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Handmaid Project

It is cold up here but the echo is really great and the view of the moon is fantastic. When the fog lifts I can see the lands below too. My voice is tired now from the howling. You might be wondering what I am doing up here on top of Mt Tahoma, naked, in the middle of the night. I know exactly what I am doing. I am waiting for my ride. The Eeaughaffaux (spelled UFO) will be here soon. I have a few minutes to consider the music, or whatever you want to call it, that can be heard on the third album from the Moon Men. This, their album called 3… That ellipsis means “puzzled,” I am puzzled. I have seen their catalog and the number 3 probably means nothing, but there is a Moonmen “Amazing Science Fiction Stories” which could be the first one, and a Moonmen 2, but then they go off the series with a flying bathtub and that could mean so much more ahead.

What will you hear? Funny you should ask. Electric guitars including a bass, drums, beat with real hands holding sticks and whatnot. Electronic ringing sounds that come from electric guitars. Brass. I hear the keyboards in there, everyone is playing together and the moon is rising. A good way to begin. Rock in a not-so-hard place, we would call this clever improvised instrumental rock, not progressive or angsty in any of those traditions. Everyone is playing together, not like those jazz guys who are… who knows, jazz tends to be highly traditional with the solos and everybody playing all free and such. These guys are not so jazzy like that. Also, there be no human ululations or emotive wailing with vocal chords… well, some rules are made for breaking. There is some muttering and incidental wording here and then, but no real poetry or that lyrical business where they use actual words and want you to pay attention to the language details, that old literary form structure with a verse chorus wurst. Therefore this is primarily and mostly an instrumental album. They mostly stay with that program, no wild virtuoso breaks, and with lots of hidden dimensions and dementions.

Bret Hart acoustic & electric guitars, casio, looping, electronics
Bill Jungwirth drumming, percussion, trombone
Jerry King acoustic & electric basses, trombone
Dave Newhouse saxophones, flute, keyboard

Why so many trombones? The truth is about to be revealed. There is no laugh track or theremin. Is this comedy music for a horror movie, or horror music for a comedy, or is this comic horror music for dancing, or is it trance music for horror comedy? So many questions. Let’s get some answers.


The movie begins and the lights go dim, or I am passing out again? “Fedora Moon” (4:05) The keyboard adds scary qualities, the bass and drums tell it directly and the guitars fill in the rest. Hungry? “Peas & Carrots & Grass” (6:49) The patterns make me think of loops, oh wait, loops are on the menu. So they intended to do that. Peace and care-oughts. Grass is growing tall up on the hill these days. The story is dark, and yes, there are the trombones, at last! They sound pretty good for a home made amateur comedy horror, just right. Textures, something the rock hounds do not usually feature (except in Europe), sort of a space jam in there. Must be the grass influence. Repeating. Looping, like riding past utility poles on the highway, a pattern with seemingly random crows to punctuate the rhythm. Never the same and always the same. Improvised horror comedy delux. “Coeur de Boeuf” (4:43) Drums bass and bold stout chunking guitar mumbling play. A heart of burf. Here is where the saxophones come on, building to a house in the clouds. What I said about there being no vocals anywhere on the album, forget I said it. Here are a few. I have an idea of what they are saying, but it is a vague idea, so maybe it still is more of an instrumental than a ballad or folksong, but those are human words and that makes it no longer purely instrumental on a technicality, but not forever.

Next. Here is where they get the flute out, with the guitars and drums and keys. I think someone is sharpening a knife. “The Dark Side of the Moon is Dark for a Reason” (4:43) The old Pink Floyd boys need not fear these new guys up there, plenty of room. Plenty of time. “And with Stars at her Feet” (2:43) The acoustic guitar emerges, draped in electronic ornaments, but they pick it properly. Every horror movie needs a love song. This is a short one.

“Nurse Ratched” (5:51) The name immediately makes me think of Louise Fletcher. Billy Bibbit would enjoy the circus atmosphere, I have no doubt, but what do I know, really, I am just remembering the movie. Mack would smile and wave his hands in the air the way loonies are supposed to. The perfect afternoon theme for crazies, like you and me. No hard times, they keep it light and strange. The brass is all clowning (no jazzing), with the guitars and keyboards. Easy beat, for fun and grins. Fun house dimensions, feet too big, hands even bigger, round red rubber nose, legs all spindly and that endless middle that spins. Here comes the nurse, shhhhhh, just play along, no fighting. It is just another day on the ward floor while the band plays on.

The toys have been wound up and are chattering away, this has a peppy beat to start off, then it grows claws that look cool in the darkness.”The Mutt Stars and Cat Planets” (4:19) Spinning through the orbits, grinning through the escape velocity. Things change and there are some space episodes in the jam band box of tricks, with the faithful instrumental constructions. More of that flute business, and the keyboards sound like a real piano in places. The saxophones keep the blocks from falling down.

“Ennio Bopped Me” (7:22) It’s good, it’s bad, it’s ugly. Whistling like a doomed cowboy at a gunfight on bean night. Noon symbolism, destroyed by the oompa beat that comes in, cowboys with clown feet. Ride em, jazz cowboy clowns! Git along leedle deputies. They keep making Western jokes with music, it wraps up with the cowboy dialog. Try not to look, but there are some Eeaughaffaux just sort of watching us from above, you can see them. There are horses too.

To sum it all up (as if that were possible) this is a fun laden ride through a wild landscape of home studio madness, mostly instrumental, but with some exceptions and well worth the price of admission. This is something you can share with people who know nothing about music and with people who know too much and have a sense of humor, you can share it with the kids and with the body in the tomb next door, it’s all the same at the circus. Ya pays ya money and ya eats ya popcorn.

So that is the ears. What about the eyes? The artwork, the first thing you see is the artwork, does the artwork come before the music is made or do they make the artwork while listening to the music? We will never know unless they speak the truth, and why should they? The objective is to bring you in and show you a good time. So, let me start with the disc and work our way out. Shiny mirror on one side. The other side is different, the disc has the moon face, round of course with a hole in the middle, wearing a fedora with the number 3, which must be a hidden symbol, I dunno. Everyone used to wear a fedora, but that was long ago. Now so many wear those duck billed caps, but not on this album. Booklet interior: the big picture is of the four horsemen of the moonmen in full gallop in a cosmic cornfield overwatched by a bored moon, distracted and amused. Rear cover: liner notes with details such as song titles, personnel and what they contribute, small versions of other Moonmen products and the Eeaughaffaux (I am really not sure of the spelling but I am going to try to be consistent).

Front cover: the first thing you see and the last thing described, so your thoughts linger on this after you finish reading and light up your cortex when you next see it: hoooman skeletons who are always waiting for you to buy the Moonmen albums, and more Eeaughaffaux who are obviously on a mission, a dangerous mission, probably coming to rescue you from your misery. Get ready… They are coming. Coming for you. The Moonmen.

1 Fedora Moon
2 Peas & Carrots & Grass
3 Coeur de Boeuf
4 The Dark Side of the Moon is Dark for a Reason
5 And with Stars at her Feet
6 Nurse Ratched
7 The Mutt Stars and Cat Planets
8 Ennio Bopped Me

The musical sound of electrical energy


21 Pulse Eclipse

Interview with the composer, Bart Hawkins

Press release

Meditation in Green

The frogs are watching us right now. Remain calm.

Meditation in Green

Press Release



Hiroshima Day 1945

Music Therapy: a survey of approaches

One idea is to connect music therapy to specific musicians and examine how they benefited from this healing philosophy.

Here is my first treatment, gathering the facts.

This is an ongoing project.


Drifting to Salish

mount fear

New Sidewalk Dreams

Pictures to tell a story

Alexis will outlive her creators by ten thousand years

‘Tien muziekmomenten’ van Cor Gout

I do not speak or read Dutch, so I wonder what the other interviews were about! I know what mine was, my ten music moments are: Roy Rogers, Spike Jones and Carl Stalling (together as one subject), Jimi Hendrix, Edgard Varese, Yoko Ono, Sun Ra, John Oswald, Daniel Johnston, Sue Ann Harkey and Die Antwoord

Here is Cor Gout: his music art and his bio.


Voree and The Outlands

“See? It’s not a real gun, it’s a toy gun!”

Those words were the last words spoken to me by Tobias Vaudeville, sometimes known as Toby, but more often called “Telly” because of his initials.

This scene only took seconds, but it will be with me, well, who knows. Toby was seven years old and I was five. We had found a mysterious box while exploring the upper regions of my father’s closet, the places most compelling to young explorers, the places that were mistakenly thought of as naturally out of reach and therefore safe for storing secret objects, like firearms.

Telly has continued to visit me but I only know about a few special occasions. There was the time we got lost while exploring the basement of Shoelick’s department store and was accidentally locked in overnight. That turned out better in the end, when we got our picture in the paper and a gift certificate. All I had to do was say I was that I was only looking for the bathroom, but really I was following Telly. Or he was following me.

There was the time I found a real dead body in the woods, when I thought I was running away from home. Telly told me what to do, which lead to the arrest of the McLaughlin brothers. They said a lot of bad things and tried their best to frighten me into keeping quiet, but that is all over with now and they are locked up tight, far away.

There was the time we borrowed the family car and nearly, well, let’s not talk about that one.

Right now I need Tobias Vaudeville more than ever. I am hanging upside-down in a well. I can hear squeaking rats massing down below. I am hiding from some kids who have been burning down neighborhoods where there are supposed to be atheists. They hate atheists. I jumped in the well without knowing how deep it is or what is at the bottom, at the time it was the better option. Now that the sun has come up I can see a little bit better down here. When I look upwards, past my feet, I can see the sky. When I jumped down here it was night and those kids were just crazy, burning houses and pulling people out of cars to murder them.

My backpack is stuck on something, my feet are pointed to the round light above me, below me its dark and I can hear squeaking and motion, and water below me. What deals might I make to get myself facing the right direction, or better yet, to be delivered from this disadvantage that I find myself in? Presumably those kids up there have the answer. None of them saw me jump in here, which could be to my advantage.

On the other hand, if they did see me I might be able to convince them of my belief in their God. Of course, I would not have jumped if I shared that belief in the first place. Its just that at the time they were not in a temperament for discussion and reasonable discussion, they were killing atheists and I was available. As for my atheism, I have not come to any major conclusions yet, so its possible that they could be making a big mistake by killing me.

It appears that I am going to have to solve my own problems.

What would Telly do? A face would appear peering from the circle of light above, down into my darkness. A rope would be lowered, and a rescue would be made. Or the backpack would slip and I would become a warm but brief meal for the creatures below.

That was ten years ago. The biggest change was the borders put up within what was the United States. Now there is Voree and The Outlands; or from this perspective, the Forbidden Lands and the United States. The curious thing is that all the news is about the sports tournaments. There is a war, and all the news is about Cleveland vs Toronto followed by Oakland against Boston. Lots of interviews with the coaches, and the thunder of artillery that nobody acknowledges.

Parts of the city are dangerous, parts are forgotten and ignored. Most people have left, there are various displaced person’s camps in the smaller towns, usually in a school gymnasium. Family groups are bivouacked there, often for months before they are moved to other locations, new multiplexes. The men are conscripted and the women raise the children. The wounded men leave the hospitals and some find work, but most are cared for by the women as a part time job. Its unpaid labor, but they get fed and they get a place to sleep.

My travels take me further, there is danger everywhere, but going to new places seems to bring me comfort. I walk at night because the roads are more dangerous during the day. I keep a look out for whatever is approaching and whatever is following me. Frequently I abandon the road and take cover in the silent brush, allowing for the unknown to resolve its own difficulties, without my participation. There are highwaymen who frequent the open stretches, seeking to grab whatever they can from whomever they come upon.

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