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ØYVIND RYAN
 
PERFEKT HARMONI
Mons011/09-20N





1 Lykkelig når du er glad 3'35
2 Pupp 3'01
3 Lisa sier 2'58
4 Nyklint trut lyspære blues 0'54
5 Min 8'29
6 Elskling 3'49
7 Piano 1'13
8 Alt 5'21
9 Hoppalong 4'30
10 Blond og blid 4'45
 


The unbelievable facts!
Written in english because that's fun. Today, at least.

Recorded, mixed, arranged and produced 2004-2008 in Larsville, Stugudal by Lars Lien, Bent Sæther and Øyvind Ryan. Additional recordings in Brygga Studio (TRH) by Pål Brekkås, and in Seidwise Studios (TRH) by Burt Rocket. Mastered 2009 by Morten Stendahl in Redroom Studio (TRH).
Cover by Knut Løvås
knugunn@online.no. Photo: Oskar Yazan Mellemsether

The Band:
Even Granås - drums, guitar.
Bent Sæther - bass, guitars, percussion, background vocals,  etc
Lars Lien - piano, keyboards, background vocals
Øyvind Ryan - vocals, guitars, percussion, etc

Additional musicians:
Jostein Brå Vardehaug - tuba
Andreas Landmark - trumpet
Line Sofie Aleksandersen - vocals
Jens Stoltenberg (not the prime minister; the musician!) - oboe
Hans Magnus Ryan - stand up bass (double bass)









The recording of Perfekt Harmoni
 
2014: This record sounds as if it was recorded in a dump. And I say that as a compliment. I've heard records trying to get there, but failing, or halfway making it, plenty of times since 2009. I'm not saying ... anything.
It's nervous. And it's it's enerving. Pretty too. I'm very happy with it. Been there, done fucking that.
 

Bent Sæther, Lars Lien and yours truly begun the recordings in November 2004, in Larsville, Lars’ studio i Stugudal, in the mountains close to the Swedish border. In was winter indeed, one to two meters snow, very cold and very dark, and the days in Lars' studio became a typical submarine-like session. (The world is something that is happening somewhere else, where there's difference between night and day. It's probably in another dimension too.)
 
 After I split up with my family - not out of free will - I had nothing on my mind but that loss. This inevitably became the main theme for the words I was writing. Songs I had ready for this album of any other sort - the happy ones, or the ones that dealt with any other subject than God, how miserable I am and I still love you
- went out the window. I had never been so psyched out in a studio situation before, but with Bents help I managed to get through it.
 - Eat more, drink less!
 - Can't eat, so I have to drink.

 
 We laid down the basic tracks
to twelve songs, and even got so far as to put on some vocals and background vocals and some of the extras - percussion, keyboards, more guitars etc. A very productive session in spite of the shape I was in.
 Even Granås came by bus (yes, there is a bus route!) and stayed three days to do the drum tracks. Even is fun company (and younger than us), and his enthusiasm for things we got bored with years ago was a great booster. With him he had his Mac and lots of DVDs and videos. J Mascis and the Fog's «Everybody let's me down» was a great laugh. And the documentaries on Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons made me think of other things than my own little hell. For a couple of hours anyway.
 
 When we got home after a week i Larsville, Bent started on what would become Black Hole Blank Canvas. Motorpsycho released a record for every time I did some work on Perfekt Harmoni. It took a while. The good thing about so much time passing was that I was able to write the most concise lyrics I'd ever done. I had time to find that missing word, correct that specific sentence - and to put the record together, really together; to make a story to go along with the songs, not just an album of ten tracks, but ten separate tracks that had a link to each other lyric wise. And chronologically too! A little novel divided into ten songs. The story starts i 1997 and ends i 2006. I'd never dreamt of making a concept album (maybe had a few nightmares), but suddenly I found myself in the middle of it. It really wasn't the intention, I hate prog.
 
 During a few days in the band Seid's studio (they've got an album called Among The Monster Flowers Again!), Seidwise Studios in Trondheim, we recorded another bunch of songs. This was in 2006. So much time had passed that I had started thinking of Perfekt Harmoni as a lost record. And why not? I had to do that too! Had to have a lost record. Everybody has to. And the thing was
so f?%#ing painful to work on that I took months off
, not thinking about it at all, as if it was finished, or didn't exist. Then, out of the polka dots in my mirror, I got turned onto it again and did some more writing, sharpening things. This happened several times.
 In Seidwise we started on what I thought of as a new record - newly written songs; «Nyklint Trut Lyspære Blues», «Morgenstemning» (not the Grieg number!), a song that was a potential opener - «Sov», and a longhaired folk rock thing called «Det var ikke jeg. Det var du».
 
 More work in Stugudal. Two sessions i 2008. One with just me and Lars just finishing and mixing things, and another with Bent, Lars and me where the finish was reopened and finished and mixed once more
. In between these sessions we added tuba, trumpet and female background vocals with Pål Brekkås in Brygga (Lars' old studio in Trondheim).
 - Does anybody know of a female singer who could come in?
 - Yes
, Oskar said, and brought in Line Sofie, daughter of the most famous singer-songwriter in Norway, Åge Aleksandersen.
 Can she sing?
was all I could think. She could. In fact her mother must have a great voice, because she sings a lot better than her father.
 
 Then it was time to master the record. It took months. And months.
 In the end I said Stop! and paid a huge bill.
 The record wasn't mastered as I wanted it at all.
 I took the original master to Morten Stendahl (Redroom, Trondheim), and he did a straight forward job that I was happy with.
 
 And then (now it's about finished ...) the master and the ready-to-print cover was sent to the cd-plant in Germany. And disappeared!
 No crisis - as backups was on least three hard discs, but a delay once more.
 It wouldn't have been Perfekt Harmoni if things went smoothly.
 

 Knut Løvås did the cover. One of the few steps that didn't involve any setbacks. Good man!









 

 The songs
 
 
 
Lykkelig når du er glad
 
 
This record starts with the same chord on the same guitar with the same sound as the last chord on the final song of my previous album.
 (Not many of you got that, did you? :-)
 Similar agendas and blurps will not be revealed.
 
 The melody and lyrics to this tune is partly something I wrote in the 90's when my eldest son was born. Real feelings. It was hastily recorded by Monster Blomster during the recording of Stadig Flere Velger Feil (released 1999), but not used then.
 We did it three times during the sessions for Perfekt Harmoni. The last one in 2008, when the song finally got to where it should be.

 Lykkelig når du er glad
can be translated Happy when you're glad, but it doesn’t sound right in English, and the joke in the title somehow disappears. That's typical, it's two different languages.
 
 
 
 Pupp
 

 
Pupp means tit. A happy melody and another old one. It's been dug up several times over the years. New lyrics every time. This lyric suited the melody and the feel of the song perfectly. It's from the time when my second son was brought home after birth. I was beside myself, but the kid only cared for his mother’s tits. He looked happy and surprised every time he got them in sight, delighted that the world he had gotten into had such offerings. Simon seemed optimistic.
 
 Most songs need time to grow into shape. Some of them can seem to be finished when they are written, but most of them gains weight and ... and something else ... if they are allowed to mature. I'm NOT the type to write a song one day, record it the next and ship it off to the plant first ting in the morning the following day. That would be hazard.
 

 
 
 
Lisa sier
 

 Had to make a song with this title. Of course it's «Lisa Says» in English.
 In my dialect it's just the same as in English; Lisa say = Lisa say.
 I'm not a big VU/Lou Reed fan, by the way, more of a small one. But John Cale is Sir John Cale to me.
 
 Written a few weeks prior to the recordings in 2004.
 I was thinking What about a nice pop tune like the ones we used to have in the early 90's? Then: Wham-bam Lisa say
♫♫. La-la-la. . Lisa say...
 Took maybe ten minutes, that's how hard it can be. On a good day.
 The word that pops up in my head on such occasions is of course WAIT!
 
 Everything in the lyric is true. This is my «Don't pass me by», but it's not ironic or dramatized at all.
 
 We started the recordings with «Lisa sier», «Blond og blid» and «Hoppalong».
Because they were the ones I was most unsure of.
 It was a relief when Bent and Lars ok'd all three of them.
 - Oh, so now we're left with the really good ones ... GOT YOU!
 
One of my drives is to surprise people, and/or prove them wrong. For half a year Underdog was the working title of the album, but all of a sudden, films and books, and bands and albums too, popped up with this title. Almost like in the 90's when, suddenly, every other album had the word monster in the title, and the word monster quickly went from out of use to plain mainstream. (Hello, Bent!)
 
 
 
 Nyklint Trut Lyspære Blues
 

 «Freshly French Kissed Mouth Light Bulb Blues»... no. No, it doesn’t work.
 Recorded in Seid's studio - Seidwise Studios with Burt Rocket as technician in 2006.
 (His real name is Bernt Erik Andreassen - and he thinks Burt Rocket sounds more professional! Ehm...)
 Finished in Larsville with Lars on piano. We had fun!
 And it's always nice to do short songs.
 Even had broken his arm (!), having too much fun at a party, so that's why Snah (Hans Magnus Ryan) joined on bass and why Bent played the drums. Think about it: the tightest and biggest Norwegian band ever, and: - Could you swap? You play the drums and you play the bass, or Bent ... you play the drums, I play the guitar.
 
 
 
 Min
 

 This melody is sort of a sister to an old Monster Blomster song - «Liebeslied», which again is directly related to «Hertzsmertz».
 I started writing «Min» in 1995 or 1996, and rather particularly, the first lyric is about the same things, although in a different way, as it turned out some eight years later.
 
 «Min» wasn't supposed to be eight minutes long - it just turned out like that. I started playing it, and when I was finished it wasn't three minutes - it was almost three times as long.
 - What? Eight minutes?
 - Yes, nearly nine. You fiddled along ...
 We turned it into a Crazy Horse-number - it just had to be done like this - and Bent and I took fifteen minutes to add the ooo's into the same mike.

 
 
 
 Elskling
 

 The relationship is over. You try to take it like a man, and try to understand what happened and what you're supposed to do now.
 
 Even if ... you get the words to this song ... there's a good portion of hatred in it. And some very real anger.
 
 The basic melody was written around 1993, but it took me years to realize that it actually was a good one. When I first heard Allan Edwals «Du och jag» I knew I had stumbled upon something rare with this song, ten years after I'd written the basic tune. It was bent into shape, I wrote the lyrics - and there it was! Timeless. For me, I must add, as it fitted perfectly into where I was in life - ten years after I started writing the song.
 
 «Elskling» is one of the songs on the album I'm most proud of.
 («Min» and «Alt» are the two others.)
 And Elskling means ... Lover or darling or sweetheart. Ish.
 
 The oboe is a real oboe played by a real oboe player! He's also a piano tuner, and that's why he happened to be in Larsville one day I was there. I have always liked oboe. Well no, not always; all the terrible children programs in the early seventies had oboe playing. I probably hated it, but that changed dramatically later on. Julian Cope's album World Shut Your Mouth has some very poppish tunes with oboe.
  And, as always, I was stunned to find that scholared musicians actually can't play. Out of tune, wrong notes and off the beat, no clue of anything whatsoever. 41 takes, the last take was probably as bad as the first. I should have given him a sheet with some dots on and hired a director with a whip - I actually know how to write notes, at the speed of pitch black - but I thought it couldn't be that difficult to play that simple whistling tune he was supposed to do. Wrong again. Thank God (or Macintosh or Bill Gates or whoever) for Pro Tools and the opportunity to paste and edit and getting things right.
 
 Bents mel
lotron playing added an extra dimension to the whistling tune.
 
 - Sounds like a Danish folksong! (Bent)
 - Must be something out of Hedemarken! County in Norway known for folk music. (Lars)
(These are compliments!)
 
 
 
 Piano
 

 A song with lyrics written on guitar in 2002 or 2003. It wasn't until five years later it was turned into a piano instrumental. At one point a demo, recorded on a cassette player (with the ex shouting and cursing in the background), was meant to be IT.
 
 - This hurts! (Bent)
 
 
 
 Alt
 

 (~ All ... All of it ... no ... Everything ... no, not that either ...)
 This is one of the weirdest things I've ever recorded. The more instruments we added, the more stripped down it sounded
. Totally the opposite of what I'm used to: A song is recorded - drums, bass, keyboards, two or three guitars, some percussion...
 and then suddenly there's no room left for the vocals!
 We enjoyed this so much it became sticky. And it glued. When Bent and I drove home after the first session it was a relief to put on something else on the car stereo (we had been working on «Alt» all day), but in between songs one of us could (accidentally) hum something from «Alt», and it was pleeease, oh fu¤*&æ#!
 
 When we got back to Trondheim, Bent gave me a record I had read and heard lots about, but never had the chance to listen to
, Dennis Wilsons «Pacific Ocean Blue». When I got home and closed the door I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight, but I put it on - and it was like ... directly into the veins. (Not that I ever have tried heroin...) It fitted perfectly.
 
  «Alt» isn't a funny song, though. I want it all back - that's the essence of the lyric. The rhythm and the riff and the melody came one winter day in February 2004. (I've checked this, can come up with the exact date too!) It was one of the very few times I just knew that something great was happening between my hands as I sat there with the guitar. I tried to write the lyric - many different sets of words written in half a year - until I sat back and figured out what I really wanted to say. Then it became easy. And simplistic: I want it all back; the dirt, the happy times, the quarrels, the sex... Yes, the sex! It's a porn number.

The song was put together and recorded like it was some piece of east coast greasy schmaltz from 1975. You can't play this properly without wearing platform boots or at very least a slick suit.
Or as Nick Kent in retrospect described his appearance i 1974: Looking like a glam rock Christmas tree. That would do.

I picked «Alt» as the single from the album because it sounded like the obvious single-track to me. Still do. I did that while everyone else was saying that «Hoppalong» was the obvious choice. I'm selfish. And the single sank like a brick tilted from a boat far out on the Trondheimsfjord. Not even a splash. I was thinking, well it's Norway after all, don't bring any funk or disco - we just haven't got the genes for that. Ever had a look at UK, US and Norwegian charts? Where did Bowies «Fame» (or «Fashion») do incredibly well? And where did it flop? Same goes for any Stones-single with even a vague disco-beat. And later I was thinking, now there might be some hold in what they're saying about cd-sales going down. This was my introduction to the results of the democratic (=just) internet, but I don't blame the net for «Alt»s miserable performance as a single. And I don't blame myself either, why should I? Main thing is I have actually done that; done to the song what it deserved.
But I prefer the album version of the song.
 
 
 
 Hoppalong
 

 So what do you do? You can't go back, and you're on scratch again.
 Lost weekend.
 Or lost weekends. Out on the town, out of town, out of your mind, fuck around.
 It only gets soarer.
 «Hoppalong» was written autumn 2004. It became very true of my life in 2005.
 - At last! An Åge Aleksandersen number! (Bent)

An edit mix/version
was made, this one mastered by Audun - the one track out of thirteen that Audun improved. Not used.

And came to think of it; Bent really changed «Hoppalong» around. And around. He made the song into a more standard tune. It was originally a five-chord song with two minor-chords, and now there is no minor. Didn't think of giving him credit for it, then, but of course I should have.
 
 
 
 Blond og blid
 

 Time passing. Back on scratch once more. The ground is very firm this time. The kids. They're lovely. Smiles. And a knowledge you wouldn't think they had. (Perfectly normal thinking for a grown person, forgetting what you knew when you were a kid yourself.)
 And the kids are both blondes. It's not an compliment when someone is called Blond og billig (Blond and cheapish... eh well, no.), and there's of course lots of blonde-jokes.
 But this isn't a joke.
 The song is also about being in a car, driving away from the ones you
 want to be with - every mile is a mile in the wrong direction - but you're forced to go away, to be somewhere else; to rip that part of yourself out of yourself.
 Sometimes it's hard to be a man

 Part of the melody was written in time to be one of the tracks on Øyvind Ryan-Gruppen in 2003, but
being halfbaked it was one of those who were saved for later. Finished around 2006, this time with a lyric.
 I fell in love with the refrain and wanted it to repeat endlessly at the end of the song, like... twenty minutes?, but the other producers thought that even three rounds was a bit much.
 
 


 I think it turned out quite well. I have had time to get to know this record.
 Now I want to do something less heartbreaking.










 The outtakes
 
 

 Lisa gikk til helvete
 
Recorded in an hour - or as live as it sounds. Used as one extra track on the Alt-single in 2008. A real treat for those who actually purchase singles.
 It's an old song, it could have been the title tune on Monster Blomster's debut Lisa Gikk Til Helvete (obviously), had we only recorded it.
 
I have always loved this one. The melody, the lyric and the phase of it. It's one of those fast smartass pop tunes from the early Monster Blomster years I'm very proud of.
 Not one word is changed from the first draft.
The vocal que track (1½ take) turned out so ... charming, that we kept it.
  
 
 
 God natt (og sov godt)
 
Finished - could have been on the album - but it was intended as an opener and shelved in favor of «Lykkelig Når Du Er Glad».
 Written in a rush just before the recordings started. Recording session coming up is always a great booster for songwriting.
 It's a song about the metallic taste of sleeping pills. That, and that wish sleep well!, when you are so afraid to stay awake and alone with your brain running at top speed that you'd rather hit yourself in the head with a hammer than risking to
stay awake.
 I don't know if you've been there.
 
 
 Blå
 
A ballad written in the 90's that Bent turned into a Dinosaur Jr number. It worked mighty fine until I tried to sing the bastard. Can't do J Mascis.
 The song will turn up sometime in the future; it's too good to shelve.
 
(Yes. Check track 19 on Ryanbanden!)
 
 
 10.000 ting
(and several other titles)
 
This one wasn't even recorded, but it belongs on the album. The melody was one of the last songs Monster Blomster rehearsed before splitting up (the very last?) in 1999. I wrote the words at the time I was moving out in 2004, but I didn't have a melody to go with it. And then I remembered this old one that had the right rhythm for the lyric.
 Like flies on shit / Party people all over the place / And in your face / The thief and the whore copulate /
 Couldn't care less, couldn't cope at all / Couldn't resist, could you,
comrade?
 In Norwegian it sounds even better :-)
 
 
 Livet for deg
Melody written in the late 90's, lyrics some years later.
 It's a nice song - it works perfectly, everything about it is just right - and it's a straight forward tune. So straight forward I might get sued and condemned, but only if the jury can't tell the difference between style/mood/rhythm and the actual melody and chords.
 The lyric is grim and honest, but again - true and spot-on. I love it.
And hate it, for what it tells me of the seasick, dead end life I lived in those years.
This song is the missing link between «Pupp» and «Lisa says» on the album, but as it was a very trad. number - no cool to be spotted anywhere - I didn't
even show it to Bent, and it didn't get recorded in time to be included. Not that I think Bent would have hated it, quite the opposite: he probably would have spotted precisely where I wanted to go, and then made sure I got there.
It was recorded with Øyvind Ryan & OG in 2009, while Bent & The Boys were on tour.
 
 
 Hei idiot
 Idiot 2
 Even kjører seng igjen
(instrumental)
 
Three rush-attempts on this loop-with-a-guitar-riff.
 Lars and Bent vetoed no, and in retrospect it was a just no, so that's that.
 - This is just... the oldest guitar riff in the world. (Bent. Lars nodding.)
 But it isn't. It's just their way to say not a good one without creating to much fu
ss.
 The words didn't do the songs any favors either.
 The instrumental version was sickening. Even laid down maybe five different figures on the drums; the idea was that the
different drums shouldn't benefit each other,
 but freeze the rhythm. And it froze!
 «Even kjører seng igjen» ... Even drives his bed again. (No.)
 ...
Have you ever gone to bed right after you'd absorbed a good amount of alcohol? (Get it? No?)
 
 
 Perfekt harmoni
 The title tune was not finished. As usual.
 One of the sweetest songs I've written. I think. And a genuine tune.
 The first letters (PH) is also the letters used when measuring the degree of base saturation - or in Norwegian ~ one person’s bad temper.
 Clever, clever...
  
 
 Morgenstemning
 
Short'n'fast pop tune with too much lyrics. Catchy, though. Written in 2006.
 Burt added an organ that made it very "Elvis Costello and the Attractions".
 Recorded with Snah on bass and Bent on drums. 
 As good as finished, backing vocals and all, but
i think I gave up on it after the first mix.
 
 
 Sov
 
Nice thing. Again a song about sleep. Pleasant sleep, this time. I will be doing this later.
 
 
 Det var ikke jeg. Det var du
( ~ It wasn't me. It was you. Well... no.)
 
Ugly thing. Music inspired by The Louvin Brothers' «Knoxville Girl» - or something
of that tradition. Changed into a Crazy Horse-on-moonshine number.





     




"If there's light in the tunnel, it's probably an oncoming train."
 
 - Guttorm Hansen, 1920-2009, Norwegian Labour politician, said so in the early 1980's.
 His firstname, Guttorm, translated
from Norwegian to English (no no no!) is Boyworm.
 Not many know that.




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