EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR
   
TRACK LIST:

1. Winner's Blues 2:07
2. Bull In The Heather 3:04
3. Starfield Road 2:15
4. Skink 4:12
5. Screaming Skull 2:39
6. Self-Obsessed And Sexxee 4:30
7. Bone 3:58
--
8. Androgynous Mind 3:30
9. Quest For The Cup 2:30
10. Waist 2:49
11. Doctor's Orders 4:20
12. Tokyo Eye 3:54
13. In The Mind Of The Bourgeois Reader 2:33
14.

 

Sweet Shine

bonus noise hidden on CD

5:22

1:24

 

NOTES

"Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" is Sonic Youth's tenth album, and the first record for which they did not tour. It's also the first album since "Sister" to include a lyric sheet (vinyl only), and the first album since "Bad Moon Rising" which doesn't feature any songs with Lee on lead vocal. "Jet Set" is also the last record to heavily feature Kim on bass -- she primarily plays guitar on all of the subsequent albums.

HISTORY

If touring with high-volume, high-energy acts like Nirvana and Mudhoney influenced the tone of "Dirty", touring with bands whose songwriting dynamics required less volume and involved more subtleties (such as Royal Trux, Sebadoh, Pavement) surely inspired the overall presence of "Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star". After the final "Dirty" tour in March 1993, Sonic Youth began working on new material (some of which was debuted by Thurston alone during his opening sets on the Free Kitten/Mosquito Japanese tour in January '93). The full band premiered Jet Set material at the "Ecstatic Peace! Caravan of Stars" show on June 5th, 1993, playing preliminary, basic versions of "In the Mind of the Bourgeois Reader" "Skink" "Bull in the Heather" and "Starfield Road". Their next shows -- 2 NYC gigs serving as rehearsal for their July 1993 European tour -- saw more songs unveiled, and featured one of Sonic Youth's finest set lists in history, a perfect sampling of songs from their back catalog not played in years ("PCH" "Stereo Sanctity" "Secret Girl" "Flower" "Cotton Crown" "Candle" & "Total Trash" all made welcome reappearances), a few choice tracks from "Dirty", and several new songs in addition to those that had been debuted: "Self-Obsessed & Sexxee" & "Tokyo Eye". The July tour sustained the same basic set list, and the second to last show of the tour was released somewhat officially on a bootleg entitled "Blastic Scene". These were Sonic Youth's last shows of 1993 -- and in fact, their last show until December 1994, and their last tour until April 1995. Following this, Free Kitten and Steve's side project Mosquito performed at the second stage of a few Lollapalooza gigs, after which Sonic Youth worked up more new material before entering the studio in late '93. They worked again with Butch Vig, but this time with drastically different results -- suggesting that Andy Wallace's mixes played a significant role in Dirty's in-yr-face sound.

SY recorded once again at Sear Sound (on 16-track), where they'd recorded Sister six years prior (though it had since relocated) and had done some overdubs for Dirty the previous year. The band supposedly joked that they'd recorded over the masters for "Sister" to save tape costs -- which sounds silly at first, until you really, really crank "Jet Set" up... you can actually hear "Sister" played in its entirety underneath the album! Listen closely between songs if you have any doubts... They recorded a total of 13 songs for the album, including two completely different vocals for "Doctor's Orders", one by Kim (destined for the album), one by Thurston (destined for the b-side). Notable is the lack of any Lee vocal, for the first time since "Bad Moon Rising". Prior to final mixes, the band was asked to contribute to a forthcoming compilation called "DGC Rarities Vol. 1" (or "Geffen Rarities" in Europe), and rather than digging backwards for something, decided to whip up a new tune during the mixing sessions for "Jet Set". With only a few acoustic guitars and a drumkit assembled for their use, they composed at least 3 finished songs: "Compilation Blues" for the rarities disc, "Razorblade" (which also became a b-side), and a Thurston solo endeavor titled "Winner's Blues", which the band deemed worthy of opening the new album, adding it to the line-up at the last minute.

"Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" hit stores in late April, and was the first Sonic Youth album for which the band did not tour. The obvious reason was Kim's pregnancy, very apparent in both the "Bull in the Heather" video (the only single from "Jet Set") and Sonic Youth's first of two TV appearances to support the album, their return to Letterman (now hosting "The Late Show") on May 17th, performing "Bull". Kim and Thurston's daughter Coco Hayley Gordon Moore was born in July. Two months later they appeared on The Jon Stewart Show, performing the proposed second single "Self-Obsessed & Sexxee" as well as "Starfield Road" (playing out the credits).

Which isn't to say they didn't keep busy in the meantime -- Thurston enlisted Steve and Tim Foljahn to perform some new songs he had written, billing the band as "Male Slut". These songs were bound for Thurston's first (and, so far, only) legitimate "solo album" Psychic Hearts, released on DGC in 1995. The trio toured in late April, along with Gate, this incarnation featuring Michael Morley and Lee Ranaldo. Aside from this tour, Lee performed a number of shows on his own, and with William Hooker. Kim occupied herself with Free Kitten, having added Pavement's Mark Ibold on bass and the Boredoms' Yoshimi on drums (rounding out the existing Kim + Julie Cafritz line-up), working on an LP entitled "Nice Ass". Sonic Youth also released a non-album single in September, their fantastic cover of the Carpenters' "Superstar" from the tribute compilation "If I Were A Carpenter". On December 2nd, Sonic Youth played their only full show of the year in NYC, debuting "Bone" "Androgynous Mind" and "Waist" -- everything else from the album would remain unplayed live ("Winner's Blues" "Screaming Skull" "Quest For The Cup" "Doctor's Orders" & "Sweet Shine").

PACKAGING

The vinyl and CD releases of "Jet Set" differed greatly. The CD included 5 separate cards ("myth-science-art cards" as the liners refer to them), 4 of which included different covers for the album designed by each band member. The "official" cover, used for all formats, has pictures of each member, supposedly taken from various bootleg releases (I can only identify Steve's, it's from the bootleg version of the Goo Demos). On the opposite side is a photo of the band in studio with the track list and credits -- this served as the back cover for the vinyl release. The next card featured Kim's cover backed with Thurston's cover. Steve's card has him behind the drums on one side, and my personal favorite, the image of a (stuffed?) kitty on the reverse (here, the scrawled title reads "experimental jet star trash & no star". The next card has a portrait of Lee on one side, and a photograph of 2 kids + some 7"s layered with candy on the other. The final card depicts a clovered jockey riding a horse (keeping in theme with Kim's card and the Bull in the Heather single art), backed with images of a golf club and some bedroom rockers clashing guitars. The photo on the disc appears to have been taken on the studio floor. The back cover of the CD features a mixing device hooked up to a speaker unit (note their brand names -- this is where the "Earth tweeking" and "Dennis adjusting" references in the credits originate) and an old sonic guitar in the background, w/ the track list. This picture, in black and white and without the track list, constitutes one side of the vinyl sleeve -- the opposite side contains a full lyric sheet exclusive to the vinyl release (none of the art card imagery except the front/back covers come with the vinyl). This is the first inclusion of a lyric sheet on a Sonic Youth record since "Sister". Once again the vinyl is coloured -- this time transparent blue.

CREDITS/LINERS

all soundings by Sonic Youth. super sound capturing, earth tweeking, dennis adjusting, speed mixing by Butch Vig. dat referencing, faders and mutes, mike placement, initial eq's, secondary flattening, playback filtering by John Siket. sound chamber at Sear Sound, NYC. mix world at Sear Sound, NYC and Sound On Sound, NYC. cut to sex vinyl and cd freeze frame by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk, NYC. arc/weld hyper-assist by Bil Emmons, Ollie Cotton, Fred Kevorkian, Walter Sear (Sear Sound), Ed Raso, Devin Emke (Sound On Sound). excellent massage by John Silva/Gold Mountain Entertainment. fine rubbing oils by Michael Meisel/GME. supra-spatial harvest, abstract neo-buy/sell by Kato, Ray, R. Smith, Rochelle, Grabel and Eddie. myth-science-art cards by Kim, Steve, Lee, Thurston. visual stance and eye pop by Kevin Reagan. cosmelodic manifestations by Sonic Youth except "Screaming Skull" by Sonic Youth/Dave Markey. notes and chords in excelsis by Sonik Tooth adm. by Zomba Songs Inc. BMI. rocked late '93 released early '94.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

From FILTER magazine 2006 SY discography self-commentary:

"sonic youth cool their jets with an eyes-closed session of esp-driven melodics. a cruise to the altitude beyond the raunch. and a blues for a feather to the breath. features the adult smash "Bull In The Heather".- TM"

SCREAMING FIELDS OF SONIC LOVE era magazine ad:

1994
EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR

sonic youth cool their jets with an eyes-closed session of esp-driven melodics. a cruise to the altitude beyond the raunch. and a blues for a feather is the breath. features the adult smash "Bull in the Heather."

I mentioned this above but it bears repeating becuz it's so curious... buried deep beneath the "cosmelodic manifestations" on Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, you can clearly hear the Sister LP in its entirety -- turn up the volume between tracks and it's plain as day.

"Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" is also notable because it features SY's first inclusion of a hidden track on the CD release -- just over a minute after "Sweet Shine" finishes, there's 1 minute and 24 seconds of "bonus noise" (the looped speech is supposedly a Japanese gas attendant).

Once again, Lee and Thurston's guitars are divided within the mix, this time Lee is in the right speaker and Thurston is in the left.

In Australia "Jet Set" came w/ a free DGC promo sampler called "Griller 2" which contained "Sweet Shine".

Early mixes of "Jet Set" are circulating amongst traders, notable for having many alternate vocal takes ("Screaming Skull" "Starfield Road" "Self-Obsessed" "Skink" "Bone" "Doctor's Orders" "Sweet Shine" all have noticeable differences, some radical--"Doctor's Orders" has Kim shouting the chorus, an alternate version of "Screaming Skull" has Thurston freestyle rapping about SST and pretty much everything else sucking on his Big D.), and some additional snippets (more of Lee's guitar mixed in during the 2nd verse of "Bull", an answering machine collage intro to "Sweet Shine").

Write up on "Jet Set" from Sonic Death #5:

  • By the end of November we had about completed our new record, CD, opus, whatever... It's called (are you ready?) EXPERIMENTAL JET SET TRASH AND NO STAR. Best poetic interpretations of the title will be printed next ish... Here's the story:

    When we came back from Europe at the end of the summer we had about half-dozen songs written. Our idea at the time was to write a few more, and then casually go into a studio and record what we had, about half an albums worth, and then work on "side two" and record again a few months later, so as to break up the process we usually go through. But, by the time we had the sessions booked we had more material than we thought and ended up doing the whole thing in one go, and now it's done!

    GOOD ENOUGH

    We worked once again with Butch Vig, and engineer Jon Siket. The idea this time was to cut as much of it live as we could, and not labor over polishing and overdubbing in the usual big-rock manner, and that's basically what went down. We did the sessions at Sear Sound, a name some of you may recognize as the studio where we recorded "Sister" way back in the day. Well, the studio is indeed still owned and operated by our friend Walter Sear, but the location has changed back then - it's now in the old Hit Factory where many fine records were cut, including the last one John Lennon was working on when he was shot. So heavy vibes in the wood!

    For the technical minded, we recorded in two inch sixteen track (analog, old stylee) through an old Neve board with lots of cool old mics as big as yr head. (All 15 ups, no noise reduction so let the tape hiss wash yer clean). It was great, it rocked! We played live, wigged loose and free minded! And it didn't take so long like it usually does! Thanks, Walter! Thanks, Roberta!

    The record is out April 26. We've no tour plans at the moment, but will keep you posted. Here's the song list:

    
    Kim sings:               Thurston sings:
    
    Dry As a Bone            Starfield Road
    Quest For The Cup        Waste
    Sweet Shine              Self Obsessed and Sexxee
    Skink                    Screaming Skull
    Bull In The Heather      Tokyo Eye
    Doctor's Orders          Adrogynous Mind
                             In The Mind of the Bourgeois Reader
    
For more information on songs (including lyrics, who played what, when the songs were first and last performed, and other trivia), please visit the Song Database.

RELATED RELEASES

  • BULL IN THE HEATHER -- first and only officially released single from the album.
  • SELF-OBSESSED AND SEXXEE -- intended to be the second single release, this was recalled and released via Sonic Death instead (same b-sides as "Bull").
  • BLASTIC SCENE -- semi-official bootleg recorded July 14th, '93, including some embryonic versions of "Jet Set" songs.

    RELEASE INFO

    VINYL

    RELEASE DATE
    ORIGIN
    LABEL
    CATALOG #
    05/11/94
    US
    DGC
    DGC24632
    NOTES: 12" on clear blue vinyl. no "bonus noise". includes lyric sheet.
    05/94
    Europe
    Geffen
    GEF24632
    NOTES: 12" on clear blue vinyl. no "bonus noise". includes lyric sheet.
    supposedly german edition is different shade of blue than US. vinyl is 'made in holland', sleeves are 'made in germany'.
     
    CD

    RELEASE DATE
    ORIGIN
    LABEL
    CATALOG #
    05/11/94
    US
    DGC
    DGCD 24632
    NOTES: CD release w/ hidden "bonus noise".
    05/11/94
    Canada
    DGC
    DGCSD 24632
    NOTES: CD release w/ hidden "bonus noise".
    05/94
    Europe
    Geffen
    GED 24632
    NOTES: CD release w/ hidden "bonus noise". made in france
    05/94
    Australia
    Geffen
    GEFD 24632
    NOTES: CD release w/ hidden "bonus noise".
    05/94
    Japan
    Geffen
    MVCG 155
    NOTES: CD release w/ hidden "bonus noise".
    03/98?
    Japan
    Geffen
    MVCG-19328
    NOTES: reissue
    ?
    Europe
    Universal/Geffen
    GED 24632 424 632-2
    NOTES: post-Universal reissue. made in the EC
     
    CASSETTE

    RELEASE DATE
    ORIGIN
    LABEL
    CATALOG #
    05/94
    US
    DGC
    DGCC 24632
    NOTES: cassette version w/ hidden "bonus noise".
    05/94
    Europe
    Geffen
    GEC 24632
    NOTES: cassette version w/ hidden "bonus noise". made in france
     

    INFO NEEDED FOR THIS RELEASE

  • Scans of cassette would be appreciated!
  • Please write me w/ anything that's missing!

  • CD insert 1 side 1 (official cover)


    CD insert 1 side 2


    CD insert 2 side 1


    CD insert 2 side 2


    CD insert 3 side 1


    CD insert 3 side 2


    CD insert 4 side 1


    CD insert 4 side 2


    CD insert 5 side 1


    CD insert 5 side 2


    disc


    CD back


    vinyl sleeve (lyric side)


    vinyl sleeve (photo side)


    vinyl back cover


    vinyl side 1


    vinyl side 2


    cassette cover (poland)


    cassette liner (poland)


    blue vinyl in jacket


    french CD back


    promo tape


    promo tape


    promo tape


    turkish cassette


    thai cassette


    isareli cassette


    scrambled lyrix as poetry