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"Immersion Composition Society Cover Story"

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/news/writers_unblocked/Content?oid=803416 - (East Bay Express 08/06/08)

"Seattle Weekly"

Technically, both the artist and CD title here are known as Ultralash but I insist on calling Ms. Walker by her proper name because it deserves to be widely known. Surfacing in '99 on San Francisco's Ubiquity label and now going the self-release route, her Roger Moutenot- (Sleater-Kinney, Yo La Tengo) produced followup casts her in a mold every bit as atmospherically avantish as Lisa Germano, as pop/psych/folky as Mary Timony, as in-your-face as PJ Harvey. She brings to mind a female version of Howe Gelb or Conor (Bright Eyes) Oberst, just in case you need some extra name-dropping with your breakfast. - Fred Mills

"Lollipop Magazine"

Strip your clothing, close the blinds. Chilled, naked, and alone, apply headphones. Plug in Ultralash. Prepare to hear yourself revealed.
Bare bones personal, basic and raw, this sound comes from the inside: The insides of neuroses, the insides of instruments (music box chimes, buzzing kazoos' wax paper, fingers skidding on guitar strings), the insides of heads.
You'll recognize sensations from sweaty, grainy conversations had at parties that end at sunrise, from thoughts that stained your half-wakened dreams, from cloudy-day contemplations on park benches, alone.
These feelings pool up from the satisfyingly lo-fi feeling that this CD was produced at someone's kitchen table. In fact, the disc was written and produced by singer Karry Walker (with understated help from producer Roger Moutenot).
You'd expect to hear this kind of sound playing in a warehouse heaped with cast-off calico skirts, jackets, and dishes; something that doubles as a performance space for unpaid actors; melancholy-sentimental. And broken-down honest.?This is a rare kind of beauty, cradled in plainness.
- Jamie Kiffel

"CMJ New Music Monthly"

Why keep technology locked up in the studio or bedroom when you can drag it out to the front porch and put it to work? Performing as Ultralash on her release of the same name, Karry Walker lumps the occasional sample or programmed beat on top of organs, banjos, acoustic guitars and whatever else is laying around to create what might be lazily classified as folktronica. The reality of Ultralash, with its sullen melodies and varied sounds, is more akin to the softer moments of Jim White's No Such Place than to anything on Beth Orton's genre-defining Trailer park. Think down-home and downtrodden, not downtempo. Modern technology feels like an afterthought here (albeit one that works) rather than a building block. Each of Walker's folksy, almost Southern Gothic dirges (baring the angry, distorted "Barbie Whore") creeps from note to note and word to word. Like a Flannery O'Connor story, something unsettling is going on below the surface but the lure of what's to come is too powerful to let you stop and figure it all out. "Afterglow," with its swelling strings and music-box accents, could score a young child's dream. The fragility of "Cabernet" and "Spades" is reminiscent of Rose Polenzani's acoustic efforts. Ultralash is an engaging and literate work from an enigmatic artist. - Norm Elrod

"The Bohemian"

"Ultralash" is an exquisite collection of gently tweaked-out songs which, in their subtle way, begin to burrow under your skin with the first listen...

(see whole feature story at http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/02.13.03/ultralash-0307.html - Sara Bir

"SF Metropolitan"

...Sonically, it's sparkling, undulating soundscapes situate it firmly in the present, decades away from the crunchy strumming that often makes traditional folk sound so tired. But the heartbreak and immediacy of the singing set the album outside of fads or momentary youth-culture fetishes, connecting Walker to folk artists of the past, and suggesting that she'll still be relevant when most of the music that sounds futuristic today is pumping feebly out of post-millennial oldies stations. [review of Karry Walker's first album "Lipsbury Pinfold" (Ubiquity)] - Michelle Goldberg

"Ectophiles Guide"

Karry Walker's voice has a delicate quaver that's like Robin Holcomb's. It's nasal, with a mountain twang beauty, as sharp and refreshing as pine needles. Like Holcomb, her music refers to a mythic American past, steeped in folk traditions. Her bedroom folk combines bits of trip-hop and Appalachia, the samples and drum machines dueling with banjos and the creak of rocking chairs on the porch. Her lyrics are enigmatic puzzles, fragments of short story detail and corrosive imagery.
"Kitchen Song" describes the life of a homeless prostitute with wry grit: "My hair smells like an ashtray/ And there's 17 coats on the bed where I slept." The minor key melody is catchy. The minor key melancholy of "BMW" concerns a woman being questioned by the cops about her missing lover. A potentially lurid scene from the TV show "Cops" is transformed into a little epiphany of love and tenderness. Tentative banjo notes and funereal organs open the cryptic "Dandelion." Walker recites, like a backwoods oracle, "Dandelion/Take a tire iron/To my skull/ And render me null." "Barbiewhore" is fuzzy-crispy indie rawk, as lacerating as early PJ Harvey.
Suzanne Vega meets Shannon Wright in these musical novels, as intricate and haphazardly beautiful as quilts. - C. Gidney

"Battery-operated Portishead? (06/08)"

Imagine a lo-fi, countrified, battery-operated Portishead. Right? Easy. Now, add a dusting of insouciant Damon Albarn (bear with me), the alt-rock nursery-rhyme quality of Eels, and, finally, a seasoning of late 80s/early 90s synth-pop.

Got that?

Possibly not. But I've made one point, at least: Ultralash is quite an unusual-sounding outfit.

Lads' mag alt-folk?

It's an odd name, for starters. Ultralash! Here in the UK, at least (I know not how universal the slang phrase "on the lash" may be), it could pass for the title of a lads' mag, or an 'edgy' Channel 4 documentary focusing on underage drinking and club culture. I have to say that the sound of this record is nothing like my idea of a band called Ultralash. Which is not - I might add - necessarily a bad thing.

This is an experimental album - not trendy, not a la mode. Its roots are in American folk - but this record is 'folk' in its broadest, least generic sense. The slightly ramshackle, rough-edged juxtapositions of electronic and acoustic elements - trundling samples against fingerpicked guitar - is suggestive of the alt-country genre. I hear echoes of Grandaddy's fascination with organicised technology (although Ultralash is sparser, far less lush and accessible) and, more distinctly, of Sparklehorse - particularly the use of distorted, choppy mechanical loops, and the practice of interspersing short, sample-based interlude tracks amongst the album's longer songs.

Avoiding the cliches

For a record with its heart in folk/country, Foamy Lather avoids just about every potential cliche of the genres. Often, vocals take a subordinate role in these songs: sketchy, distant in the mix, effects-laden and detached. At times, reminiscent of PJ Harvey's excellent White Chalk. Unlike White Chalk, though, this is a beat-suffused album. The dirty, roomy kit sound of opener 'Like a Daisy' is meaty and confidently simple: alongside the distorted, off-key bass, it's the backbone of the track, rather than a nuanced accompaniment. Rhythms, samples and loops frequently and emphatically take centre-stage.

Indeed, it's not until the fourth track - the rather lovely 'Dayglow' - that we hear Karry Walker's vocals mixed clean and upfront. It's an affecting, versatile voice, and the performance eloquently captures the weary quality of the song. I'm glad she made us wait three tracks for it.

Noncommittal Modernism - slaloming from melancholia to noise

Foamy Lather's songs are often explorations of single ideas and motifs, rather than complex, crafted entities. Development tends to be in arrangement and performance rather than built into the songs' structures. The impression is of a fragmentary work - slaloming from acoustic melancholia to collages of mechanical noise. There's something Modernist about it all - rather TS Eliot ("a heap of broken images") - and the listener is quite deliberately (it seems to me) left to make sense of the bizarre juxtapositions and extreme, sudden shifts in tone and colour.

All of which, of course, makes it a difficult record about which to make general observations. I might call it sparse in nature - but then I think of the burst of lushness (strings, vocal harmonies, dirty drums) towards the end of 'Girl On Girl'. Listening to the pitch-bent, woozy near-bitonality of 'Whiskey Sour', I might call it obscure and capricious ... Or apathetic, wry and remote, with the Blur-like, "can't be bothered" vocal inflections of 'Turn Me On'. And then I stumble upon a gem of heartfelt sincerity - the nostalgia-tinted, melancholic 'Bury Me' - that knocks my carefully-assembled adjectives into disarray. It's enigmatic, then - and eclectic. And challenging. In the best way. Provocative.

Sugary platitudes + chauvinism

Which brings me to the song I've chosen to feature: 'World Of Suck'. Bearing the above paragraph in mind, it may need not be said that there's no representative track on this album - no neat encapsulation of the Ultralash sound. But I think 'World Of Suck' illustrates what I (perhaps pretentiously) think of as the band's noncommittal modernism. Again, carried by a weighty beat (heavily distorted - bit-crushed - kit), it's a poker-faced 'Nothing Compares 2 U' (Sinnead O'Connor's version) for the 00s - its lyrics juxtaposing sugary romantic platitudes with intense chauvinism:

You're cute Nice rack Not fat What's that? You're fine I can really talk to you.

It's a brilliantly unsettling song: by turns comical and dark, impenetrably delivered. Again, I'm reminded of PJ Harvey - in spirit and fearlessness more than in sound.
---Originally published on MOG.com - Tom Parnell

"Lather Up: Karry Walker returns with an uninhibited new album (06/08)"

Though most of the songs on her new album were written in a fraction of a day, it's taken Karry Walker years to pull them together. Breakup, relocation, death, reunion and marriage passed since the songs' inceptions, beginning in 2003. "It's only been in the last year that I finally picked this stuff up again," says Walker from the Petaluma home where she and her husband live.

Walker was once the great trip-hop hope of Sonoma County, and her 1999 debut, Lipsbury Pinfold, met with critical success. But in the years since, Walker went underground and began recording songs that were less about telling a story and more about painting a sound-picture. Her new album, Foamy Lather, has a kitchen-sink eclecticism that's equally creepy and playful.

"A lot happened in the last years," Walker says of the period shortly after she separated with her then boyfriend (and now husband). "I went through a whole furious phase of writing." She moved from Sonoma County to Oakland; meanwhile, her mother became very ill from cancer, and the music stopped. "There was about a year where I was living in Oakland, working in San Francisco and driving to my hometown, Turlock, twice a month to take care of my mother. During that time, music just dropped out of my life. I couldn't even listen to the radio."

But Walker wanted the recordings to see the light of day. "I wanted to get this record done for my mom, even though she would never understand it, ever. She was the original Ultralash." Walker uses the word "ultralash" to describe a time in a girl's life right before her uninhibited Supergirl powers become fettered with self-awareness; it's a moniker she sometimes claims as a stage name as well. "[My mother] was able to maintain that spirit," she says, "without getting caught up in what people thought about her."

Walker began recording as Ultralash in 2002, when she released her second album. It signaled a new direction, with Walker stepping fully into the role of writer-producer, paring her songs down and then building them back up with out-there elements like obscure vintage instruments and found sounds.

Concurrently, Walker became involved in the Immersion Composition Society (ICS), which Michael Mellender and Nicholas Dobson formed in 2001. In the ICS, members select one day and agree to independently write, record and mix as many songs as possible—the goal being 20—and then gather together in the evening for a listening party, where they celebrate and discuss each other's output.

"I go to the listening party that night, and a lot of times I don't even remember the stuff I'd recorded," Walker admits. "Which is a great sensation. You wake up really early that day, and you start recording whatever comes out. And then you put it away, and you start writing something new."

On Foamy Lather, all but one of the 14 tracks are from her ICS sessions, which gives the songs a palpable immediacy. Some are much more fleshed-out than others, but the fleeting fragments, such as the titular title track, color the album with a coy playfulness that let the texture of her music speak for itself.

"I've been much more interested in the production, putting sounds together and getting wrapped up in that, because I just think it's a blast," Walker says. "I just had this guy in Portland build me an Omnichord, which is a really cheesy autoharp put out by Suzuki. I bought one of these things and sent it to him, and he did a circuit bend on it and now it sounds freakazoid. I call it my Ouija board. You plug it in and there's feedback you get out of it, but underneath you hear these little harp tones."

Walker says that in order to focus on promoting Foamy Lather, she hasn't been recording much, but she did recently participate in an ICS exercise where members drew made-up character names out of a hat, with the assignment to compose a theme for that character for a mythical musical opera. "So we did that, and my scrap was just called, in capital letters, 'THE BAD THING.' It wasn't the villain—it was a bad thing that might happen. And the name that was drawn was 'Meat Foam.' And I was so tickled because I got that."
---Originally published in The Bohemian, May 8, 2008

- Sara Bir

"California’s Ultralash runs off singer-songwriter Karry Walker’s independent artistic appeal (VenusZine 07/08)"

Fronted by vocalist-multi-instrumentalist Karry Walker, Ultralash includes Ricky Carter on drums, Michael Mellender on trumpet and percussion, and Met Myles Boisen on guitar, bass, and percussion.

San Francisco Bay Area

A mouthwatering concoction of ambient, trip-hop cake, topped with enigmatic, raw porch-folk fudge, sprinkled with quirky, pop-electronic sugar.

Take off your shoes and stay a while. Ultralash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, or at least that’s what Walker thinks. Perfect for serenading a hot afternoon spent on the back porch with an ice-cold lemonade, Ultralash embrace their bleak, independent mentality to the fullest.

As the main lady behind Ultralash, Walker began her singer-songwriter career as a solo artist in the ‘90s. She released three of her own records before Ultralash popped into the picture. Her own intuitive musical drive combined with fellow creative minds in her city, Walker finds most of her artistic inertia constantly driven by the Bay Area music scene. “I feel fortunate to be a part of a creative collective of composers and musicians, artists that are influenced by one another’s work,” Walker says. “And there’s always some new and quirky idea sprouting up from the pavement, growing legs, collecting souls.”

Within this stock of creative minds includes the other half of Ultralash. Walker parents Ultralash with her friends’ helpful hands, fusing together her written work with their mostly improv-driven designs. But despite their progressive musicianship, Ultralash rarely tours, resorting more frequently to the studio.

Similar to other Oakland area musicians, making original, creative music isn’t where the money lies, Walker explains. Instead, the charm of making music she loves is a larger incentive than money.

“It doesn’t feel like work,” Walker says. “It’s sort of like cream because I just have a blast making it. I can get lost in the studio for hours. It doesn’t matter if you make money or not. You have to stay true to your sole work.”

True to its name, Ultralash spells Walker’s DIY, music mentality. While smoking a cigarette on her porch, Walker thought of the name when watching a young girl ride by on a low-ride, banana-seat bicycle. “She wore a backpack that was way too big for her,” Walker says. “She had long red hair and freckles. She was this perfectly cool little girl. One day as I watched her, it just occurred to me that she was so perfectly ultralash — like a super girl which is what girls are before they become Maybelline.”

From that nostalgic moment, Walker embraced the uncompromising youth of a 10-year-old girl and flavored her music project with such inspiration. When listening to Ultralash, the word “playtime” tickles the brain. Displaying Walker’s affinity for vintage keyboards and guitars, Ultralash is lathered with several instruments, ranging from an Optigan organ and toy accordions to a 1933 National El Trovador guitar and noise machine, “the Ouijachord.”

“I call it the Ouijachord because you play it a lot like you’d play with your hands on an Ouija board,” Walker says. “[It] perverts the original circuitry into overdriven, mutant versions of the original sounds. Part of what makes them so evil is that you can still hear the original, cheesy electronic harp tones.”

With such instruments, Walker garnishes Ultralash with shrill harmony, honky-tonky chimes, abrasive noise, and smooth, trippy beats. Altogether, these quirky nuances hone together, illustrating Ultralash’s raw, lavishing originality.

Due to recording Ultralash’s latest release, Foamy Lather, Walker distanced herself from Oakland’s creative music culture. To get back into the groove, Walker will attend an “improv hootinany,” where several improv musicians will meet to create illustrious music from scratch.

Walker and the rest of Ultralash will continue to record future albums. On the side, Walker will reunite with her singer-songwriter roots and record
another acoustic Karry Walker album.
-Jessica Blumensheid - Jessica Blumensheid


Ultralash - Foamy Lather, released May 2008
Ultralash - Ultralash, 2003 Fictitious Records
Karry Walker - Lipsbury Pinfold, 1999 Ubiquity Records

Tracks are currently streamed on Pandora.com and AirplayDirect.com



Hi and thanks for visiting the Ultralash SonicBids page.

We hope you have as much fun listening to our music as we do when we're making it.

Ultralash just released its sophomore effort in May 2008. Entitled "Foamy Lather", songs on the new album include World of Suck, RubaDub, Good Morning Suburbia and Like A Daisy, all featured here on SonicBids.

Karry Walker's music has been placed in several TV series including shows on the WB Network, MTV and Fox. Details are available if you'd like them.

All tracks posted on SonicBids are lower quality mp3s so that they stream efficiently. If you like what you hear, highest quality audio files are available immediately by request.

For those who'd like to get to know us more, please visit our website at www.ultralash.com .