Caveat Emperor: 4 Troubled Mind Improvisations 4 Troubled Times

by Sasha Brown

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(yes, the title is a play on words)


[Am I being clear enough? If that scares you, I get it. If you're coming here seeking to judge me on the craft of my songwriting, go have a listen to the record called Long Arc, an acoustic duo record I made with Heather Christian. It's also on my Bandcamp page]

That said, I present you with Caveat Emperor. It's 4 improvisations that I recorded April 2 & 3, 2017. Nothing more, nothing less. It's RAW. It's a peek behind the curtain at my very unhinged brain. The last few months I've spent a lot of time on the guitar working to further my quest to connect a lot of dots, tie things together, and codify musical ideas I have been working on for the last 15ish years in terms of approaching the guitar and improvisation.

The number of "mistakes" or "blemishes" or "imperfections" here are MANIFOLD (and frankly, at times laughable). I'm not presenting fully thought out ideas, or songs, or even half songs, and the execution here is ... at times shaky. Two days before making these recordings, I acquired a recording interface. A day after that, I bought Logic (recording software). These recordings are really what happened the first time I plugged my guitar (and a few effects pedals) into that to test things out. To wit, there is ZERO ENGINEERING here. No editing whatsoever, no EQ'ing, nada. This isn't for a high-fi experience. You're listening on Apple Earbuds or laptop speakers anyhow - fair trade, yeah? [But check out these Heather Christian records for hi-fi: Summer 3.4 + Cabinet]

This is just me, a guitar and a few effects pedals. All live, no edits or overdubs.

Despite all that, I humbly submit that these vignettes represent a turning point for me on the guitar. It's a little peek at where I'm going, with the CAVEAT that... I'm letting you in on recordings that I had *zero intention* of sharing with anyone while I was making them. I'd been sick/bedridden for a week and hadn't played any guitar, and Sunday night I pulled myself out of bed when the final cable that connects my new recording interface to my laptop showed up at my door.

I think there's some value and vibe here though. It's a flaming arrow shot across the bow.

FINALLY, I consider this release as a function of a digital musical tip jar - there are plenty of amazing albums available at the same price on Bandcamp (see some of them on my collection page, y'all), but this is your opportunity to literally buy me a beer (or more likely, guitar strings) in support of my upcoming works.

(...which, by the way, I think there's about 150 songs I've written in the last 6 months that I'm working on. So expect a lot more soon.)

[PS read the read track notes and lyrics sections. I'll know if you put in the effort to find the links I hid for you. Hit me up for further discussion.]


released April 5, 2017

Sasha Brown - guitar

Recorded April 2-3, 2017

©2017 sasha brown / browntownsound



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Sasha Brown New York, New York

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Track Name: [Imp. 01] GFC GFY (Emperor Reveal)
14 minutes, are you serious? i'm sad you probably won't last to the part where i play slide. gold star for you if you can. but i go through several different worlds on this one if I manage to hold your attention span for longer than 60 seconds...

i made this recording right after having a conversation with two friends about how lately all our conversations inevitably turn to matters relating to the apocalypse. and not the biblical foretelling, but the scientifically-indicated collapse of the world's food supply around 2050. that's soon, y'all. our lifetime.

Loop created and improvised over by yours truly. Recorded live, no edits or overdubs.
Track Name: [Imp. 02] Fast (Syria)
The video footage of the chlorine gas attack likely conducted by Assad's troops (following reports of conversations with Tillerson and Trump lending their "tacit" permission) makes me want to crawl out of my own skin in anger and despair for the Syrian people. (Watch here: War is atrocious, and it is particularly heinous situation in Syria. Hundreds of thousands dead, widely documented reports of thousands being tortured and dumped in mass graves - more than anyone is able to even keep a count of. (More here: / SyriaChem)

This improvisation is a reflection of what reading about these tragedies does in my brain.

Loop created and improvised over by yours truly. Recorded live, no edits or overdubs.
Track Name: [Imp. 03] Brown's Black Sabbath Blues (Strep af)
I just got over a bout of strep throat (which admittedly was my fault for running myself ragged). Broke my streak of not going to the doctor for 15 years. This is the first thing that happened when I plugged in and picked the guitar back up after about 5 days of not being able to swallow or get out of bed. Strep isn't a "difficult" sickness to endure by most yardsticks, but wow, not being able to swallow does bring its challenges and inconveniences.

I fell into this blues sketch which might take form as a real song on a future project, but in the moment I was excited to play again and wanted to stretch my legs and get real elastic on it. The loop is imperfect and I never bothered to correct it, so there's a fun dance trying to wrangle the tempo shifts every time it loops back around - sorta like trying to stay on a mechanical bull. I told you I was presenting these raw, and I wasn't joking.

It was one of those, "you know what would be be fun to play to warm up after being sick? A G fking blues" moments.

Loop created and improvised over by yours truly. Recorded live, no edits or overdubs. (OBVIOUSLY on this one)
Track Name: [Imp. 04] Emperor, We Comin For You
For some unknown reason, when I'm left alone to my own devices with no obligations or time commitments, I shift to a nearly nocturnal sleep/wake schedule. This was the last improvisation I did on the first night of picking the guitar up after having strep, and I think the clock was saying somewhere around 6am. 100% sober and nothing to wake up early for the next day - this whole play-guitar-til-you-can't-keep-your-eyes-open-anymore happens for me a lot when left alone in a vacuum (when that vacuum is a room with guitars and related musical gear). I'm gettin a little off-kilter on this but I'm putting it out here anyhow. This one feels like it has real song potential and will get revised and fleshed out into something Real down the road. / TrumpRusssia01 / TrumpRusssia2 / TrumpRussia3 / TrumpRussia4 / TrumpRussia5 / TrumpRussia6

(yes, the first one is 01 and the rest are single digits)

these are all important readings - background info, exhaustively sourced and fact-checked details on the Trump Russia situation. Take the time if you haven't already. It's a LOT to take in and put together. Hit me up with questions or if you want to discuss.

Loop created and improvised over by yours truly. Recorded live, no edits or overdubs.