Carla Bozulich is diversely experimental, uncompromising and continues to be ceaselessly devoted to mixing art-punk ethics and creativity. Here, with Quieter, is an intensely emotive, intuitive, enchantingly cohesive collection of previously orphaned and one-off tracks where, uncharacteristically, nothing ever quite screams. Carla’s way with a fleshy edge remains sharp as ever. A couple of these are left over from the bountifully productive sessions from her brilliant and widely-acclaimed 2014 album Boy; others featuring collaborations with the likes of Marc Ribot, Sarah Lipstate (Noveller), Freddy Ruppert, JHNO (John Eichenseer), Shahzad Ismaily and more.
Quieter is the result of this ceaselessly nomadic and defiantly DIY iconoclast having settled back in Los Angeles for a spell, recovering from tour-inflicted ear damage, sifting through unreleased/unfinished material, and finding herself drawn to working on the quieter stuff (relatively speaking) in her abundant archives. Ranging from the searching, searing opener "Let It Roll" - "the most honest work I've ever done" says Carla - to the chiming, deconstructed lullabies of "Glass House" (composed by Ruppert) and "Sha Sha" (from her mid-2000s project The Night Porter) and the album's sultry closing track "End Of The World"(a duet with Marc Ribot, who penned the song), Quieter is a brilliant addition to Bozulich's impressively diverse, adventurous, and unwaveringly authentic body of work.
This recent period has found Bozulich reflecting on 25+ years of life on the road, the labour and hustle of DIY touring, with its ecstasies, agonies, succour and sacrifice: as Carla writes in the liner notes to Quieter, this album pays homage:
The cover of the album is a cool pic, sure as hell. But to me, it just looks like tour. Tour is just another job where if you do it long enough you get hurt here and there. In 2014 I lost my hearing completely (temporarily) in 1 ear. I kept playing, as always with injury on tour. After all, it is the law of averages. We all know it. Play more than 100 concerts a year doing 90% of the work alone, injuries are occasional. Well, it was a loud tour-a loud set every nite. It was strange for the volume to be cut in half. I cannot play with ear plugs, I was swirling sound every nite like falling but still refusing to behave-sit still-or even cancel. And boy, it was freaky QUIETER. This photo is from one Otolaryngologist I saw in Austria right before the concert in Graz. His treatment was to put me in a 50s Soviet style scalding hot head-heat-box for 20 minutes. After a while I got bored and took some selfies. They came out exactly like this. Thus the cover. It was a Quieter time for me, like-in the van Mats Gustafsson sounded like cherry ice cream. Finally quiet in the fucking van. I couldn't understand what was happening unless I turned my head. I completely stopped listening to people talk. Strange concerts. Le Guess Who was a highlite-very like thrashing through the air, as the numerous monitors seemed to be alive and spinning. Eventually I cleared it but not after several promoters kindly took me to crackpot doctors who did silly things. This is a nice deaf pic for the Quieter album. To me it just looks pretty like tour: still a fantastic job to have. - CB
Alongside assembling the Quieter album, Bozulich has been busy overseeing other "legacy" projects as well: her first (and classic) 2003 solo album Red Headed Stranger was re-released by Folktale Records in 2016 and her mid-90s band The Geraldine Fibbers' equally classic 1995 album Lost Somewhere Between The Earth And My Home was reissued on Jealous Butcher Records in 2017. Carla also penned the devastatingly poetic and powerful rape-survival essay "Thanks, Motherfucker" for The Quietus in 2016. And of course she's continued playing venues small and large, including OFF Festival in 2017, opening for Godspeed You! Black Emperor in 2015, and for Swans at their farewell NYC shows in 2017.
Thanks for listening.
1. Let It Roll
2. Sha Sha
3. Glass House
4. Stained In Grace
6. Written In Smoke
7. End Of The World
Running time: 00:38:11
Audiophile 180gram pressing in midnight ultra-black vinyl from Optimal (Germany) comes in a 350gsm jacket with artworked inner sleeve and 12"x24" poster, all printed on uncoated papers and board, with a 320kbps MP3 download card.
"Let it Roll"
Written by Carla & Jhno
Mixed by Jace Lasek
Jhno: duduk, sampling, programming
Andrea Belfi: drums
This is the most honest work I ever done-actually borderline dangerous to share. Andrea Belfi is at his usual psychic, master drumming-here holding back-generous. Jhno's duduk brought in my blood, my Armenian family-the inevitable travel (the running), the blood that pours, still. The point when you know it is nothing matters more than anything else-damn little. Family keeps you alive. In my case you all are my family. Thank you.
Speaking of family, I think we wrote it while cat sitting for Father Murphy in Treviso, Italy. I don't remember being sad at the time. For me that is the point-my vacation from feeling, from caring…I simply go clear-I become an erasing machine. Heaven like other people do vacations. But this one takes all that to the edge. Slow scalding force to stay awake to a lullaby. This here is truth-telling. The finest in this record of the ancient Armenian Duduk is well known to be "I will not be sad in this world" by Djavan Gasparian. This is surely a song far beyond sadness. We bundle together and stay...
Written by The Night Porter
Mixed by Steve Fisk
Ches Smith: drums, vibes
Jessica Catron: cello
Shahzad Ismaily: bass
We were a band called The Night Porter after Scarnella and before Evangelista and all of us were thick as thieves so it was easy and really fun to write and play and we played as a band sharing every single thing. We always had fun. We wrote in Manhattan, recorded, toured, made an album in 2005 in LA. But everyone blew up with other things and four piece bands are expensive like having quadruplets. A few songs were mixed by long time comrade Steve Fisk in Seattle, including this one. Thank you, Steve.
If you see Shahzad's pretty, sleepy hands you'll understand Sha Sha even better.
Written and engineered by Freddy Ruppert
Freddy Ruppert: programming
The fantastic child Freddy Ruppert of Los Angeles and a frequent, fav performer at The Smell with his project This Song's A Mess But So Am I, grew, moved to Prague, married magical Veronika, started Former Ghosts and sent me this track to sing on with words and all music (sending words very rare!). I loved it. However, couldn't seem to sing on it until a couple years later I was in the Brazilian forest at a most rowdy youth hostel with animals and birds lacking all possible boundaries of noisy variety on a typical day in paradise. I was bumming out at my lovely wandered-off boyfriend. Still, somehow Freddy made me sound lush and wet like the big trees that whipped around me in the forest.
"Stained in Grace"
Written by Carla & Jhno
Jhno: cello, viola
It's mostly 2, 4 and 6 second loops from a 15-minute piece Jhno made which I tweaked and adorned with stuff I pinched from my archives while he cooked beans. Hundreds of edits and moving stuff around. So fun! We recorded in Oakland when we were house sitting for Jonathan Segel's house. I finished the mix house-sitting at William Tutton from the Fibbers and Alvaro Vega's in Silverlake. I sang from bed. Often do. Jhno sniffed once when he heard it-that's a compliment.
Written by Carla & Francesco Guerri
Francesco Guerri: cello
Marc Ribot: guitars
Carla: bass, sound manipulations, voice
This is taken directly from an instrumental track Francesco Guerri sent me 5 years ago or so. It sat…I forgot what it was until I randomly opened it one night thinking that I had about 10 minutes before Marc would slowly drop my guitar and the persons lounging into my borrowed bed would have to make the exit. Since Marc was tinkering on my guitar with the magic glow of red rifle-shell xmas lights and with 3 intelligent women snoozing with occasional stimulating commentary, I should set up a mic, put headphones on his head and play him pretty much anything unfinished that came up on my hard drive. He's the real deal. He can't resist joining enticing sounds even against the urge to sink into a pleasant snooze chair late at nite. And Francesco drew him in. I hadn't sung a word, yet.
The song was chosen quickly like a bingo chip, from my large collection of unreleased stuff-in fact every track here comes from that coffer and, as with most of my pieces, I later re-styled, remixed, looped up and obsessed the hell out of it Emilia.
Francesco, the best cellist I know, is tolerant of the many times I've done it with his work. Thanks, Fra. Long we run.
"Written In Smoke"
Written by Carla & Sarah Lipstate
Sarah Lipstate (Noveller): guitar
Recorded as most of these by my travel suitcase. Sarah Lipstate is playing all the guitars here from what was originally a 20-minute guitar duo portion of what could have been a whole album. I had lost my mind from grief of hopeless lost love. Sarah a most patient and loving friend through all that and the additional death of my cat-her parts were raging. After that stint in a beautiful burning hot basement in Carroll Gardens, 2010, our music sat for years. That is not right because Noveller is one of my favorite things. When I found these basics and was in a good playful frame of mind (Echo Park, 2016) I simply nixed my guitar parts. Using just a few very short bits of her focused dream-inducing work I took tiny loops and collaged those, along with my voice and random items from around the tool shed, and brought this piece to fruition. When I had the final mix we turned off the lights-just xmas lights on. Listening to it for the first time with Sarah in that dark little room in Echo Park, I could feel her purring. It was like getting a golden crown.
"End Of The World"
Written by Marc Ribot (Knockwurst Music)
Engineered by François Lardeau
Marc Ribot: guitar
I went to Marc Ribot's in Brooklyn, Shahzad suggesting we work on some of Marc's music-just voice and guitar. His friend Philipe set up a real nice mic for me and one for Marc's guitar. Marc gave me the words to one of the most safisticated tunes I've tangled with. You know-sometimes actual space is the place. And we ran it. He was like, yes, but can you sing with less tone? Ha.
Anywaze it was done in like 15 minutes. Again, it sat for a few years, almost lost deep in some trashy box. A year or so ago I came across it, wrote him and asked if we could use the song for this record. I couldn't remember the name of the tune. I had some elaborate story I thought it was telling involving a gorgeous, curving NYC all window sunroom covered in smashed glass. And a hospital girl. He didn't know what I was talking about. Ha! Anyway, Marc wrote every note. I had nothing to do with even the lyrics and the meaning is safe with him.
All uncredited music mixed by Carla and mastered by Harris Newman.