David Greenberger & The Pahltone Scooters: Fractions By Stella (Pel Pel Recordings, 2014)

November 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

David Greenberger & The Pahltone Scooters: Fractions By Stella

David Greenberger & The Pahltone Scooters: Fractions By Stella

This album was recorded in the mid-’90s and originally released in 1999 under a different title (I Still Feel Like Myself) in an edition of 100 copies by a label called Ponk Records. The album features David Greenberger reciting monologues based on conversations with members of the Duplex Nursing Home and an elderly center in Schenectady, and features a cast of backing musicians including Frank Pahl and Eugene Chadbourne. I haven’t really dug into the numerous Duplex Planet CD releases over the years, but I’m assuming they’re along the lines of this one. The main thing on this album that sticks out to my ears is “Everything Belongs To Someone”, which is based on a conversation with Jack Mudurian, whose stream-of-consciousness rambling-geezer opus Downloading The Repertoire is essential listening. On this song, Mudurian (channeled by Greenberger) rattles off a list of things that apparently belong to someone (appliances, vehicles, household objects), but he doesn’t say who they belong to. He even stops a few times and says he can’t think of anything else, but then he remembers more and keeps on going, just like on Downloading. And he stops and tells David he needs a new belt, and he ends it all by stopping and says he needs a drink of water. Can’t even imagine what having a conversation with that man would’ve been like. Besides that, this album has songs about headaches, eggs, snow, smoking, drumming, Frankenstein, and some sort of murder mystery. The instrumentation is the kind of eclectic, often found/prepared instrumentation typical of the artists involved (Chadbourne plays an electric windshield wiper on “Mechanical Men”, and there’s prepared instruments, toy instruments, and things like harmoniums, ocarinas, zithers and conch shells), and the pieces are mostly short miniatures which musically illustrate the brief snippets of conversation and then make their exit.

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