Steve Kretzmer's Oil Of Lavender

by Rascal Reporters

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"I was listening to [Steve Kretzmer's Oil Of Lavender] last night, and I did one of those hand gestures where I pass my hand over and past the top of my head. Some of the keyboard arrangements and time signatures are completely over my head..."
-Steve Gore, from an email to Steve Kretzmer, 2007

Rascal Reporters fans take notice: Here's Steve Kretzmer's unique 1986 solo album, freshly remastered from the original stereo mix. All five songs on Oil Of Lavender are vocal songs, which the Rascal Reporters were beginning to abandon by this time. Here, Steve can be heard cleverly plying influences from The Residents, John Lennon, early Genesis, and the Canterbury music scene, while the bubbly Casio keyboard and gurgling Yamaha synth sounds help guide these tunes into humorous waters (a fitting metaphor, perhaps, since various sea creatures surface often in Lavender's lyrics). Only a handful of the completed cassettes were ever given out, but an unofficial CDR release in the late 90s, plus website streaming ten years later, helped this unheralded gem gain a following. A previously unissued bonus track has been included with this download, made up of some nutty radio spots he taped for WJCO-AM (where much of Oil Of Lavender was recorded) during this period.

"I originally intended Oil Of Lavender to be released under the pseudonym Kobolds. Instead, it ended up being by Steve Kretzmer. I find it hard to remember all the details, but I'm sure I used a Casio keyboard, Yamaha synthesizer, Maestro unit, bongos, recorder and melodica on these tracks. Beyond that, I'm not sure what I did! There are no drums because I didn't have access to a kit in Jackson, Michigan, where the bulk of it was recorded. However, I think it's rhythmically astute, and hope to heck that you enjoy it!"
-Steve Kretzmer, 2013

credits

released December 10, 2013

Steve Kretzmer - instruments, voices, lyrics, compositions

Original recordings engineered and mixed by Steve Kretzmer,1985/86
Artwork and archival music engineering by Brian J Donohoe

The music contained in this digital download was originally recorded on analogue equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, this digital music file can reveal limitations of the source tape.

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Rascal Reporters Detroit, Michigan

Based in suburban Detroit, the cellar-dwelling perfectionists known as the Rascal Reporters released seven official albums & one 45rpm single from 1980 to 2008. Hebbardesque Records is pleased to present even more music from this unique duo's reel-to-reel archive via Bandcamp. ... more

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Track Name: The Nixie
Grand Traverse bay
the edge of recession
the fossils the shore
her fondest expression
she wants to go back
but can't find her way
a water sprite's fancy
the rule of the day
a fish woman's haven
an eloquent life
dependent on nothing
the seafaring wife
she knows how the ocean
caresses its young
a sprite of the water
a fable well sung
oh where oh where has the nixie gone to
oh where oh where can she be
the queen of the ocean
the pride of the sea
oh where oh where can she be...

Nixie nixie
she's on the shelf
no no no no lady elf
barrier reef homestead green
pixie promenade the scene
wrapped in oceanic lore
nixie shirk the human core
woman fish fish filet
in the San Francisco bay
is she human is she sprite
starlight on the river bright
when you wish upon a star
makes no difference who you are...
Track Name: Marionetta
The sculptor built a wooden doll
with strings of tainted wire
an image of a girl who long
ago was his desire
the heart a lonely hunter
overcome with living beauty
a common yet degrading
curse of shyness in his duty
though would he not have spoken
but to heal the spirit broken
and in the castle workshop
on a table flat and fine
the puppet lay incarnate
with a beauty to inspire
while sad emotions now consume
the sculptors dying mind
for wood to flesh
is water from the lacrimal empire
he bends to kiss
soft wooden lips
and cries for love unspoken
his tears drip on to oaken eyes
a salty sadness broken
sculptor old and sorry
with his head atop the table
in death now he shall never see
the wooden doll as flesh to be
Track Name: Something's Getting Into Our Bed
Something's getting into our bed
furry and a trifle hard
all of knowledge couldn't help
even if we're out of our heads
close the door
put on the light
let us contemplate this hour
night owls guard the rodents of bed
it's a far better plan
than sleeping unaware
cast your dreams away for awhile
it won't glow in the black
and a hologram was never quite like this
what has gotten into our bed
hurry with a verbal sign
reassure me it's alright
even though we're out of our heads
trace it to another age
when solitude meant being alone
night owls guard the rodents of bed
it's a far better plan
than sleeping unaware
cast your dreams away for awhile
it won't glow in the black
and a hologram was never quite like this
something's gotten into our bed
Track Name: Tinderwood Forest
I can believe there is love
in the tinderwood forest where nymphs
have their name
casually walking a path
in the open wood
breathing the fragrances tame
if you believe it
no-one who enters the tinderwood
leaves with a care in the world
you must concede there's no meditation
which equals the peace
of the tinderwood fare
deep in the heart of this wondrous utopia
annals of truth have their name
no folly is bred in the nymphs
though mischevious
welcome to tinderwood tame
if you will heed it
enter and bask in the spirit of love
permeating the green
grace is the channel through which erudition
in tinderwood forest enhances the soul...
if you will heed it enter and bask in the spirit
of love permeating the green
grace is the channel through which tinderwood fares...
in tinderwood
Track Name: Lavender Snow
a blast of cold air
helps the lizard man sustain
bedded in pure snow
but the blankets stripped away
thinks of a hideaway
these strangers here with nothing to say
oh leave the pristine night
ships burning set to sail out of sight
and in the shadows
hunters forge unwelcome paths
and steal the lizard's pride
along with body
still the moon clandestinely
carries its weight softly
lunar man hovers divine
wake him and tell him to shine
on restless lizard fish marine kind
elemental mind
you put him there
they take the fools
desecrate the pretty
lavender snow
and in the shadows a female is lost
without husband kind
salamander straits
quite hungover come here rover
fetch me a through z
chomp your nugs and save the fishy
if I got a trench coat
to cover my lithe body
don't forget to sanction
all the fat that makes a fish head
salamander straits
even with some garlic sable
I can't get the taste
off me buds so lets go salam
all around the table
bab's and roy will join in
singing of the fable
that smoke fish makes your hair grow thin
salamander straits
quite hungover come here rover
I can't get the taste
chomp your nugs and save the fishy
if I got a trenchcoat
bab's and roy will join in
don't forget to sanction
that smokefish makes your hair go thin
salamander straits
elemental mind
you put him there
they take the fools
desecrate the pretty lavender snow
and in the shadows a female is lost without husband kind