Title - 'Themes For Falling Down Stairs' [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Douglas Lee
For those not in the know, Douglas Lee is an accomplished performer, composer and sound artist based in Los Angeles, California.
Or rather, a multi-disciplinary artist primarily inquiring the world through the sounding arts.
Noted primarily as an international television performer and featured soloist on the musical glasses (an instrument made of wine-glasses tuned to pitch with water and played with fingers), Lee performs mashups of heavy metal, classical and contemporary pop music in venues and live productions around Los Angeles and the world.
Lee can also be heard in The Douglas Lee Quintet, playing obscure versions of instrumental jazz standards on musical glasses, musical saw, saxophone, piano, upright bass and drums.
As a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in rare instruments, Lee has worked and performed with a number of artists including Metabolic Studio Sonic Division, Gwendolyn and Peculiar Pretzelman.
His debut album, Themes for Falling Down Stairs is an aural treat that takes the listener to remote place in their imagination.
Sounding like a mash-up of Nino Rota, Angelo Badalamenti, Niklos Rosza and Carl Stalling, Themes is equal parts '40s Film Noir soundtrack, Romani gypsy music, Shibuya-Kei Japanese pop, '60s Italo-western soundtracks and '30s Shanghai cabaret.
Fleshed out with postmodern arrangements incorporating electronic noise, live manipulated electro-acoustic sound effects and various exotic devices to produce rich soundscapes, the album sounds as if somewhere in time, the muslin gauze has been pulled off the concussed head of a transfixed toy doll as a child to reveal the world’s strangest down and out performance of all time.
1. 'Evening Stars Of Cyrangoon' (4:33)
2. 'Raid On The Purple River' (5:04)
3. 'Jeminor's Lost Night In Kakarta' (3:56)
4. 'Montgomery's Trek' (4:45)
5. 'Zarseilles Lowrider' (4:03)
6. 'Ezmir's Ark' (3:38)
7. 'Jasmine Hover Blossom' (6:36)
8. 'Lucky Money Music' (4:12)
Opening with the magnificent, transcendently free flowing, all encompassing majesty of the melodic, Parisian-imbibed 'Evening Stars Of Cyrangoon,' that's backed by the conjured fairground swirls and twirls of 'Raid On The Purple River,' the atmospherically foot-tappin' travelogue 'Jeminor's Lost Night In Kakarta,' with the first side rounding out with the more pronounced horn-led, smoky late night underground jazz club concoction 'Montgomery's Trek.'
The second side opens with 'Zarseilles Lowrider,' a serene, twinkling ambiance akin to a Japanese resonance, enveloped in a sci-fi blanket of warmth, and that's followed by the sweeping, late '60s Mediterranean vibes of 'Ezmir's Ark,' before we get 'Jasmine Hover Blossom,' a deeper embodiment of Japanese culture, complete with a deep horn backbone that locks us into the Morphine era, and then itself comes to a close on the pleasingly frenetic, old West-imbued, saloon-style good times, black and white reel, old Hollywood banter, 'Lucky Money Music.'
Written and arranged by Lee, Themes for Falling Down Stairs features him performing an array of instruments including the musical glasses, koto (a thirteen string traditional Japanese zither), shamisen (a traditional Japanese string instrument similar to the banjo), guitar, gong and chime orchestra, Baschet sound-sculpture, marimba, vibes, electric organs, analog synths, wild noisemakers and soundscapes.
An entirely instrumental album, Themes for Falling Down Stairs goal is to create a “place” that can be visited distinctly separate in time and space from the location of the listener.
It’s an audible cognitive illusion of a euphoric destination, rich with detail and immersive imagery.
Official Purchase Link