James Ferraro

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I've been browsing the deep ends of YouTube and finding all these bizarre, lo-fi instrumental albums that are weirdly addictive and strangely beautiful (Marble Surf and Clear are my two current obsessions right now). He released something like 50 albums in 2008 and 2009 alone, how does he do it? And does anyone have recs for his current stuff? I need answers!

frogbs, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:38 (two years ago) Permalink

the Ferraro I've really gotten into has been Far Side Virtual and the Condo Pets EP, which are definitely of an ilk. Vaporwave, but not annoyingly so, and in fact the songs themselves are pretty catchy if you let them be.

The other thing I like by him is a live track from Primavera 2012 -- and it's basically easy listening trance, with tropical sounds. Nothing like the above records(and a mile away from his lo fi pop stuff). Haven't really dug most of the new stuff by him I heard, but have to at least grant him versatility.

Dominique, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:44 (two years ago) Permalink

not a fan of his vaporwavey stuff

but LAST AMERICAN HERO from ~2009 is spectacular! lo-fi spaghetti western stillness into slow chugging ascension into zen garden tranquility

brimstead, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:48 (two years ago) Permalink

doesnt really make sense to zing him with "weather channel music", that's a whole different thing

brimstead, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:49 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah his version of vaporwave is actually a lot more creative than most of what I hear -- mix of various 80s/90s/00s moods and sounds formed into actual songs, as opposed to just looping a weather channel sample. It's impressionistic/nostalgic without referencing any one thing in particular

Dominique, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:53 (two years ago) Permalink

actually, i do like the song on far side virtual with the virtual sushi bar and richard branson's avatar saying hello

brimstead, Thursday, 30 June 2016 19:56 (two years ago) Permalink

his output as 'james ferraro' is pretty consistently in the vein of hypno-mario paint-muzak (and mostly good) but if you like marble surf and clear you should check his band skaters. one release that sticks out is a proto-trap thing he did as bebetune$.

Yelploaf, Thursday, 30 June 2016 20:05 (two years ago) Permalink

Last record I heard from him was SKID ROW and I dig it. It has the sleaziest vibe. He sounds like Trent from the animated show Daria sometimes, but I think it's meant to be satirical, so the style of delivery works for the record.

davey, Friday, 1 July 2016 02:18 (two years ago) Permalink

I just ordered the Rerex 3xLP. It's not an especially easy listen, but seems to be pretty amazing, in a kind of lo-fi, collaged, minimalist cut up kind of way

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYtISNqxTjQ

https://www.discogs.com/James-Ferraro-Rerex/release/8592704

neilasimpson, Friday, 1 July 2016 08:52 (two years ago) Permalink

white bronco off skid row is awesome

nxd, Friday, 1 July 2016 08:59 (two years ago) Permalink

he should play james franco in a movie

oculus lump (contenderizer), Friday, 1 July 2016 12:13 (two years ago) Permalink

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CmTctquUcAIIi_Z.jpg

brimstead, Friday, 1 July 2016 20:01 (two years ago) Permalink

been enjoying his stuff for a good while but the new one, Human Story 3, is a real level up imo. Just so engaging - when I first heard that computer-voice thing I reacted kinda "haven't we done this enough?" but he maintains it through the whole album, with lyrics/orations that are genuinely absorbing...although I love to listen to the sort of lo-fi aQ-list ambient that's been plentiful for the last 10 years or so, a lot of it often feels kinda lightweight -- fun, but forgettable. but Human Story 3, wow -- it's so focused and incredible to me

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 2 July 2016 14:32 (two years ago) Permalink

Listening to this now, and I'd be tempted to agree. This sounds like the aesthetic of FSV, but transferred to a symphonic form. On first listen, impressed that this music is actually interesting, and not just "guy tries his hand at making fake classical music". My main question at this point is how much the MIDI-instrumentation matters here in the overall experience -- ie, would this be as good with a real orchestra? The obv digital sounds, and stilted, quantized feel are part of the expression imo. Still, it's engaging, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this guy showing up in movie credits for scores soon...

Dominique, Saturday, 2 July 2016 15:49 (two years ago) Permalink

i thought he was already scoring overlong ads for euro fashion houses which obv > movie sdtrks

i. i thinnnnk we already had a reasonably good ferraro thread from ~ half a decade ago ii. 'last action hero' is pretty good iirc

( ^_^) (Lamp), Saturday, 2 July 2016 16:08 (two years ago) Permalink

▲ james ferraro ‣ bodyguard ▲

am0n, Sunday, 3 July 2016 00:09 (two years ago) Permalink

funny guy

flappy bird, Sunday, 3 July 2016 00:12 (two years ago) Permalink

'last american hero' rules so hard

brimstead, Sunday, 3 July 2016 02:38 (two years ago) Permalink

LOVE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hjiUWhZoIY

scott seward, Sunday, 3 July 2016 03:15 (two years ago) Permalink

Human Story 3 is sublime. That dopey P4k review makes me irrationally angry in retrospect with all the point-missing. The voices foregrounding the album's themes, for instance, don't deflate its mystery in the least. In them I hear the techno-optimistic soundtrack to a interactive educational display environment set up in a hangerlike glass building at the edge of a vast corporate campus. It's late at night, and the building has been empty for hours. Despite dimmed lights, the music and encouraging virtual guides still keep chirping away inside, extolling the glossy simulacra rotating endlessly on unwatched screens, oblivious to their isolation.

I suggest that the music's home exists in the brick & mortar real world primarily because Ferraro's compositions so often suggest mid-20th-century antecedents. Listening, I keep hearing echoes of the manic, clockwork busyness that's been used to orchestrally evoke urban industry at least since Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" ("a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness"). And it's fascinating. Somewhat short on tunes, or so it initially seems, but the constant, dazzling shift of ersatz textures is rewarding on its own, and fits of sustained brilliance do punch out through the soul-curdling alienware surface here and there. I'm presently in love with "Market Collapse", but even after several listens, I feel I've only just cracked the album's shell.

oculus lump (contenderizer), Sunday, 3 July 2016 03:25 (two years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

YEAAH!! AHHH YEAAH!! RAWWWRRR!! GIMME THE BARBED WIRE YEAH!!!

HEY YOU......RACE YOU TO THE BOTTOM!!!!

frogbs, Thursday, 28 July 2016 19:03 (two years ago) Permalink

mobile payments...

mr.raffles, Friday, 29 July 2016 15:28 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

man, the 25-track version of On Air is....something

can't figure out if this is some all-time great album or some kind of sub-Zappa nonsense, but damn do I love it

frogbs, Wednesday, 23 November 2016 20:24 (two years ago) Permalink

human story 3 is sweet, like if OPN's R Plus Seven was a bowl of lucky charms, this is just the candy bits

flappy bird, Wednesday, 23 November 2016 20:28 (two years ago) Permalink

wow didn't know there was a 25-track version

love "channel z" and "heaven's bathroom" (the latter of which does not appear to be on the remaster).. i can appreciate what he's doing on the rockier stuff but never feel like listening to it. really nails the 'bad radio transmission' sound in a way that's totally different than old ariel pink or gary war or whoever

a but (brimstead), Wednesday, 23 November 2016 21:08 (two years ago) Permalink

listening to the 14-track version now, it's totally different! I mean some tracks are basically the same, but others (especially the title track) sound like completely different recordings.

very Zappa-like, this one - all the quick cuts, sorta jokey interludes, the "waah waah waaah" vocals, etc etc

frogbs, Monday, 28 November 2016 19:24 (two years ago) Permalink

by the way I'm pretty sure "Heaven's Bathroom" actually IS on the remaster, but under a different name

so much of this is cut-and-paste, outside of the first couple of tracks and "Angels of the Night" I can't really remember what's what

frogbs, Monday, 28 November 2016 20:08 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

ok this gotta be the best press blurb I've ever seen

while your out tonight listening to records in reverse and getting off slashing tires in the night in your purple mohawk and heels sacraficing your soul to the sound all dolled up in shiny leather as a human cockroach with studs remember to pick up a copy of NIGHT DOLLS WITH HAIRSPRAY for the ultimate halloween night experience set your brain on fire with the out of this world sound from the planet airhead entertainment!!!!
AVAILABLE halloween night!!!!

the one and only blue haired new wave freakazoid from planet shock tart,the Glaminator himself Jimmy Ferraro of the legendary “The Blow Up Dolls of 143rd St.” comes now with his first solo fully produced juke box hit smasher!! guaranteed to run shivvers up the spines of all the lipstick and studded weirdos and queer night glammer’s with big hairsprayed hairdos out there. this one is for all the blow dryer dreamers somewhere out there singing in the mirror of their shampoo perfumed bathrooms beckoning a mysterious moon lit love.for the leather punkster muffins with green tongues and pockets filled with cheez whiz on the subway, where a world just outside the subway window leads to the back alleys of 143rd st. where the garbage pail kids from hell in metal bras all dolled up in New York Cities finest 99cent store eye shadow, blush and glitter sing the soundtrack to the seedy nether worlds of the teenage fantasy machine...Leather High School!! which is Saved By The Bell meets Marquis De Sade in it’s principle or shall we say in it’s male Principal who is a masochistic cross dresser underneath that pretty little socially acceptable mask of his.

tune into the sound that all the lunatic love puppets are craving, the magical pop radiance that outshines their topiary styled hairdos and made them into hopelessly romantic cheetah spotted glam dolls from the underground. armed with their glammy sound that is much like the soundtrack spilling out of a 1970’s Time square erotic/b-movie theater, they parade the night streets as TERROR THIRSTY GLAMzoids wishing upon their neon pop shooting stars, terrorizing New York City with their studs,high heels and air guitars,THIS IS THE RECORD THAT MADE THEM DO IT!!

so if you wanna sing along in a friday night’s bubble bath or stalk the midnight streets dressed as a baroque pervo in make up pick this one up, for Night Doll’s With Hairspray has it all!!!!!!!

frogbs, Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:26 (two years ago) Permalink

*promo blurb, that is

frogbs, Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:27 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Four Pieces for Mirai may be his best so far imo and I guess it's prologue to something much bigger

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 6 August 2018 14:34 (ten months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

The other thing I like by him is a live track from Primavera 2012 -- and it's basically easy listening trance, with tropical sounds. Nothing like the above records(and a mile away from his lo fi pop stuff).

just heard this and holy shit is it amazing - there are so many vaporwave albums out there that try and fail to capture this exact mood. I wonder if Ferraro felt it was too compromising or accessible.

frogbs, Monday, 31 December 2018 17:40 (five months ago) Permalink

don't know how much I wanna listen to the scores and scores of early material but "Happy HD Bengal" off iAsia is such an amazing track. the entire thing really. can't think of anything else similar

frogbs, Friday, 11 January 2019 15:39 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Just had a future shock listening to Far Side Virtual. Not in the same way as I did when it came out, the dawning realisation that the 90s could be appropriated I'm this way, but the dawning realisation that 2011 was actually a long time ago now and that this aesthetic has since been mined so much as to making the record sound like a fairly normal modern electronic album.

frame casual (dog latin), Sunday, 24 February 2019 12:34 (three months ago) Permalink

I like that Ferraro mines the sounds that everyone else stays away from - I think Skid Row captures what the early 90s really sounded like better than any other similar nostalgia project. It's not always pretty.

frogbs, Tuesday, 26 February 2019 15:08 (three months ago) Permalink


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