Hey Tovio! Samantha Hyman and I were traveling across the country 2 years ago and meet you busking with a pop-up suitcase puppet theater in Detroit! Here's what we've been up to c bujeemagoo com..I'm also a juggler and was so inspired by your metalophone performance that I've been working on such things my self with a xylophone and some other hit me s. would love to connect with you some time and have a juggling music session. also plans for the summer?.. I've been thinking. Hopeto ttys!james
So the original Planet Diva is a short film by John Hartman of Reel Groovy films that he’s hoping to turn into a full length piece. I play a strange sort of savant tech-samurai who carries a machine that interprets my eyebrow manipulations into spoken language. It has a post-apocalyptic premise, a grindhouse aesthetic, some bondage/s&m elements, as well as a general spiritual regeneration theme. Currently there is a series of short films being developed to illustrate the full length film’s environment, those can be seen on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LifeOnPlanetDiva/videos
These were all up here at different times, but those tumblr music links died, so here they are all in a soundcloud set. They were all recorded on an mp3 player in 2009 during a year on a bicycle and living in a tent in western europe, touring and playing shows.
So when this was first put up, there were some issues with the id3 tags of the mp3s and everything was out of order in ITunes. That’s been fixed and here is the new download of this post-apocalyptic cyberpunk novella, narrated by Magpie Eksterboom and written by Tovio Roberts…
Washington Square Park? Do you live around here? And that's so amazing that you ran into Jeff Mangum.
We were just passing through new york on the way home to Denver from touring for a year. I think the Music Tapes played a house show here a couple months ago but I didn’t get to see if he had the metallophone. It traveled with me for such a long time and I was pretty excited at the prospect of it not being trash even if it was made of trash.
This piece of music was written as inspired by this 2000 year old Roman road we visited a few years ago and is on our album Casa del Vento, named after a house outside of Florence filled with nice mountain climbers. (t)
why aren't dates posted!? and do you boys have girlfriends?! haha
Dates are not posted because we aren’t very good at technology. And yes, we all have multiple lovers, of all shapes, sizes, genders, religions, ages, species, minerals, particles, technologies (though those ones are on the rocks a good part of the time) and flavors.
This is a little sound clip from the original idea of the song Elves and Orks. It was recorded during this festival in Lappersfort Bos the summer before last. We had played a show that day and in the evening, Sarah and I became rather intoxicated and stumbled around all night, wore ski gear and pretended to be Colorado ski bunnies, came up with the idea of Brohemian Wear, “for the arty bro who’s still a bro,” got freaked out in a maze of pallets in a dilapidated wwII ammo factory. Before going back up in the tree where we had been living the past month, Sarah threw up and imagined herself as a carrot.
In the morning, half-sleeping in the treehouse, I had a sexual fantasy about a dripping ice cream lady with a soft serve point at the top of her head who beckoned me marbled chocolate cherry and vanilla. It started raining lightly and I noticed that the huge old oak swelled and creaked slightly, something I had never realized trees did.
About 8 months later, the belgian government, at the behest of Fabricom (a Suez subsidiary and energy conglom) evicted the people living in that forest on the edge of Brugge and cut the whole thing down before anyone could reoccupy it. Orks indeed.
About a year ago, me and Helios decided to make pieces of “electronic music” in our terrible and terribly cold house. I kind of like this mash-up still. It reminds a little of C and C music factory and feeling uncomfortable at a 7th grade dance. (t)
This past Saturday Night playing MGMT and Shins covers
So this guy walked up to me and Baxter while we were busking and asked “Is there a bar around here?” This is at 16th and Champa. Baxter pointed across the street. “No, I need somewhere, to, you know, get drunk, get some drinks.” We gave him directions to LoDo and he started to walk away.
He turned back and said “Man, I’m sorry, I didn’t even hear what you guys do. Bust something for me,” and he threw a dollar in the hat. We played for a moment.
"Yeah, you know, I can hear some MGMT in there, and, y’know, the Shins. Definitely the Shins."
"I’ve never heard either of those bands," I said, but he didn’t seem to hear.
"Yeah, the Shins, that’s totally what that’s like." I think he was wearing a Shins shirt. He walked off. I juggle and play xylophone and Baxter plays mandolin. I’m pretty sure we don’t sound like the Shins.
It’s strange how people exercise power in this world. It seems somewhat inconsequential to me what me may or may not sound like, but this person wanted to own a little piece of us, something to take to the bar. We have moments where people like volunteer tour guide/shepherds come up and show us to their friends. I appreciate it and I’m not judging or trying to be condescending, I just don’t quite understand why people’s amoebic natures create pseudopodic trash to envelop something that is its own. Well, apparently someone owns large parts of the moon too: http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/location-location-location
I have many dreams of living in rickety skyscrapers. Last night I dreamt of one inhabited by wisps of ghost-like things in secret rooms that kept changing doors. There were restaurants on the ground floor but I had full reign of the rest of the giant’s innards. It swayed dangerously and throughout the dream. The culmination was me riding an ascending spire of metal cylinders arranged in an ever-iterating version of metatron’s cube, with one cylinder in the middle surrounded by 6 cylinders, slightly lower, surrounded by 12 slightly lower cyclinders, etc. I held onto the middle spire from the inner ground floor of the building to the pyramidal inner ceiling about 40 stories up.
I rode my bike heavy laden with busking gear down to the 16th street mall. As I was locking up, I overheard the lady who usually sells the Denver Voice on that corner talking about how she had so far only made $3 that day. She mentioned the new pharmaceutical she was on and proceeded to complain how non-homeless people get all the money downtown. I half-wondered if this was a jibe at me as I was locking up the bike. I felt that suspicion somewhat confirmed when we didn’t exchange hellos, she just turned away from me, as did her 4 friends. That seemed rather odd, seeing that I had met her the last time I was out and had bought a paper from her, had talked for a bit. I’ve been busking down there off and on for 3 years now and from what I’ve observed, I don’t think I take money from the pockets of paper vendors. We have different clientele.
As I set up, I talked with someone who was in Denver for snowboarding or some winter sport. He was nice enough. I made the mistake of mentioning I’m not a big xmas fan.
"Uh oh, we got a grinch here," he said. "Why don’t you like xmas?"
I responded by saying “It’s really hypocritical and it makes me a little sad to see people who don’t have money throwing it all over the place, buying crap that they don’t need and don’t really want. And they treat each other like shit, get stressed out…”
He didn’t pursue that line. “Capitalizm bla bla bla” was the most obvious outcome of continuing and he opted to talk about how great the snow sports are here.
Hat money was but a trickle. I usually find Thursday afternoons to be ok, unlike Mondays or Sunday afternoons. I didn’t take the slowness to heart. This was an opportunity to get back into playing on the street and experimenting with rhythms.
During breaks I would warm my hands on a hot water bottle I was keeping in my backpack. The first or second break, a couple in their 50s walked by and the woman looked at me and said “What is this shit.” She was speaking to her husband but motioning with her hand to my setup of xylophone and other gear. I just looked at her, shooting imaginary lazers at her face wreathed in stiff brown-grey hair. I watched them spider past the lady selling papers and the woman’s hand motioned again, this time indicating the paper vendor and I could hear the vaporous disdain come back up the street, though I couldn’t make out the words.
Two dolled-up middle-aged princess types reeking of perfume were the next to trod on my hope for humanity. They walked past the vendor, who was calling out “Make a dollar donation to help the homeless!” in what sounded more and more like a command.
One of the princesses gave an audible “yeah right” sound that echoed like a fart against the concrete. The other one said, loud enough for anyone on that block corner to hear, “I’m sure she’s just going to use that money to buy drugs.” “I’m sure you’re right,” was the other’s response.
I kept playing. Though a few dollars fell in the hat, most of what came across was an unwelcomeness and contempt. A group of fat guys made jokes about knocking the sticks out of my hands. People mostly just gave me that look that says “I have no idea what you are and you make me uncomfortable.”
Four-thirty was rolling around, from what I could discern on the face of the clocktower. As I played, I saw in my periphery a couple walking toward me. I usually respond by playing something more intricate, but the cold was pretty fierce and I was feeling a bit low from the aforementioned abuse. I finished and looked up.
"Remember me?" Ben asked. I had lived with him for a couple weeks in a downtown detroit loft just prior to moving to Denver.
"Of course I do," I said and stepped over the milk crate that my xylophone was sitting on to give him a hug. I was wearing new shoes that had a little heel and it caught the milk crate, so that as I hugged Ben, the whole instrument hit against concrete like a lydian car crash. I didn’t feel the least bit embarrassed even though there were about 50 witnesses, including the contents of the mall shuttle.
I hugged his partner, thinking she was his girlfriend that I had known from when I stayed with him, realizing only after that she was a stranger.
I took the crash as a sign to quit for the day. I smiled at the paper vendor as I left, and she smiled back. It seemed genuine, but after a day of such disappointment, who’s to know?