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Michael Zapruder returns with Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope--Oct. 28, 2008

posted Jul 29, 2008, 11:42 AM by Vu Nguyen
From Team Clermont

Michael Zapruder returns with Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope.

Scott Solter-produced debut arrives Oct. 28, 2008 on Sidecho Records!

 

"...beautiful folk-pop ballads..."  Pitchfork

"...vast and varied..." Magnet

"Every sound and word is thoughtfully placed, every dynamic shift is carried out with precision, every sentence (both verbal and musical) is phrased significantly... Michael Zapruder is working firmly embedded in the auteurial model of composition and arrangement, and he is a brilliant director."  Said the Gramophone


San Francisco-based Michael Zapruder will return with his new album, Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope, on October 28th, 2008.  The record will see release on Zapruder's new label home, Sidecho Records (home to Via Audio).  Recorded with Scott Solter in two weeks of marathon day-and-night sessions, it's another beautiful record of sinuous melodies that straddles the line between classic songwriting and experimentalism.

Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope, the new record by Michael Zapruder, is a record of contrasts and oddities that moves with easy dreamlike logic from the everyday to the everynight, presenting opposites without attempting to resolve them. In the process, it offers a glimpse of wildness at the core of humanism.

Zapruder and Scott Solter (Mountain Goats, Two Gallants, Pattern is Movement, John Vanderslice) recorded and mixed the record in a two-week session at San Francisco's Tiny Telephone Studio. Somewhere in that undertaking, like fishermen dangling a net deep into the darkest waters of the Pacific, they ensnared something loose, weird, old, formless, and potent.

Zapruder brought a two-part mission statement with him. First was the idea of negative capability, the ability to be "in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason". The second was a line from a poem by contemporary poet Joshua Beckman: "This party is fucked without the karate chop of love."

With these in mind, Zapruder set about making something that would reside squarely where discontinuity and faith meet. Twenty-five songs went in and eleven came out, the survivors supported by the contributions of Zapruder's Rain of Frogs, a loose cadre of musicians and friends that now number in the thirties, and which sometimes includes members of the Decemberists and Tom Waits' bands (see www.michaelzapruder.com/rof.htm).

Minimal and tricky, Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope presents a world of large spaces and tiny details. It dwells in contrast and juxtaposition. Whatever intuition made Zapruder set the two-week limit on this record, it was a good one, because the recording lacks oversight and planning and thereby exposes common threads in songs that might have initially seemed too dissimilar to belong together. What results is a larger world that feels strangely effortless and surprisingly unified. And thanks to Scott Solter, on Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope for the first time, the quality of the recorded document equals the quality of Zapruder's songs. This is the best record that Zapruder has yet made.

Not long after Dragon was completed, Long Beach-based Sidecho Records was one of a few labels to receive an advance copy in the mail. Owner James Cho and Zapruder struck up a correspondence, and through a kind of mutual getting-to-know-each-other process, came to feel that Sidecho would be a great platform for this piece of music.

Ultimately, a record either means something to you or it doesn't, and so now we come to the all-important bit. However it is that music feels soulful or meaningful without overdoing it, and without over-dramatizing things that ultimately turn out to be mundane; however it is that a record makes you want to listen to it over and over; that power comes from the feeling that there is something embedded in the record. It comes from the sense that the people making the record are striving for something special and are getting it right somehow.


 

Previous press:

"...one of the inheritors of Leonard Cohen's crown of thorns, Zapruder explores themes of isolation and eros without the customary whine."

Los Angeles Times

"... beautiful folk-pop ballads resonant of the voice of Rufus Wainwright and wordplay of Andrew Bird"

Pitchfork

"It's probably not too much of an overstatement to hang the "genius" tag on multi-instrumentalist Michael Zapruder."

Amplifier

"...vast and varied…akin to hearing Rufus Wainwright croon over Andrew Bird's simmering string arrangements."

Magnet

"Every sound and word is thoughtfully placed, every dynamic shift is carried out with precision, every sentence (both verbal and musical) is phrased significantly... Michael Zapruder is working firmly embedded in the auteurial model of composition and arrangement, and he is a brilliant director."

Said the Gramophone

"...a damned fine singer-songwriter (and guitarist and pianist) from San Fran, Zapruder's little song-nuggets evoke Rufus Wainwright and newer Elvis Costello."

Village Voice

"This record belongs on the shelf between Lennon's Double Fantasy and Westerberg's 14 Songs. Go get it."

Performing Songwriter

"...gorgeous, uplifting, well-wrought, and magical."

Delusions of Adequacy


Track Listing

1.     Happy New Year
2.     Lucy's Handmade Paper
3.     Ads For Feelings
4.     Can't We Bring You Home
5.     Black Wine
6.     Harbor Saints
7.     South Kenosha
8.     Bang On A Drum
9.     White Raven Sails
10.     Second Sunday In Ordinary Time
11.     Experimental Film

Instrumentation

Jeff Anthony - drums 1, 3
Gene V. Baker - hammond organ 11
Ralph Carney - alto saxophone 10
Matt Cunitz - hohner claviola 2, 10; moog sonic six 2; mellotron 2, 5, 6; orchestron 5, 11
Dina Emerson - vocals 5
Evan Francis - flute 3, 4, 9; clarinet 4, 9
Sameer Gupta - tabla 8
Steve Hogan - juno 3, wurlitzer 6
Aurora Josephson - vocals 5
Kurt Kotheimer - double bass 1, 4, 9; bass guitar 2, 5, 7, 8
Alan Lin - violin 4, 9
Gino Robair - drums 2, 4, 7, 9, 11
Scott Rosenberg - contrabass clarinet 10
Kevin Seal - crumar 3
Scott Solter - percussion 8
Michael Zapruder - vocals, guitars, pianos, and other sounds
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