The San Francisco iconoclast is back to settle old scores and forge new directions on his second solo album featuring 'Great Burst Of Clarity' and 'Rokery Lighter'. The special edition CD includes 3 exclusive bonus tracks. Free City Media is proud to announce the release of No Resistance, the second solo CD from veteran musician Nick Bensen. Changing things up from the rock/electronic hybrid of his Free City debut Psychedelic Juggernaut, Nick's new album features more guitars, more vocals and a focus on retro rock styles. From the easy groove of 'Rokery Lighter' to the hard riffing of 'Fall' to the baroque '60s pop of '...And The Time Is Right', Nick builds on the traditions of his favorite music from the original psychedelic era. CD bonus tracks include a remake of the vintage Three Globe Banana Monte epic 'Frobisher Awakening' and a nine-minute guitar and tape-reverse soundscape called 'Icebound Wilderness'. Nick is currently playing solo in the Bay Area, producing a CD for acid/techno/metal collective 33 Tiger Infinity and working on acoustic and electric tracks for a third album of his own. Also available from Free City Media: Nick Bensen - Psychedelic Juggernaut (FRCD001) 'Definitely worth checking out... Bensen's guitar is the fire streaking out over the ice.' - Robert Morris, Bay Arts & Music 'Fantastic Acid-Psych album... Sawing guitars, spherical keyboards, driving grooves.' - Alie Thormann, psychedelic-music.net Now in the works at Free City Studios: 33 Tiger Infinity - The Experience Begins... (FRCD003) Nick Bensen - The Great Divide (FRCD004) NO RESISTANCE ALBUM NOTES BY NICK: This album was recorded during spare moments in 2000-2001. I started out planning a 140-minute 2-CD set with 28 songs. When almost a year had passed and (working the few hours a week I could) I was nowhere near done with the project, I decided to cut it down to one CD consisting of an album and an EP. In the end, I wasn't quite happy with the arrangement of the EP A-side 'Ice Waster'. That track was put on hold for a later date and I included the three intended B-sides as bonus tracks at the end of the No Resistance album. 33 Tiger Infinity has talked about possibly doing an 'Ice Waster' remix on their debut CD for Free City. Look for some of the other unused songs (such as 'Distant Memory #1', 'Down River Road', 'Humboldt Jam', 'Indifferent Atlantis', 'McCurdy Trailhead', 'Never Coming Down' and 'Pacific Heights Penthouse') to show up on my future releases. The guitars, keyboards, bass, etc. were mostly first or second takes. The vocals took a bit longer to say the least. The drum programming was done freehand (no arpeggios, patterns or step editing) for a more natural sound. Mixing ended up taking much longer than expected. Part of what made this project more challenging than my first CD Psychedelic Juggernaut was that, this time, I wanted to do more with vocal harmonies and multiple guitar and keyboard parts. While the first album was written, recorded and mixed in short order without incident, No Resistance includes a few older songs that I have played in various different styles over the years. I had to decide how to reframe early '90s songs that originally sounded quite a bit like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Songs that have waited a long time to be recorded deserve special consideration. The first time I set out to record an album called No Resistance was in 1992. The 4-track recorder I borrowed developed some problems with consistency of pitch and speed so I gave up on the idea of putting out the sessions as an album. 'Icebound Wilderness' was the only thing from the first No Resistance that came out well enough to be released. The original recording appears as a bonus track on the new CD. Very different versions of 'No Resistance' and 'Fall' with just vocals, electric lead guitar and acoustic rhythm guitar were also recorded during the 1992 sessions. None of the other songs from the 1992 tapes were redone for this project although a few of them were in the running. The newly written songs on this album presented some interesting mixing issues since I had to make sense of so many various parts playing at the same time. In the end, I was more or less satisfied with the sound and I left in just a bit of level-peaking arc distortion on the vocals and guitars for that retro '60s touch. Sometimes I cranked up the bass beyond a sensible level because it never seems like there's enough bass on the finished product. Anyway, I like to think that people will be able to drive around and disturb the peace listening to my music. If it blows you out of the room, just turn down the bass and raise the treble on your stereo to make it sound more normal. I listened to a lot of music by the Dipsomaniacs, Lucky Bishops, Motorpsycho and Spirit while recording the album. Those of you familiar with these groups may detect their influences in my work. As always, my usual favorites The Bevis Frond, Guided by Voices and Pavement, and lifelong musical heroes John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix were never far from my consciousness. At any rate, this CD is a labor of love and I hope it blows your mind. TRACK BY TRACK: 1. ON THE FRACTAL LANDSCAPE 1:09 - Some of the very best psychedelic albums (such as Zero Zen by the Alchemysts, the first two by The Bevis Frond, and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland) kick off with about a minute of weirdness to let you know you're in for a heavy experience, so there you are. This was originally supposed to be the introduction to a longer song I later renamed 'Never Coming Down'. 2. ROKERY LIGHTER 3:33 - This one is a brand new song written around a made-up story about an old reformed stoner living vicariously through a younger friend's trip to Amsterdam. The funky piano and bass line seemed to call out for a wah-wah guitar. The break beats make this song closer to danceable than anything else on the album. 3. NO RESISTANCE 6:15 - I wrote a song called 'New Day' with the same chord changes back when I was fourteen. It became 'No Resistance' during a 1987 rewrite and was further refined in 1992 and 2000. I went easy on the percussion since I have never played this song with a drummer who could match the tricky rhythm of the acoustic guitar without sounding too heavy-handed and bogging everything down. You could say that this is one of my signature songs. 4.GREAT BURST OF CLARITY 2:54 - This song exists in bands like the rings of Saturn. First the keyboards and drums sound sort of like Cornelius, then the rhythm guitars drop in, then the vocals build to a Hüsker Dü shout, and the great burst of lead guitar brings it on home. My favorite part is that last, lyrical guitar run at the end of the solo. 5. UNREALIZED VOYAGE TO HAMMERFEST 5:49 - I really wanted to go up to the Northern part of Norway on a trip to Europe in 1999 but it would have been too expensive and time-consuming. This track started out with powerful Motorpsycho trance passages (like the middle of 'Un Chien d'Espace' from Angels And Dæmons At Play) in mind but it ended up more like Yes playing incidental action music for a James Bond movie. Still, it's kind of a rousing instrumental with a serious dynamic range. 6. WHERE'S MR. DAVE? 2:06 - Originally plucked out on a dulcimer while waiting for my friend Dave Stevens to show up at my place in Brattleboro, VT years ago, this simple little song has been transformed by a lush psychedelic arrangement. 7. FALL 4:41 - This song discusses how the New England seasons can affect the emotions. I wrote it in 1992 as a full-on Eddie Vedder belter (still evident in the one-word chorus) but adapted this new version to better fit my current style. The loose, groovy rhythm has a bit of a Blind Faith vibe. 8. DISTANT MEMORY #2 2:22 - A quiet acoustic interlude with e-bow counterpoint. Hearing Øyvind Holm using one on the Dipsomaniacs' Braid Of Knees prompted me to dust off my e-bow (although his technique is light years ahead of mine). The melody reminds me of the more sensitive tracks on All Mod Cons by The Jam. 9. PINE CITY 5:28 - Added to my acoustic set in 1994, this song was also recorded during that period as a full-blown grunge jam. This new version has sort of a beatnik feel to it (what with the vibes and congas and all) but, since it's about Minnesota, I just had to sing it with a touch of Bob Mould bluster. 10. DON'T FREAK OUT 2:56 - I wrote this cheerful Merseybeat single about the dualities of life for my daughter Janine a few days after she was born. The processed vocals and twisted lead guitar do their best to mask the sweetness of the message. Trying to mix this track totally freaked me out! 11. ...AND THE TIME IS RIGHT 5:33 - This one is a '60s-style pop number with shades of The Beatles and The Who. No one, including me, saw the harpsichord and violin passage coming. The working title 'The Moments That Make Up Eternity' seemed a bit pretentious even if it does come from the lyrics. BONUS TRACKS: 12. THE ORANGE SKY 3:22 - A perfect 1996 demo of this organ-led retro instrumental was lost in the shuffle so I had to record a new version. That gave me the chance to add some bass and a cool sitar drone to the arrangement. I always thought of this one as sort of a tribute to my father, though it was written a year before he died. It's not the kind of music he liked (he was a fan of classical music, old show tunes, sea shanties and female rock artists like Laurie Anderson, Chrissie Hynde and Nena) but I think something about the mood of this song reflects my dad's orange October aura. 13. FROBISHER AWAKENING 6:24 - This is a remake of the classic opening track from the album Like, Four Really Intense Hits, Man! By the Three Globe Banana Monte. Keyboardist Ian Mader, drummer Matt McDermott and I completely improvised this song during a 1984 recording session in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. I simply started playing a minor-key guitar line kind of like a Jorma solo from Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers over Matt's martial drum intro and Ian's doomy keyboard bass, and things unfolded from there. The original version ran longer than 18 minutes. The layers of organ on my remake are a nod to Ian's considerable talents. Still, I needed to play four keyboard parts to come close to matching his one. 14. ICEBOUND WILDERNESS 9:03 - Recorded on Hy Ginsberg's 4-track in Brattleboro, VT in November 1992, this was my favorite track from the first try at No Resistance. I played two freestyle guitar parts on my old Telecaster and then book-ended the resulting jam with tape reverse. Discovering the music of The Bevis Frond the year before had re-ignited my psychedelic tendencies.
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