The performance of Modernstate is still something ghost-like to me.
Sam Schauer has been playing music in Portland under a variety of names for years, and is considered something of staple in the independent music community. The night Modernstate recorded was a key moment in our documentation project’s history; we had booked Tranquilazer, the first band to ever play The Banana Stand, for an updated recording, along with Jippedo. Modernstate was a last minute addition to the bill, and was set to open. Sam hadn’t performed in weeks, perhaps months, and was coming in to play fresh after being out in the wilderness for a number of days. He was joined by Papi Fimbers, who was also drumming for Jippedo that night, making a dynamic combination.
The music of Modernstate is difficult to pin-down, making it difficult to passively listen to like a lot of pop music. The most accessible song – “This I Life” – is barely over a minute long and ends with a W.H. Auden quote. Loops, pedals, screaming vocals, thrashing guitars, complex beats and symbols all come together to create a sound that borders between spoke-word, psych-rock, and infectious protest songs. Modernstate’s live set might be one of the most challenging albums we’ve released compared to traditional, mainstream music, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Three years later, the album remains something I’m proud to have been a small part of helping make happen. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys serious music.
Modernstate. A Portland staple and serendipitous bookin provides an incredible live performance that delivered some of our very favorite live tracks.
Modernstate (Sam Schauer, who now plays as Sam Humans) came to the ‘Stand to play as part of a three-band bill also featuring Tranquilazer and Jippedo. David “Papi” Fimbres, playing that evening as a part of Jippedo but best known as Paper/Upper/Cuts, joined Schauer for several tracks.
Often appearing improvisational and driven by looped guitar, Schauer’s soaring vocals and, at times Fimbres’s skilled percussion, the set provided tracks that are still among our favorites. Guitar tracks, variously haunting and snarling, demand listening at ever-greater volume and provide a perfect backdrop to lyrics that are rebellious, hopeful and demanding of contemplation. ‘Stand mixer Vic Lund was a perfect choice to mix this album. Lund’s ability to enhance an already exceptional performance has created a live release that we think you’re going to love.
Sam Schauer was making music long before The Banana Stand recorded him. Now, almost three years since he recorded here, he continues to deliver exceptional content as Sam Humans and The Light (also with Fimbres). We feel privileged to have documented this facet of the Portland scene. With Modernstate – Live from the Banana Stand, we’re proud to offer a release that preserves a moment-in-time in the development of Schauer’s sound forever.
Modernstate – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on August 29th, 2008 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Vic Lund. Tony Ong handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography by Jott Robertson and the original show poster by Aaron Robert Miller. The Banana Stand would like to thank Modernstate (Sam Schauer and Papi Fimbres) and all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.