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

Rick Harsch: The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas

I won’t conceal the fact that I know Rick Harsch – the author of The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas – personally. What’s best about that – apart from being able to enjoy Rick’s sunny disposition and roguish good looks first-hand, of course – is that sometimes he lets me read his work before it’s published. So I happened to read Eddie Vegas more than four years ago (judging from my history on Goodreads), but, of course, the lazy slob that I can be, I didn’t bother to write a review. The convenient excuse that I told myself was that I found it just the tiniest bit weird to express opinions about an unpublished book. Which is true, but still: now along comes Eddie, having recently been published by River Boat Books – which is fabulous news, as I’ve always cheered for this novel – and I’ve wound up owing Rick a review all this time later. Which worries me, because I usually don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

I’ve started writing this worried that rummaging through my mind for things I remember about Eddie Vegas would be frustrating – and yet, completely unexpectedly, I find myself remembering all these vivid details for some reason. As this is, sadly, definitely not true of every book I happen to read, apparently Eddie has made quite an impression. So let me see what I can remember from more than four years ago.

The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas is a formidable tome in terms of length and complexity, yet it reads effortlessly, smoothly, and very quickly – especially once you get the hang of Rick’s trademark linguistic stunts. I’ve had the fortune of reading much of what Mr Harsch has written, and I don’t suppose he ever disappoints in this regard – but I found that Eddie was truly on (a yet) another level. Still, I don’t feel that Rick ever crosses that fine line between good taste and gratuitous fanciness: while he is indeed an impressively eloquent linguistic delinquent, he is also as hilarious as he’s unrelenting. And his lists, for crying out loud, the lists! They are poems, really: from dirty, drunken ditties to dazzling diatribes such as the horrendous thirty-page list of moronic, imbecilic, and idiotic names – truly pure-blooded American names – for doomsday devices. What am I going on about, you ask? Well, Rick approaches the rather sensitive subject of nuclear tests with the immediacy of a battering ram: instead of wasting any time yammering about it, he just hands us a list of names of each individual nuclear bomb that Americans have ever blown up on their own soil. There is a truckload of them – the list goes on forever – and seeing so much human idiocy in one place is about as bizarre and disturbing as watching the news or checking out your favourite social media stream.

However, Eddie Vegas is undoubtedly far from being all fancy bells and whistles and no substance. Four years after I read it, I still remember it as a magnificent, intricate, urgent spectacle spanning two continents and multiple timelines, a political thriller, a (noir) crime novel, an absurdist comedy, a love story, a drama, a poetry collection, a dictionary of languages forgotten and newly invented, an epic historical novel, and even a Western (I haven’t read a Western as good as parts of Eddie for a very long time, if at all) – all of this at once.

In short, Rick Harsch’s newest novel is not only a treasure cove of language porn – it is also a narrative rollercoaster, artfully fashioned by a whimsical narrator you simply can’t help admire even when he gets intentionally annoying. In times somewhat different than the current age of Twitter tweets and rampant split-second attention deficit disorder I can easily imagine this becoming a part of the canon. Kids in secondary schools and universities all over the English-speaking (or English-learning) world could easily be pestered with this instead of Finnegan’s Wake, for example – only that in case of Eddie, they might even be interested in making it further than the cover.

 


 

The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas is NOT available on Amazon. It can, however, be ordered directly from the publisher, River Boat Books, which kindly offers two links: head here for U.S. purchases; and here for international orders (everywhere except the United States).

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

E-book update & release

The novels Cynicism Management and Pendulum Pet have both been updated and released in most e-book stores. Pendulum Pet, previously exclusive to Amazon, has now been removed from Amazon out of solidarity with my new U.S. publisher River Boat Books, and both novels are now available, in electronic form, in most e-book stores except Amazon. The price of both books has been set to $ 3.99. Find the universal book links that will take you to the lists of all the stores the novels are available in below each cover.


Available in the following e-book stores


Available in the following e-book stores

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…




And now for something completely different!

It now appears that the “slight possibility that my first novel might soon(ish) get released on paper, as an actual, tangible, physical book” that I mentioned in my previous (longwinded, as usual) post will become a fact after all. Here’s an inspirational quote for this occasion:

The whole jeremiad that is Cynicism Management (the novel) is going to be published by River Boat Books this summer – where else than on the banks of the Mississippi River. Hell, maybe NOW the devil I keep looking for might appear to me at those fabled crossroads after all, so that I can finally sign the infernal contract…?

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.