One of James Ferraro’s many, many, many…

James Ferraro

It’s hard to figure out where to start with the dudes in The Skaters.  James Ferraro and Spencer Clark are crazy productive, sometimes releasing five things at once.  Most of these are released as CDRs, some as tapes, and there are few LPs out there.  Approaching their stuff is a difficult task, and I have a hard time figuring out how to do it unless I relay my own experience with their music…

I first heard The Skaters a few years back.  My first reaction was to put something else on real quick. Every now and again, I found myself going back to it. Something about their work made me curious.  A friend of mine touring in California played with them one night.  He described the Skaters as two weirdos playing all their sounds through some ghetto karaoke box.  I remember thinking that that was an extremely good description of what the music sounded like. But after I heard that, I began downloading tons of their stuff – in hopes of figuring out what it was they were trying to do.  Like I said, it is not immediately apparent.

Months later I was completely stumped by one of Jame’s Ferraro’s side projects: Lamborghini Crystal.  Discogs credits two members: both him and JC Peavey (I noticed in the comments of a post on the Root Strata Blog someone posted that this guy is from Canada). I remember finding about four releases on someone’s server somewhere, not knowing this was at all related to James Ferraro.  Again I was just completely baffled.  What in the hell is even going on here?  All the sounds exist in such a limited frequency band that you’ll be lucky to recognize anything as even remotely related to reality.  And this is what got me hooked…

My first Skaters related purchase was James Ferraro’s Last American Hero-Adrenaline’s End. It’s a fairly recent tape released near the end of 2008 and on one of my favorite labels: Taped Sounds (which by the way, I just noticed has been restocked by Tomentosa).  This tape sounds like the cover looks – like a bar band of badasses in a small town’s back-corner tavern.  Bluesy guitar riffs over synth and drum machine – but with an odd twist: would-be ‘powerful’ transitions are left out, as if the material was gone over with a fine-toothed comb.  Ferraro applies some less than subtle re-edits to take out some of testosterone.  This elevates the work to the place where earth’s sky reaches outerspace.  Not only do these tracks hit, but they surprise the listener.  Another thing I should mention – this isn’t the typical ultra lo-fi sound Skater’s related projects are known for – there’s actually a little low end happening here.  An excellent work and a huge congrats to Ferraro.

Also, if you need a primer on Skaters-related stuff – I recommend checking out this blog: http://surrealapplications.blogspot.com/ There’s a few blogs and other sites out there that make it easy to find rips of their releases, but please support artists by purchasing their works.