End of the World Sessions - Summerhill / Frisell

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The music from these sessions was recorded live to cassette on a stereo Panasonic boombox over the stretch of one hot summer in downtown Manhattan, 1981. It was all very stealthy and informal. I’d call up some people on a payphone and we’d meet at one or another of the many dirt-cheap rehearsal spaces on the Lower East Side. We would simply show up, light a cigarette, plug in, and start improvising. I’d give maybe a quick prompt or set a groove with a vague sketch of where it might lead, and a’hunting we would go . . .  The only rule was that there were no rules and even if there were, there was nobody about to enforce them. We played completely free as an ensemble, inventing whole song structures together on the spot and even freestyling the lyrics sometimes as it all spilled out of us in one shared breath. . . . I invited William Burroughs but Allen Ginsberg showed up instead and jumped right on the mic. (you can hear the results of some of those sessions online at Ginsberg’s Stanford U. Archives). Sometimes members of Television or Defunkt or the Voidoids or Contortions or Ornette Coleman’s band dropped by unannounced and things swerved off into another zone of black operations. 

It felt more like experimental theater than a series of jam sessions; “wrong” was impossible because there was no right way to do the complete unknown. We were channeling something and we just ran away with it, wherever it wanted to take us . . 

It was in the air then. It was dangerous. You had to be there: . . . NYC, 1981 . . .  

– Julian Summerhill


Song List

01 facing walter
02 mad dog 20/20
03 no body
04 interstellar
05 now I see my ships
06 shuffling off the coil
07 faster pussycat, kill kill
08 nameless latino
09 beware the fierce new breed
10 i die a little
11 river of hate
12 dream street
13 alphabet town

TRT: 66 minutes

Julian Summerhill - vocals, piano, guitar, keyboards, percussion, recorder, harmonica

Bill Frisell - guitar, loops

Bruce Whitcomb - bass

Dave Boonshoft - (bass on tracks  8, 9, 10, 11)

Charles Telerant - Drums (except tracks 6, 7 and 11 drummer unknown)


FLAC = 2.2GB file

MP3 = 159MB file

AAC = 205MB


A note regarding the restoration process.  These recordings were restored and mastered by Jessica Thompson in Berkeley California, using Azimuth and iZotope RX6. The additive, subtractive and mid-side EQ sculpting was done mostly with Fab Filter, and a plug in called BX_refinement was applied to control panning and enhance the stereo imaging. The cassettes were digitized on a Nakamichi cassette deck at 192kHz and 24 bits.

Cover photo by Robert Cunningham, from the collection of Susan Fensten