The Universal Thump
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The Universal Thump


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"My Morning Download: 'Flora' by The Universal Thump"

The Universal Thump is a new project from Brooklyn based singer-songwriter and pianist Greta Gertler and multi-instrumentalist and producer Adam D Gold. “Flora” is the first single from The Universal Thump’s self-produced double-album which is being released in the Fall. You can preview and download the first two “chapters” of the band’s record here. Below, download “Flora” and watch the video for the song that was directed by Gertler. The Universal Thump play at the Green Line Cafe on Thursday, July 19th. - Bruce Warren, WXPN

"SWINGING MODERN SOUNDS #27: All Things Must Pass"

SWINGING MODERN SOUNDS #27: All Things Must Pass
Rick Moody bio ? · December 3rd, 2010 · filed under music, Rick Moody, rumpus original

On 11/29, a band in Brooklyn called The Universal Thump staged a fortieth anniversary rehabilitation of George Harrison’s monumental All Things Must Pass album. The band, who consist mainly of Greta Gertler, a singer-songwriter from Australia, and Adam D. Gold, a mult-instrumentalist who has played with many of Brooklyn’s eminent bands of the moment, were heavily augmented on the night of show by a crack team of players. And among the singers of particular note were Dayna Kurtz, Rozz Nash, Amy Correia, John Wesley Harding, Shara Worden, Dave Nagler, Oren Bloedow. Not a weak performer there. I was lucky enough to sing lead vocal on one song–a mind-blowing experience for me. I have never sung in public in front of a band so large, nor have I often experienced the kind of ecstatic community spirit in the air that night. It was just really, really fun. We were all there out of love for the Harrison songs, there wasn’t any professional posturing or competition, everyone pulled the oars together, despite a bruising soundcheck, and rehearsals that couldn’t possibly include all the artists (I think we topped out at seventeen on stage during “My Sweet Lord”). All in all, a very special event. As part of it, I was asked to write a short piece about Harrison’s album, seen from this retrospective vantage point. Greta Gertler said it would be fine for me reprint this piece for The Rumpus, and so I’m appending it below.

There are many great Beatle solo projects (McCartney, Ram, Venus and Mars, Band on the Run, Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, The Concert For Bangladesh, Travelling Wilburys, Vol. I, and Ringo, e.g.), but there is only one post-Beatle masterpiece, and that is the album before us, All Things Must Pass. What’s a masterpiece, you ask? This is a masterpiece! For its ambition, its attention to detail, its thematic coherence, its fearlessness, its seriousness, its epic size, its breadth, and its confidence. All Things Must Pass takes what was most acute about the Beatles, their origins as writers of the love song, and makes spiritual experience, musical ambition, and Harrison’s own misgivings about the demise of his band, into love songs, so that everything Harrison might once have said, might have needed to say, can be furrowed into these romantic matrices, I Dig Love, or, if you like, Hear me, Lord.

It takes years of listening to hear the sophistication and sheer musical bravado in this wealth of material, but I can attest, having begun listening to All Things Must Pass seriously pretty close to its initial release, that even the singles sounded like nothing else happening at the time, certainly not like the Beatles, even though this album shared a producer with them, Phil Spector, and despite the fact that the most successful single from the album, “My Sweet Lord,” was the subject of a plagiarism action later on. “My Sweet Lord,” with its frankly non-secular exhortations on the subject of the Divine, was not only shocking for its non-Western inclinations, but for the strange way that the chords worked, and its long recitation of mantras at its close. It had, obliquely, a little Marvin Gaye in it, the Marvin Gaye of What’s Going On, in the massive layering up of instruments and voices and the impulsiveness of the melodic structures, and it had some Chiffons. Then there was “What Is Life,” which hinted at Harrison’s love of Badfinger and British invasion, with its sunny, beautiful, soaring chorus, and its magnificent horn arrangement, so pop it made the things that Paul and John were doing at the same time seem skeletal, oblique. There were more uptempo rock-oriented things, like “Wah Wah,” “Let It Down,” and “Awaiting on You All,” but these concealed real melancholy and spiritual longing underneath more accessible surfaces. The resting place of the album is in the ballads, though, the slower, more reflective compositions, like the sinewy unpredictable Harrison/Dylan collaboration that opens the recording, “I’d Have You Anytime,” the gorgeous Beatles-era title composition, a companion, lyrically, to another piece from the same period, “Here Comes the Sun,” and thus frankly about the recognition that the attention and success and sheer cultural dominance of the Beatles would, indeed, have to end.

But there’s also the country flavor of Harrison’s Dylan cover, “If Not For You,” and the Hawaiian slack guitar flavor of “Behind that Locked Door.” And this isn’t even to mention the album’s most eerie, and profound spiritual/carnal mediation, “Isn’t It a Pity?,” which is so important to the album that it gets played twice, as if it’s hard not to come around again and again to this sentiment, that the squandering of affection is too much to bear, and as if playing it twice isn’t enough, it has a big “Hey Jude” ending, the only “Hey Jude” ending by a solo Beatle, and a beautiful Spectorish arrangement including massive choir in counterpoint, string section, horns, timpani. It’s worth pointing out here, as elsewhere, the plangent qualities of Harrison’s voice. In The Beatles, he was younger than everyone else, and used to being the dark horse, used to being fourth in a group of four, and so he had something to prove, and on “Isn’t It a Pity?,” he proves that he took the lesson, took the instruction, and made something better than the others could make by themselves, but even more than that, even more than out-Beatling the Beatles, he shows that he had learned from the indigenous music of the United States of America, for this was the first album to showcase his talents on the slide guitar, and though he was an exceptionally melodic guitar player with the Beatles, on All Things Must Pass, he gives the first sign that his gift was for tone, and that as a slide player he had tone in abundance, a kind of gentle, beautiful, stately tone that would have been, had it been present on the Beatles recordings, instrumental perfection of a kind they didn’t often know.

And then there is the band sound on All Things Must Pass. The band is gigantic, and consists in large measure of the Delany and Bonnie Bramlett band, with some key additions: Ringo, Klaus Voormann, Gary Brooker. It is Middle Atlantic, and pre-Derek and the Dominos, while retaining some of what’s great about the latter band, refreshed by its engagement with American music, and some of the thematic concerns of American music, which means that All Things Must Pass is a gospel album, in a way, because it is using American southern music to write about spiritual concerns, and is fusing this idiom with the love song, that staple of the British invasion, and, in the process, coming up with something really unique, hybridized. The application of all the reverb (which Harrison mentions wanting to remix in the 2001 re-release), the Wall of Sound, creates a further mixed metaphor, a cultural and stylistic fusion, by suggesting the arrangement articulations of the early sixties, and yet that fusion is part of what invites in almost any listener. As with The Beatles, there’s something here for everyone.

Disc three, on the original, the jamming disc, does challenge, does make you engage as a listener in a more patient and a less goal-oriented way, but this is a quibble. The Harrison/Clapton duet on lead guitar that is implicit throughout the songs on the first two discs is stated more clearly on disc three. You will have to wade through some relaxed playing to appreciate it. A quibble! It was a three-lp album from a former Beatle in which you got all the way to disc two before there was a song that wasn’t perfect.

The forty years have treated All Things Must Pass very well, as they have already treated the accompanying bootleg of the demos. The lucidity of the writing and singing and playing is undiminished by the way that technology, more recently, has galloped off, in a much different direction, from ensemble productions of this kind. Harrison resisted the urge to tinker with the rerelease, just before his death, as a testament to the lasting qualities of the sound of All Things Must Pass, though he did one very cagey thing. He rerecorded “My Sweet Lord,” eliminating just the sequence of notes that had occasioned the plagiarism suit, way back when, showing, in the process, that this mere sequence had nothing to do with the heart and soul of the song. The song survived its turbulence, which is the kind of thing that happens to really direct songs about spirituality, they have turbulence associated with them. And they survive. That survival is an indication of the kind of commitment and determination associated with this charmed recording.

And it must be remembered that the artist who made this album then lived relatively quietly for thirty more years, gardening quite a bit, never again having made a record this sumptuous, though he certainly had his moments, and it seems that his legacy, as a solo artist, is bound up with this particular project, and what we can conclude from this evidence is that if this was all he did, then he made something lasting, profound, something to be exceedingly proud of. Few people can scale the heights that George Harrison scaled here, making spirituality accessible, making love seem divine (making “He’s So Fine” into “My Sweet Lord”), making the loss associated with the late-model Beatles into a kind of yearning for overcoming and transcending, and in so doing he made something at once human and ethereal, something almost any music lover can admire and love. The art of dying is its subject occasionally, the names of God are its subject, loss is its subject, disconsolation, and love, above all things, is its subject. Its reverberations linger on, long after its creator has relocated to a more celestial address. - The Rumpus - Rick Moody

"A Small Slice of Life, and Perhaps Pie"

January 24, 2008 - Greta Gertler was making her living as a waitress when she met her band, The Extroverts. Her experience in the service industry might explain the food-inspired Edible Restaurant, brought to delicious fruition in "Veselka."

The Extroverts' off-kilter cabaret sound, with its strangely comfortable tuba, complements the intimate nature of the songwriting — a series of personal confessionals, from the mundane to the odd. "Veselka" offers a small slice of life, and perhaps pie: "I used to go there on my own a lot / or with my close girlfriends / Over coffee and pierogi / our hearts began to mend."

The repeated refrain, "It's so good to have you back," welcomes listeners into this neighborhood haunt, actually located in New York City's East Village — a place where the false-eyelash-wearing waitress "who looks like my mother" helps her customers carve out a place in the city. But the plate glass can't keep the world at bay forever, and a quiet siren blends into the music as the song ends, fading away into the sounds of clinking cutlery. - Claire Blaustein - NPR 'Song of the Day' (Greta Gertler & The Extroverts)

"The Best NYC Concerts of 2011"

The Universal Thump at Barbes, July 16 – keyboardist Greta Gertler’s lush art-rock band brought along a string quartet for this exhilarating, majestic show featuring new songs from their brand-new First Spout album. - New York Music Daily

"The Universal Thump Rocks the Bell House with George Harrison Tribute"

Somehow it seemed appropriate to honor George Harrison, once the under-rated Beatle, in Brooklyn, once the under-rated borough.

Second fiddle no more. A large group of Brooklyn musicians restored George Harrison to his rightful place in the pantheon of 20th century genius songwriters.

In other words: George Harrison: you rock. And so do organizers Greta Gertler and Adam D. Gold, whom, just weeks after the 20th anniversary of John Lennon’s death (and the attending tributes and nostalgia) had the audacity and the common sense to celebrate another ex-Beatles masterpiece from 40 years ago.

Only in Brooklyn could a super group of stellar musicians calling themselves The Universal Thump come together to recreate the Phil Spector-style wall of sound that enhanced George Harrison’s 1970 All Things Must Pass.

Only in Brooklyn could this dizzying array of vocalists and instrumentalists, perform the entire, yes, the entire three-album set. In the process they brought down the house not once but numerous times during the three-hour show at The Bell House last night, November 29th, the 10th anniversary of Harrison’s death from cancer and just days away from the albums release date in 1970.

All Things Must Pass, co-produced by Harrison and the legendary (and scary) Phil Spector, is an album loved by many, including Greta Gertler and Andy Gold, the team behind this hugely ambitious undertaking.

I asked Gertler, a singer/songwriter and pianist, what it is she loves about the album, which ranges from spirituals such as “My Sweet Lord” to a host of country-style ballads and ‘wall-of-sound’ pop masterpieces such as “What is Life?”

“The album is just so inspiring. I love every minute of it and it makes me feel like writing songs is important in the world,” she told me. “The album is consistently fantastic with a spirit of adventure and exploration.”

“Will there be another show of this?” I asked Gertler after the show eager to know if this group of 40 musicians are set to repeat the magic of Monday night.

“I haven’t even gotten that far,” she told me.

Indeed, Gertler had every right to be exhausted (and elated). What she and Gold accomplished was a masterful feat of producing. The matching of singer to song was near perfect and the musical arrangements were mind boggling good. The album itself is so brilliantly calibrated from song to song that the concert itself had an almost perfect pace. - Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

"The New Yorker Magazine (Pop Notes)"

Greta Gertler is an Australian expat who now lives in Brooklyn. She has a spacious voice and a welcome weakness for lushly orchestrated seventies-era singer-songwriter pop.
- The New Yorker

"The Universal Thump: Peculiar, Exciting Alchemy"

February 2, 2011

This past November, The Universal Thump's core team of Greta Gertler and Adam D. Gold attracted attention in their Brooklyn hometown by staging a rhapsodically received tribute concert to honor the 40th anniversary of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, featuring the likes of John Wesley Harding, My Brightest Diamond singer Shara Worden and Amy Allison (daughter of jazz icon Mose Allison).

Experiencing Gertler and Gold's original material, it's easy to see where the affinity for Harrison's three-disc masterpiece derives. The Universal Thump is an ambitious, overstuffed banquet of musical styles and instrumentation, with influences ranging from deep psychedelia to prog at its must evolved, convoluted and unapologetic. The Universal Thump's latest release, Chapter Two, is one in a series of four chapters, which will eventually comprise a grandiose, eponymous 80-minute orchestral pop-song cycle. (The final chapters will be released later this year.)

"Opening Night," which takes its title from the John Cassavetes film of the same name, begins with a cacophony of instruments and operatic vocals and culminates with strings and what can only be described as futuristic whale noises. In the space between lies a psychedelic journey of multiple identities as told by Gertler in her transporting, angelic soprano, backed by layers of organs, girl-group harmonies, strings, brass and percussion. The song is by turns exotic and familiar, evoking modern envelope-pushers like Animal Collective, as well as the progressive influence of early Genesis and nascent Pink Floyd. Such is the peculiar and exciting alchemy of the Universal Thump's accessible but avant-garde pop.

- Elizabeth Nelson - NPR 'Song of the Day'

"Time Out New York (Album Review)"

Greta Gertler is a classically trained composer who penned the 2000 hit "Blow Up the Pokies" for The Whitlams, a friend's band in her native
Australia, before relocating to New York to try her luck as a writer of top-ten songs. The fateful switch from rarified art-music to populist tunefulness was a wise one; Gertler's solo debut, The Baby That Brought Bad Weather, is an impeccably orchestrated album of buoyant '70s-style pop.

Thanks in part to coproducer Noah Simon, the influence of classic soul music suffuses this record, from the rich vibrato of Gertler's electric piano to the elaborate brass and string arrangements. The strongest tracks are jaunty and lilting, plumped up with horn sections and shuffling drums.

The trumpet flourishes on "It's Getting Harder" sound as if they could have been on the Stevie Wonder fake-book circa "Sir Duke." The album's crown jewel, "Pocketful of Change," has a lopsided 5/4 rhythm anchored by crashing jazz drums; as strings wail and an accordion chuffs in the background, the song's verses would be right at home being performed by an avant-chamber ensemble, but the bridge is pure Sgt. Pepper, with a blues
guitar solo that somehow fits right in.
Fans of The Baby's lush textures can take heart in the knowledge that at least a dozen of the album's 30-plus backup musicians - including a full rhythm section and the classical Carpentier String Quartet - will be joining Gertler onstage at this week's record release show." - Sara Marcus

"Sydney Morning Herald (Feature)"

Gertler is, at heart, a pop songwriter, but the strains of a broader musical palette can be heard throughout "The Baby that Brought Bad Weather". There are a little New Orleans swing and slow-burning torch songs, a touch of Joni Mitchell (and Robyne Dunn) and a looser approach that suggests the openness of contemporary jazz.
There is also the use of the not-often-heard-on-a-pop-album Wurlitzer electric piano - the one lent to her by McAll when she arrived in the city. You have to ask: where did she find room to store it in a New York apartment?
"It's a bit of a drag," says Gertler. "I had a piano in my bedroom and a mattress, and I had to flip the mattress up if I wanted to play the piano.
"But the real drag is getting the Wurlitzer up five flights of stairs - it's really heavy. Occasionally, I would find a strapping young lad to carry it up for me, but that was not very common."
Unlike in Sydney, where being quiet and melodic means you can struggle to get a gig, Gertler has been playing regularly in New York rooms such as Norah Jones's old haunt, the Living Room, where she has introduced AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top into her set.
This is not exactly high-paying, so helping pay the rent in the past year had been a job at a publishing house that calls itself the home of John Denver. Gertler quit not that long ago, finding her songwriting had slowed down while pushing paper in that office.
Presumably the giant musical shadow of the man who wrote Grandma's Feather Bed was stifling her.
"There were John Denver pillows on the seats in the reception area and there was a table in the conference room with 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' etched into it," she says. "They also did the music for World Wrestling and NASCAR."
Can't wait to hear the next album: that mix of AC/DC, John Denver, wrestling and car racing.
"Yeah, I've found my new direction," says Gertler. "There's bound to be a niche market for that in New York."
- Bernard Zuel

" Joe's Pub Live Review"

Gertler is a transplanted New Yorker via Sydney who had recently released The Baby That Brought Bad Weather, a lush, sophisticated pop album whose music is reminiscent of what you hear in the Lower East Side or in Williamsburg. You can say her influences include '20s styled Tin Pan Alley Pop, Burt Bacharach, Elton John... Aside from her dazzling keyboard playing, Gertler also possesses an expressive bell-like, soulful voice. Her delivery projects both the confidence and vulnerability
of the great female singer/songwriters that came before her.
Naturally, most of the set list from that night drew from The Baby That Brought Bad Weather. It was remarkable to hear that the performance was an almost letter-perfect recreation of the album, though it was also injected
with a sense of spontaneity and immediacy. For example, the brilliant "Everyone Wants to Adore You" (a commentary about the price of celebrity) was rendered with a rawness and dramatic intensity that contrasted with the studio version. The mood of the songs shifted from the upbeat, jazzy soul pop ("The Ring," "It's Getting Harder") to sublime, aching ballads ("Damian," the haunting "Unless You Say Sorry").
Accompanied by singer/guitarist Pete Galub, drummer Robert DiPietro, bassist Cliff Schmitt along with the string section, Gertler was in strong voice as she alternated playing the grand piano and the Wurlitzer. As evident on that particular night, Gertler is a natural live performer as she drew the audience in with her atmospheric, pensive pop music. For someone from Down Under, she's got the New York downtown sound to a science. Why a major label hasn't signed her yet is truly baffling.
-, David Chiu

"Headliner Magazine (Radio City Music Hall)"

"Once in a while a voice comes along that really makes you sit up and take notice. Australian born New Yorker Greta Gertler is
such a voice. Her new album, "The Baby That Brought Bad Weather", is a sonic revelation and a lyrical treat."
- John Rhodes

"All Music Guide: Biography"

"Greta Gertler was born in raised in Australia, and got her start there as a songwriter, penning hits for other artists. She self-released a solo effort, Little Sins, and toured the country with her chamber pop combo, Peccadillo. But it wasn't until her move to New York City that Gertler's star began to really rise. In 2001, she took home the grand prize in N.Y.C.'s Indie Band Search Competition for her song "Everyone Wants to Adore You." The song became the first track on Gertler's May 2003 release, The Baby That Brought Bad Weather. A strikingly ambitious effort, Baby combined 1970s pop sensibilities with layers of strings, brass, jazz, Wurlitzer organ -- even tap dancing. Gertler also made a name for herself with live performances varying from solo piano/vocal to a full complement of musicians." - Johnny Loftus

"Vin Scelsa: WFUV (Radio)"

Greta performs in various ways - solo, with full out rock bands, with one or
two others in different combinations, and with string quartet, as she did tonight.

Her debut album, The Baby That Brought Bad Weather (self released),
is one of those hoped for revelations that all too infrequently emerge from
the never-ending pile of new releases. From Kirsty MacColl-ish pop to blue jazz smoke-filled urban ballads of love and loss, Greta promises to be an exciting fixture on the New York music scene. She performed tonight on keyboard with The Carpentier Quartet. - Live Performance/Interview

"Irwin Chusid: WFMU (Radio)"

An album of timeless songcraft in the classic pop tradition, but with a magic that transcends the genre. Gertler's voice is haunting and evocative throughout. A tremendous accomplishment, and compelling in the sense that once heard, you want to hear it again and again. - Live Performance

"Terry Teachout (Wall Street Journal)"

Top 5 - Greta Gertler and Peccadillo, "Nervous Breakthroughs" (Goldfish Prize): Eleven new songs by a piano-playing singer-songwriter from Australia (by way of Brooklyn) with a sweetly lyrical voice, an arrestingly quirky sensibility, and a chamber-pop band that fits no pigeonholes. Some hear Rufus Wainwright, others Aimee Mann. All I hear is Greta Gertler—and I like what I hear.


"Sydney Morning Herald (Review of "Edible Restaurant" Appetizer Ed.)"

"...Gertler is at her best in direct ballads. As befitting the writer of a song called Aching Melody, there's a warmth there that is not tempered by fussy arrangements or production. It's easy to glide along the surface but, when you dip a toe into some of these songs, you find the temperature hotter than expected." - May 07, by Bernard Zuel


*THE UNIVERSAL THUMP (forthcoming album, 2012 produced by Adam D Gold & Greta Gertler)

'FLORA' Single and Music Video - released May 2012. Available on iTunes and all online outlets.

- Edible Restaurant (featuring The Extroverts, 2007)
- The Baby That Brought Bad Weather: Greta Gertler (2003)
- Nervous Breakthroughs: Greta Gertler & Peccadillo (2004)

Sufjan Stevens "All Delighted People" EP (vocals)
The Last Town Chorus - "Wire Waltz" - (wurlitzer)
Dan Bryk "Pop Psychology" (vocals)
Noam Weinstein "Above The Music", "We're All Going There" (vocals)
Lee Feldman "Starboy", "I've Forgotten Everything" (vocals)
The Whitlams "Eternal Nightcap" (vocals)
Alice Bierhorst - "The Vigil" (piano/vocals)
Joy & Lara "These Strange Days" (keyboards)
Ben Arthur - forthcoming album (keyboards)
The Inner Banks - forthcoming album (vocals)
Serena Jost - "Closer than Far" (vocals)
Nova Social - forthcoming album (vocals)

GRETA's Film and Television Credits:
"Flora" - music video (2012, director)
"Us" short film score (2012 San Francisco International Film Festival)
Globul commercial, Bulgaria - (2010, composer)
"Hooking Up" (2005, ABC-TV - composer/producer)
"Ringers: Lord of the Fans" (2004, documentary, vocals/wurlitzer)
"Oprah: Hurricane Katrina Special" (composer)
"Our Fathers" (promo, Showtime - vocals)
"Real Life: Chicago" (MTV, composer)
"Scrubs" - Season 1 DVD (Herzog Productions, composer)
Michael Jackson Special (VH1, composer)
"The L Word" (promo, Showtime, vocals)
"Joan of Arcadia" DVD (composer)


Gutbucket - "Flock" (2011), "A Modest Proposal" (2009) - drums, co-producer
Build ("Place", 2011) - drums, co-producer
Moore & Sons - "Local Attachments", "Us Fools", "Drumstitch" (drums, guitar, vocals, percussion)
Shannon McArdle - "Summer of the Whore" (producer, drummer, multi-instrumentalist)
Mendoza Line "Thirty Year Low" (bass)
Vitamin-D "Bridge" (guitar, vibraphone, percussion)



The Universal Thump is a Brooklyn-based band and production team led by Greta Gertler (piano, voice) and Adam D. Gold (drums, voice and more).

In May 2012, they released their first single and music video, the komodo-girl-power-pop anthem, 'Flora' ( WXPN's music director, Bruce Warren, featured the song as his 'Morning Download' soon after its release.

The Universal Thump was also featured on NPR's 'Song of the Day' in 2011: "The Universal Thump is an ambitious, overstuffed banquet of musical styles and instrumentation, with influences ranging from deep psychedelia to prog at its must evolved, convoluted and unapologetic...Such is the peculiar and exciting alchemy of the Universal Thump's accessible but avant-garde pop." - Elizabeth Nelson

The team is in the final stages of producing its first orchestral pop album, The Universal Thump. In this music one will hear the diverse influences of its ensemble cast, but the catalytic inspiration for this record (and later its unifying tale) was a whale-watching expedition that took the co-producers to Maritime Canada in mid 2008 (elaborated in the impressionistic “To The Border”). Gertler and Gold have found connection with the sounds, songs, and survival patterns of ‘The Whale.’ These remain guiding influences, backdrops and metaphors for the new album.

And this is an Album. It’s not quite a song-cycle and not really a concept record. Though these songs stand alone as crafted pop morsels, the collection makes up an album of the type we grew up loving. The songs follow a loose narrative, spanning a wide range of topics and emotions as composed by Gertler. These songs are woven together by thread-like instrumental compositions written by Gold and others.

Greta and Adam began recording The Universal Thump in Adam’s recording studio (Oh Real Yum) in late 2009. Gradually, they brought in over 30 of their favorite musicians, including Roy Nathanson (Jazz Passengers), Rachelle Garniez, Jonathan Maron (Groove Collective), Oren Bloedow (Elysian Fields), members of OSSO string quartet, Barney McAll, backing vocalists Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses), Cat Martino, Courtney Kaiser, Clare Muldaur Manchon (Clare & The Reasons), Noe Venable, Carol Lipnik, Serena Jost and more, to layer an orchestral pop feast.

In 2009 The Universal Thump helped pioneer the Kickstarter movement. In a three-month campaign the producers raised over $15,000 of funding on from fans around the world. This influx not only provided the capital needed to begin recording, it also affirmed wide-spread interest in Gertler’s large-scale productions, like the ones witnessed previously on her solo recordings The Baby That Brought Bad Weather and Edible Restaurant.

Her craft was witnessed again this past November when The Universal Thump walloped Brooklyn’s The Bell House with George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass in honor of the album’s 40th Anniversary. Respecting Harrison’s and Phil Spector’s ‘wall-of-sound’ production masterpiece, the group performed the entire album in order, in full orchestral pop splendor, with an astonishing line up of guest vocalists; Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), John Wesley Harding, Rick Moody, Missy Higgins and more. Plans for a DVD and CD release are in the works.

In the past two years The Universal Thump has toured the US, Australia and Europe.