"Another diary-novella chapter of patiently constructed song/mantras which finds Ben yet again trademarkedly ballet-ing 'tween the Chuckle, Cry, and Groove circles near the center light of our life-sized Venn diagram ~ (this intersection zone is called “Ben’s Zone”, the shape of which, called “Ben’s Textile Cone Shape”, similar to a tesseract, is invisible though conceptualize-able.
Once outlined for you by The Ben Varian Approach (Ben’s live group and also An Approach), you’ll become suddenly very aware of various formerly secret, mundane, and now fascinating details like the brand name of your toilet, the joy of pumping gas, the secret delight of pickles with peanut butter etc.
This album - the Fifth to come out in this format? is titled Quiet Fill. Aptly! - (in all the time I’ve known BV I’ve never seen a demonstration of any titular or musical IN-apt-ities (you should see this drummer bowl!)) - it includes a real sweet cast of auxiliary contributions, all helping to hold up (and down) the wanders, which are this time at times notably more solidified structurally in some deliberate upright Hollywood Nilsson / S. Dan typeaway, drifting into some Miles grooves n bite sized sound painting/doodles punctuated here n there with the soulful rhythmic riff brain dancing home orchestra hits .. stepping in the attitudinally parallel cont’d footsteps of Hosono, pop Eno, David Berman, Carole King, (I put em in my personal list of lyrical masters whether he’d like that or not!)
Modest and sidelined, Ben’s always demonstrating the longer-lasting benefits of subtle honest life-as-art living-writing over contrivance or gesture (“when it’s cold I shiver / when it’s hot I sweat / I brace myself and I don’t get wrecked”) - jamming personal moments and epiphanies together paratactically to find the song they make in-between. and like these writers listed Ben’s got a singular all-inclusive self-truth vision that doesn’t seem to have fundamentally changed in any way since he started writing / playing music however long ago and shows absolutely no signs of doing so (reminder to revisit ‘Reassurance Song for Jerry Martini’ from earlier collection Potassium .. where you’ll discover a the original use of a bundle of since revisited lyrical snippets)
I’m two degrees from the original saying of this as you’ll see, but a friend said once to me : “ accidental koan response by my friend I ask "how will you change ?" he says "by trying to stay as much the same as possible" “ - Jake Tobin
Jake Tobin - Saxophone on "Butter", -Here We Go- on "Bread"
Curt Oren - Saxophone on "How To Make Coffee"
Marcus Maurice - Violin on "Bread" and "How Long Was I Out"
Tyler Martin - Trumpet On "Ben"
Josh Saul - Lap Steel on "How Long Was I Out"
Allyson Yarrow Pierce - Vocals on "How Long Was I Out"
Anna Jeter - Vocals on "Bread" and "Butter"
Liam Hindahl - Vocals and drum engineering on "How To Make Coffee" and "Not That Guy"; Vocals on "At The Navy Base"
Kevin Christopher - Vocals and drum engineering on "How To Make Coffee" and "Not That Guy"
Everything else by BV.
Recorded 2015-2016 In various houses on various machines in Olympia, Wa.
Album art and layout by Allyson Yarrow Pierce.
Thanks to River, Liam, and Kevin for letting me use all your stuff to make the whole album.
"Don't judge me."
Released on Plastic Response Records, 2017. PR45.
FACT Magazine: http://www.factmag.com/2016/12/21/ben-varian-album-quiet-fill-make-coffee/