New York Multi-Instrumentalist Sal Cataldi (aka Spaghetti Eastern Music)
Partners with Alaskan Playwright/Poet Mark Muro for
a Triptastic Slam of Storytelling and Genre-Skipping Sounds
New York/Anchorage, January 7, 2020 – It’s a sonic funhouse that draws upon everything from Fripp & Eno ambience and Krautrock space explorations to 70s Miles Davis funk-jazz-noise bromides, acoustic folk and baroque classicalism, all to season a world of surreal spoken word ruminations. These narratives explore scenes that are as varied as their musical backings – dramas, large and small, that take on “big think” spiritualism, romance, lust, obsession, death and the petty splendors of daily existence – with recitations that are part Eric Bogosian hyper-monologue, Bukowski/Henry Rollins poetry slam and, occasionally, a little un-PC Rudy Ray Moore party record bawdy.
Welcome to the world of Vapor Vespers, an edge- and button-pushing transcontinental collaboration between acclaimed NYC & Hudson Valley-based multi-instrumentalist Sal Cataldi (aka Spaghetti Eastern Music) and Alaskan playwright, actor and slam poet Mark Muro.
Drawing inspiration from music-powered spoken word icons like John Cooper Clarke, The Last Poets, Lord Buckley, Joe Frank, Henry Rollins and beat god Jack Kerouac, and the O.G. of monologues, Ruth Draper, the Vapor Vespers are unwrapping their ambient, industrial, funk, fuzz and jazz noise-flavored brew with One Act Sonix, a 13-track collection now available for digital download, streaming and in CD via CD Baby, Spotify and other services (Bad Egg Records, 4005).
Cataldi and Muro’s partnership goes back to when they met in their teens in Queens, New York. Here, in the heart of blue-collar New York City, they formed a lifetime friendship and creative bond over a steady diet of Carvel Flying Saucers ice cream sandwiches, Sundew Jungle Juice, Sun Ra, Henry Miller, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and the original spoken word recordings of the 50s and 60s from Caedmon Records.
A longtime denizen of the New York City and now Hudson Valley/Woodstock music scenes, guitarist/keyboardist Cataldi is most recently known for his solo project, Spaghetti Eastern Music. Here Cataldi fuses Eastern beats, Spaghetti Western film soundtrack ambience, Krautrock spaciness and psychedelic and funk/fusion flavored electric guitar instrumentals with gentle acoustic vocal songcraft, straight out of the John Martyn/Nick Drake songbook. Time Out New York writes: “Cataldi’s largely instrumental, Eastern-influenced jams are infused with some delicate guitar work and hauntingly moody atmosphere,” while The New York Times proclaims he has “a beat unmistakably his own.” Called “truly excellent” by The Village Voice, “a jazz virtuoso without the need to prove it” by Aquarian Weekly, “beautiful and unique” by WFUV’s Mixed Bag, “wonderfully melodic and off-center” by WFMU and “part Sergio Leone fever dream, part Ravi Shankar raga, a whirling dervish of musical creation” by Hudson Valley One, Cataldi keeps up a steady schedule of performances at leading venues in the Big Apple and the Hudson Valley.
Bronx-born Mark Muro has been a cultural force in Anchorage, Alaska since relocating in the mid-1980s. His short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies including North of Eden and The Anchorage Daily News and he has produced and performed in a series of one-man shows including The Bipolar Express, Indistinct Chatter and Not Marketable at theaters including Cyrano’s and Out North, and also at the annual Alaska One-Minute Play Festival. Muro has acted in numerous independent films and commercials, performed standup comedy, represented the state of Alaska in The National Poetry Slam. He also served as host of the PBS radio show, Stage Talk. His newest one-man show, Bug Boy: Curse of the Ant Queen, premiered in November 2019 at Anchorage’s Cyrano’s Theater.
- Timbuktu – Over Cataldi’s atmospheric soundscape of percolating synths, chunky Pagan drums, distant bells, gnat-like buzzes and bebop guitars, Muro sets a scene of early explorers on a long hot trek across the desert in Mali;
- Bottomless Seafood Surprise – A trip-phonic, industrial-seasoned monologue about a woman preparing some fresh seafood, and herself (stripped down to an apron with a giddy-up horse illustration) for what she hopes will be a romantic dinner-at-home. Will they, won’t they? Will the fish that talks to her from the sizzling frying pan have any clues? Listen and learn…
- In the Lap of the Drooling Buddha – Double-dipped wah wah funk of 70s Miles “Agarta” vintage propels a self-examination into the disconnections of virtual desires as a mechanism of social control, the eternal battle between the spiritual, the sexual and the material;
- The Bells – Funerial atmospheric jazz, a lamentation over a dead pet bird, unrequited lust for hunky workmen and another famous cake left out in the rain;
- Her Lemon Peel Raincoat (Because It’s Raining) – A 7th inning stretch solo instrumental from Cataldi in his Spaghetti Western style, 7+ minutes of ambient, orchestral nature sounds, with a hallucinatory bed of slippery eBow guitar Frippery, and Django-like acoustics and children on the loose in a summer storm;
- Birthday and Bubble Squared – Solo spotlights for Muro. The first a swinging and surprising riff on the dead over a Krupa beat; the latter, a nod to the Velvet Underground’s “The Gift,” two out of sync recitations of the same poem about life of the party circuit;
- Headrest – The dreamy album closer, string quartets and otherworldly electronica, with cameos by the Dalai Lama, Pablo Picasso, Richard Nixon, Pol Pot, Rin Tin Tin and Lee Harvey Oswald getting drunk with Marilyn Monroe;
- The Meatcleaver and the Butterfly (My Penis) – Following in the hilariously boastful tradition of rapper Mickey Avalon’s 2006 “My D**k,” this is an award-winning slam poetry favorite of Muro’s from the un-PC, pre-Me Too ‘90s. It’s a haughty, tongue-in-cheek ode to the philosophical vicissitudes of a fellow’s sometimes grandiose, sometimes flagging image of his manhood, Shakespearean soliloquy over a funk & noise groove;
- Maisey Hot and Humid — The flip side/equal bawdy time for women, a swanky wah wah porno soundtrack to a three-part rant of femme fantasies by a sensuous Russian pal, Siberian Sadie.
One Act Sonix was recorded and engineered by Sal Cataldi about the studio aboard his houseboat in Port Washington, Long Island, Houseboat Garlic Knot Studios, and Sonic Garden Studios in West Saugerties, New York (1/4 mile from the legendary Big Pink house made famous by The Band). All tracks were mastered, and several remixed, by Grammy-winning engineer Bob Stander at Parcheesi Studios.