Float to Istanbul, Muscat and elsewhere, and check in with Cleopatra, Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Shah of Persia, Adam, Cain, Abel, Lawrence, Ataturk, Czars Nicholas and Alexander, Matt Harding, Russia oligarchs, well-fed stray cats, unidentified shortwave broadcasts, Abraham, Norman, Matt Harding, rowers, drummers, a blonde dog and you and me… finding the edges of the globe.
In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).
Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996.
Puffing along a trail recounting leaving cold, miserable London en route to post-hurricane Florida with flashbacks to working in Rheinplatz grade fields, gathering chestnuts to sell for beer and bread money, strange encampments at Oktoberfest, and hitchhiking to Amsterdam with gaggle of pals. To London by ferry and rapid exit via cheap flight Florida, quickly interjecting in chaotic domestic situations, meals with surly Hare Krishnas, sleeping on unglamorous beaches, and avoiding looting commotion, while plotting forward momentum, which eventually came in form of a dubious drive-away car situation to Dallas… and beyond (in 1992).
Features music by: “Brave Captain” fIREHOSE (recorded live in Ancienne, Belgique, March 12, 1991 – via Archive.org), “Florida” by Blue Rodeo (recorded live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), and “Crazy Fingers” by Grateful Dead (recorded live in Phoenix, AZ, 1993 – via archive.org).
Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments. No sympathy or advice requested.
Ship-to-shore transmissions with shortwave broadcasts from elusive listening posts, soundscapes from slow ships, and freeverse poetry about unanswered communiques, transitory conditions, arbitrary citizenships, invented geography, de-identification, and intentional disappearance.
Features music: “Dream World” by Matt Harding from NYOSSS (New York, Orem, San Sebastian, & Shanghai), plus various shortwave broadcasts of dubious origin, and sound samples from oceans (recorded by Dave and others via BBC sound archive).
On a forgotten forest walk, Dave riffs a story about first trip to Europe – starting with trying not to puke over an Amsterdam bridge after a meeting new temporary coffee shop pals – with flashback to Mexican desert trips with Grandpa, LSD trips with VW bus-fixing pals, and family Grateful Dead road trip to in Arizona.
Foreshadows future stories of an rapid exit from London to Florida then a (rather dangerous) driveway car to Dallas, bus to SLC, flight to Vancouver, then to Japan…
Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006
Returning to Japan for the first time since working as a mushroom farmer in the Tottori-ken mountains decades previous, Dave rambles on about the circumstance – then and now – while wandering near his pal’s goat farm. Riffs include: arriving in the snow and getting settled, bailing on job, hitch-hiking around islands, falling in love(ish), eating okonomiyaki, soaking in hot springs and living simultaneously in the future and past. Also persimmons and goats, pigs, cows et al.
What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?
Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.
From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.
Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017
Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.
Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.