CURRENT ALBUMS-IN-PROGRESS Cryderman's two works-in-progress are the folk rock album Courting the Muse and the sadcore album Dance Songs for the Clinically Depressed. Rummaging through the 'Cryderman archives,' he has also made available online Fits and Starts: a candid behind-the-scenes look at an artist's development and experiments with numerous musical paths, ranging from the creatively successful to the spectacularly awful (sometimes intentionally so). Wildly eclectic, Fits and Starts spans from Cryderman's early basement tapes during his teen years (songs which would not normally be made public) to current studio and home-computer recordings. To enact the unstable nature of the project, it even changes names periodically (which unfortunately brings the play count back down to zero).
Alternate titles for the project include Imperfections, In All Sincerity, and The Irony of Time. While the number of songs on Fits and Starts may seem a bit unwieldy, each song contains a parenthetical 'menu item description,' such as "sunny pop silliness," "country folk innocence," "heavy metal + satire," or "slightly obscene waaaay-past-drunk singalong song," so listeners can choose based on their preferences, akin to a restaurant menu. ALBUMS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE Fits and Starts: Selections is now available for download purchase on iTunes and Amazon.com. The album contains fifty key tracks selected by the artist from the larger collection, loosely grouped by genre, such as Indie Folk/Acoustic Singer-Songwriter (tracks 1-14); Blues-Based and World Fusion (15-19); Pop-Based Music (20-27); Rock, Grunge and Heavy Metal (28-33); Instrumentals in Various Genres (34-43); and Musical Comedy (44-50).
Kevin is also an artist and producer/arranger/mixer on two songs from Ariel Root Wolpe's SPIRIT SOUNDS album, an interfaith collaboration of various musicians from Atlanta. PRODUCTION STYLES AND RELATED ARTISTS Fits and Starts's genre-hopping collection of songs showcases not only Cryderman's musical eclecticism but also his taste for a wide variety of production approaches within both hi-fi and lo-fi modes. In contrast, Courting the Muse as an album tends more towards polished production and a more coherent folk-rock style. Overall, some of Cryderman's textured and more polished hi-fi recording arrangements combined with non-virtuosic 'alt.indie' singing have drawn comparisons to Counting Crows, The Smiths, The Cure, The Decemberists, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, and Band of Horses.
Meanwhile, his lo-fi and/or minimalist songs have been likened to Iron & Wine, The Tallest Man on Earth, Daniel Johnston, Clem Snide, The Mountain Goats, Violent Femmes, and Pavement. In terms of the dominant stylistic mode in his work, some of Cryderman's songs fit within the classic folk-inflected songwriting tradition of Simon and Garfunkel or Bob Dylan while others might also fall into the progressive folk genre (Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Ani Difranco). Meanwhile, Cryderman's genre play fits in with artists such as Ween, The Magnetic Fields, Beck, and Starside Casino. After recording with a variety of producers and engineers (e.g.
Greg Vaughn, Anand Greenwell, Graham Coady and Casey Pechet), Cryderman now mostly works with engineer and co-producer Tony Hebert in Victoria at Fresh Air Studios. Cryderman visits there once a year to do in-studio work, and the two work remotely for the rest of the year. Hebert sends Cryderman various drafts of the mixes and Cryderman sends back copious feedback notes. Thus, Cryderman's studio albums are very slow in the making, but the latest mixes appear on Last.fm.
He also continues to record at home with his iMac computer and Apple's Garageband to produce demos, stand-alone tracks and parts for Fresh Air sessions. While Cryderman writes, sings, plays guitar and handles the MIDI and loops, he has also worked with a collection of musicians that includes multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and engineer Anand Greenwell, bassist Rick May (Depeche Mode, dbClifford, Michael Jackson, Ricky Lee Jones) as well as drummers Johnny '5' Andrews (Tegan and Sara, Holly McNarland, Starfield) and Jason Deatherage (Daniel Lapp Band, Ocean Wide Lotus Assembly). Producer and musician Joby Baker (Mae Moore, The Bills, Alex Cuba, Cowboy Junkies) plays bass and is featured on background vocals for Nasty and the original versions of "The Future" and "Greed" while Greg Madill of The Ecclestons makes an appearance on the mandolin and Irish Bouzouki for Joe Dimaggio and "Hats Off to (Led) Zeppelin (acoustic blues homage)." Canadian rising star Raquel Loglisci sings back-up vocals for Nihilistic Twilight and the featured backup vocals on Nothing to You (melancomic ballad). As listeners will note in recordings such as Courting the Muse and Breathe (depressing acoustic ballad with strings), Cryderman also brings violin and cello into some of his recordings.
Violinist Erynn Marshall appears on "Breathe" and the original version of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, and viola player Kenji Fuse appears on "Nihilistic Twilight." Recently, Cryderman has worked with Spanish cellist Dan Anies for Courting the Muse on tracks such as Watching Anime (wedding processional instrumental feat. Dan Anies on cello), "Joe Dimaggio" and Reconciliation Day. LYRICS Rather than simply confessional autobiography, Cryderman's lyrics usually involve personae at varying degrees of distance from himself, exploring a wide range of moods and obscure directions. With a tone that is often simultaneously humorous and melancholy, a variety of "I" characters in the songs make appearance.
For instance, Cryderman has a tetralogy about unrequited love that begins with the naive narrator of Crawling After You (country folk innocence) and his simple, quixotic lines. In the sequels, namely Pedestal (playful ascerbic folk) and Paper Cup (tortured earnest folk), the narrator moves to a critical distance from such idealization. The final work in the tetralogy is a self-reflexive 'meta-love' song, Parallel World. Other Cryderman personae include cryptically intellectual observers on the state of the world ("Mobile Phone Army," "Nihilistic Twilight," "Looking Glass Self"); not-so-naive narrators with sarcastic critiques disguised as self-loathing ("I'm So Sorry..." and "Nasty"); the immediate urgency of 'melan-comic' sufferers of unrequited lust/love and high school angst ("Nothing to You"); or unrequited love as a metaphor for the creative process (Courting the Muse), an understated ballad that features a near-spoken melody.
Many of the humor-tinged songs satirize society while simultaneously holding the narrator of the song up to ridicule as well, unbeknownst to him or her, such as the death row inmate who converts to New Age spirituality after reading Ken Wilbur rather than Christianity (the pitch black humor of Psychopath Killer (heavy metal + satire)) or the nerdy loser types with frustrated and paranoid rants about gun culture (Everybody Wants a Gun (trashy, lo-fi grunge + satire)), minimum wage and corporate domination (Minimum Wage (folk ska + satire)), secret societies (SSSS), or the suffocating, desexualized prison of nice guyhood (Nice Guy (folk punk + ribald, sophomoric humor). While Cryderman writes most of his own material (music + lyrics), he has also collaborated with others on several songs. For the composition of lyrics, collaborations include "Free" (w/ Darren Cryderman, his older brother), "Another Beer Drinking Day" (w/ Alan Rhines), "She Put It In A Cup" (w/ Graham Coady), "A Simple Operation" (w/ Dawn Langstroth, Canadian superstar Anne Murray's daughter), and "Looking Glass Self" (w/ Cat Prueitt, who currently acts as his main feedback person). Since moving to Atlanta, Cryderman has also begun musical collaborations with DJ Plain View, such as Songs from the Second Floor (Global DJ with vocals, feat.
DJ Plain View), Hats Off to (Led) Zeppelin Part II (electric blues homage, with DJ Plain View), Transatlantic (electro-funk chillout instrumental, with DJ Plain View), and Cascadia Borealis (hip hop-esque instrumental, with DJ Plain View) as well as a related collaborative musical project called Greenhouse Effect, with tracks such as Second Sunrise (post-rock instrumental, with Greenhouse Effect). REWORKINGS AND HOMAGES In addition to collaborating and creating songs from scratch, Cryderman also works in the folk tradition as a reworking or 're-versioning' of songs. For instance, he has recorded a cover of a Nirvana's "Something in the Way" where he re-wrote most of the lyrics, appropriately called Something in the Way (grunge ballad, re-written lyrics). "Hats Off to (Led) Zeppelin" is a trilogy of homages to Led Zeppelin.
With a narrator who is on the lamb and in an inter-racial relationship, Hats Off to (Led) Zeppelin (acoustic blues homage) is an acoustic blues story song set in the early twentieth century South (USA) during a downpour of Biblical proportions. Not only does the sound pay homage to Led Zeppelin's acoustic blues sound, the lyrics are also composed entirely of Led Zeppelin song titles. Part II is an electric blues instrumental while Part III, entitled Falling Down (solo acoustic raga rock), emerges out of Zeppelin's folkier work, particularly their third album. Along with this trilogy of musical tributes Led Zeppelin, Cryderman has also done homages to Dan Bern Icons (Dan Bern homage) and Bob Dylan Solitary Man (modern troubadour folk, homage to Bob Dylan).
Cryderman also reworks material for the purposes of humor and/or social commentary. "Tree Falling" is a Weird Al-esque take-off of Tom Petty's "Free Falling," where the narrator is caught lovestruck in a Romeo-and-Juliet scenario in British Columbia, Canada: he is a hyper-earnest logger who is singing at the campfire to his fellow loggers about his hopeless love for a radical environmental activist. "Frat Boy Angst" reworks Metallica's "One" into a stereotypical frat boy's worst nightmare come true; as with most of the comedy material, the narrator is also a prime target of the satire. Inspired by the Obama campaign of 2008, The Star-Spangled Banner (The Times They Are A-Changin') (new folk twist on an old anthem) slyly transforms the American national anthem into a 1960s-style folk song through a variation of the melody from Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," all with the full 1814 lyrics by Francis Scott Key largely intact (though with a few notable variations in phrasing and the word 'anthem' left ambiguous).
THE EARLY YEARS Born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Cryderman began singing and playing guitar as a teenager, recording his own compositions just a couple of weeks after starting to play guitar, sing and write songs. He soon proved to be a prolific songwriter (well over 500+ songs to date, with most of them unrecorded and lost to the 'round file'), eclectically shifting genres from soft folk to comedy to country to heavy metal to blues and grunge before focusing on his signature folk-rock style. A number of these early basement and studio recordings survive, though, appearing on Fits and Starts. Some of these early teen recordings (e.g.
"I'm So Sorry,"Falling in Love with a Fantasy (outsider folk) and "White Picket Fences") bear a resemblance to the outsider folk-pop of Daniel Johnston, an artist he was unaware of at the time. After initially recording on the in-built microphone of a cheap portable stereo, Cryderman soon began running between two tape decks and a mattel microphone: a low tech multi-track recorder in his basement room used to record songs such as Not the Same (psychadelic, syd barrett) and Imperfections (electric guitar instrumental). In his collaborations with Anand Greenwell, Cryderman moved on to 4-track recording, such as Wishing Well (new wave ballad). Beginning in his late teens with songs such as "Crawling After You," "Lost," "Daddy" and Girl Like You (quixotic pop delusions) (all recorded with Greg Vaughn), he then began sessions at various recording studios.
Meanwhile, Cryderman continued to work with Anand Greenwell on Greenwell's home computer for songs such as Riff (slightly gothish new wave alternative rock), Falling Down (solo acoustic raga rock) and Home (classic folk ballad) to complete his first album, Nice Guy in 1996. For his second CD, a concept album called The Atman Project, based on the writings of Ken Wilbur, Cryderman began to record songs in a new studio Greenwell had set up Graham Coady, a mutual friend, called The Mine. The album was never released, but all of the extant recordings, such as "Something in the Way," "Psychopath Killer," "The Night Is Coming Down," "Hats Off to (Led Zeppelin)," "Everybody Wants a Gun" and "Breathe," now appear on Fits and Starts. With his limited budget, Cryderman decided against releasing The Atman Project and, instead, began recording "Nasty" and "Courting the Muse" for his next album project, Courting the Muse, with Casey Pechet, who soon moved to Calgary.
After talking with many of the studios in Victoria, Cryderman found a good rapport and shared outlook with Tony Hebert, with whom he has been working ever since. LIVE PERFORMANCES During these early years, Cryderman also played live at various house parties and open stages (including Carolyn Mark's well-beloved Sunday Hootenanny), garnering the most attention early on for his satirical folk (e.g."Nice Guy," "Minimum Wage," "Tree Falling") and alcohol-themed songs such as "Frat Boy Angst," "Shotgun" and many singalong drinking songs, only three of which survive in recorded form: "Another Beer Drinking Day," Solitary Woman (slightly obscene waaaay-past-drunk singalong song)), and "Drinking Fool." Despite his severe tinnitus (a loud, constant ringing in the ears) from too much loud music as a youth, he continues to make sporadic live performances, mainly solo acoustic and small ensembles. He has even been known to compose songs extemporaneously during concerts, based on phrases written down by audience members passing around a sheet of paper, strictly in the order the phrases appear. As with the dozens upon dozens of Cryderman's infamous 'made up on the spot' songs that riff on a particular moment or prepared quickly for special occasions, some recordings of these 'audience participation' song performances exist but are extremely rare.
While many of his recent songs roughly fit within adult alternative folk-rock, some of Cryderman's more satirical material finds itself within the anti-folk movement. In his brash youth, Cryderman was infamously banned for life from a particular folk festival where, after a set of anodyne songs, he ended by singing his edgy, obscene comedy material in front of a large crowd of senior citizens and parents with young children, many of whom ran away in horror and/or later lodged formal complaints. Likewise, during performances of "SSSS," ironically-challenged senior seniors will often stand right in front of him in protest with their walkers and wraparound sunglasses. He was also fired from several regular coffeeshop gigs for singing "Minimum Wage." These days, though, he tries to respect the context of the performance and the audience present.
NOVEL WRITING AND EDUCATION In addition to music, Kevin Cryderman also writes novels (namely a six part work-in-progress called Sex in the Stream of consciousness) and screenplays. He also has a PhD in English and Film studies from the University of Rochester, NY and currently teaches at Emory University in the Film Studies Department and Georgia Gwinnett College in the English Department. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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