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CD Feature/ Eddie the Rat: "Once around the Butterfly Bush"

img  Tobias

It's cold out here tonight, in San Francisco. Slowly but unstoppable a white wall of fog is creeping through the night, covering the uphill streets, and I'm walking close to narrow buildings. My face is moist, my hair is moist, my clothes are, too. In the distance, a police cars' siren is whaling somewhere and then fading away into the endlessness. My steps sound comforting on the pavement, but my sight is blinded more and more. Neon signs get watery and seem to drift away. Did I loose my way? I'm not so sure anymore. Somewhere in this area there must be the place I'm looking for. The fog is getting more dense every minute. And then… sounds of steps behind me, or to the left? I quicken my own pace. Something small and grey rushes across my path. Seems like an animal? A rat? I keep on going, faster and faster, while the steps behind me seem to get closer. And then I hear it, strange sounds. Seems like a glockenspiel and a bass guitar, growing louder and now, accompanied by an even stranger rhythm, produced by instruments I can't quite define. Finally, I see the unimposing building these sounds are emerging from, and I hasten to reach the entrance.

Inside, the big room is filled with people and smoke and a mystical music, that emerges from the back of the room. The musicians can hardly be seen, like ghosts in a background of obscurity. The atmosphere is relaxed and it seems, as if all these people know each other. Gestures of intimacy. I walk to the bar and order a drink. And then I find a place somewhere at the side, but with a good view onto the stage.

Yes, I did find my place. Eddie the Rat is performing, and I'm ready to relax and enjoy. And while the drink warms me up from insight, my mind is soon captivated by the music I'm subjected to. The band plays 'Once Around The Butterfly Bush', an album they recorded last year, in 2006, and while I'm getting settled strange sounds start to attract my attention, almost sucking me up into that butterfly bush while I still don't know what to make of what I hear.

Rhythm seems to be the carrying theme, rhythm not produced by a usual drum set, but by rather untypical objects like steel drums, oil drums, a bass drum and many other. And, not to forget, the bass guitar, which almost always carries this rhythm on its broad and mighty shoulders. But something is unusual about this rhythm. It's not just there for producing the pure beat, but it clearly contains melodic elements. There is something very quiet about this music, and yet, it creeps up on you like the mist on the streets of San Francisco. Then eclectic voices, expanded like a chewing gum and almost in harmony with its disharmony. A glockenspiel comes in, harmless and innocent, followed by a recorder, and then what sounds like a musical box.

Good gracious, what to make of this? I look at the people surrounding me, and I see something in their faces that seems like an inner connection to what they hear. There is this warm band of solidarity and unison that captures me, finally breaking the last resistance built up by music I heard in the past. Finally, I can let myself being carried away on the underground waves of these sounds, my fear for the unknown being washed away by the rolling insecurities of these intriguing sounds. And once the mind is opened up, all these playful tunes, sometimes almost childish of nature, then again almost powerful, capture my very sentiments of pure experience. And I become part of the crowd, part of the family of peaceful individuals that melt together to a single unit of enjoying and celebrating people, all captivated by the butterfly bush.

Eddie the Rat is Peter J. Martin, Dan Ake, Ronnie Camaro and Molly Tascone. Allow yourself a journey once around the butterfly bush. You may learn something about your inner self.

Fred Wheeler

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