What GORDOTRONIC is my cyber-space personal planet? I’m Gordon Raphael -musicmaker producer songwriter artist & storyteller. After New York, Seattle and London my headquarters/studio are now in Berlin. I want to thank every band and artist that’s been recording with me from Texas to Buenos Aires, Belgium to Iceland, South Africa and quite a few destinations in between. This year I have some great musical surprises in store: some incredible new artists I want to show off to the world and as well, many new songs /videos /concerts. Peace, mega-creativity unbridled & largely improvised. Thank you! PS: please sign new GUESTBOOK! so we can tell you about all the new stuff thats being released!
G. Raphael at Place Pigalle -in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Photo- Ruby James
God, I’ve carried this new notebook around since Christmas and have not writtien anything in it yet! I’m up here on my second favorite bridge in Kreuzberg, Berlin- the one that connects Fraenkelufer to the Il Cassolare Italian punk-rock pizza place- over the gorgeous little canal I walked along to get here. My first favorite bridge is the one at the far end of Görlitzer Park that looks down on the water over the little improvised circus-style trailer/houses where some brave alternative community lives and has outdoor shows in summertime.
The white fluffy cottony things were floating down all around me this sunny day as I walked past Kottbusser Tor past the needle exchange and Fix-Point and the time wearied drug-ravaged people gathered round, nursing from Berliner Pilsners till their medicine kicks in. The white fluffy cottony things come from the trees, blowing down in these warm, sun-shiney Spring days. I am coming along nicely today, smiling inside as I listen with this music player to freshly mastered versions of my own songs. I learned and discovered much in those years locked away in basements garages friend’s houses small dark rooms where I was sure that the music I was making would certainly be heard, and maybe even enjoyed loved some day by actual human beings with ears minds and hearts somewhere out there in the wide, whacked-out world.
I think I composed about 2000 songs or pieces or noise collages or ghastly symphonies- yet I seemed to never be able to take the NEXT big step to actually release them. Too scary weird too difficult risky and far too expensive. AND maybe these songs weren’t as good as the ones I might create later today, or next week!! The only actual real records I was released on as a songwriter /musician were the very fine ones that Sky Cries Mary created. I was one of seven musicians in that band, all of whom wrote the songs together quite organically. Also- my friends at ChuckieBoy released a CD of mine called Colour Twigs. Absinthee released two songs (a cover of a Cocteau Twins song, and one original called 100 Crymes) on Cleopatra Records in Hollywood, and we had one of our songs featured on a compilation of Seattle bands in the 1990’s. Yes, that’s all that’s been out there up until NOW.
I started a feverish pitch, years ago- to release ALL of my own music that I still enjoy listening to, as well as my favorite songs by all the other artists that I have produced/recorded/worked with, that never saw the proper light of day! I started with a modest list of 400 songs by 33 different artists.
A word about my Shoplifter Records. Even in the pre-Grunge Seattle days I began discovering and recording super-fine, innovative bands, aiming to start my own label Ars Divina Network to showcase these talents. Green River- (which later branched into both Mudhoney and Pearl Jam), Soundgarden, Bundle of Hiss, Serious Dark Angels and Feast were some of the first rock bands that I recorded and wanted to sign, promote and release. There was also a very great project from my friend Tor Midtskog called The Violet Caste that I loved quite brightly.
Young G. Raphael was extraordinarily scattered however and no good at all in the art of getting organized or business or money matters; so I never really got it together. Instead I got involved with some friends setting up a recording studio/ music gang/ crash pad, housing project in an old church in Ballard, the Ars Divina church of bands, artists, suave characters and general punkrocker freaks. This live in art project took an immediate and funky dive towards chaos discord, creating a huge mess which I definitely participated in along with a whole cast of lovely fuzzy warm characters. Just as things there seemed to really start going, (we had a film premiere party for Barb Ireland, and were recording the Urban Rhythm Unit) the church burnt down in a mysterious sad, scary very hot fire and along with melted instruments, burnt Hammond Organs, and Synthesizers turned to ash- the curtain closed on this chapter very abruptly.
The neighbors cheered when that place was gone. They hadn’t appreciated the young trampies and wasted kids jumping onto their garage roofs dancing on their automobiles with dirty boots or pissing outside after parties under the bright streetlights.
Many years later in quite a different life I moved to London and was granted funding for Shoplifter Records through Sony thanks to Mark Chung- a supercool guy who really did play bass in Einsturzende Neubauten, a Berlin based band that was always a big favorite in Seattle when I lived there. Sony offered to give me funding for any band that I could sign (wow and finally!!) I immediately went after Miss Machine, Kill Kenada, Regina Spektor and The Satellites (from Mallorca). We put out two Miss Machine singles, and had just released Regina’s mind and heart bendingly fabulous amazing and classic Soviet Kitsch when things started to disintegrate / fall apart. My so-called friend and business partner Paul selfishly embezzled all of Sony money while I was away in New York recording The Strokes First Impressions of Earth. Sony then directly canceled and dropped Shoplifter Records.
HOWEVER now, with a clearer vision and lessons learned by many days reviewing all of this energy and experience, I have a new vision new chance with GORDOTRONIC for to move forward again. Thanks for reading this and we certainly hope you find inspiration relativity & amusement here.
xx Gordon Raphael, Head Shoplifter