db pedersen – Carrot! Carrot!
(2006 Skulls of Heaven)
Carrot Carrot! is quite simply one of the most remarkable recordings I’ve ever heard. For those not familiar with him, db pedersen grew up on a Wisconsin farm where he learned to mimic nature, eventually becoming a self-taught multi-tonal voice stylist. His various excursions with 3 Bags Full and his own solo outings have been more experimental and improvisational forays. This time around there is more than a concept; there is a purpose, at times stimulating pedersen to apply the mechanics of his amazing throat to actual lyrics. These lyrics bring the music sharply into focus, particularly after one reads the liner notes and understands the backdrop and the catalyst for this project.
Aside from pedersen’s bass playing and his bansuri flute (an instrument associated with Indian cowherders and holding special significance in Hindu folklore) all of the sounds are the result of pederson’s voice. Percussives are also provided by Laura Di Julius. Production and recording was done by Jeff Mann, who is also credited with nudging pedersen along and making this album a reality. Mann is to be commended for capturing pedersen in a creative apex, with minimal processing and effects. The album’s layout and design by Theresa Behnen is impressive, featuring some stunning photography.
The impetus behind this creative apex lies in pedersen’s bond with Di Julius’ seven-year-old son, Jeremy Zion Di Julius Rocha, a relationship Pedersen describes as “being in [Rocha’s] tutelage.” Jeremy took ill and passed away while Pedersen was in Canada. “A scarlet tanager hopped about the trees in my cousin Nikki’s yard in Guelph, declaring his ballad: Hurry Home,” pedersen writes in the liner notes. These songs were realized over the course of the next few months. Pedersen writes, “Carrot Carrot! is letting the light out of the jar, forgetting so much language, and letting me re-remember the gift of being a child before I’m too far past any hope of ever appreciating it.”
With this knowledge, Carrot Carrot! becomes even more remarkable than the sounds the disc produces. It is an incredibly moving experience as it travels through acceptance, understanding, healing and release. With pedersen reproducing bird calls, waterfalls, flowing water, insects and wind, Carrot Carrot! is more than music; this is the sound of life, and at its core is a mysterious and indescribable beauty.