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One hot and muggy evening in the late summer of 2013 in Boulder, Colorado, Anne came over to record in the little basement studio at my house. The idea was to track a vehement and spirited version of her spoken-word song Prisons of Egypt --based on the traditional spiritual, Go Down Moses. As the vicissitudes of recording often dictate, she had been trying to get a good recording of it for a little while. But had been performing it live in various ways for a bit. At the earnest behest of Lenny Kaye, who'd heard her perform it live, she was again eager to finally try and give it another go.

We had just finished working together at the frenetic and fast-speaking whirlwind of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program (SWP), and she asked if we could maybe give it a shot at my place -- as her usual producer and collaborator, Ambrose Bye, was back in NYC tending to their record label, Fast Speaking Music. I had been collaborating with the both of them on various projects for Fast Speaking Music and the SWP but I really didn't know exactly how to approach the session. I thought perhaps I would try it on piano, but Ambrose had performed it on guitar, as had Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene). I wanted to track this live (as Anne works better with spontaneity) without headphones and guitar just seemed to be called for.

The session was a quick one, we did three live takes and the third was the best; everything was recorded live to two separate tracks, each mic bleeding over into the other, no overdubs, no punch-ins, clicks or headphones. Anne was quite dynamic and charged in her performance, going from a crooning falsetto to a spitting yowl, playing with her phrasing, improvising and injecting her inimitable vibrato right and left, while I tried to make my sweaty fingers hold down a solid Lenny Kaye worthy guitar vibe. After, she proceeded to record a quick spoken-word piece and that was that, we left unusually satisfied with the 8 minute, freewheelin', rock & roll pronunciamento against some of the current states-of-things nowadays. An old hollow-body guitar thru a little Fender amp and Anne's big, lyrical heart & howl.


released October 11, 2013
Words/vocals: Anne Waldman
Guitar, mixing, production: Max Davies
Music: traditional based on Go Down Moses; arranged by Ambrose Bye, Anne Waldman and Max Davies.



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Max Davies

Musician, producer, songwriter Max Davies has worked with many artists, including Anne Waldman, Thurston Moore, Lydia Lunch, John Trudell,
LAPCAT, Clark Coolidge, Steven Taylor, Junior Burke, Gregory Alan Isakov, Meredith Monk & Amiri Baraka.
His music has been featured in several films, on numerous releases. A fashion show for Milla Jovovich and awarded by the American College Dance Festival.
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