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The Kettle Black


by J Mundok

While I was gearing up to watch Dick Clark bring in 1996 on the tube, Cap’n Rootbeer and Big Brother Ugly were finishing the first song, "Montego", of what would later become known as Port in a fabric shop near an airport somewhere in Washington. It all began that fateful night with a borrowed drum machine and "big" casio keyboard. Using found objects to create fresh recording effects and a couple killer garage sale mics, the pair pieced together the first cassette release, "Sounds For Personal Psychological Adjustment". This first low-fi release went for four bucks a copy with the core of advertising coming from a hand painted 1967 Burgundy Plymouth Valient Signet with the words "Ask me about your personal psychological adjustment, only $4.00" painted across the back in rustoleum. The second side of the tape was left blank for the listen to record anything to his/her own liking. It was marked with a question mark inside the outline of a head with the words "Reserved For Sonic Analysis".

Even with such a creative beginning Port was put on hold while Rootbeer started a 4 piece EMO group that lasted until the summer of ‘98 when he was approached by Ugly to pick up where Port had left off, only this time they would transfer tracks back and forth over the Internet via the Mod Tracker. They were to sample all the sounds constructing tracks electronically and after a few weeks of fooling around, they built the first solid song, "My What Long Cigarettes You Have", a song dedicated to Audrey Hepburn.

They toyed with the idea of a soap opera influenced theme album. The outcome of this brainstorming was an album called "Teninotwooneo". They upgraded to CD burning and spent a couple weeks enjoying the first CD (not yet released). Upon realizing that only about a third of the tracks had anything to do with "Teninotwooneo", a fictitous town based on there own. The reconsidered everything and combined some of these tracks with new tracks recorded around two characters, Cuddlebot and Orgasmatron Death Machine. Cuddlebot somehow emerge from the concept "too make music that people could cuddle to, but is too scary and would much rather throw bricks into your head because you would be way too disturbed to have logical thought and the bricks at the CD player" (loosely translated by Rootbeer). The final result is the latest Port release, "Cuddlebot Steps Out" and electronic music masterpiece.

I haven’t heard any new material yet, but the if the following excerpt from a story told by Rootbeer means anything... "...[Ugly] and I decided to go to Goodwill to look for old keyboards....we passed the answering machines on the way out and I couldn’t resist to break ‘em open and take a few tapes, just in case of a really good sample...We popped in answer tape #3 and we entered euphoria...What we had discovered was a conversation between a girl and a boy approx. 19 years of age breaking up for a good 40 minutes!...We were fixed around the tape player for the next 10 minutes and bam we heard, ‘remember when I gave my number to that guy in Port?...’ At this point we realized that this had to be a direct gift from above."

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