As a change to my standard 2-vH guitar + 1 regular bass arrangement, I used a single-string bass with an octave effect instead of the regular bass for extra low-end presence, just hitting whole notes. Except on "Some Alternative," where long-time friend and bassist Syd O'Nimm played a regular bass. (Syd also played bass on the songs on "Bübiwulf!" fyi.)

I started recording the album in mid 2007 with "Gemini Days," "Never See You Again" and "When We Were Pigs." It was an hectic time. I was struggling to get the film edited and premiered, and keep my nutty teenage son from destroying himself and the world around him on a weekly basis.

Then in February 2008, my son and got unexpectedly evicted (as reported in "Goodbye See You") by my the woman I'd been living with for the last 7 years. That caught me flat-footed and it took some months of struggling to rebuild my life independently. As a result, I didn't get back to recording this album until April of 2008, finishing the recording by July or so.

I was concerned with mixing the album, since I'd seriously begun to doubt my abilities in that regard. (Only natural, since I knew nothing about the science of it.) I thought for once I would pay somebody good to mix and master the album, cost be damned. Pat Kearns, a producer of note in the Northwest was the lucky victim, as I'd met him the year before, through mutual friends. (His wife is my hairdresser, too.)

I brought my 16 track into his studio and we uploaded everything onto his system. He looked at the sound wave representations on my files—little thin scratchy lines—and he said, "See those lines? Those are called 'transient' waves. A lot of acoustic instruments have those kind of lines...Not a lot of bass, which has the fat lines."

And from that observation, I cobbled together the album title.

By November 2008 we had the album mixed and mastered and I looked to release it in early 2009. Mid-January Cris De La Fuente shot the cover photos at a park in Tualatin, Oregon. The ramp I'm walking down is a boat ramp that I cleverly (?) Photoshopped into a kind of UFO descending photo.

I've been told it's a rather depressing album. I suppose it may be. It's not from a very happy time for me. It's kind of a survival album. Tough times, and a determination to survive. There's some humor, but it's admittedly gallows humor. I'm very proud of it.

-vonHummer

credits

released March 21, 2009

All songs by vonHummer. All everything played/sang by vonHummer EXCEPTING the bass on "Some Alternative" by Syd O'Nimm. Cover by vonHummer. Photos by Cris De La Fuente.

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vonHummer Portland, Oregon

vonHummer is a Portland music/cable access legend whose career spanned from Fall of 2001 to Fall of 2011, during which he recorded a hundred or so songs for use in his absurdist show (and feature film) and played only a handful of concerts. Currently retired, his work shines on for the ages. Or will he someday return...? ... more

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Track Name: Gemini Days
"Gemini Days" [vonHummer]

When the Earth aspires to be like the Moon…And Mercury lines up with Mars and Cancun, Forget what yer hippie astrologers say: no “Age of Aquarius,” These, These are “Gemini Days…”

We’re all schizophrenic, we’re (each of us) twins, one half repenting as the other half sins, one half that quits as the other begins…

One twin is sinister, ruthless and cold, the other twin trumpets the Truth to behold, one twin shits lead as the other eats gold…

We’re so entertaining, we love a good time, while quickly disclaiming our partner-in-crime, We’re changing our means but never our ways: no “Age of Aquarius,” These, These are “Gemini Days…”

Unspeakably kind, (so generous, too!) we’ll give you the shirt off our backs when we’re through cutting the legs out from under you…

We’re so full of beauty, we’re ugly to see, We’re loved and we’re hated for that quality, but it’s okay by you, Is it okay by me…?

We’re natural as plastic, (as valuable, too!) We’re jacks-of-all-trades with no work to do, We’re burning the cheap candelabra both ways: no “Age of Aquarius,” These, These are “Gemini Days…”

And I…I…We don’t wanna grow up and live a life savings plan, and I…I…We don’t wanna think about tomorrow today, And I…I…We feel so empty and there’s nothing but a flash in our pan, Can’t tell you what I mean, but I mean what I say: These are Gemini Days…

Our world is pathetic, so nervous and bright, Caressed by the Left, choked by the Right, and these eyes are lonely and shifty tonight…

I know how you see it, you know how I feel: “Kissed for the moment,” so what’s the big deal? The Gemini always escapes in the final reel…

We wear a disguise to cover our mask, And what’s underneath it? Who needs to ask? Oh, pardon the blasphemy mixed with the praise:no “Age of Aquarius,” These, These are “Gemini Days…”

And the Gemini always escapes in the final reel…
Track Name: Some Alternative
"Some Alternative" [vonHummer]
As a young man, might’ve been, I don’t know, twenty-five, when it came to me, inescapably, you gotta work long and hard every day to stay alive, (and that’s just the bare minimum many many men do to get by: not even live it up—just to live!)

And I made up my mind then and there to find some alternative…
Getting older, must’ve been, I don’t know, thirty-nine, when it came to me, an epiphany: work long and hard every day and end up dying. Still hadn’t found any northwest passage to Easy Street. (No, it’s Skid Row if my luck should give!)

And I made up my mind: keep trying to find some alternative…

Eat shit and live, and try to think positive, just me and mankind trying to find some alternative.
Track Name: Working for the Woman
"Working for the Woman" [vonHummer]

May I say I hate working for the Woman? I hate working for the Woman, cos she’s batshit insane and it’s always the same: she’s wants to park in the passing lane, she wants to poke you when you’re feeling pain, she wants her refunds exchanged and everything pre-arranged to be re-arranged!

Working for the Woman all my life, working for the Woman before I can play, working for the Woman weekend and weekday, working for the Woman again, it’s the only thing that’s worse than working for the Man: working for the Woman!

I hate working for the Woman, I sure do! Aint no pleasing the Woman, why try to? Aint no explaining to the Woman, you’re speaking Urdu! She needs chocolate and yappin’ and shoppin’ and a good hard shag…hairdo…

May I say I hate working for the Woman? I hate working for the Woman! Yeah, equality’s fine, you got yours so why take mine? You can’t have your cake and call it “bread,” Give me a break or give me head, Take me as I am, No you can’t’ make me over like some ugly friend!
Track Name: Knowledge Learning
"Knowledge Learning" [vonHummer]
Queen of C’mere-a-sec’ beckons the Balding Swine to check out the wreck she’s made of her dull design, trading trivia til they establish that “nice” is “fine,” keeping one step ahead of the headless unemployment line…

Cat Lady Latest Temp, hair dyed like dried ketchup, “Let me know if I can suck any harder,” she says, sulking and sucking up to the Drones jumping over her bones to find out who’s got the scones (sweet sustenance as the Cubicle Rubes surf for phones…)

Harvey Hardly-Rockstar hides his light under a lamp, he’s a bitter little brainy volcano tucked into Chaplin’s tramp, way way past the age to take rage and blow it out yer amp, feeling the friction of impending eviction from the Gypsy Camp…

Dickhut! Dickhut! Dickhut!
Track Name: Never See You Again
"Never See You Again" [vonHummer]

I will never see you again, If you’re doing well, I don’t want to know, I can’t stand remembering how much of me is gone, Maybe they changed your name, maybe you’ll look me up someday and ask me to explain, but today it’s too much for me to take…

I will never see you again…I will never see you again…Shout it out silently to myself, over and over and over…

Til I can replace my face and hide the damages so no one will know, What good is remembering how crippled I am? What would you have me say? We never did speak with words anyway…There, now you’re out of my brain…

Yeah once upon a time, on an ugly sofa, every night for the first three months of your tortured life…I held you sleeping against my chest, and I loved you, I loved your every small breath…

Sometimes I prayed for your death, only human at best, Ill-prepared for a life under house arrest…*
Track Name: When We Were Pigs
"When We Were Pigs" [vonHummer]

To our credit, we quickly learned how to debit, All that stuff we sought and hid, Family and friends bailed us out time and time again, Our dollar was weak compared to our yen…
We lived break to break til we broke way back when we were pigs in a poke…

The gypsy said, “Malocchio!” How we lied like Pinocchio to the faceless telephone collection girls, Now everything is okey-dokey-o, We found our spiritual Tokyo, Now we are swine with a taste for pearl…We laugh about it now, ah, but it’s no joke: way back when we were pigs in a poke…

Darwin said it (and clearly he meant it), how the fit survive, not the misfit, We covered our shame with mud and mingled at the back of the pen, Every day we lived to hear “soo-wee,” we said a bitter amen…
Now it’s nothing to smell shotgun smoke, but way back when we were pigs in a poke…

Desperation’s rehabilitation rowdies handed us their magna summa cum laudes, We’re stainless steel now, We know what’s real now: Now we know when to wallow, when to soak…And we laugh about it now, ah, but it’s no joke: way back when we were pigs in a poke…
Track Name: Nobody's Employee
"Nobody's Employee" [vonHummer]

Got the word again today: “another candidate…” I thought for sure I had it, I thought they thought that I was great, I’ve been a teenager too many decades and I’m way beyond my sell by date, what will become of me in a week a month a year or three if

I’m nobody’s employee, won’t anybody hire me? Too old? Too bold? Too much desperation? Can they somehow see through me to the wretch who could not care less about their silly company? Let me in, I can pretend as good as the rest you’ll see, still I’m nobody’s employee…

I do the dumb shit questions in every interview, about my strengths and weaknesses, my wins and losses, too, my handwriting sample slant, handshake and shiny shoe, Lay out benefits that someone else always gets while

I’m nobody’s employee, won’t anybody hire me? Too old? Too bold? Too much desperation? Can they somehow see through me to the wretch who not care less about their silly company? I can worship your golden cow, vow the Moon is your cream cheese, still I’m nobody’s employee…

“Where do you see yourself in 15 years?” they ask each interviewee, but, unless my miracle appears: The old man mopping up McDonalds, the codger collecting curbside cans and bottles, that’s where I’ll be, nobody’s employee…

I’m nobody’s employee, won’t anybody hire me? Too old? Too bold? Too much desperation? Can they somehow see through me to the wretch who not care less about their silly company? Ten thousand other applicants buzz and swarm along with me, we’re all nobody’s employee…
Track Name: Artistry
"Artistry" [vonHummer]

Peter Pan me, approaching fifty, what the fuck? On their way to pay their mortgages, I wish my peers good luck, and when the final dabs of cadmium blue have been squeezed from my crinkled tube, will I be called by my patron to account for all the sensible things I didn’t do? Will I? Will you?

You, you’ll be rewarded for the payments you made on time for a while, Me, hopefully, I’ll be busted for counterfeiting tears and fencing stolen smiles,

And when I stand before judge and jury and plead guilty, the charge will be: attempted artistry, attempted artistry in the third degree…

Can’t play nicely with prosperity, what the fuck? On my way to stay on someone else’s sofa, wish me lotsa luck, and when the stack of unmet responsibilities accrue enough to lift me up clear to heaven’s review, will I be panned by my critic for all the financial planning I didn’t do? Will I? Will you?

You, you’ll get five stars for RV’s and boats and trucks and cars, and me, probably, I’ll get two thumbs down for purple hazing, gazing at navels and stars,

And when I stand before judge and jury and plead guilty, the charge will be: attempted artistry, attempted artistry in the third degree…

But neither blue ribbons nor honorable mention will make any difference to me and my selfish intention to express myself as I see fit, helplessly.
Track Name: Goodbye See You
"Goodbye See You" [vonHummer]

Gonna have to take some kind of loaves and fishes miracle, but I'll make it somehow, short notice but these walking papers suit me fine,

I don't know who appointed you Mother Superior to me, ooh, Goodbye, see you...

Kinda clear to see the sugar coating's sucked right off of you, such a sourball now, shortcake's stale on me, love's no vintage wine,

I don't know what slammed it shut, your open personality, ooh, Goodbye, see you...

So you been thinking for quite some time of teaching me how to swim by waiting til my hands and feet were tied and then throwing me in? Well I'll turn Houdini and Mark Spitz and break away from your bullshit and turn the sorry page on our history, ooh,Goodybe, see you...