Form A Log – At A Festival

HAUSMO66 - Form A Log - At A Festival [Front]
Releases on cassette and digitally on 11/17/17.

C38 – Gray tape with black imprints. Pro-dubbed chrome plus cassette. 2-sided 3-panel J-Card with album artwork by Form A Log and design from HausMo Max.

Form A Log‘s brain-melting At A Festival is reborn on Hausu Mountain after a strictly limited self-release. The trio composed of Ren Schofield (Container), Noah Anthony (Profligate), and Rick Weaver (formerly known as Dinner Music) come together from whatever corners of the US they currently reside in to lay out material for group improvisations focused on the manipulation and juxtaposition of live cassette feeds. Recorded off the cuff after a particularly rowdy weekend in Providence in 2015 which culminated in a hungover hard-boiled egg eating contest, At A Festival testifies to the insane lengths three friends will go to surprise and baffle each other and their audience. Rules of taste and decorum mean nothing to Form A Log, as they populate their tracks with chopped nonsense vocals, pummeling acoustic and electronic percussion, and peals of guitar and synth. Pumped from the trio’s tape decks in live performances, these elements collide in randomized arcs, congealing into legible rhythms for moments at a time before falling out of sync and out of tune. Far from a cloistered “collage” project, Form A Log approaches tape-based performance from the perspective of a damaged rock band, with each member contributing a personalized chunk of some twisted whole – though few other than the boys themselves could distinguish who does what in their jams.  At A Festival never settles for a moment into predictability, as sheets of smeared, droning samples suddenly give way to disembodied rock histrionics or spoken word monologues that land somewhere between arcane inside jokes and objectively bizarre, context-free entertainment.

HAUSMO66 - Form A Log - At A Festival [Back]


March 2015. The plan is for Weaver to leave Baltimore when he gets off work, pick up Noah in Philly, and meet at my house in Providence where we will spend three days writing and recording what ends up being the Form A Log album, At A Festival. Tominsky and I hung out that night, eagerly anticipating their arrival, and had a head-scratching experience downloading and figuring out how to use the Uber app for the first time before we went on a bit of a romp around the city popping into various bars around the West Side and Downtown. I got quite a bit drunker than expected and for the first time ever completely lost my voice on the rainy walk back home. We greeted the boys enthusiastically and sloppily when they showed up around 1am.

The next morning, feeling straight up damaged from the night before, we began the writing process. Classic Log style, throwing in tapes at random until sounds start to click and ideas start to take shape and eventually a song comes together. Without my voice it was quite hard to get my ideas across though, and I was forced to keep croaking out whispers until everyone else understood, which would take several attempts. Nevertheless, we managed to write I think every song on the album aside from “The Sizzler” that afternoon and played them live that night at Machines With Magnets alongside Noise Nomads, Brian Blomerth, and Lines. I don’t quite recall the afterparty for that gig completely, but I do remember we de-shelled the egg that I had put in the freezer recently and everyone was passing around a shell-less frozen egg.

My voice had improved by the next morning despite intentionally abusing it throughout the night, still hoarse and scratchy, but I could at least be understood. The goal for this day was to start recording what had been written the day before, but Rick was completely MIA… of course his phone was completely dead, and yet his shoes were in my dining room by the closet door. We eventually found him shaking under a tiny blanket in the backseat of his 1987 hatchback, brought him inside, and got down to recording.

Took most of the day, but everyone felt as though the recording was a success and we decided to celebrate by going to visit Tominsky at the cocktail bar he was working at in Olneyville. Mandy came with us and we had a drink or two before Rick suggested doing some karaoke, at which point we went to a questionable karaoke bar downtown called The Boombox. It was Saturday night so it was packed with all sorts of unsavory characters and the wait to sing a song was at least an hour… the mission seemed to be failing… We decided to just head back to the house and maybe do some karaoke there, but before leaving I luckily decided to walk through the hallway of private karaoke rooms and whom did I see occupying one of them but Eric Greishaber. It was his friend’s birthday and a few of them had rented a private room. They graciously welcomed in the crew, and an onslaught of depraved karaoke ensued. Rick and I did a duet to Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out”, Noah did Pantera’s “Walk” while the place was trying to close and the attendant came in during the outro when all it said on the screen was “2 minute instrumental” and Noah was just sitting there. Eric was buying whole bottles of sake and pouring it all over everyone’s pants while he was trying to fill the cups up, and he sang all of “Sussudio” off by an entire line ahead of the lyrics on the teleprompter. Miles, the guy who rented the room, ended up getting in a huge fight with one of the employees. It all worked out beautifully.

The afterparty this night I remember, because we went back to Kylie’s and it got out of hand real quick… burning money on the stove, the fridge almost fell over with Noah on top of it, most of the kitchen chairs were broken while giving people rides around the apartment, a lot of people got pelted with raw eggs. I remember Val got pissed and came downstairs to tell everyone to cool it, but there was no reasoning with us at that point in the night.

The reason for there being so many eggs around this weekend was because the following morning Tominsky was hosting a hard boiled egg eating competition in the driveway of Forgues’s house where he was living at the time, and as disheveled as ever we all dragged ourselves over there early the next day. It was a cold day to be standing around in a driveway for hours. Tominsky looked to be in serious pain from the previous evening and his Mom was there to act as a paramedic in case anyone choked. A trough of several hundred crudely peeled hard boiled eggs gyrated unpleasantly on a folding table around which all the competitors stood. Not being very competitive myself I ate four eggs in the allotted hour. The real excitement was between Weaver and Rachel Lewellyn, who were both putting eggs back like absolute champs. Rachel won the competition with I believe 26 eggs in the hour and was awarded a $50 gift certificate to PF Changs by Tominsky. I think Rick had 24 or 25 eggs. We somehow managed to choke out a bit of a party afterwards, but a deep all encompassing exhaustion enveloped us all.

The three of us felt great about the songs we’d written, and mentioned so repeatedly while we were writing them. It was sort of a reaffirmation of the band after not being so thrilled with the jam session previous to this one. A couple days later when I got the final mixes of the tracks in my e-mail and had a listen, I felt the same way…. We’d made a good Form A Log record, by Form A Log standards at least. But the one question I had was, how? There were an infinite amount of distractions, of events, of hangovers, of other people just hanging around while we tried to jam, and somehow we pulled through that all and wrote and recorded an album amidst the chaos and illness. I was impressed! I’m not sure I’d recommend this approach to every band trying to get a new album under their belt, but it did work for us.