The Portland Funbook is back for its third annual installment. Assembled by Drew Marshall of Psilo Design, the wildly hallucinatory 11" x 17" coloring book is graced with illustrations, crosswords, mazes, and word searches by legions of Portland's finest artists and designers, and amounts to a wonderful rainy-day companion, a sort of Highlights for Portlanders. Like the second volume, Funbook 3 comes with a 7-inch containing one-minute-long, unreleased tracks by an all-star roster of local bands, including the Thermals, Au, LKN, Climber, Parenthetical Girls, Reporter, Mustaphamond, Panther, the Joggers, and the three interviewees below, who talked with the Mercury about their approach to making 60-second songs:
E*ROCK: I think I called it "Fire Flower" because the drum bank I was using had "fire" in the name, and I had a sort of 8-bit tom sound that I was trying to make into a jump sound, like something out of Super Mario Bros. I made it fairly quickly, originally because my friend, Ian, in Tokyo contacted me the same week and asked for a 60-second track for an animation he was doing for, like, Alfa Romeo (or something like that, don't ask me to remember brand names). I came up with a simple beat and improvised on a synth line, basically the first thing that came into my head... I like how direct it is, fairly raw with very few elements involved and I didn't have time to overwork it, so it still sounds pretty fresh to me. I'd like to do another version with a live drum kit and maybe get someone to add a guitar line that comes in after the break, and then it might be ready to put on my next album in 2009.
Cafeteria Dance Fever—"Ocular Evulsor"
CAIN HENDRICKS: We recorded it at DiG in 2005, never suspecting at the time that it would eventually worm its way onto the legendary Portland Funbook 3 comp. I could go on for hours about how brevity is the soul of wit, but I'll just say our approach wasn't affected at all.
Point Juncture, WA—"Calendar Girl"
VICTOR NASH: The song is actually an outtake from one of the first recording sessions for Heart to Elk up at Miracle Lake Studios. It was just a riff I had written with a short vocal melody and we set up the drums in the piano room because we wanted them to sound big. We just sort of tracked a couple extra minutes of the guitar and drums thinking we'd flesh out the arrangement with more vocals or more something later on. But we never did... I'm really happy it's being used because it's a great song, but it was never going to see the light of day until Drew and Psilo Design came along with their good constraints. Musicians should let graphic designers tell them what to do more often. Good layout and economy of design is very musical, and releasing records on CD has let bands like ours get away with too many seven minute-long songs (they're fun).
Celebrate the release of the Portland Funbook 3 at Holocene on Monday, December 1, with Mustaphamond, Cafeteria Dance Fever, Flaspar, DJ Ghostdad, and more. Admission includes a copy of the Funbook and 7-inch for $9.