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ALPHABET RAIN

A pointillistic daydream, crossing the street with your eyes closed, the distant horizon that marks the line between comfort and risk. At once familiar and surreal, Alphabet Rain is a compact collection of exploratory recordings by composer/vocalist/harpist Audrey Harrer, and the culmination of her experiments with acoustic instruments in a studio environment with producer Christopher McLaughlin. Organic, detailed, and modern, each piece grew from text as players were invited to 1867 Recording Studio (a cavernous masonic temple) to perform parts and improvise. The result is a texture of lyrical counterlines, catchy riffs, and arrangements that bloom with multidimensional ideas. Alphabet Rain is a shimmering, rock-influenced work that boldly and poetically weaves together the ancient and the avant-garde.
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THE ALPHABET RAIN COCKTAIL

Crafted for this record by the legendary mixologist (and musician of Combustible Edison fame), Brother Cleve

"Alphabet Rain is an appropriate name since, like the music, it evokes a sparse, partly cloudy, rain scented dreamscape."  -Brother Cleve-

1.5 oz Aviation Gin

.75 oz Noilly Prat Ambre Vermouth

0.5 oz Dry Manzanilla Sherry

.25 oz Creme D'Yvette

1 dash Celery Bitters

Combine ingredients over ice in mixing glass, and stir for 50 seconds or until cold. Strain into rocks glass, garnish with a small amount of crushed black pepper.

LYRICS

Nearly all of Audrey's songs begin as text. Once a poem is conceptually solid, she works to create melodies, harmonies and musical gestures that support, and add another dimension to the meaning of the words. 

OHIEEO

I never thought I’d wind up in Ohio
I was off to see the Mayans out in Mexico
On my way to manifest predictions 
Then I got all mixed up in Virginia

The farmers in the cornfields say ee-ii-oo
Crop circles come from reapers and from UFO's
I wonder what they keep out in the silos
I’m so nervous from conservative talk radio

So I walk all tough and carry round a pitchfork
And I ride an english saddle on my unicorn
I miss how she sells seashells by the seashore
But she left me by the water back in Baltimore

Now I sit around just thinking ‘bout the white noise
And I’m grateful we’ve been missed by all the asteroids
There’s a pearl in every oyster claims the tabloids
But I’m learning more and more I can’t believe that voice
‘Cause I never thought I’d wind up in...
Ohieeo

PENDULUM

Back of my head silhouette against the sun
Mascara trees bat the day into dusk we just
Sway in the breeze like a pendulum

I might choose to run or I could choose to stay 
Every step forward is one step away 
From the places we came
Those good places we wait 

For an avalanche to fall
To start fresh in the fog of a wrecking ball

This whole thing’s a mess but I don’t mind at all
I just stare straight and fine like a latitude line
I see so far in front that I watch from behind

Sun in our eyes hypnotizing vision
Shadows reach back for the horizon we just
Sway in the breeze like a pendulum

But it could be the love none of us ever knew
Or it could be so empty tumbleweeds blow through
Oh these things that we do
Brave be bold build brand new

To make the avalanches fall
To know when to let go of the wrecking ball

This whole thing’s a mess but I don’t mind at all
I just stare straight and fine like a latitude line
looking so far in front that I watch from behind

ROUTINE

I get up in the morning
Splash water on my face
I get dressed without mirrors
Then I zone out on the train

I spend hours on nothing
I just picture your face
I sleep silent beside you
I hear things you don’t say

So I reach in the darkness
I sleepwalk on the waves
Drift away as I’m drowning
Then I do it again

Don’t think
Just blink
Toss it all into the kitchen sink
Don’t leave
Just breathe
Give yourself up to the
Routine

I lay awake in the morning
I levitate
I ignore the directions
I drop out of the race

I disrupt the whole city
With unspeakable noise
Then I fill out every bubble
On the multiple choice

I skywrite I love you
In the alphabet rain
I wake up when it’s over
I wanna do it again

Don’t think
Just blink
Toss it all into the kitchen sink
Don’t leave
Just breathe
Give yourself up to the...
Routine 

 

EASY TIGER

Please be careful blazing firefighter
We’re getting a little too close
Please be careful red-eyed up-all-nighter
So fast to the future we go
Easy Tiger Lily Lighting
Quiet Village Burning Brightly

My stripes are not my uniform
Just means we’re born the same kind (2x)

Please be careful hungry politician
You’re spitting out words you don’t know
Please be careful jetpack businessperson
The air is thinner the higher you go

Easy Tiger Prowling Nightly
Quiet Village Sleeping Tightly

My stripes are not my camouflage
I just get so lost watching you (2x)

Easy Tiger...

Please be careful all you quiet people
Your soundwaves mean more than you know
Please be careful all you passion seekers
Your smoke signals reach us like poems

Easy Tiger Growling Mighty
Quiet Village Burning Brightly
My stripes are not my battlecry
It’s just that you and I are so wild (2x)

ANCIENT HONEY

I believe in the evening
And the rooster that crows
I’m a featherless peacock
Wearing nightingale clothes
Have you ever been left somewhere
Have you ever been cold
Well then you know, that it’s not so hard to go

I should have let lightning strike
As we walked around like mummies waiting for the afterlife
I should have built the oasis
Where we’d drink like it's the first time we have ever been hydrated
Laughter like waterfalls
Fills the heart of the sphinx with 10,000 jugs
I should have spelled it out
Instead I drew pictures you couldn't figure out...

Ancient honey seals our lips
As we go pantomiming hieroglyphs
on and on and on and on

We are blind we are buried
Upside-down pyramids
Run my fingers along these walls
Feel the messages
May we echo forever
As I give you this pose
Let your arms wrap around me
As the eternal rooster crows

The Sunbathers

I stand in the shade with my mother 
The sunbathers giggle and glow
I stare at their beautiful bodies
As I sweat in these dark summer clothes

I want to pour it all out like a fishbowl
and burn dry til my fins turn to legs
Leave this place and pretend I’m an orphan 
and start fresh somewhere oceans away. 

I stare in the eyes of a stranger
I see everything there I could want
They project over me like a future 
Full of beautiful things I forgot 

I want to stay with these birds here forever
Squeeze the moon so hard that twilight never breaks
Build a life in that place just before we look away
And move on with our arms full of waves 

Now I stand here with all of these people
All these places on all of these shores
The past is so vast and elastic
Echoing words swinging doors

I want to sort through every strand like it’s a haystack
Find a needle that could stitch a straight line through
But it’s all just noise and polaroids
Of sunbathers waving at you...

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PRODUCTION PROCESS

"Alphabet Rain" is a selection of songs culled from Audrey's exploration of acoustic instruments in a studio environment. As soon as she composed her first songs for harp and voice, she began booking sessions at 1867 Recording Studio, a converted masonic temple on the outskirts of Boston. After she laid down her harp tracks, Audrey wanted to apply her studies of orchestration to the studio. With her producer/engineer (1867 owner and dear friend) Chris McLaughlin, they invited players one-by-one to the temple to explore sound. They focused on the nuances of microphone choice and placement, studio effects, and production techniques. Audrey then applied their discoveries to her arrangements. The process was clandestine, sleep-deprived, adventurous, and often fueled by red wine and delicious Thai food.

After more than 30 10-hour sessions over the span of a few years, this collection of songs was chosen to complete. Audrey met up with Chris in Brooklyn and they mixed the record at Doom, a stunning mix room that overlooks the city. Final mastering was done by the illustrious Joe Laporta. This is Audrey's first studio release. 

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CREDITS

PRODUCTION

  • Music, Text, Orchestration by: Audrey Harrer
  • Produced, Engineered, Mixed by: Chris Mclaughlin at 1867 Recording Studio (Chelsea, MA) & Doom (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Additional Production by: Audrey Harrer
  • Mastered by: Joe Laporta

MUSICIANS 

  • Audrey Harrer: Voice, Harps, Piano, Rhodes
  • Catherine Bent: Cello
  • Jessica Gillespie: Bassoon
  • Will Ponturo: Drum kit
  • Chad Gray: Acoustic Bass
  • James Staub: Electric Bass
  • Chris Mclaughlin: Electric Guitar, Electric Bass
  • Jessica DeSilva Garrett: Spoons, Washboard
  • Brian O’Neill: Timpani, Small Percussion

ART

The artwork featured is from an installation piece called "Changing Waters" by fine artist Nathalie Miebach, based on scientific weather data from the coast of Maine. This work was selected for its playful, organic, and detailed qualities. It was photographed by Angela Harrer during its recent exhibit at the Fitchburg Art Museum. Many thanks to the museum for accommodating our photo session, and to Nathalie for use of her imagery. 

Thanks 

Wendy Rapoza, Peter M. Susser, John Bavicchi, Felice Pomeranz, Jessica Schaefer, Jeannie Greeley, Nazli Rex, Erin Genett, Sharon Lynch, Aaron Wacks, Angela Harrer, Ken Michaels, Stompbox Sonic, Jacob Rosati, Simon Remiszewski, Richard Drechsler, Will Jordan, Chris Barnes, Jared Graves, Prudence & Endora.