"While touring the Pacific Northwest in the Spring of 2000, my pianist Khoi-San and I stopped in Olympia, WA to look around. In a used records/ clothing store, I spotted a little poetry book for sale. It had a handmade cloth cover, the title screened on with fabric paint. Inside I read short poems about nature and a cross-country road trip, illustrated with simple, yet meticulous line art. I'd originally bought it as a gift, but then kept taking it back to look at it.
"First came a song about the book (London Payne), a self-explanatory rant that I made up as I went along. After that - partly inspired by Khoi's tape of the Beach Boys' Holland album - I composed a trilogy about bald eagles, reciting some lines from the book. Finally, I took the remaining poems and made them into individual songs, ranging from thirty seconds to two minutes long. That last creative burst lasted about a week, and then I had twelve tracks. Musically, I decided to go with whatever sound or pop music reference that suited my whim, writing the music, (for the most part) and playing the instruments myself.
"I wrote to John R Dykes, a/k/a London Pain, c/o the Share and Care Society of Olympia, and True Lightening, who published the book. Mr Dykes phoned me back, and I revealed my plan to release this collection of songs. At this time, he is convalescing in a Southern California desert hospital. I'm sure we shall soon see London Pain - BACK IN TOWN."
-Chris von Sneidern 2000
Combining all sorts of music styles for this project, CVS pulls away the rules of record production and just goes for it in a tongue-in-cheek effort that comes full circle into a truly listenable experience. With a pop sensibility, he mixes soul, rock, ragtime, bluegrass, and New Age. Some tracks sound remarkably like Tom Waits, The Beatles, Moody Blues, The Who, WAR, Michael Jackson, Staples Singers, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Led Zeppelin, Anthony Newley, 5th Dimension, and Up with People. That mess comes together cohesively in a well produced musical package that is uniquely and unmistakably CVS.
What's best is that it's FUN to listen to. It's barely 20 minutes long, and with the illustrated libretto, there's no need to make it background music. It's pure entertainment with the listener in mind.
released July 30, 2000
Produced, recorded and performed by Chris von Sneidern at Ordophon-upon-Avon Studio in Hyde St Studio E
Chris von Sneidern (CvS) is a San Francisco-based singer/songwriter and recording artist with thirteen critically acclaimed,
self-produced albums. CvS has entertained audiences with his music in Japan, Spain, and throughout the UK and USA. He owns and operates a commercial recording studio in San Francisco....more