Behind the scenes of the Olympia underground lurks a fixture of talent often heard but rarely seen, a man who has left his mark on many a fine project. Paul Schuster, keyboardist for the latter-day incarnation of those infamous punk scorchers Some Velvet Sidewalk and producer/engineer/musician for a variety of classic independent records (see his impressive resume below), has raised many an impressed eyebrow towards the depth of his chops and imagination. Internal/External is Mr. Schuster’s latest creative outlet, and Featuring… is the debut release, coming in the company of some illustrious friends indeed.
Internal/External began as a recording project in 1997 while Schuster experimented with electronic music. After a year of fleshing out the songs, he invited a whole slew of local Olympia artists to put their touch to his material. One by one he gave a song to each person asked to do the project, with no preconceived idea of what exactly to expect…one by one each person delivered amazing, utterly unique touches to his creations. Suave crooner Lois is the perfect choice for “Hope”, a slow soul jam mellowed by a very sexy yearning, with radio-friendly silken beat programs in tow. “The Skin”, starring Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Some Velvet Sidewalk’s mad hatter Al Larsen, is an exploratory rock/electronic space hybrid; Rachel Carns (The Need) sings a lullaby over “Candystriper” and Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin) offers her trademark sassy rants over “Stepping Up To The Mic”; Slim Moon (Kill Rock Stars) goes wordcore and DJ K.O. (IQU) gives the theramin a spin on the psychedelic trip-hop of “I Knew Them”; Justin Trosper (Unwound) slices and dices the musique concrete on “Quantize”, and Calvin Johnson fires up his melodica over the self-referencing jazzy techno fire “I/E”. Electronic and DIY punk mesh into a varied savory sonic concoction, riding the margins of drum ‘n’ bass, pop, noise and R’n’B genre-bending triumphed by such bedroom superstars as Flowchart or Third Eye Foundation.
Although Featuring…stars quite an ensemble cast of characters, Internal/External is its’ own sovereign entity, a band to look out for. Gratitude perpetuates itself and is offered here, humbly, to Paul Schuster and his inventive Internal/External.
released February 8, 2000
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