Friday, August 29, 2014

Case Study No. 1541: The Library Science

Who is Library Science?
This short informative video explains the process of creating Library Science music.
Tags: Library Science
Added: 6 years ago
From: libraryscience
Views: 3,192

["LAB / Lynch Arkley Barneby Foundation" appears on screen]
LIBRARIAN: [in voice over] Library Science is proudly sponsored by a grant through the Pee-Lynch Ay-Arkley Cee-Barneby Foundation.
[cut to a digital drawing of a male librarian (brown hair and beard glasses, dark suit, white undershirt, red tie) speaking directly to the camera in a slightly robotic monotone voice]
LIBRARIAN: Hello? Welcome to the Library Science Show.
[the camera zooms in slightly on the librarian]
LIBRARIAN: Thank you for coming tonight. We love that you came to love us.
[the camera zooms in for a closeup of the librarian's face]
[the camera zooms back out]
LIBRARIAN: Let's talk about ...
[the librarian's voice echoes slightly]
[cut to a digital drawing of a guitar]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Play some notes on a guitar.
[a disembodied hand appears and begins playing a single chord over and over, then cut back to the librarian]
LIBRARIAN: They sound good, right?
[the camera zooms in slightly on the librarian]
LIBRARIAN: Now ... Record them with a tape recorder.
[cut back to the disembodied hand playing the guitar, as a digital drawing of a reel-to-reel tape recorder appears next to it]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Play the notes back.
[the tape recorder rewinds, playing back the same chord over and over, then cut back to the librarian]
LIBRARIAN: It sounds the same, correct?
[cut to a closeup of the librarian's face]
LIBRARIAN: N-n-n-n-n-n-now ...
[cut to a digital drawing of a circular tape recorder with orange and white stars surrounding it, as "Introducing the Library Science Sound System" appears on screen]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Introducing the Library Science System ...
[the camera zooms in on the tape recorder, as an image of the guitar appears on the small monitor attached]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Take that guitar sound, and play it back through the Library Science Sound System.
[the tape recorder "turns on", and the guitar plays the same chord over and over]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Add reverb.
[the camera zooms in on the image of the guitar, as the sound effect is added to give the chord a more echoey sound]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Add echo.
[another sound effect is added, making the chord sound even more different]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Now bass.
[a red guitar suddenly appears on screen, as it begins playing to add to the original chord's sound]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] And drums.
[a drum set suddenly appears on screen and begins playing, adding further to the original sound]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] And synthesizer.
[an electronic keyboard appears on screen and begins playing (as the other instruments take up smaller sections of the screen)]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] And candy.
[three red-striped candy mints suddenly appear on screen and slowly rotate]
LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] And banana.
[a digital drawing of a banana (with googly eyes and red lips) suddenly appears, then an image of the librarian's head appears in the middle of the screen]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo.
[the sound of his voice reverberates, as the music also takes on a similarly echoey quality]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo.
[all of the other instruments/food items suddenly "fall" off screen, leaving just the librarian's head (and two copies of his head popping up on either side)]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the librarian's head continues to multiply on screen]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the camera zooms in slightly]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the copies disappear, as the original librarian's head spins around as the camera zooms in]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the camera zooms in on the librarian's right eye, as another copy of his head appears where his pupil should be]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the camera zooms in on this new "new" version of the librarian's head, as white circles dance around it]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the librarian's head vibrates slightly]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ... Add echo ...
[two other copies of the librarian's head appear on either side, speaking in a more sped-up tone]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the disappear, and the librarian's voice returns to "normal" (but still with the echo)]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the camera zooms in slightly]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the camera zooms in on the librarian's right eye, as the pitch of his voice speeds up again]
LIBRARIAN: Add echo ...
[the screen turns white, and the music ends]



Library Science makes live electro post-dub psychedelic disco slo-dance music with flashing lights and customized video.

The group consists of three members: Mildred Pitt (bass guitar, samples, drum machines), Peter Lynch (guitar, trumpet, synth, glockenspiel), and Courtney Barnebey (synths, melodica, samplers).

Library Science has two albums out through Happi Tyme Records, High Life Honey (2004) and The Chancellor (2007).

Live, the band's genre-bending multi-tasking performances chew through manifold influences, all the while plastering the screen behind them with a vivid rainbow of phrenetic homemade animations. With three-and-a-half miles of cabling, 2413 LED indicators and one $25 smoke machine, this band knows how turn a complicated wiring diagram into a compelling live experience.

In the last year, Library Science has played over 25 shows, sharing the stage with Girl Talk and Dub Trio and playing the Pop Montreal Music Festival.

Mildred Pitt is also a member of The Bran Flakes, a popular sampling/collage band who have released five CDs, remixed songs for Tipsy and Jean-Jaques Perrey and have appeared on over 17 compilations. They have played live shows around the U.S. and performed at the I.D.E.A.L. festival in Nantes, France.

Library Science website (and myspace page):

Video used in live shows:

The Bran Flakes website (and myspace page):



Usually when people say music sounds "cartoony," they mean it's big, dumb, and sloppy, full of kiddie melodies and sappy lyrics. Seattle's Library Science, which plays an experimental, electronic offshoot of dub reggae, is not that kind of cartoony. There's something about their music, though (and entire aesthetic, down to the wacky album art) that is utterly visual.

It doesn't hurt that both the band's leader, Andy Arkley, and his bandmate Courtney Barneby (joined by Tony Sacco and Peter Lynch on every instrument imaginable) are visual artists by day. "We bring our own video projector and a screen" to live shows, Arkley explains. The band tours with an artist who "triggers and builds these videos live while we play, like a video sampler."

Arkley, who goes by the inexplicable pseudonym Sir Mildred Pitt, spoke about the band's visual inspiration from his home in Seattle. "A lot of times when we're creating songs, we come up with a visual idea of where we want the song to go," he says. "'At this part it's like you're falling, and birds would be flying and an airplane would fly by.' Some sort of visual imagery would come along as we're creating the song. That's how a lot of our songs are."

This explains how the band comes up with titles to the compositions on their latest album, The Chancellor, which they just released on their own Happi Tyme Records (also home to another of Arkley's projects, the Bran Flakes). The Chancellor is full of songs that are as offbeat and playful as their titles, from the slinky "Porn in the Woods (A Bygone Era)" to the somber "The Saddest Video Game in the World." But it doesn't explain how they became a group of nerdy non-Jamaican dudes playing reggae.

"The original idea was we were inspired by dub music," Arkley says. He was looking for another outlet besides the sound-collage experimentalism of the Bran Flakes and his pop-oriented project Twizzle. The Library Science was driven by music like "King Tubby or Scientist or Lee 'Scratch' Perry," he says. "We went down that direction a little bit, but we didn't want to be a straight-on reggae band or roots reggae band. We're changing into something a little bit more eclectic. We're not about the red, yellow and green and the marijuana and Jah."

In fact, the Library Science probably has as much in common with electronic post-rock bands like as they do with reggae. Their first album, High Life Honey, was firmly rooted in dub and heavy on melodica (that keyboard thing you blow into, sounds like an accordion), but with the experimental spirit they've expanded on The Chancellor. Think of M83 with a rock-steady beat.

"Doing what we want to do — when I try to define it, sometimes it gets a little complicated for me," Arkley says. "Some of the new music we've been doing is a little dancey and disco-ey, like the Clash's Sandinista — a little more ska'd up then a straight-on pop song or something." Of course, since its members play bass, keyboards, melodica, guitar and trumpet (often trading instruments, often playing more than one at the same time), the Library Science's eclectic instrumentation itself kind of precludes the possibility of a "straight-on pop song."

"Live, there's me playing bass and a keyboard bass," says Arkley. "And then we have Peter, who plays guitar and trumpet and xylophone and keyboard, switching instruments on almost every song — and Courtney playing melodica, Casio, synthesizer and a sampler, and he's switching between those instruments the whole time. A lot of the stuff we recorded has, like, 10 parts in it — we have to figure out which one of the parts we're gonna play."

The Library Science doesn't have a drummer — beats are provided by a machine — which simplifies things a little, considering the amount of gear they have to lug everywhere. "It's kind of a strange setup, but we have two big tables with all the instruments on them, switching the whole time." Arkley adds. "I'm the most traditional, just playing a bass all the way through. The bass lines have to be real steady."

Their Spokane stop is the first on their cross-country tour to New York. It's the band's first major cross-country tour, although they did do the West Coast a couple of years ago. "We just hope our band makes it across the U.S.," Arkley says. If they can make it through the cartoony landscapes of their own music night after night, they should be OK.

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