Matt Baldwin & Hans Dobbratz - Clumsy with Sound LP
This is YWC004
Matt Baldwin and Hans Dobbratz - Clumsy with Sound: Anesthetic Asides and Alien Code from the Utopic Jail LP
Press Release here
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Released June 2023
Limited to 200 copies
Mastered by WiggleWorld
Pressed by DeepGrooves
Cover image by Duke and Battersby from their film Civil Twilight at the Vernal Equinox
Design by Mat Keel
Also includes a free copy of the 2011 LP Prayers by Physical Release featuring Hans Dobbratz and Nathan Moomaw Jackson.
“This sounds like the Rolling Stones on Spice.” - Spencer Hartling
"Hans' street poet cinematics move in and out of the LA smog, as Matt circulates pulsing ragas in colors of sun-bleached dystopia. A picture forms; Unknown stories of the hidden city in exult disillusion."- Mira Billotte, White Magic
"I could probably talk about this record for days. I love it. The backing music is pleasantly reminiscent of some of my favorite krautrock. I hope all involved know they hit a home run in my book" - Ben Blohowiak, The Silver Panthers of Luna
“m-u-s-i-c-o / l-i-n-g-u-i-s-t-i-c / tour de force / a plea that starts / in pilot town / and ends with
the straight and elegant / line of law / full of unscripted complications / decreeing the death of money / rubies strewn in hard places / a journey into the nightmare of the utopic jail -- yet the light lives on / live with it!” -Max Cafard, Author of The Surre(gion)alist Manifesto
Clumsy With Sound was conceived a decade ago when guitarist and writer Matt Baldwin, inspired by the Doors record An American Prayer, suggested to singer and songwriter Hans Dobbratz that they make a record of spoken word accompanied by instrumental pieces. Baldwin is a prolific solo artist and the author of new instant counterculture classic How to Play Guitar. Hans Dobbratz is the lead singer of Los Angeles based punk band Street Fruit, and formerly the vocalist of 90s teen sleaze act Dura Delinquent, and Physical Release, as well as a member of Belligerent Swans.
In Dobbratz’s Los Angeles apartment the pair first recorded multiple tracks of guitar and a drum machine on a 4-track cassette recorder with the intention of building from there. For the next ten years, the tape sat in a box that Dobbratz kept with him as he floated through multiple living situations in L.A. Baldwin bounced back and forth between the Monterey and San Francisco bays and, though the two often saw each other, the project sat idle.
Then, in the space that opened up during 2020/21, Dobbratz suggested that they finally finish the project. He began to write what would become the eight spoken pieces featured on Clumsy with Sound. The confusion, conflict, and possibility offered by the combined and novel experience of pandemic, riots, and wildfire provided ample force for theme and subject; the pair began to stitch together new and old pieces of music that would become, along with field recordings and live clips, the fabric of the record.
The two had finally arrived at the needed mix of mood and rhythm that would honor, mutate, and wildly reimagine what they had first found vital about An American Prayer. Drawing further inspiration from the work of Gil Scott-Heron, Joe Frank, and others, Baldwin and Dobbratz went into the studio with engineer and friend, Spencer Hartling, and threaded the album together in one long day.
The resulting album is a richly layered piece of art, an archival recording of psyche projected onto all the many skylines of Los Angeles where it becomes a new spectral voice soberly recording traces of the future from a past that is not yet behind us. A series of spontaneous parables and impressions in which the optimism of eternal innocence claims its powerlessness against an ugly new machine slowly coming into view.
From this vista, there are no heroes or resistance fighters, only figures like Sean Young in the album’s second track, The Ballad of Sean and Popo, who becomes glorious in Dobbratz’s narration, as he explores and sanctifies her seeming dysfunction revealing new maps of our broken world. Baldwin’s playing is an equally commanding presence here - achieved and immediate but always deliberate. The ambient sound of Dobbratz’s pages turning as he speaks reminds the listener that this recording is vital and arrives on its own merits, with no reliance on shiny things or appeal to neat conclusion.
The revolution remains live.