We are The Bran Flakes and we are very happy that you came to visit us. We have many fun things for you. We hope our music brings you smiles and dreams of happy things. We like to scour records and tapes for aural delights and we believe that every record has at least ONE redeeming quality, maybe a snare drum or a man yelling "buttermilk," a bird chirping or a crispy bit of record crackle, and we try to mix them into something new in hopes of conjuring up happy memories of your first kiss, the experience of getting a new puppy or the childhood excitement of going to the fair and having cotton candy on a cool autumn day. The Bran Flakes live performances transform into a circus, with audience participation, dancing animals and video collage.
'Hey Won't Somebody Come And Play' is the first CD released by the team of Mildred Pitt and Otis Fodder. In 1999 upon release on the bay area based Ovenguard Music label, the disc charted in the top 200 on the CMJ charts and was (and hopefully still is) a little treasure at college stations across the nation. In 2003 the CD was reissued by The Bran Flakes own imprint label Happi Tyme Records.
Looks like the big FMU hit of the month from the adventurous and always entertaining Ovenguard CD-R label from California, whose two compilations were heavily played here last fall. The Flakes are the duo of Rev. Otis M. Fodder and Sir Mildred Pitt, utilizing loopy breaks and samples from kids/exercise/sex-ed/general instructional records. Gotta love 'I Am a Groupie', 'Strawberry Simmons' (as in Richard) and 'I Am So Very Glad That You Are My Friend.'
The Bran Flakes are Otis Fodder and Mildred Pitt, from Seattle WA. 'Hey Won't Somebody Come and Play?' is their third record. The technique of the record's construction is revealed inside the CD booklet - Made entirely with two 486 computers, 200 megs of hard drive, a box of zip discs, several turntables, boom boxes, cassette decks, and an answering machine. And about 3000 records and cassettes. I love The Bran Flakes. I have loved them since I first heard their debut record, given to me by Bob of the promo agency Triage, who was not even representing them. What I love about 'Hey Won't Somebody Come and Play?' is that they have not changed a thing. While bands I used to adore (such as DJ You, DJ Me or Messer Chups) cleaned up and prepared their sound for a wider audience, The Bran Flakes new record is an odd as ever, and is perhaps less accessible than past releases. They are not a noise band, or playing some obscure niche music. why I say it is less accessible is because they put pieces on their records that will make some people uncomfortable. There are several songs about religion that will offend people. There is the song Let's Play That Record On Sex Again that will make anyone that isn't familiar with The Bran Flakes methods uncomfortable. But there are many segments that are way too good to miss. The music from another planet - 2:33 - An announcer describes his experience with people from other planets over a bed of jazzy easy listening music from the 50s on a scratchy LP. The segment ends with the announcer saying 'these 2 selections are interpretations taken from the actual music that has come to me from another planet.' Song 2 starts immediately at this point. They're laughing at me - 1:20 - A bunch of things laced together with tremolo background music. 'I'm just naturally crazy' is one of the things i hear a man saying - Now you can play along with us (Seque I) - 0:10 - a brief intro to the next song, taken from a children's record. - You can never go home again (2148) - 1:38 - Music from a movie I can't quite identify (Maybe Planet of the Apes?) and a character saying 'We're all going to hell as far as I'm concerned' make up this collage piece. The track ends with a snippet from a child's song. Cinder - 2:08 - 'I know there's someone waiting somewhere' is sung by two different artists on top of several music snippets and voice samples. - Dale - 0:12 - a redneck tells someone how awful current music is - Oh Don Ho - 0:30 - Tiny Bubbles is sung by Don Ho with tweaks added. - Speak to me through your shoes - 1:26 - Oscar the Grouch starts the song off. Many pieces appear in this old time jazz song. - Now you can play along with us (Segue II ) - 0:24 - A different segment by the same women who told children how to make their own instruments in track 3 - Marcy and Joey - 0:41 - An old Carl Stalling styled tune is played with as cartoon voices react to the damage caused to the song. - Hey won't somebody come and play? - 0:31 - A child singing about how he wants someone to come and play with him is treated to playing by The Bran Flakes - This Sound - 1:58 - 'Whenever you hear this sound, you will know that it is time to turn the page' becomes a scary proposition when you hear the cacophony that is the page turning sound. - Feelings - 2:27 - The wordless vocal, upbeat shopping music, and instruction by a relaxation instructor make this one really fun. - Let us praise Him children! - 4:35 - Divided into three sections: A) I love you, B) God is different things to different people, and C) Jesus he wants to go to Venus. the first of several tracks which focus on religion. In section A a little boy sings a song of love to his parents, his teddy bear, and many other things. In section B many samples from TV and film show the uglier side of man. I recognized Don Knotts (who taken out of context COULD sound like a firebrand) and backing music from the ELO song Eldorado. Section C is based on the Elton John song, and incorporates a space mission countdown. - Sunglasses, a gun, and distance - 1:27 - Lots of things patched together. I recognize dialog from the night dwelling character Matthias in the film The Omega Man. You can also hear Charlton Heston machine gunning against the undead, and the spunky gal on the motorcycle who rescues him after he is captured. - L'inverno - 6:20 - Divided into five sections: A) A missionary and his violin, B) Vivaldi comes alive, C) Step every time the music steps, D) Delightful afternoon, and E) Sometimes the wind blows. Section D includes the song Afternoon Delight, and section E uses several Claudine Longet songs including Snow. - Persuasive conditioning - 3:33 - A lecture on the methods used in church to persuade, delivered by an announcer, with church organ providing the music in the background. - Sound smack dab in the center - 1:28 - An old ad for Admiral Stereo extols the virtues of this brand new piece of audio gear. A children's song is used as the audio example. - Let's play that record on sex again - 2:07 - Dialog between a sex ed. instructor and a little girl he is explaining the facts of life to in a very neutral tone filled with facts. As you listen, you realize he is straying from the facts, particularly as he talks about how women act during menstruation. - Go go up! - 1:26 - One of my favorite segments on the disc. I like the music, which has a beat and some neat rhythms. The voices are looped and set up into a clever package. - You can be my monkey - 1:38 - A little girls laughs as a monkey chatters, a rooster crows, and other animals speak. The segment also has Fred Flintstone in it. Riddle - 1:36 - Accompanied by music, a little girl tells us a riddle (the CD booklet asks 'Can you guess the riddle?'). Here is the riddle: I am in the middle. I must tell a riddle. I'll tell about my friend. But my friend has no feet. My friend comes to my house. But my friend never comes inside. My friend goes up. My friend goes right. my friend goes down. - One coordinate at a time - 1:32 - Dialog from a space travel show and music, none of which I recognize. - Strawberry Simmons - 1:52 - The children's show Strawberry Shortcake meets an exercise session with Richard Simmons. A brief appearance by the Bacharach song Do You Know the Way to San Jose is there too. - Brain Flakes (Edit no. 7) - 0:19 - Information has to get into your brain - Sample some effects - 0:15 - obnoxious body sounds in a quick collage. - Learning about love - 2:26 - Spirit of '76 styled flute playing is combined with other whimsical tunes over what sounds like the beat to MJ's Billie Jean. - Glory - 0:23 - A little girl talks. - Fibrillating - 1:29 - What sounds like an OSHA training video is looped as the medics apply the defibrillator again and again to someone whose heart has stopped. - Follow the groove modulations - 1:17 - Many paths as we are told to 'follow the groove modulation' by various folks. - Take a bomb on an airplane - 1:46 - Is it a poet reading his poem? It sounds like that but I don't know. There is music below composed of many odd bits, of course! - Praise the Lord - 1:18 - An announcer for a religious radio station talking about a band. A segment of Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition appears. - I am a groupie - 2:12 - My favorite track on the disc. This is the one I will play first to anyone who wants to hear this disc. Who is the girl proclaiming her joy at being a groupie? - John Caligua - 0:16 - an actual phone message from a hardware store became this segment because of the guys last name and it similarity to the name Caligula. - Relax - 1:23 - A vocoder robotic voice rhythmically speaking to the accompaniment of a beat. - Why can't my dolly have a birthday party? - 5:14 - The longest single track on the disc, though it goes so far all over the place that it could have been a collection of segments. It starts with some passionately asking us to pray to god for help to fight this evil music. It then moves through a quiet section with distant crying, until a little girl ask the question that makes up the title. - The hello show - 2:09 - I love it when Bran Flakes do this! Similar to the track Bottoms on the last Bran flakes CD 'Bounces.' An assemblage of many folks saying 'hello.' There are lots of voices you will recognize. - Collage collage - 2:48 - At first it sounds like a Negativland track as it talks about copyright infringement, but ultimately it is all Bran Flakes - lots of fun. - I'm so very glad you are my friend - 4:12 - This track does not set out to make any statement. It is just an entertaining closer to a record that must have taken SO MUCH time and effort to construct. - Carl
No-Fi Magazine, 2003
The geniuses behind The Bran Flakes have done it again... well...they did it before, i should say, as this is a reissue of their first release using computers, turntables, boom boxes, cassette decks and even an answering machine. I don't listen to, well,... any electronica, and I listen to very little music with electronics so I think that makes me the perfect candidate to review this CD. Believe it or not there are 39 tracks on this one and it all runs together like one continuous track. You could easily listen to this entire thing in one sitting on a set of headphones, or you could dance the night away to it in a dark club. And there is so much going on here at all times that you could never possibly get bored. I don't know if this is totally accurate, but I would have to say that The Bran Flakes are little bit Residents and a little bit Chemical Brothers and a little bit Mr. Bungle. This is music that you must experience for yourself. There are some of the best samples on this CD that I have ever heard and they just keep on coming. You may even recognize some. So go get this immediately. This might be one of the best CDs you've never heard. - Quin