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The Whistling Joy Jumpers: Surprising Wooden Clocks CD


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The Whistling Joy Jumpers
Ft/ Jad Fair (Half Japanese), Thollem McDonas (Tsigoti, Hand To Man Band), and Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

The world of improvised music is vast, but the present entry into the catalog of creative improvisation might catch one completely and fascinatingly off-guard. The Whistling Joy Jumpers are a wholly improvised meeting between Austin composer/artist/poet Jad Fair, keyboardist Thollem (on a rare non-acoustic instrument) and percussionist Brian Chase. Thollem and Fair began working together via filmmaker/animator Martha Colburn, including performances at SFMOMA and Site Santa Fe. The nineteen pieces on Surprising Wooden Clocks were cut as duets for keyboard and voice/strums at Fair’s
Austin home, with Chase adding percussion via cell-phone recordings made and sent from New York. There’s something both immediate and unfussy about how this disc was made; however, the casual trappings of a home/mail recording never supersede the trio’s weight.

The Whistling Joy Jumpers operate in an area rarely experienced, lying somewhere between rugged, lived intensity and childlike whimsy. Indeed, Thollem calls this work “children’s music for adults.” But there is an underlying textural complexity: Thollem’s electric keyboard work ranges from nearly classical poise to grungy masses, lending an almost industrial clamor or Ra-like space burble to Fair’s stream-of-consciousness twang and Dadaist sound-poetry. While Fair’s world is extraordinarily singular, a bevy of recordings such as this one show how important togetherness and inclusiveness are to the work. A muscular and fleet percussionist in contexts ranging from post-punk to free improvisation, Chase’s stripped-down clatter ranges from unruly scrape (the nasty “Me and You”) to delicate hand percussion and distant footfalls, all rendered with a lo-fi alien sheen. Together, the Whistling Joy Jumpers bring thoughtful orchestration and a compellingly unruly wail to these youthful, improvised song-poems. One thing remains constant in this diverse and charged set: every time you hear Fair count off, you never know what you’re going to get.
-Clifford Allen
Brooklyn, NY

"One of the greatest feelings in the world is seeing people whose art I know and love coming together for a day and using whatever is at hand to look beyond themselves and create something that none of them (and none of us) could have foreseen. I can hear all of them in it, but they have trusted themselves and each other to reveal things that we couldn't see before. Thanks for the reminder that communication itself is beautiful, maybe the most beautiful thing we have."

-John Dieterich (Deerhoof)

playful interactions of amateurish mastery like that time we baked some cake in the kitchen and got real messy but boy that cake was good and we had a real fun time and then left not knowing when we'd meet or do it again but we took the pictures here for the record...

-Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

The Whistling Joy Jumpers are anti war, establishment, religion - anti everything but sex, art, peace, and pot. Surprising Wooden Clocks has 19 scenes of panting, chanting slow-burn music that take place amid a junk-art setting consisting of a broken down truck, a papier-mâché Santa Claus, a juke box, and neon signs. Jad Fair, Thollem, and Brian Chase are three rangle-tangle characters in tattered costumes, that keep the gleaming ball rolling at a steaming pace with shaggy color and madness. Their soundscape is a violent invention of sophisticated fuzzy freshness that makes it hard to tell where life leaves off and art begins.

-Don Fleming, (Velvet Monkeys, Gumball)

Relentlessly joyful spontaneous children's music for adults, dogs of all ages, horses up to and including 3 different measurements of time, rattlesnakes unbeknownst to them, pristine puffy clouds, dirt roads to get there on, the big bang, the bing bag and Brooklyn residential units!
-Thollem Mcdonas (Tsigoti, Hand To Man Band)

Track Listing:

Get The Go
We Can Could
Me And you
Good Afternoon Song
Welcome To The Better Day
On your Nose V. 2
Love And Desire
The Land Of The Shake
Keep The Keep
Will You Be Ready?
Good Morning Song
Our True Day
Stand Your Ground
The Happy Good
Join The Camp
Good Evening Song
On Your Nose V. 1
Hooray For Victory