Mélodie fantastique

by Japonize Elephants

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about

With cinematic melodies, surf guitar, spy soundtracks, Appalachian fiddling, lush string arrangements, knee-slapping banjo, country ballads, eastern modes, 4-part vocal harmonies, Mariachi flair and a heavy jazz influence, the new Japonize Elephants album is an inimitable take on the modern American experience. Songs about space travel, Publisher’s Clearing House, pirates, buses, whiskey, and dancing in the fast lane intermingle with instrumental numbers showcasing highly developed melodic and harmonic vocabularies. The sound is twisted and ambitious yet instantly recognizable, the result of nearly 20 years of collaborative experimentation.

When not performing with Radio Lab, Beats Antique, Donovan, Aaron Freeman (Ween), Feist, or John Vanderslice, the members of Japonize Elephants are hard at work conjuring an ensemble at once absurd and profound. Influences merge and diverge—the Stanley Brothers meet Zappa, the tenor sax meets the glockenspiel... and invite junk percussion, vibraphone, accordion, guitar, bass, flute, saxophones, trumpet, violin, banjo, and vocals to the fiesta. The Elephants’ talent runs as deep as the group’s instrumentation is diverse, steeped in the band’s long history and journey from Bloomington, Indiana to the coasts.

“Listening to The Japonize Elephants is like being at a supersonic hillbilly hoedown that has mysteriously been transplanted into a Transylvanian cartoon,” says the Denver Post. Blink and you’ll think you’re back in the orchestra of a French circus, with Mingus and Willie Nelson sitting in.

credits

released November 15, 2012

Sylvain Carton: guitar, vocals, alto sax, bass clarinet, bari sax, tenor sax (9, 17), flute (2, 3, 5)
David Gantz: junk percussion, vocals
Michael Mellender: bass, vocals, trumpet (2, 16), percussion (16), typewriter banjo (10)
Jason Slota: vibraphone, glockenspiel, vocals, Hill Peopre Choir Director
Dina Maccabee: violin, vocals
Mitch Marcus: tenor sax, piano, vocals (13)
Megan Gould: violin
Jeremy Baron: banjo
Charles Ferris: trumpet (3, 5, 6, 10, 13, 17)
Chris Hiatt: flute, tin whistle, slide flute (4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18)
Marié Abe: accordion (2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 16, 17), phone conversation
Isabel Douglass: accordion (3, 5, 9, 18)
George Ban-Weiss: upright bass (3, 9, 12, 14)
Evan Farrell: bass (7, 18), vocals (18, 19)
David Phillips: pedal steel (3, 7, 12)
Michael Abraham: electric guitar (5)
Jean-Paul Carton: hurdy-gurdy (17)
Mouzhan Yousefi-Carton: vocals (1)
Sarah Marcus: whistles (10)
Hill Peopre Choir: choir vocals, special guest Josh Jacobson

All songs written by Japonize Elephants except for Star Dust (Carmichael/Parrish)

Recorded at TZME Studios and The House of Cubes
Produced by Sylvain Carton and the Japonize Elephants
Recording engineer: Sylvain Carton
Additional recording by Scott Theakston and Michael Mellender
"The New Birthday Song" recorded live at the Starry Plough on 12/20/2007 by Alan C. Miller
All tracks mixed by Scott Theakston and Sylvain Carton except for Stardust (Tom Lattanand)
Mastered by J.J. Golden at Golden Mastering
Artwork and layout: David Gantz
Photography: Jeremy Baron
Email: japonizeelephants@gmail.com
Website: thejaponizeelephants.com

Sylvain Carton and Mitch Marcus play Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces, and ligatures.

Special thanks to all of our families, Emperrq Hampf, Zozzy the Fozz, Red Spumante Boy, Lil Dee Es, This is Yer Brainz on Fiddle, A. Forcefield, Kerly on Fiddle, Mexican Yeremünchski, Chaz Fables, Schmeeglewop, Wasabi Tefab, Mitzie Tefab, He’s a Boy Boy George, Hot Doggie Boy, The String King, Mic from LA, Pa Zorlock, The Empress of Zorlock, B. Forcefield, Ex’pression College, Anne Hiatt, Ezra Gale, He's a Boy Boy, Lady Tefab, Kamala Sankaram, Joey Rubber, and all of those who have helped us make this music.

© 2012 Japonize Elephants

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Japonize Elephants San Francisco, California

This eclectic ensemble plays its own brand of well-honed “hardcore-gypsy-circusgrass-pirate-clown madness.” The Japonize Elephants have arrived at their totally unique sound through the use of innovative arranging techniques using an extremely varied instrumentation featuring glockenspiel, junk percussion, vibraphone, accordion, guitar, bass, flute, saxophones, trumpet, violin, banjo, and vocals. ... more

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Track Name: The Giant Value
The sun is set,
the stars are out,
the fog is settling on the Bay.
I’d like to take the time to thank your mom for such a lovely stay.
She cooked me breakfast.
She cooked me lunch.
She cooked me dinner while you were away.
We had a grand ol’ time.
I didn’t spend a dime.
Now that’s what I call giant value.
Giant Value.
Track Name: The Ancient Mariner's Boat Show
Upon this floating fortress
Games of skill and chance prevail.
A crimson river of torture
Beneath the windswept sails.

The Ancient Mariner's quiz show
Among the powdered kegs
To find out what you don't know
Is to find you've lost your legs.

The windswept sails of danger
Are no match for your gun
She died in the arms of a stranger
Her legs too weak to run.

You fancy yourself a writer
Respond these questions three.
Show her what she's won Nancy,
A cut above the knee.
A cut above the knee.
Track Name: Breusters
1956 double clutch, double stick,
rusted but ready to roll.
One million miles,
she was ours for a while
from Jackson to Jackson Hole.
Alternative travel was about to unravel.
We ate there, we slept there, we drove.
The cards on the table,
VCR but no cable,
a sink and a fridge and a stove.
Crazytown’s in the back with the gear we would pack.
Miss you, sure would like to see you.
Son of the beach, so far out of reach.
Breuster’s you have no idea.
Stowaway girl wanted to see all of the world.
Paid us to give her a ride.
French lesbian, won’t see her again,
Breuster’s done up and died.
The weight of our load,
a private state road,
the New Jersey Turnpike that is.
Hijo de la Playa
I hate to say goodbye ya,
Breuster’s you had no idea,
Breuster’s you had no idea.
Track Name: The Publisher's Clearing House Special
Buy the right magazines,
Lick those stickers, lick ‘em clean.
Another dance with old Lady Luck.
Oh no!
Ed McMahon strikes again.
Another foolish, foolish man
Wins 10 million bucks.
10 million came, 10 million went.
Now he stands alone depressed,
Wonderin’ how it all went wrong!
10 corvettes, cigarettes,
All that money spent
On lotto quick pix, scratch 'n win!
Swimming pools, all them jewels,
Fry daddies placed in every room,
A gold plated diamond for his wife!
Oh Nacho fountains,
Cocaine mountains,
Cryogenic poodle countin’,
Can’t get enough of those collector’s edition knives.
Sally Struthers GED,
Remote control to find his keys,
Rented Dollywood for a week.
(Rolly coasters funnel cake)
A clapper turn on all devices,
Salt and pepper are his favorite spices,
Took his morning bath in mountain dew.
(Code red berry blast)
Took his segway on vacation,
‘spensive tools for masturbation,
1-900 phone donations too!
Buy the right magazines,
Lick those stickers, lick ‘em clean.
Another dance with old Lady Luck.
Oh no!
Ed McMahon strikes again.
Another foolish, foolish man
Wins 10 million bucks.
10 million came, 10 million went.
Now he stands alone depressed,
Wonderin’ how it all went wrong!
Oh no! Ahhhhhhh! Oh no!
Track Name: Lord Crin Crin
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!
Jinx must help friend Max get into space!
Max must help Jinx move into place!
Track Name: Whiskey Willie II
Fourteen years half-past.
The whiskey just didn't last.
Stinking of gin,
Barefoot with a grin,
Willie just needed one more glass.

Stumbling in the freezing cold,
Dreaming of that liquid gold (that's whiskey),
He'd wasted all his time
On that watery weak moonshine.
Willie fell into the bar.

(Whistling)

Willie sat right down,
Looking for a place to drown
His sorrows were many,
And his friends weren't any,
Anywhere to be found.

To the barkeep he said this line:
"I'm sorry I don't have a dime,
But I need a drink,
And I got these pelts of mink…
Please please help me this time.”

Willie, will he make it?
Willie, Willie make it!
Toad you as are is not was because
Shouldn't as in im wiff does not does.

And the barkeep says:

"Willie, I don't need your mink
And you don't need another drink.
Now get yourself a pair of shoes
And clean up this stinking booze.
Buddy, you just got yourself a job.”

Willie, will he take it?
Willie, Willie take it!
Toad you as are is not was because
Shouldn't as in im wiff does not does.

Many years have come to pass,
Since that last whiskey glass.
Six-time employee of the year,
Just like Mr. Belvedere,
Willie don't trade no mink no more.

(Whistling)
Track Name: La vida callejón rápida
¡Grande Burro!

Yo digo contigo siempre anoche vámonos a su cuarto a míio. El patrón del mundo te gustan las playas del sol. Yo es mariachi. ¿Que pasa monchichi? ¿Dónde está Señor López? Porque nada compaña Montaña de Juarez Las Chicas picante de la calle norte.

¡La vida callejón rápida, bailando corazón rompe, canta si tú puedes cuandesta bailandoooooooooo, en carreterra de corazón spumante!

Baila chica bonita. Bailo niño Joven. Hasta el fin de la calle donde la muerta compadre de todo. ¿Dónde está el amor para ti?

¡La vida callejón rápida, bailando corazón rompe, canta si tú puedes cuandesta bailandoooooooooo, en carreterra de corazón spumante!
Track Name: Swimming Upstairs
Lodged in my trachea - hell's grim assassin
Everything's going wrong, just don't listen
I never thought it could be so observant
bragging the undertow, a drip dried servant
Minnie the lane wouldn't think twice, dragging you down
You'd be surprised what a fine sheet, April in heat
Lodged in my trachea - hell's grim assassin
Everything's going wrong, just don't listen
Who ever thought it would kick like a turnstyle
Swimming you up the stairs, the rip tide
Look at the blood!
Tonight night ight ght ht t..t...t....t.
Track Name: This Zorlockian Anthem
Ooooohhh
Track Name: The New Birthday Song
Another year has passed,
you made the grade,
today's your special day.
Some things will change,
and some will not,
but the thing that won't change is that you're a special person.
Today's your birthday.
Happy birthday to you.
Today's your birthday.
Happy fuckin’ birthday to you!
Special day!