LUMBEROB Announces Debut LP, Shares “BLESSENCE”
Single + Music Video
LANGUAGE LEARNER LP Due January 28, 2022 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings
Mixed and Co-Produced by KRAMER
Shimmy-DiscLISTEN/WATCH & SHARE: LUMBEROB – “BLESSENCE”
Stream / YouTube“There’s LUMBEROB — he’s the best band around. He’s like Aphex Twin meets Bobby McFerrin. He’s like a one man party in your mouth. In the mouth of your ear.”
– Vernon Chatman & John Lee (WONDER SHOWZEN, XAVIER: RENEGADE ANGEL, PEE WEE’s BIG HOLIDAY, BROAD CITY, DELOCATED, FALSE POSITIVE, and Vernon is voice of Towelie on South Park)“Lumberob’s shows construct themselves out of repetition and layering; live-mixed playback turns his monologues into the audio version of a mise-en-abyme, echoes of his recorded voice expanding into a long tunnel of sense made nonsense… Lumberob is one of those world-building Tricksters. These are the games that break form apart to make something valuable and new.”
– Helen Shaw (TIME OUT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, VULTURE)
“Lumberob is a terrible witch doctor. You’ve seen the forest in which he works his dark sono-linguistic magic, but only from the outside. Enter its interior, and you’ll be ecstatically sorry.”
– Sibyl Kempson, playwright
“Artists of the world, listen to this: you have nothing to lose but your equilibrium. Throughout his music there is a lyric impulse, a rising of the heart, a moral passion that represents the spirit of the millennium at its best. At the same time Lumberob’s music is exceedingly rigorous; he has the optimism of his generation without its willed naiveté”
– Anne Gridley, actor, company member Nature Theater of Oklahoma
“Lumberob’s music is the most intoxicating and addictive drug available.”
– Pavol Lisa, director and founder Nature Theater of Oklahoma
“Rob has a ferocity that is captivating, intense, dizzy. We cannot stop looking at him, and then the unique rhythms get all flustery, stuck inside us and lock. He demands engagement. We can’t help it.”
– Dana Edell PhD, director
Today, LUMBEROB announces his long-awaited debut LP, LANGUAGE LEARNER, due January 28, 2022 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings. Alongside the announcement, he has shared the record’s first single, “BLESSENCE,” with an accompanying music video.
Speaking on the single, Rob wrote: “‘BLESSENCE’ is a smooth little lumberob jammer, stumbling heavy and sweet. Structure is all suspension, waiting for the clarity of the lyric… I AM DANGER. There’s plenty to worry about. SHANNON PLUMB and I have made a lovely dance, an instructive dance showing how to move to the BLESSENCE groove. It is a smooth little jammer, stumbling heavy and sweet. It carves out your heart with its sharp edge. I AM DANGER.”As an energetic force in the downtown New York performance art noise scene for over fifteen years, LUMBEROB is releasing his debut solo LP – LANGUAGE LEARNER – on SHIMMY-DISC. Having collaborated now for over 23 years, Kramer and LUMBEROB understand how to make rather majestic messes. This music is urgent madness, overflowingly decorative, lusciously spastic, with an unpredictably eclectic sonic vaudeville energy. LUMBEROB emerged from a year in Costa Rica with a bag full of pandemic recordings. As a rejuvenated yet still scrappy loop artist expanding his sound with synth bass and drum machines, yet still rooted in improvised vocal phrase looping and skanky guitar, LUMBEROB insists this album LANGUAGE LEARNER to be a bold exercise in genre discovery or genre blur, proudly assuming its position in high contrast to other recent gorgeously crafted Shimmy-Disc releases. It is this contrast that’s reminiscent of the wildly divergent and inventive catalog curated by Kramer from decades past. This debut is an odd blend of ingredients, but the concept is relentlessly pure LUMBEROB. Participants in Costa Rica include David Mendez playing nylon string, Alicia Cigna singing, Ariel Soto playing partial kit and conga, and Juan Jose Lopez playing bongos. Additional sessions in Brooklyn include Tobin Scroggins playing guitar and Becca Stabile singing. Kramer added bits and pieces throughout during his mixing and mastering of the album. Call it Dada Ska – a skanky electro-bounce. This is dance music for working things out. This is workout music for dancing things, and the live show is truly the daffy psychedelic roughneck business.
LUMBEROB Bio:Lumberob is a public school teacher in New York City. He has taught 8th grade humanities and drama for over a decade now, and before that worked in the English department at Brooklyn College. He has maintained a presence as a working musician and performance artist in NYC.
Rob grew up in Stuart, FL – coincidentally the home town for 50 Skadillion Watts records which released a few early Half Japanese albums. In the early 1990s, at the dark, dank CONFUSION Records store in downtown Stuart, Rob devoured large portions of the Shimmy-Disc catalog ranging from WEEN to Torture Garden to Shockabilly to Gwar to DAEVID ALLEN & KRAMER to Galaxie 500 and beyond that to Captain Beefheart albums to Butthole Surfers insanity and all sorts of noise and nuttiness. He was a high school kid hanging out, smoking pot, listening to albums – dialing in a certain energetic art pop aesthetic, very lucky to have such an enlightened record store to adore.
Of course there were high school bands, but his first serious band was Adult Rodeo (with wife Stephanie Mankins). They happened to sign to Shimmy-Disc in 1998 and released two albums: the kissyface & TEXXXAS with two more albums (Long Range, Rapid Fire & Tough Titty) on their own over the course of six years.
LUMBEROB began as a solo looping concept project in late 1999 in Austin, TX. This was way before looping was a genre. The work was raw and spastic. It was a simple show, a vocal show: a mic run through an Octave pedal and a Fuzz Factory into an AKAI Headrush looper. Always illegible, the loops were guttural, choppy, vocal noise – direct and live, always improvised and never ever using pre-slugged playback.
Clearly influenced by the minimalism of WEEN’s debut album The Pod, the early LUMBEROB show was at first an attempt to emulate one particular Jad Fair show which Rob had witnessed back in 1993 when he’d just graduated from high school. On a side stage at Lollapalooza, Jad was fronting a noise band called MOSQUITO, and he appeared to be swallowing brightly colored Fischer Price microphones making completely illegible vocal noises. It sounded so ferocious and looked so silly. It was perfect, literally jaw dropping, and Rob turned to see tennis phenom Jennifer Capriati (fresh off her arrest for shoplifting jewelry from a mall kiosk) standing right beside him. They did not speak, but Rob did speak to Jad and shook his hand.
Jumping to 1999, Rob’s band ADULT RODEO signed to Shimmy-Disc and was soon touring the west coast of the US and then Europe with Jad Fair & Kramer. Rob’s sister, Kristin (a.k.a Kevin Blechdom of Blectum from Blechdom fame) was playing midi keytar in Adult Rodeo at the time. Jad and Rob got to goofing and eventually a Jad Fair & Lumberob side show was born from soundcheck antics and rehearsal space excess.
ADULT RODEO toured a few times in support of Half Japanese around the United States and Canada. Rob appeared alongside Dallas Good as guest artist on the Half Japanese album Hello, released on Alternative Tentacles. Rob wrote a good number of the songs on that album and traveled playing guitar and singing as a member of Half Japanese for a few tours.
In the summer of 2006, Jad Fair & Lumberob toured Japan for a few weeks, and he continued to play regularly at Jad’s side around the US, Canada, and Europe.
LUMBEROB recorded “Honey I Sure Miss You” for the 2006 album of Daniel Johnston covers called I Killed the Monster released on Kramer’s Second Shimmy.
Rob received an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College in 2007 with Mac Wellman at the helm of the program. It was in this context that his performative language mangling was made formal on the page. Growing from a scrappy sound project to a fully realized performance art extravagance, mixing sound, dance, and language into a spastic whirlwind of curvi-linguistic mayhem, LUMBEROB had a good thing going as a working performance artist in the early 2000s.
Rob would point to Artaud’s vocalizing, Giacoma Balla’s futurist poems, Hugo Ball Dada sound poetry, Samuel Beckett texts like WATT, Kurt Schwitter’s Ursonate, Bob Cobbing, Ivor Cutler, Jaap Blonk, Captain Beefheart, Tom Murrin and so many other experimental poets and performance artists and now loop artists blurring genre and breaking forms as inspiration. LUMBEROB often played variety bills at clubs and theaters like Tonic, the Knitting Factory, Dixon Place, La Mama, the Kitchen, the Invisible Dog, and the Bushwick Star, as well as many others.
In 2008, LUMBEROB played a feature length solo show called OFF THE HOZZLE at Dixon Place whose run was extended and whose script went on to be published as a book of the same name via 53rd State Press.
Jad Fair & Lumberob played Performa 2009 at the festival “A Fantastic World Superimposed on Reality: A Select History of Experimental Music” curated by the late, great Mike Kelley.
Music journalist Simon Reynolds said of the performance: “but the stand-out performance was Jad Fair and Lumberob, doing this very peculiar but entertaining human beatboxing fed through delays/loops/FX, “phrase-sampling” i think they call it… at certain points they seemed to be doing jungle tracks using just their voices, real rumblistic B-lines a la “The Helicopter Tune”… elsewhere it was like the vocal weirdness Gibby used to do in Butthole Surfers meets i dunno Mighty Boosh crimping, but, um, a lot more enjoyable and dynamic and just mighty than that possibly sounds…. strangely though the one track at their Myspace isn’t nearly as impressive as what they did on Friday, perhaps it’s something that only works at top volume and onstage with them doing their nutty dance routines.”
Lumberob played all three nights of the Performa HA! series in 2011 curated by Mark Beasley in which he opened for Reggie Watts and Hennessy Youngman.
He collaborated with a few experimental downtown theater companies over the years including Nature Theater of Oklahoma. As a member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma, LUMBEROB performed at the Under the Radar Festival workshop showing of their epic NO DICE. This piece went on to win a special citation Obie for its Soho Rep production and toured the world for years with LUMBEROB music playing a central role.
LUMBEROB composed the score for Laura Peterson Choreography’s feature length dance quartet FOREVER in 2009, which also went on to tour the US and Europe, as well as her piece EVERYONE, performed in 2011 during the LMCC River to River festival. LUMBEROB continues to collaborate closely with Laura Peterson.
Rob moved into teaching full-time in the public system of New York City in 2010.
He took a sabbatical year with his family in Costa Rica and developed some close friendships with local musicians in the Pacific coast jungle town of Nosara. These players built up a rather popular weekly show of improvised “drug ska” dance music with fantastic Tico guitarists and percussionists all strung together through LUMBEROB’s looping strategies. The pandemic shut down their weekly party night in March of 2020, so LUMBEROB shifted back to solo work and focused on recording that debut LP which had always eluded him, but he brought some of those players in to track alongside his solo improvisations. The problem with making the lumberob record was always one of trying to capture that certain live energy which documentation tended to quash. The experience playing with the ensemble in CR allowed new textures to roughen the phonetic wackiness which made lumberob LUMBEROB, and the sound grew gorgeously goofy.
LUMBEROB reemerged from his time in Central America a rejuvenated yet still scrappy loop artist expanding his sound with synth bass and drum machines, but still rooted in improvised vocal phrase looping and skanky guitar. This debut LP titled LANGUAGE LEARNER is an odd blend of ingredients, but the concept is relentlessly pure LUMBEROB.
Participants at the sessions in Costa Rica include David Mendez playing nylon string guitar, Alicia Cigna singing, Ariel Soto playing partial drum kit and conga, and Juan Jose Lopez playing bongos. Additional sessions in Brooklyn include Tobin Scroggins playing electric guitar and Becca Stabile singing. Kramer added bits and pieces throughout as needed during his mixing and mastering of the album.
Having collaborated now for over 23 years, Kramer and LUMBEROB understand how to make rather majestic messes. This music is urgent madness, overflowingly decorative, lusciously spastic, with an unpredictably eclectic sonic vaudeville energy.
Call it Dada Ska – a skanky electro-bounce.
This is dance music for working things out. This is workout music for dancing things. Sign up soon, teacher training, get certified, now is the time for LANGUAGE LEARNER by lumberob.
There’s proper sing song structure here with tunes like BLESSENCE and REDBARON and FRIEDLEGGINGS and BEGANTOCRY and SNACKTHREAT which are interspersed with the relentless onslaught of serious jammers like FRESHROOM and PANICSMOOTH. This album LANGUAGE LEARNER is a bold exercise in genre discovery or genre blur, proudly assuming its position in high contrast to other recent gorgeously crafted Shimmy-Disc releases. It is this contrast that’s reminiscent of the wildly divergent and inventive catalog curated by Kramer from decades past. LANGUAGE LEARNER is the long-time coming debut LP by LUMBEROB.