The End of the Vilewood Road (Augmented)

The End of the Vilewood Road (Augmented) is the fourth track from the new Cynicism Management release Tit Augmented, planned for about a year from now. Although it is the final track on the 2011 album “Tit” by Cynicism Management, it is also the fourth song to appear in the book that it has actually been written and recorded for: Cynicism Managment (A Rock & Roll Fable), to be published by River Boat Books in a few months.

I must say this was not really my favourite track on the Cynicism Management’s 2011 debut, nor was I particularly keen on performing it while the band still had a live line-up. Quite unexpectedly, however, the recent process of “augmentation” was loads of fun and far less tedious than I expected: I laughed out loud more then once while rediscovering all the fine kazoo and guitar contributions by our guitarist at the time, Aljaž Tulimirović. The mix and the overall “dramaturgy” of the track is therefore significantly different from the original: I pushed Aljaž’s contributions and many details forward, made it “move” more, and reworked the whole thing. Everything sounds much better and more interesting now, if I may say so myself. The track thus transformed from an “album filler” to the distinctively psychedelic final diatribe it is supposed to be. Admittedly, it is still a wee bit longwinded… But it will be the final track on the Tit Augmented album when it’s released, so I let it be.

CONTRIBUTORS:
Monika Fritz – vocals
Aljaž Tulimirović – guitar, e-bow guitar, kazoo
Jan Urbanc – guitar
Borut Praper – drums, keyboards, additional bass & guitar

Music by Borut Praper
Lyrics by Borut Praper
Recorded, produced & mixed by Borut Praper
Vocals co-arranged by Monika Fritz
Mastered by Andrej Hrvatin

Track artwork by Matej Peklar
(Upcoming) album artwork by Matevž Praper

 More info about the whole project (and the reasons for it) is here.


THE END OF THE VILEWOOD ROAD

Go to the end of the Vilewood road
Where kids end up as food for foxes
Right to the end of the Vilewood road
Where garbage dreams of metal boxes

Come to the end of the Vilewood road
Let old knotted pines lure you astray
Here at the end of the Vilewood road
You’ll peacefully blow your mind away

Away

Cobwebs peeling your eyes out
As you miss a roundabout
Murders crimes and tyres cut
Titties of your test drive slut

All along those Vilewood lies
Whispered by the cat’s corpse eyes
Titties of your test drive slut
Complement her naked butt

Come to the end of the Vilewood road
Let old knotted pines lure you astray
Here at the end of the Vilewood road
You’ll peacefully blow your mind away

Away away

Iniquity (Augmented)

Iniquity (Augmented), the third track from the new Cynicism Management release planned for about a year from now, has been released on SoundCloud.

It is still one of my favourite tracks from the first Cynicism Management album, Tit, (i.e. a small bird of the paridae family, of course), which I am “renovating” for its 10th anniversary re-release, titled Tit Augmented, planned for about a year from now.

I have no idea why I was under the impression that this one would be easy to mix. Instead it was excrutiatingly tricky to get it where it is now, and it ultimately turned into an epic monstrosity with tons of automation as I tried to squeeze every ounce of dynamics out of these ten-year-old tracks while fitting in the new drum takes and making everything sound better (and more audible). In the process, I ended up changing the “dramaturgy” of the song considerably in comparison with the original track, and I must admit I’m very happy with the result. That, of course, is a subjective opinion. More realistically speaking, I hope it’s pretty decent now and that I won’t have to rework it yet again in another ten years.

Monika Fritz – vocals
Aljaž Tulimirović – guitar, bass
Jan Urbanc – guitar
Borut Praper – drums, keyboards, additional bass & guitar

Music by Borut Praper & Aljaž Tulimirović
Lyrics by Borut Praper
Recorded, produced & mixed by Borut Praper
Vocals co-arranged by Monika Fritz
Mastered by Andrej Hrvatin

Track artwork by Matej Peklar
(Upcoming) album artwork by Matevž Praper

 More info about the project (and the reasons for it) is here .


INIQUITY

Put me up and put me down
Mercy fuck me then turn around
Ready-made as I serve any whim
Then I’m disassembled
Limb from limb

Sometimes when I snap
I turn on you
You cross the line
I cross it too
I feel disdain
You feel the pain
Again

I’ve been had you took the piss
But made me feel I have been amiss
I’ll just leave you to bleed to death
And you’ll thank me as you
Gasp for breath

You are lying
So I keep prying
I swear
I will hunt you down
Won’t make a sound

Abruptly I can see this might be iniquity

Maybe we could all agree
that this might truly be iniquity

This might be iniquity

Life Malignant (Augmented)

Life Malignant (Augmented), the second track from the new Cynicism Management release planned for about a year from now (for – blimey! – already the 10th anniversary of the original Tit), has been released on SoundCloud. Vocals: Monika Fritz. Shitstortion™ guitar: Jan Urbanc. Mastering: Andrej Hrvatin. Track artwork: Matej Peklar. Album artwork: Matevž Praper. More info about the project (and the reasons for it) is here .

LIFE MALIGNANT

Every day and every weeknight
I get more cancerous
Each endeavour every stage fright
Gets me cancerous

Every weeknight
Every stage fright

Every time I close my eyes
I get more cancerous
Sometimes I get caught by surprise
And get more cancerous

Every weeknight
Is the same plight

Sleeping pills say let go
But reason murmurs don’t know
It’s out there stalking me
And it wants me cancerous

I’m complaining whining pining
Pondering this curse
But I go on, although declining
Shitting long-shat turds

Every weeknight
Everyday plight

Touring My Backyard (Augmented)

Touring My Backyard (Augmented), the first track from the new Cynicism Management release planned for about a year from now, has been released on SoundCloud. Head here for detailed information about the project (and the reasons for it).

TOURING MY BACKYARD

When I was just a boy I yearned to rock n’ roll
But I didn’t realize I was living in a hole
Then I grew a tiny bit, my vision kind of cleared
I popped a beer, caressed my cage and never really feared

Now I’m the coolest guy around, the only god with such a sound
I sell my twopence sermons every day
My nails are black my eyes are lined my pants are tight oh I’m so fine
I gloat in dismal dismay and decay

I rented the only touring bus in this godforsaken place
And published in every goddamn paper I was touring my own space

Oh wow yippee my gosh and gee
I’m tourin’ my backyard
Rolling over my own mower
Bellyfolds o’ lard
Mounted mirrors on the walls
My backyard’s looking big
I’m bouncing reeling falling over
My excessive concert rig

In the mornings my head hurts, my double visions spin
But I know well that I’m the One so I embrace my sins
My proud dadland needs me to flash her stardom smiles
Distract the nation with pretence, wallow in shit piles

From the mountains to the sea
I sing my three-chord symphony
Nameless crowds beneath my feet
Look up at this astounding deed
My hair receding down my spine
But I still make these corpses mine
Dancing deaf to shit I spout
I dread what I have figured out

Announcement: Tit Augmented

I must admit I’m normally not a big fan of music album reissues, remixes, remasters, reboots, reduxes, super duper deluxe editions, and so on, as they – at least to me – often feel like money grabs that don’t have much “added value” to offer. However, for quite some time, I’ve nevertheless been itching to do exactly that with Cynicism Management’s first album, Tit: eventually release a new version of it, because it was originally recorded in painfully annoying “no-budget” and “no-decent-equipment” circumstances that, at the time, prevented me from recording “real” acoustic drums and forced me to resort to electronic drum pads instead. For me as a drummer, this was the most disappointing aspect of the project, quite difficult to put up with, even though it was just one of the many annoying compromises we were forced to come to terms with as a band due to the chronic lack of resources. Additionally, my own musical equipment as well as expertise and experience as a music producer have improved significantly in the last decade (or, at least, that’s what I like to believe). Consequently, I’ve been having a hard time listening to Tit, regardless of how happy I was when the project was completed in spite of all the obstacles. Don’t get me wrong: I still think that the songs are pretty good; I still like them and stand by what they represent even today; but, unfortunately, I’m unable to enjoy them very much the way that they are. Instead, I can’t help imagining how they could and should be. Therefore, eventually “remaking” these tracks and reissuing the album, maybe in some convenient circumstances, has been one of my (admittedly vaguer) ideas that’s been gathering dust on one of the more forgotten shelves of my mind for years. In fact, predicting that I might eventually decide to go through with this, I took the opportunity to record the coveted “real” acoustic drums for this album already when my wife and I still lived in Izola, Slovenia – while we had the fortune of rehearsing in a friend’s fully-equipped music studio that allowed for such a thing. I then shelved these recordings and let them gather dust as well.

Fast forward almost a decade… And here we are: I have recently found myself in a situation that actually warrants such an album re-release, and I have finally started working – for real, now – on a thoroughly “renovated” version of Cynicism Management’s first album, Tit. From here on in, we shall call this reissue Tit Augmented, simply because the new version of the album will be much more than a simple “remaster”; it will also not be a “remix” in the usual sense of the word; it will definitely not be an extended release with any new (or live versions of) tracks; and the collocation is sort of fitting. The artwork will be different as well: this time we’ll use an illustration conceived by my nephew and budding artist in his own right, Matevž Praper, which toys around with the record’s title a little:

The reason behind the decision to start working on this project now is extremely simple, but in order to explain it, I need to recap a little.

The Cynicism Management scheme was hatched more than ten years ago, towards the end of 2008. Disillusioned by our previous musical endeavours, we (my wife Monika and I, I have to admit) devised a “literary musical” experiment, initially just for fun: the idea was to write a novel featuring a fictional band called Cynicism Management and record music to go with it. Both parts of the project were eventually completed successfully. Cynicism Management went so far as to become a real band (even a live act – initially a six-piece line-up and later a quintet – for a while); and it released its first album, poetically titled Tit (a small bird of the Paridae family) back in 2011, well before the novel. Meanwhile, Cynicism Management – the novel was first published published by a UK e-book publisher that vanished a couple of years later, and subsequently reissued as an e-book on most e-book platforms.

The last live incarnation of Cynicism Management – the live line-up was disbanded in 2012, when my wife and I decided to leave our native Slovenia and move to Berlin, Germany. Nevertheless, we kept working on the musical part of the project, though mercifully without the exasperating complexities of struggling to maintain a rather large and complicated high-tech prog rock act in the morbid quagmire that passes for today’s music and concert scene. Thus the band once again reverted to its studio-based form, and it currently consists of only three members: Monika Fritz on vocals; the first-rate Slovenian blues/jazz/fusion guitarist Jure Praper, who’s in charge of all those pesky odd-time guitar solos; and myself. (Yes, I have a large family that even sort of gets along most of the time, and in some ways we are a bit like the Cosa Nostra, I suppose.)

Cynicism Management – the band went on to release the single Opus 0 in 2012; the EP Shadow Chasers in 2013; and the second full-length album Pendulum Pet in 2015. On the other hand, Pendulum Pet – the novel was published in 2016 as well – as the second book in what was gradually turning into a sort of a (loose) series. What ties the novels together is the actual music by the band Cynicism Management, referenced in the novels, while the stories are – in spite of certain characters appearing in both novels – self-contained and can easily be read independently.

In 2017, while I was still writing my third (and at this point still unfinished) novel titled Dog Days and composing the music to go with it, Monika and I decided to raise anchor once again and move to the Canary Islands, the remotest part of the European Union that we could think of and much more pleasant than the ever more expensive and increasingly gentrified Berlin with all its hustle, bustle, and six-month winters featuring eternal darkness, constant drizzles, bone-chilling Siberian winds, and hence an overabundance of doom and gloom. The move resulted in my two-year hiatus from writing and music, as I focused on other things, mainly flat renovations, chilli pepper cultivation, and nature. This sabbatical has recently been interrupted by my unwavering friend Rick Harsch, who has kindly invited me to contribute to his experimental “communal” novel The Assassination of Olof Palme. Shortly after that, when I had already started writing again, I was utterly honoured that the publisher River Boat Books saw fit to include my debut novel Cynicism Management: A Rock & Roll Fable in its list of new releases for the summer/autumn of 2019. Due to this remarkable development, I can now once again envision finishing my third novel as well, because nothing could motivate me and spur me on as thoroughly and decisively as an outstanding publisher and a marvellous community of fellow writers.

The book’s publication, ultimately planned for February 2020, is also an excellent opportunity to “pre-release” Tit Augmented, which will initially be intended for the readers of the book exclusively: for a while, the new version of the album won’t be downloadable anywhere else but a password-protected sub-page on my official author website, and the songs will only be streamable from our SoundCloud page. The password will be stated in the introduction to the physical, paper version of the book only. Roughly a year later, in 2021, the album will finally be – on the tenth anniversary of the original Tit – released for the general audience as well. In the meantime, the new and improved (augmented) versions of songs will be appearing on the password-protected page, one by one, until the whole album consisting of twelve tracks is done… After which the whole collection will be made available to the River Boat Books readers free of charge.

I would hereby like to thank my dear friend Rick Harsch and writer and publisher Peter Bellis, who gave me the well-measured kick in the butt I desperately needed to go through with this… As well as Matevž Praper, who has envisioned and drawn the augmented tit. The other contributors to this project are as follows:

Monika Fritz: vocals
Jan Urbanc: guitar
Borut Praper: drums, keyboards, programming, bass, guitar
Aljaž Tulimirović: guitar and bass on Iniquity; guitar on Herbal Haze; guitar, e-bow guitar and kazoo on The End of the Vilewood Road
Stojan Kralj: guitar on Herbal Haze
Jure Praper: lead guitar on Four-Circle Penile Substitute

All tracks written and arranged by Borut Praper, except Iniquity co-written by Aljaž Tulimirović
All lyrics by Borut Praper
Recorded, produced and mixed by Borut Praper
Vocals co-arranged by Monika Fritz
Mastering by Andrej Hrvatin

Recorded in Studio S.U.R., Izola (http://sur.si/)
Additional material recorded by Stojan Kralj in Juice Plant Studio, Maribor
Drums recorded in Yan Baray’s studio in Izola in 2013

And now, without further ado, here is the first “renovated” track as well as the first song that’s referenced in the novel: Touring My Backyard (Augmented):

SUR albums now on streaming platforms

As of this month, the “main” albums (but not soundtracks for theatre performances and audiovisual works – those are available from our Bandcamp page) by one of our former bands, SUR, should be available on almost all streaming platforms like Deezer, Spotify, etc., as well as in most digital stores. The first album by SUR, “Na jug” – which also happened to be the first time that any of my music was published on a “real”, tangible, physical CD – was 15 years old this May! Holy crap, how time flies…




Video by Enzo Caterino and Orazio Ferrari

The last bit of “music-related work” I’d had the pleasure of participating in before I packed up my equipment and moved from Berlin had been a field audio recording for the video by Enzo Deiv Caterino (cello) and Orazio Ferrari (double bass), performing excerpts from “Youth”, Enzo’s composition for cello & double bass. The video, announcing a new album that is to be recorded next year, has now been released.

Although we kept complications to the minimum (the duet was only recorded with two overhead mics), I’m happy with the result. The video was directed and shot by Giulio Tarantino, and edited by Sacra Cesana.

Studio on the move

My musical endeavours are currently, and until further notice, on hiatus, as in the middle of June the studio in its entirety ended up in boxes and cases:

A few weeks after all the gear had been placed on a truck and then a transport ship container, accompanied with my desperate petitions to the unforgiving universe that it refrain from making someone drop a particularly precious piece of equipment or causing any sort of disaster, everything made it to its destination in one piece:

Now I’ll just have to deal with the trifling matter of finding a suitable place for it all, and then I’ll be able to resume my fabulous career as a studio rat. Hopefully that happens before I’m too old to move on my own, let alone lug all of these damn boxes around…

Video by Orazio Ferrari & Giuseppe Guarrera

I’ve recently had the pleasure of doing a field audio recording for the video of Orazio Ferrari (double bass) and Giuseppe Guarrera (piano), performing “Le Cygne” by Camille Saint-Saëns. Even though we kept complications to the minimum (the duet was only recorded with two overhead mics), I’m very happy with the result. The video was directed, shot and edited by Giulio Tarantino.

The “SUR” retrospective

As I’ve recently exhumed the musical archives of the two bands I worked with back in the 1990s, Ground Zero and Juice Connection (described in more detail here and here, respectively), I decided to also come up with a short “retrospective” of the band we founded at the beginning of the 2000s, SUR.

The group SUR started to take shape at the end of 2001, when Stojan Kralj and I were writing music for the dance theatre performance Lust by Sebastjan Starič:

Together with lyricist, dramatist, theatre actor and former Ground Zero vocalist Marko Djukić we got an idea for a more “poppy”, “trip-hoppy” project with (preferably) a female vocalist. The idea gradually came to life. As it soon turned out that the collaboration between lyricist Djukić and the first vocalist, Urška Samec, would unavoidably be severely impeded due to insurmountable creative differences, Neža Trobec joined the band and we started tinkering away. Initially, SUR was exclusively a studio project with a few full members and several guest musicians. The material was recorded in our home studio, and in May 2004 we self-published our first (and quite successful, relatively speaking) album, entitled “Na jug” (Southbound):

In 2005 we started working on our second album, “Druga stran” (The Other Side), which was released in July 2007:

Both of these albums also saw the light of day in a “tangible” form, as CDs.

In 2009 we released a digital EP called “Kadar mesto spi” (When the City Sleeps):

This was in fact an “unintended” release, motivated by a successful prank we’d miraculously managed to pull: thanks to a bizarre twist of events, the track “Prav ti” from this album had appeared at the 2008 Slovenian Eurovision Song Contest – quite unsuccessfully, of course, in terms of votes… But qualifying for this type of contest with a song written in a relatively complex time signature (verse in 6/8 and chorus in 2 x 10/8 + 8/8 + 2 x 6/8) must be a special achievement in itself. The track was obviously an experiment in the “peculiar pop song format” that we found extremely entertaining… And, to our surprise, the shenanigan worked unusually well.

After our first album had been released, we adapted most of the material for live performances and performed at quite a few concerts. Ultimately we also released a collection of live material, played in Kreatorij DIC in Ljubljana in 2005. Most of the tracks on this album, called “aLiVE in 2005“, are live versions of the material released on the 2004 album “Na jug“. Jure Praper’s instrumental composition “Eqsqueezeme” has never been released anywhere else, and this is its only recording in existence. The studio version of the live track “Ples vampirjev” later appeared on the 2007 “physical” release “Druga stran“. At that time the band lineup was as follows: Neža Trobec – vocals; Monika Fritz – backing vocals; Jure Praper – guitar; Gregor Karer – bass guitar; Martin Smerdel – keyboards; Andrej Hrvatin – percussion; and myself on drums:

Live performances have not become our main focus, though, mostly due to impossible logistics involved in rehearsals (the band members were from all over Slovenia), as well as because of everyone’s neverending work on other projects. Thus most of our efforts remained confined to the studio, where we also kept writing original soundtracks for audiovisual works. During its active period, SUR signed soundtracks for fourteen theatre performances (2002 – Sebastjan Starič: Lust; 2003 – Borut Bučinel: Who Draws Me; 2003 – Branko Potočan: On Our Own Land; 2003 – Nick Pickard & Gareth Boylan: Monolads; 2004 – Boris Kobal: The House of Bernarda Alba; 2004 – Sebastjan Starič: Pepperoncino; 2005 – Tomaž Štrucl: Che Guevara; 2006 – Dušan Teropšič: Dimwits; 2008 – Jure Rudolf: Where Do You Live?; 2008 – Dušan Teropšič: An Event in the City; 2008 – Borut Bučinel: Lullaby of Death; 2010 – Dušan Teropšič: The Upsidedown World; 2010 – Borut Bučinel: Shining; 2012 – Matjaž Šmalc, Aja Zamolo & Sam Sebastian: Sharlatanus Maximus), a short film (2003 – Marko Horvat: Happiness on Sale) and a computer game. Between 2008 and 2012, the SUR collective published a collection of digital releases, featuring all of its original soundtracks for theatre performances:

The Slovenian press imaginatively characterised the music of SUR as “ambiental-rock-jazz-electronica”. This may even be mostly true of our first album, though we preferred to call ourselves “alternative ambient anarchistic hippie progressive psychedelic metal-munching jazzy trip hoppy funky beer drinkers and spritzer aficionadoes”. The full-time members of the last stable live lineup of SUR were: Neža Trobec Teropšič – vocals, Monika Fritz – backing vocals and lyrics, Jure Praper – guitar, Aljaž Tulimirović – guitar, Samo Pečar – bass, and myself – drums and additional lyrics.

The guest musicians and contributors on the first two albums and frequent collaborators in the other projects of the SUR collective included: Marko Djukić – lyrics and vocals, Rok Predin (lyrics, vocals, acoustic guitar), Dušan Rebolj (lyrics, vocals, acoustic guitar), Matevž Šalehar – Hamo (vocals), Vasko Atanasovski (saxophone, flute), Stojan Kralj (bass, fretless bass, guitar), Andrej Hrvatin (percussion), Janez Vouk (trumpet), Marko Zorec (guitar), Jelena Ždrale (violin, viola), Nino de Gleria (cello) and Tomaž Štrucl (vocals and beer-fuelled battle plans).

After our last concert in Slovenj Gradec in July 2007, SUR as a live band was disbanded, as Monika and I had relocated from Ljubljana to the Slovenian coast, and keeping such an “inter-regional” band fully operational had become impossible. In late 2008 Monika and I founded our current band Cynicism Management; while SUR as a creative group that wrote original soundtracks for audiovisual works kept working until 2012. By that time this aspect of my work had been taken over by my “instrumental music & soundtracks alter ego”, Ray Kosmick (and His Porn Groove Crew).

The name SUR may mean many things, most evidently “south” in Spanish, though we liked to tell people it was actually an acronym for “samostalna ugostiteljska radnja” – “independent catering service”… Which also remains the name of the studio where I keep pondering my “masterpieces” to this day.