L. Contra was Colin Asquith’s was personal musical moniker and from time to time he’d ask Thommy Saraceno and/or myself to lend a hand with recordings and live performances. The first such collaboration was for the Villa Magica release, Christmas in Roxbury EP (2002). How exactly this record came to be was always somewhat of a mystery to me. The label, based in Geneva, was started by Steffan (the Genevan Heathen) and his father, contemporary artist John Armleder. I remember being told John had a fascination with Christmas records and he and his son wanted a handful of their friends to contribute concept albums that would be put out on their imprint. Stefan asked Colin and his roommate, Matt Foley (Jeep Jack), to throw something together and Christmas in Roxbury is what they came up with.
Basic tracks were recorded at Folsom Ave. on Halloween (see photos below) and we laid down Fender Rhodes, Arp Odyssey and Lowrey organ for a few songs at my apartment in Oak Square shortly thereafter. The image for the record cover was shot on the Folsom rooftop using my old 4×5 camera (the scale model was made by Thommy for an Hourof/ installation). Also performing on this record were Mick Malone, Katherine Aungier, Jaime Babcock, Silk Vision and Oliver Sparkelino.
Katherine and a crazy man
Winter Lives (2003) was the second project we worked on together. For this record Colin did the majority of performing and recording himself and I played drums, Arp Odyssey, and Fender Rhodes on a few songs. Luke Rocha and Eric Dahlman also made appearances. Unlike the first Villa Magica release Winter Lives consisted solely of original songs, fourteen to be exact:
Kathryn Miller, an old college friend of ours, illustrated the cover and Gary Fogelson designed the packaging.
This is something written by a friend inspired by the Winter Lives LP: “snow falls as beats drop; icicles extend downward as gentle strums drop across the guitar strings; cars execute well-rounded donuts in empty parking lots as electronics loop around your ears; the wind shrieks as horns howl; the pitter patter of squirrels on snow is matched paw for paw by calculated percussion; and all the while the steamy mixture of hot chocolate cupped in your hands is only so perfect as the masterful blend of these ingredients by the l. contra band. this is not the sound of christmas. rather, this is the ice-scraped soul of winter in all its glory.”
Colin, Thommy and I played a few shows together as the L. Contra Band:
Ho-Jo’s / setup
L. Contra, Thommy, Michael
Eric Dahlman, L. Contra, Thommy / Michael, Frank
Grand Champions Forever and Ever, Office Ops, Brooklyn, May 6, 2004:
The weekend of the Grand Champions show was, in the words of Patrick Rocha, “to the max.”
Franklin Peppermint Gallery, NYC, January 13, 2005:
load-in & setup
Michael & John Breiner, crowd
Jordan came out to this
Colin Asquith, Eric Dahlman, luke rocha, Thommy Saraceno
East River, post-show