Peter Stenshoel "Strangely Colored Map ( 1988)
In 1988 multi instrumentalist, Peter Stenshoel, released a two tape set called “Strangely Colored Map”. This massive opus covered a lot of ground from Canterbury style jazz, rock, world music and even personal Dino DiMuro-ish introspective reflections. Employing an army of musicians, this release featured a variety of recording settings so the fidelity varies from track to track. This set stands out to me as what an independent minded (and very talented) musician can accomplish. There are literally no limits on this double album.
He also produced a hefty 20 page booklet describing the music and the collaborating musicians.
There was also a poem that accompanied the album:
Scanning the cosmos
You waste your hours,
He is present
In this little vessel.
He does not dwell
In the complex of stars
Nor in limitless space;
He is not found
In the ethical scripture
Nor in the text of the Vedas.
He lives beyond the existence
The man is here
In his form without form
To adorn the hamlet of limbs,
And the sky above
Is the globe of his feelings—-
The platform of spontaneous matter Anonymous
The above is taken from the book, Songs of the Bards of Bengal, translated by Deben Bhattacharya, published in 1969 by Grove Press.
ABOUT THE RECORDINGS
(All compositions by Peter Stenshoel unless otherwise indicated.)
The Use of Oars Collage from field recordings and found sounds. 11/11/85.
Strangely Colored Map (Music: D. Boling, T. Harper, P. Stenshoel, B. Zander; Words: P. Stenshoel) Dan Boling, live processed electric guitar; Peter Stenshoel, vocals, synthesizer, electric piano; Todd Harper, percussion, tenor sax; Bob Zander, drums. Summer of ’85 improv with vocals and piano added later.
Rife With Lilies (Version 1) David Stenshoel, violin; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano. 1987.
Old Order Peter Stenshoel, mandolins, guitar. Composed ’86. Recorded ’87.
Babies in the Sky The Intuitive Bikers: Todd Harper, tenor sax; David Stenshoel, mandocaster; Andy Schultz, electric guitar, trumpet; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, vocals; Carl Posz, electric bass; Bob Zander, drums. Recorded live at the New Riverside Cafe, Minneapolis, 9/13/86, with vocal overdubs. Goes right into…
Habina (Egyptian Traditional, arranged by the Intuitive Bikers) As in Babies in the Sky, with portion recorded in a basement. Additional drums overdubbed.
Trip the Fan (Light Plastic) (S. Minohara, P. Stenshoel) Sae Minohara, piano (left channel); Peter Stenshoel, piano (right channel). Improvised duet recorded at The College of Saint Catherine, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 11/10/86.
Bartok Paints the Town Peter Stenshoel, electric pianos. Improvised overdubs, February, 1986.
Bandito (M. Maistrovich) Air: Anthony Cox, bass; Phil Hey, drums; Mark Maistrovich, electric guitar; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano. Recorded live at Pillsbury-Waite Center in early 1976.
Beauty in the Doghouse Collage, date unknown.
Light Falls (the Snow) Peter Stenshoel, mandolin, vocals; Bob Zander, drums, percussion. 1986-7.
Downtime Collage 2/11/86.
Ode to Joy Peter Stenshoel, vocals, electric piano, mandolin, guitar, drums. 1986-7.
Abnormal Psychology Picnic The Infinity Art Unit: Kyle Huggins, electric guitar; David Stenshoel, electric violin; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, synthesizer; Stuart Mathews, electric bass; Mark Freeman, drums; with special guest, Anthony Cox, electric guitar. Recorded 7/5/75 in Minnetonka, Minnesota, at Miriam’s and Peter’s wedding reception. First short guitar solo by Huggins, with longer solo by Anthony Cox. I chose this version for the tape from the several extant because it closest approximates the loose rhythmic feel I had for it when I first composed it in 1974, under the influence of Charles Ives and Olivier Messiaen. It is also a rare chance to hear Anthony Cox’s guitar work. Shortly after this recording, he switched to acoustic bass, the instrument for which he is known.
Volleyballs and Ice Cream Peter Stenshoel, electric piano overdubs, vocals; Bob Zander, percussion, vocals; Todd Harper, vocals. 1986.
Socks Peter Stenshoel, double-speed guitars. 1975.
The Platform of Spontaneous Matter Air: as in Bandito, acoustic piano replaces electric. Most likely recorded Rainbow Gallery, Minneapolis, 2/5/77.
Scry, The Beloved Country (Music: P. Stenshoel, M. Swanson, A. Schultz; Words and arrangement: P. Stenshoel) Peter Stenshoel, vocals, electric piano, guitar; Max Swanson, flute; Andy Schultz, trumpet. Recorded 1987.
Neanderthal Kid (B. Zander) The Intuitive Bikers: Todd Harper, accordion; Andy Schultz, flugelhorn, electric guitar; Max Swanson, tenor sax; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, fuzz mandolin, additional sounds; Carl Posz, electric bass (first part only); Stuart Mathews, electric bass (second part only); Bob Zander, drums. Recorded 3/21/87 in a basement and 8/23/87 live outside Seward Community Cafe, Minneapolis, with sound engineering by Dick Timm.
The Relentless March of Life Itself (T. Harper, P. Stenshoel) Todd Harper, tenor sax, vocals, etc.; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, vocals, reel-to-reel tape deck. 198?.
Lo, The Land of Wonders Permeates the Very Essence of the Soul Peter Stenshoel, high speed electric pianos. This overblown title came to me, as if spoken into my ear, upon waking in the middle of the night, Oxford, England, c. 1972. I jumped out of bed and wrote it down, feeling that I must preserve it at all costs. December, 1985.
Softly, as a Moroccan Sunrise (T. Harper, B. Zander, P. Stenshoel; words by P. Stenshoel) Devorah, zils; Jim Greenety, dumbek; Barbara Modjeski, vocals; Miriam Stonehill, vocals; David Stenshoel, violin; Peter Stenshoel, mandolins. 1987.
Trotto (for Jane Berry) (anonymous 14th century English, arr. by The Infinity Art Unit) The Infinity Art Unit: Stuart Mathews, electric bass; David Stenshoel, electric violin; Bruce LaBelle, drums; Kyle Huggins, electric guitar; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, synthesizer. Dedicated to the memory of Jane Berry, who shared her love of medieval music on Century’s Song, KFAI Minneapolis-St. Paul. We miss her cool voice and warm heart. 1975.
Alchemy for Barb and Jerry This piece would not have happened were it not for some remarkable synchronicity: I gleaned Barbara Modjeski’s radio voice in real time as I was working my reel-to-reel processing, and Jerry Modjeski happened to give me a tape loop that provided the necessary glue. For coloratura, I added a collage of a toy pinball machine and applause: all together, a gift for an alchemical wedding. (See also, Jesus on Jerry Modjeski’s Scorched Ear Policy) 1987.
Rife With Lilies (Version 2) (M. Stenshoel, P. Stenshoel) Myles Stenshoel, computer programming with Commodore 64; Peter Stenshoel, key words and processing. This is an example of Myle’s Hornpipe Program, whereby any combination of letters can be turned into the musical form called hornpipe. In this case, the triggering words were, “Rife with Lilies.”
Absolute Seven Peter Stenshoel, mandolins, guitar. Composed the day the Challenger exploded. Recorded 1987.
Numinosity (Music: D. and P. Stenshoel; Words: P. Stenshoel) Andy Schultz, trumpet; Max Swanson, flute; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, vocals. 1987.
Gnostic Submarine (P. Stenshoel, A. Schultz, B. Zander) Bob Zander, electric piano; Andy Schultz, Casio keyboard; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, console organ, processes. Initial track improvised 8/7/87 at Triangle Ranch Gallery, Minneapolis. Additional material added later.
Waking to the Star (S. Minohara, P. Stenshoel) as in Trip the Fan.
I Think of the Moth Eyebrows (The Infinity Art Unit) as in Trotto.
Unprecedented Clarity of an Autumn Twilight Peter Stenshoel, el pianos. 1986.
Face Off Collage completed January 3, 1988.
Sioux Falls Peter Stenshoel, console organs and true story.
Air Waving (L. Ellwanger, S. Mathews, P. Stenshoel) Lane Ellwanger, Stuart Mathews, and Peter Stenshoel improvising on glasses, wooden flutes, and percussion, one summer night outdoors in Bush Lake, Minnesota, 1972. Processing January 1988.
Weekly Magazine Blues (Music: A. Schultz, P. Stenshoel, B. Zander; Words: P. Stenshoel) Peter Stenshoel, vocals, slowed-down guitar, electric piano, mandolin; Andy Schultz, electric guitar; Bob Zander, drums. Dates as in Gnostic Submarine.
Excerpt from Eternity (L. Ellwanger, S. Mathews, P. Stenshoel) Lane Ellwanger, drums, voice; Stuart Mathews, electric bass; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano. Recorded Bush Lake, Minnesota, Summer of 1972.
Dream of the Hovering Handcar Peter Stenshoel, high-speed electric piano. 1985.
New Frozen Television Matrix (Main Head: P. and D. Stenshoel; Sub-head #1: D. Mathews; Sub-head #2, M. Freeman); The Infinity Art Unit: Mark Freeman, drums, electric piano, microphone, percussion; Damon Mathews, soprano sax, pianos, surf drums, voice, etc.; Kyle Huggins, electric guitar, keyboards, etc.; Stuart Mathews, synthesizer, electric bass, voice, etc.; Peter Stenshoel, electric piano, amplified acoustic guitar, plastic bowling ball, etc.; David Stenshoel, electric violin. Recorded June 1, 1974 live on the air, WCAL-FM, Northfield, Minnesota, and edited for new T.V.
Rhythms of Vision as in Face Off.
Recognition Peter Stenshoel, mandolins, vocals. Dedicated to Miriam Stonehill. Recorded 1986-7.
Strangely Colored Taps (P. Hey) Air: Anthony Cox, bass; Phil Hey, drums, plastic pipes; Mark Maistrovich, electric guitar; Peter Stenshoel, piano. Recorded c. 1977 live in concert, probably at the Guild for Performing Arts, Minneapolis.