1. A deep secret; a mystery.
2. Specialized knowledge or details unknown to or misunderstood by the average person.
3. A secret essence or remedy; an elixir.
WELCOME TO THE END: LIVE 6/18/2011 (2013)
Ah, bittersweet memories…This one is from the archives and is the last show with the original Dark Pioneers line-up. We had played a lengthy set at a beer festival hours earlier, imbibed several beers each, then trucked on over to The Skylark in West Seattle for our final hour of live music. I wish the show was as tightly paced as it will seem to you; in reality, I made the decision to forego a set-list and call the songs out as we went. The result was a lot of awkward pauses and tons of my rambling interludes (plus some Jesus Jones bashing), almost none of which made it to the final recording. You're welcome.
The live tracks were mixed by my friends Scott Colburn and Julian Martlew (Gravel Voice Studios), who also recorded and mixed our ‘4 Horses’ and ‘You Gotta Move’ EPs. We also captured a mostly decent version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” done as Led Zeppelin covered it on ‘Presence’ (albeit in a stream-lined, 4 minute version). My voice was about shot by this point, but the syncopated funkiness sounds pretty tight.
ARGOT: VOL. 02 (2013)
‘Argot, Vol. 2′ is literally the last thing the original line-up of The Dark Pioneers recorded before packing up our rehearsal space and shooting out the lights. Following up on the unexpected success of 2010’s ‘Argot: Vol. 1,’ here’s one last batch of improvised musical oddities, our way of both celebrating how far we had come in 4 years, and also blowing off steam knowing it was all about to end.
Armed with a few more mics and a multi-track recorder, Vol. 2 was recorded live in the same, cramped rehearsal space as Vol. 1 and is equally free of overdubs and forethought. The ghost of Miles Davis, circa the 1970s, hovers over the proceedings, both musically and in technique (the “record hours of improv, then sort out the whole mess in the editing room” method). There are Odes to the scores of director John Carpenter and an electro-love letter to the Roland Juno synthesizer, aptly titled “Tribe Of Juno.” Toss in some techno, some reggae and twisted, ambient explorations and you have yourself a stew.
ARGOT: VOL. 01 (2010)
Recorded live in a small room with only a handful of microphones (and no plan whatsoever), Argot, Vol. 1 is an Id-driven trip across a surrealistic neverland, revealing a side of Nathan Wade & The Dark Pioneers you’ve never heard before. In just two short sessions, the band plowed through hours of inspired, spontaneous creation running the gamut from Pink Floyd-ian, synthed-out psychedelia (Roland Juno Blues), Sonic Youth-inspired art rock (I’m Your Secret Nurse), metal-infused techno-jazz (Son Of Glitch), to blissful soundscapes (Angels Of Our Loss). Everything you hear is an improvised first take, edited down from three hours of non-stop recording into 14 mind-warping musical curios.
SKYLARK LIVE: APRIL 23 (2010)
File this show under “hot mess.” I was recovering from a nasty cold at the time, and the medicine I took (over-the-counter, I swear!) to get through the night aided and abetted my torrent of unfiltered, foul-mouthed banter in between songs–and sometimes during songs. Thankfully, the audience was ready to play along. So while I was blowing lyrics with abandon and my guitar work is often downright deplorable (i.e., the unintentionally hilarious skronk solos on “Suicidal Revival” and “Just Got Paid”), the show manages to be a weird sort of fun. I hope.
The show went down at The Skylark Cafe in West Seattle; Charlie, the Skylark’s excellent house engineer, recorded it, while my friend Eddie Williams mixed the resulting tracks for aural consumption.
PRELUDE TO THE GOSPEL OF RUST
FUTURE WARNINGS/FIELD RECORDINGS (2008)
In February of 2008, Nathan took on the RPM Challenge: to write AND record a full album (10 songs or 35 minutes of music) in a single month. Mission accomplished! And while this home recorded album is raw and rough around the edges, there’s plenty of promising tunes and inspired ideas to make for an entertaining 30 minutes of listening. Dark Pioneers Brian Alter and Sam Collins make guest appearances in the form of sampled drum and bass loops, but several of these songs grew up in the band’s live set and made it on to their album, The Gospel Of Rust (2010).
On the same weekend that produced basic tracking for The Chroma Session EP (2008), the band took advantage studio time and recorded the following four tracks (three of which also landed on The Gospel of Rust). With only two takes to get each one right, everything you hear is completely live with no overdubs; special guest Lincoln Barr plays some skronking lead guitar on “Big Black Sleep” and acts as my electric guitar foil on the rock-a-billy Hank Sr. cover.
BEFORE THE DARK PIONEERS
Also know as “The Lawnmower Interview,” this was a preview for my 2006 showcase at Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dry humor and wise-assery on full display, the podcast also features “The Final Blow” from The Dead Leaves Sing (2006).