Monday, April 23, 2012

Bandy's 1st Album "Kid America and the Action Figures" 2001

I now present the first Bandy album, fully downloadable.  Completed in 2001, Kid America and the Action Figures was the first fully realized piece of storytelling I'd ever completed in a medium besides paper words.  BANDY #1 is supposed to be a concept album, about a misfit crew of sonic warriors (Kid America and the Action Figures) fighting an evil DJ (The Muffinman) who wants to collect and horde all the records for himself, while filling the airwaves with his own hypnotic NOISE (a tone known as Subether).

The idea behind BANDY was that anyone who was taking part in the formation of "the story" was a part of the overall concept, and hence a part of the recording group - BANDY.  So Bandy was a big giant collection of personalities, ideas, and influences.  Me, my main partner Jeff, my ex-girlfriend Rosalie, my animation mentor Henry Jones, the bounty hunter George Psillides who couldn't play bass to save his life, my ex-friend Simon Curtis (record collector extraodinaire) who we based a lot of the Muffinman concept on, my father, kids from the schoolbus, Scottie Marshall, Jim Nachlin, Jeff's Mom, Tony Stanisci, Rost 357, Harmony Korine...  The list really goes on.  The world of cartoons and rap and video games.  Teen films and science fiction.  In my mind, all these people and things were in BANDY.  The album was supposed to be an amalgam of people, events, memories, and music - and together those things were BANDY.  Even if you didn't know it, you might have been in Bandy.  And so long as there's anybody to listen, even a little bit - those people and things are still in Bandy.

The other thing about making this Bandy record was that I always loved Prince Paul's production techniques and wanted to make a fully sample-crazy record that went really psychedelic with his style.  For those that don't know, Prince Paul produced the first three De La Soul records, the first Third Bass record, part of the first Gravediggaz records, some stuff for Stetsasonic (a group where he was also the DJ), as well as a plethora of solo albums.

TRACK #1: Introduction
On this track, we meet the characters in our story.  Kid America, his crew, and the bad guys.

- Kid America - DJ, guitar.
- Fatboy (aka Stuffed Eddie) - beatboxer, drums.
- Silly Goose - vocals.
- 808 Jr. - our very own souped up drum machine
- Robotski: 6-inch robot engineer.
- Invisible MC: Rapper. His vocals are invisible to the ear. It was a joke.
- Billy Kazoo - a kid who becomes the leader of the Cartoon Rebellion

- Radio Muffinman: the villainous DJ - his goal is to collect ALL the records from the past at all costs. He's like a Farenheight 451 guy, but with records instead of books.  All he wants is for people to listen to is his great "TONE," a minimalist composition he calls "Sub-Ether".
- The Electric Company: the Muffinman's record "label" - really just a warehouse full of the Muffinman's record collection which he won't share with anyone.
- The Club: The Electric Company employs it's own version of stormtroopers - they are know as the Muffinman's fan club - CLUB, for short.  The Club guys wear "phun-suits" which look like cheap sports mascot outfits but actually are very hi-fi on the inside.


This is the Muffinman's NOISE - a tone he calls Subether.

TRACK #2: Stupid Simon
Like a lot of bad guys, The Radio Muffinman didn't start out all bad.  Originally, he was Simon, an artist who aspired to ordinary dreams of NY success. But a darker side revealed itself. Simon was lazy.  He was addicted to Advil.  He loved to wear pom-pom hats.  These things were bad, but then he got really into EASY LISTENING music, a lot of AM radio, then ITALIAN DISCO, and finally ELEVATOR MUSIC.  At the height of his MUZAK addiction, Simon found the cheesiest record of all time and was transformed into the evil Radio Muffinman - a being of great musical power, fueled by pure greed.  This track is about Simon's simple ways and his werewolf-like transformation into the evil, digital, twisted freak DJ whose ears grew so big he has to wrap himself in them, sort of like a bat.  The main samples in this song are from a really great Ub Iwerks cartoon.

TRACK #3: Muffinman's Theme
Following from the last track, this song is all about the Muffinman, at the height of power, taking it all for himself and being bad bad bad.  It's a pretty excellent collection of samples and the main "Muffinman" chorus samples at least three different Do You Know The Muffinman? renditions.  The main bass hook is stolen from a 3.5 megabyte disk that the real Simon Curtis left behind in my studio after we stopped being friends.  So that's fitting.  Fatboy jocked the main beat from Gasface for the drum pattern, realizing that there are backwards drum sounds over forward drum sounds on the original Prince Paul jumpoff (Gasface).  

TRACK #4: Bouncing
This is the first try at a Bandy "single" - about the good guys comin' and bouncing through the Muffinman's tightly patrolled sectors, navigating through a sea of dulled-out kids that have been effected by the Muffinman's NOISE.  The main "bouncing" vocal sample is off some circus record, and it's actually recorded on waltz time - but we didn't care, we just jammed it in on the 4/4.  There's some Kid A guitar on there, the sound of real kickballs bouncing on gym parkay, and some decently busted vocals by Rosalie Knox.  Other highlights include: a sample of Gandalf from the original Ralph Bakshi cartoon saying "Go" like he's Chuck D,

The party is starting
Retarded teenagers
Dimwitted Children
Farting in the arcade

Jumping and bouncing
Synthetic Fun
Don't forget to take
Your Medication

The Microphone has
Extra chromosomes
Listening close will give you 
Down's Syndrome

TRACK #5: Fan Club Theme
This is the track for the Muffinman's squad of killer goons: The Club.  In the story, Fatboy goes undercover as a Club guy.  He is dubbed Stuffed Eddie by the Muffinman.  Even though he is able to break his mind free of the Muffinman's programming, he becomes one with his phun-suit.  This track is really quintessential to the Bandy Way.  It's super hi-concept in that it is IMPOSSIBLE to follow the story if you're not me.  But the whole Fatboy/Stuffed Eddie thing happens on this song - it just happens mostly sonically.  It's like a piece of classical music.  I wish it were easier to understand, but if it were, it wouldn't be as good, because I really do think it carries off the feeling of the idea.  Which is why we did this as a record.

TRACK #6: Electro City
Goose and Robotski have been on a long mission and encounter trouble just outside of the Muffinman's main sector: Electro City (formerly NYC).  Before Silly Goose is captured by the Club, she entrusts a kid, Billy Kazoo, to deliver a MIXTAPE back to Kid America and the rest of the Action Figures, containing security codes for a top-secret Muffinman "project".  Although the project is a mystery, we find out that the Muffinman needs all the electricity in the country to make it happen.  Although the 6-inch Robotski is Goose's partner, he breaks protocol and syncs brainwaves with the young Kazoo as they make their way to Kid America's underground headquarters, where they make contact with Stuffed Eddie, the 808 Jr., and Kid A.  Muffinman's Club arrives to spatula the crew but our heroes make it out by the skin of their teeth, using the "WE CAN JAM YOURS" sample from an old Batman cartoon.

TRACK #7: Reggie's Revenge
The Kid America crew encounter a mostly brain damaged Noise addict named Reggie who leads them to temporary sanctuary in an Arcade.

TRACK #8: Arcade Style
The crew thinks they're safe in the arcade, but really every game they play is putting them closer to Muffinman's control.  In the end, Robotski recognizes that the only way to save Goose and infiltrate the Muffinman's lair is to make it to the BONUS LEVEL.  When they do, one of the arcade games gives way to a staircase, which leads to the Muffinman's skyscraper.  Our heroes enter but are they just playing into the Muffinman's hands?

TRACK #9: Everybody Come and Play
The Kid A crew battles the Club.  It might sound like fun, but it's actually a hell of a battle.  You just have to listen between the bars.

TRACK #10: Trick or Treat
The Crew disguise themselves as Club members and look for the Muffinman's main record stash.

TRACK #11: C'mon Record Player
The crew find the Muffinman's stash - but no Muffinman.  He's not there.  The power levels start to drop.  The gang know they're in trouble.

TRACK #12: The Story So Far
Amidst the great collected clutter, the gang find the Muffinman's main Stereo System.  Much is revealed.  There is an alternate dimension IN the Stereo - a dimension of the Muffinman's own computerized design where molecules are transformed into cartoon molecules and anything is possible.  The only way to save Goose and the city is to insert the mixtape and go to Stereo.

TRACK #13: Skids
The inbetween place between being human and transforming into a Stereo cartoon.  No tempo, just a collage of sounds and samples.

TRACK #14: In-Stereo
The big jam.  Kid America and his team are transported to Stereo, they become cartoons, and they are reunited with Goose.  Then, they must face the Muffinman and fight - imagination verse imagination.

TRACK #15: Dancin'
The number 1 single off the record!  Kid America and the Action Figures defeat the evil Muffinman!  Most of the Club guys, having no other jobs lined up, join Kid America in his quest to make a TV show on public access TV!  Enjoy!

TRACK #16: Ice Cream
More celebration! Ice Cream for Everyone! The darker tones are there to illustrate that cleaning up the city post Muffinman is gonna be a struggle. Redistributing the records. Getting the kids back to imaginating.