A purchase of this album includes a digital download of a companion 72-page 12"x12" full-color art book that we're really proud of. It includes our artwork accompanying every song on the album, lyrics, full credits, and band art from friends we adore. We believe the album and art book are best enjoyed together!
A physical version of this art book is available under MERCH.
released December 16, 2018
All songs written by PRINCESS SEISMOGRAPH.
Produced, engineered, and mixed by JHEREK BISCHOFF, who also arranged all the strings and percussion.
Recorded at the Nakamal, with overdubs at Finn's house, 2011-12.
The band (Helen America, Caitlin Rippey, and Jay Thompson) played ukulele, grand piano, twelve-string and six-string acoustic guitars, electric guitar, Casio keyboard, Boss PS-3, percussion frog, music boxes, pipa, knuckles, tambourine, Reason theremin, soprano and tenor recorders, and voices. Other players were Jherek Bischoff, Kaia Chessen, Jason Webley, Sarah Shay, Aaron Shay, and Sam Henly. See each song's info for specific credits.
Thanks to the Bischoff family for the hospitality, and Apple Bischoff for woojums.
~ ~ ~
In 2008, three friends performed their first show in a house somewhere in Seattle. They carried ukuleles, egg shakers, pre-rehearsed dance moves, some ebullient and mystical songs packed with arcane avant-garde whimsy, a small plastic horse, and a round hand-lettered sign that said “Dainty And Authoritative”. The earth moved; mountains fell into the sea; the crowd was entranced, amused, afraid, and rack’d with wonder; and Princess Seismograph was born.
For the next few years, Jay Thompson (of Eleven Saints fame: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP21zUrMh7s)
, Cait Rippey (doctor, cartoonist, and Hockey Star: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su_8mRY-vh4)
, and Helen America (Strawberry Ghost: www.strawberryghost.com/secret-life/02012012/)
continued to perform house shows for a small but passionate network of fans in Seattle, as well as collaborating on comics and artwork. The performance art of their shows became ever more complex; Helen would wear a face-covering cardboard mask consisting of the words “The Man” in black letters and brandish an enormous rainstick while Cait drew abstract shapes in red lipstick on Jay’s face and slowly dropped scrabble tiles, one by one, from her mouth. A loyal audience developed callbacks to specific parts of songs. In the rocking emotional climax of a multi-genre medley, the crowd would be as one, clapping and singing along to the exuberant exclamation “All these dudes are friends! These men are friends!”
After one show at the Beery House, Princess Seismograph was approached by an enthusiastic fan who asked if they were working on an album; and from that point on, they were. A 2012 Kickstarter campaign provided the funds to bring Princess Seismograph to eternal life, in the form of a full-color glossy art book and an accompanying recording of their twelve most beloved songs. The band approached composer/producer Jherek Bischoff, who oversaw the recording and mixing process, in his own inimitable style, and played multiple instruments on the record. Jason Webley came by one weekend with a glockenspiel in addition to his accordian, Kaia Chessen laid down some celestial cello parts, and a host of other friends contributed miscellaneous instrumentals and riotous backup vocals.
From the beginning, the plan was to make a book - it wouldn’t be a true Princess Seismograph creation without comics and visual art corresponding to every song. Cait, Jay and Helen made drawings, paintings, block prints, and collages in a kaleidoscope of styles. Cartoonists Maria Sputnik, Sean Michael Robinson, and Cody Anderson contributed pages, and the creators of Zebratron drew an eight-page crossover entitled “Princess Seismograph meets Zebratron” that makes the centerpiece of the 64-page book. The art, like the music, oscillates between the sweet and the sinister in a sparkling confetti of ideas.
Ten years in the making, six years past the intended release date, printed in a dizzying cavalcade of colors, recorded in a circus of communal poetics, brimming with elastic weirdness and childlike sorcery - this, at last, is Princess Seismograph.