In 1971, the USSR financed their most expensive experiment to date: the Kola Superdeep Borehole. The purpose of the Kola Project was to dig to Earth’s mantle purely to see the consequences. By the time the government was forced to end funding, the team had dug thirteen kilometers creating the deepest hole anywhere on Earth-- even deeper than the Marianas Trench. The chasm was abandoned, and still sits in northeastern Russia today.
Like the Kola Borehole, unfinished projects leave quite a bit to the imagination. Incomplete icons are pathways that lead us to alternate histories. For us, this EP was a bit of an exercise in composing a suite of surrogate realities. Each icon we wrote about (be that a building, invention, expedition, composition, or experiment) was selected for its historical relevance to the 20th century. The album is not a lesson in history but a meditation on what small differences could have drastically changed the course of our future. Both the germination and death of these icons have become richly symbolic, and remind us of the starry-eyed aspirations, passion, and shortcomings of recent history.
Our alternate history consists of seven alternate realities to six precomplete icons:
*1915- Cecil Rhode’s Cape-to-Cairo railway (To Kairo),
*1942- Nikola Tesla’s extraterrestrial communication device (Breathe in the Static),
*1961- Buckminster Fuller’s dome for Manhattan (Pressure Dome),
*1971- The Kola Superdeep Borehole (Dig Down),
*1980- the Szkieletor Building that dominates the Krakow skyline (Skeleton Up).
*1992- Texas’ Superconducting Supercollider (Particle Run),
In essence, this EP isn’t finished. And it can never be finished. Those who don't learn history aren't forced to repeat it. Rather, their history becomes an incomplete pathway-- a precomplete history for our perpetually unfinished textbook.
We sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this album as much as we had making it.
released August 30, 2014
All songs written and engineered by Kirk Pearson.
Produced by Kirk Pearson, Julian Korzeniowsky, and Hayden Arp.
Album art by Clara Lu.
Photography by Mari Kroin and Will Burris.
*Kirk Pearson* (Mellotron, Strings, Vocals, Electronics) studies composition and film at Oberlin College and Conservatory. His compositions have appeared on NPR, the BBC, TED, and PBS. He currently works as a researcher in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Clara Lu* (Album Art) is a Queens-based painter and illustrator, currently studying at NYU Steinhardt. Lu holds fourteen awards from Scholastic including an American Vision nomination, as well as a critically lauded 2014 New York solo exhibition. Her works may be viewed at clarajlu.com
BIT is an ever-changing digital music collaborative. The first time many of the musicians meet is on record.
In order of appearance:
*Cole Blouin* (Electric Guitars on ‘Breathe in the Static’) is a multi-stylistic guitarist, songwriter and occasional electronic musician from Maine, currently studying at Oberlin College. Although it's been a while since he's had any significant release, you can find his experiments and live tracks at www.soundcloud.com/coleblouin
*Caroline Kuhn* (Vocals, Tenor Banjo on ‘Breathe in the Static,’ ‘To Kairo,’ and ‘Dig Down’) is an NYC-based singer and composer currently studying at New England Conservatory. This summer she recorded an EP with bassist Nick Dunston
*Julian Korzeniowsky* (Keyboards, Production on ‘Breathe in the Static’ and ‘To Kairo’) has written compositions for the American Composers Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic and Ethel String Quartet. He studies at New England Conservatory. He can be reached at email@example.com.
*Julia Ofman* (Vocals on ‘Breathe in the Static’) is a senior Religious Studies major at Bates College. This soon-to-be-unemployed adult is honored to have been included in this EP.
*Kate Gratson* (Vocals on ‘Breathe in the Static’) is a composition student currently based out of SUNY Fredonia. Her 2013 release, Coins, was one of the year’s top selling jazz records. kategratson.com/music/
*Nick Dunston* (Acoustic Bass on ‘Breathe in the Static’) has been active in the New York jazz scene for several years. He currently studies at The New School in Manhattan. soundcloud.com/nick-e-dunston
*Lyle Kokiko* (Electric Guitars on ‘Pressure Dome’) is from Brooklyn and has studied jazz guitar and electronic music production.
He is currently working on his solo electronic project, "Grover"
*Damon Smith* (Piano on ‘Pressure Dome) plays with the New York rock group Jacobins. He studies with the contemporary improvisation division of New England Conservatory where his music has been critiqued by the likes of Elvis Costello and Brendan Small. (jacobinsmusic.bandcamp.com
*Zoë Madonna* (Accordion, Sample on ‘To Kairo’ and ‘Glitch’) is a dancing fool and future crazy cat lady who owns far too many swirly dresses. That's a lie. There is no such thing as too many swirly dresses. She is reachable by carrier condor or, failing that, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Yuri Popowycz* (Violin, Synths on ‘To Kairo’) is a violinist, illustrator, and electronic musician. His goal is to fuse his artistic endeavors and create a universe which he and his friends can fill with their dreams. Sounds can be enjoyed here soundcloud.com/whyouarei
and here sons.bandcamp.com
*James Vitz-Wong* (Electric Bass on ‘To Kairo’) is a biorevolutionary, currently defending the fate of the organic world from mechanical annahilators by teaching robots how to love. He needs your help. [NOTICE: If it is before the year 2050, please disregard the above text and proceed to the following biography] James Vitz-Wong is a classical bass player and electroacoustic musician, studying at Oberlin Conservatory. He is a completely ordinary human being and enjoys long romantic walks on the beach at night (especially if you are a biorevolutionary). Enlist now at jamesvitzwong.bandcamp.com
*Ruby Froom* (Vocals on ‘To Kairo’) is a songwriter, vocalist, pianist, mbira player, and arranger, as well as a Music and Neurobiology major at Williams College. She has performed and recorded with the likes of Suzanne Vega, Duncan Sheik, Jad Abumrad of NPR's Radiolab, and The Indigo Girls. She put out her first EP Snow in June and is currently recording more new music, all of which can be, or will be able to be, heard at rubyfroom.bandcamp.com
. Check out a recent radio interview for more info about Ruby (www.mixcloud.com/scotttime/ruby-froom-on-the-scott-einhorn-show-81814/
). Based in NYC.
*Hayden Arp* (Production Assistance on ‘To Kairo’) composes music for listening and hails from Alexandria, Virginia. He currently studies at Oberlin Conservatory (www.haydenarp.com
*Jonah Bobo* (Electric Guitars on ‘Glitch’) plays with New York rock group The Bonnie Situation (thebonniesituationmusic.bandcamp.com
) and his solo project, Monochoir (monochoir.bandcamp.com
*Griffin Jennings* (Acoustic Guitars on ‘Skeleton Up’) performs with the NYC rock group Jacobins (jacobinsmusic.bandcamp.com
) and studies music technology at Oberlin Conservatory. His solo EP, East River, was released in early July (gjennings.bandcamp.com
*Brendan Smith* (Vocals on ‘Skeleton Up’) is a rising senior at LaGuardia Arts and a vocalist with the New York rock group Jacobins (jacobinsmusic.bandcamp.com
*Jakob Roy* (Vocals on ‘Skeleton Up’) is a staple of the New York community of jazz vocalists and currently studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. soundcloud.com/jakob-roy
*Aiden Berglund* (Electric Guitars on ‘Dig Down’) is a multi-instrumentalist who plays with the bands Palm Pilot, The Alright Now and with Michael Eliran. aiden.bandcamp.com
*Isabelle Harari* (Vocals on ‘Dig Down’) studies at Oberlin College.
Recorded in Oberlin, OH, New York, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
'To Kairo' samples William McKinley's 1896 campaign address.
‘Pressure Dome’ samples 'Whoops, I'm An Indian' by Hal Wilner and "Sit and Listen" by Wax Tailor.
‘Glitch’ samples "Our Town" by Aaron Copland and performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf, "Taxman" by The Beatles, "I've Got The World on a String" by Frank Sinatra, "Scarborough Fair (Canticle)" as recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, "Tea for Two" as recorded by Blossom Dearie, "O Tannenbaum" as recorded by Vince Guaraldi Trio, "Circle of Life" excerpted from the soundtrack to "The Lion King" (1994), "Sail Away" by Randy Newman, and "Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major" as performed by Yo-Yo Ma.
‘Skeleton Up’ samples "Surfing on a Rocket" by Air.
‘Dig Down’ samples a segment of 'The War of the Worlds,' performed by Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater, and of James Mason in 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' (1959). The instrumental loop is excerpted from the (unfinished) Symphony 10 by Gustav Mahler.
‘Particle Run’ samples ‘The Mexican Cactus’ by Jean-Jacques Perrey.
Special thanks to Mari Kroin, Will Burris, Larry Dunn, Arlene Dunn, Julian Ring, Carolyn Swartz, Nate Currie, Ralph Bakshi, and Randy Newman.