Make A Rising: Rip Through the Hawk Black Night

HT005 - Make A Rising

Make A Rising - Rip Through the Hawk Black Night

  1. Look at My Hawk
  2. Song for Dead Nickie
  3. When Moving West
  4. Plastic Giant
  5. Pun Womb
  6. I’m Scared of Being Alone
  7. Lovely it May Seem
  8. Lonesome in the Skiff
  9. Expired Planet Download Expired Planet
  10. Partial Thoughts

Features contributions from Nate Hardy, Dan Scofield, Doug Jerelmack, Sharif Abdulmalik, Kelly Kietzman, & Ben Leavitt.

Recorded and mixed by Bill Moriarty at the Old New Planet House.

Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side.
Artwork by Make A Rising and the New Planet Collective. Band photograph by Ryan Collerd.
All songs © 2004 Make A Rising.

Tunneling its way out of the West Philadelphia netherworld, Make A Rising is a band that is beyond unique. The quintet’s debut record is a swirling mix of violin, keyboard, guitars, drums, saxophone, trumpet, bells, whistles, and assorted noisemakers – all swelling together for subversively addictive pop gems. With orchestral crescendos combined with off-kilter vocals and fast-changing tempos, Make A Rising is the sound of chaos, bliss, bravado, nerves and naïveté – avant chamber rock at its most dynamic – like Daniel Johnston singing Beach Boys songs interpreted by Naked City.

Rip Through the Hawk Black Night reflects the wooly environment in which it was created. Rooted in the fertile soil that produced the Sun Ra Arkestra and the Psychadelphia wave of indie rock, Make A Rising is part of a new wave of Philadelphia outsider rock that includes bands like Man Man, An Albatross, and Need New Body. Rip Through... was recorded in the old dilapidated New Planet House by engineer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man, Buried Beds).

Concealed by layers of exposed innocence and dark humor, Make A Rising is a serious compositional enterprise that owes as much to Henry Cowell as Henry Cow. The band’s unique sound is derived from fusing progressive rock with elements of modern composition and free-jazz abandon. Make A Rising’s unique arrangements and reckless tempo shifting make the band much more exciting than other bands who attempt a similar amalgamation.

Rip Through the Hawk Black Night is a testament to the band’s emphasis on creativity. It’s not invention for the sake of invention, but rather a challenge to themselves to project ideas rather than reflect them. Make A Rising’s vocal/lyric naïveté and atypical instrumentation gives the band a unique combination of both whimsical and creepy, adding to the mysteriousness of the quintet’s product and process.The result is a diverse and challenging concept that invites as much as possible innovation in the fold.

The album-opening “Look At My Hawk” shows Make A Rising in top form. Instruments drop in and out and crescendos come and go – it’s essentially 100 minicompositions held together by a few themes in the music and gloriously layered vocals (that happen to include the lyrics that give the album its title).

The nine other compositions showcase the band tackling new territory at every turn. From the poppy wistfulness of “Expired Planet” to science-fiction-inflected “I’m Scared of Being Alone” to skronky cabaret-meets-hardcore battlefield of “Lonesome in the Skiff,” Make A Rising manages to balance its frenetic impulses with its minimalist inclinations. When a shift or turn is possible, it is taken, but not forced.

An earlier version of this album sold by the band at shows (then known as Battle for New Planet) was named one of the best local CDs of 2004 by the Philadelphia City Paper.

Reviews

PitchforkMedia {Chris Dahlen, Oct 26, 2005}
“Without sounding sloppy, the performance is ramshackle, with plenty of room sound to fade into and acoustic blind spots to jump out of, making your first listen unpredictable: breaks and free passages run longer than you expect, and the melodic, driving sections that follow leave you wary of what’s coming next. Needless to say, that’s what makes it so engaging.”

D.M.G. Newsletter {Michael A. Parker, May 2005}
I’m completely in love with this album. I keep it by my stereo at all times. I could easily write a few pages about this astonishingly original experimental chamber rock pop naive song prog cinema music, but space is limited here, so let’s do the quick-and-dirty name game. My research reveals the following major influences on these young multi-media art eccentrics from Philadelphia: The Beach Boys, The Ruins, Van Dyke Parks, Henry Cow, Cheer Accident (especially “Enduring the American Dream”), 10CC (getting into this band was the major musical turning point in life for one member), Gentle Giant, Van Morrison. “Impossible bedfellows,” you say? That’s why I said “astonishingly original”!! Here’s my best formula after months of analysis: Gastr Del Sol + ELO + Robert Wyatt’s “Rock Bottom”, all noted especially for their extremely unconventional song structure. In fact, this album is like a suite of about 20 different moods and styles in a non-repeating sequence. Though often absent for long stretches, vocals are critical; they’re boyish, charming, and earnest, sometimes accompanied by banjo or piano and sometimes decked out in fabulous harmony parts. Instrumentation in rough order of significance: keyboards, electric guitar, drumkit, bass guitar, violin, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, studio trickery.
They rock out avant-prog style in short bursts here and there, and I want to make special mention of one instrumental track that’s an absolutely orgasmic marriage of RIO and math rock, starting out with something that could almost be from Fred Frith’s “Gravity” and then moving into slashing, dramatic stop-start attacks and cross-rhythms. But that’s a bit of an exception for the album, which is pretty dreamy and drifty overall. Make A Rising is the best thing to happen to experimental pop music since Animal Collective started writing actual songs, and I’d call it the best ambitious song album since Mr. Bungle’s “California”, compared to which it’s homey, introspective, whimsical, and delicate, and without the virtuosity, bombast, quotations, or big-budget sheen, but with the same level of epic, creative, bizarre songwriting.

Time Out: New York {Hank Shteamer, Sept 2005}
“Philly’s Make a Rising can genre-splice with the best of ’em; Rip Through the Hawk Black Night traverses melancholy Beach Boys harmonies, chilly music concrète and clattery prog rock. But that’s not what makes the band special: For all their schizo tendencies, MAR’s songs maintain beautiful, compelling narrative threads that transcend any particular musical style.”

Copper Press {Christian Carey, Fall 2005}
Cooing vocals are set against bumptious piano licks, discordant electronics, and animated drumming in the psych-calliope ambiance … Make a Rising is never so obsessed with eccentricity that they can’t make memorable music along the way.

Washington Post
“The group does work more in movements than songs, and it takes a stab at just about every genre. Classical, cabaret, hardcore, prog, folk — it’s all there.”

Popmatters.com {Jennifer Kelly, Feb 2006}
“This is a beautiful, complicated mess of an album, and it gets more interesting every time you put it on.”

All Music Guide (Greg Prato}
“Picture an amalgamation of Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra Arkestra, the Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds, Radiohead, and the Flaming Lips, and you’d still only be touching the tip of the iceberg. Strap yourself in and get prepared for a wild and wooly sonic ride, especially on such standouts as “Look at my Hawk” and “Lovely It May Seem.” Make a Rising is certainly not your average band, and as expected, Rip Through the Hawk Black Night is not your average rock release.”

LMNOP {Jan 2006}
Five out of Five: “But is this great music…or is it just strange and offbeat? The truth is that…this album is a little of both.”

Named one of the best local albums of the year by Philadelphia City Paper for 2004 and 2005

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