Black Citroën

The title of this collection is from the name of the cafe in Seattle that became the only place I have played a solo show of my own music – in 1996, the year I stopped playing flute with Salamander. The songs are from as far back as 1987 and as recent as the early 2000s.

Make sure to read the liner notes. Some of my best blurb writing to date.

My Life at the Circus
Recorded live in 1996 at The Black Citroën, a cafe and performance space that existed in Seattle for the duration of a dream. In a lifetime of writing, recording, and performing music, this is the only solo show I have played. Warble and treble brought to you free of charge – digitized from cassette.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals

Traveling Song
This was recorded in 1993 at Hyde Street Recording Studios in San Francisco. Fellow named Tom played drums, dude I can’t remember is on organ, and Erik Rockom is on guitar. And possibly bass? Oh, the sixties were bad for me. And I wasn’t even around then… From the cassette vault.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals
Erik Rockom: guitar
and others who shall remain nameless

The Sun Has a Way of Finding You
This song is sung by Cassie McLeod Hansbrough. Recorded in 1987 on an honest to god wax cylinder. Not really. It was digitized from a rickety old audio cassette – but despite the hiss and crackle, Cassie’s voice is still beautiful.

Cassie McLeod Hansbrough: vocals
Mark Oppenneer: piano

I Go Real Slow
I wrote this song when I was 17 years old and working as a camp counselor at Camp Orkila on Orcas Island. The San Juan Islands of Washington State are magical – and made more so by 30 years of creative remembering. Recorded live at The Black Citroën in 1996.
Throw Out the Lifeline
This song was written in 1888 by Edwin S. Ufford. Like many hymns, the music sounds too staid to my ear (and somewhat dowdy). So, I rewrote the music and gave it an utterly over-the-top performance dripping wet with reverb. There… much better. From an undated recording session in the early 90s. Produced by Erik Huber… from the cassette vault. (learn more about the original song)

Mark Oppenneer: arrangement, piano & vocals
Edwin S. Ufford: lyrics

A silly ditty recorded live at The Black Citroën in 1996. The song was probably written around 1987 when I was 16 or 17.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals

Since Childhood
In 1990, Erik Huber and I recorded a dark theme album called Since Childhood. It was about the stuff most kids think about at 19: Satan, arson, inner demons, Revelation, redemption… you know the drill. The project included Emily Kate Hall on vocals, Steve Scalfati on sax, Bruce Huber on cello, Greg Strickland on guitar, and Raymond Hill III who stopped by to say hi and ended up playing hi-hat. This song is the intro to a longer piece called “Something Down There” and features none of the folks I just mentioned. Just me at a piano. Digitized from cassette.

Mark Oppenneer: piano

This song is also from Since Childhood. Since Erik Huber and I are piano/keyboard players, the project is really synth heavy which gives it a decidedly early-90s patina. This song is not representative of the project’s overall sound. It is the second part of Revelation (14:9), an obvious homage to Pink Floyd, with me on piano, vocals, and creaky piano bench. I believe Erik Huber is the door shutter. Digitized from cassette.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals
Erik Huber: door shutting

No Poetry in the Rat Race
Such an angry young man. I wrote this bad boy sometime in 86 or 87 when I was angsty and dramatic and in love with delay and reverb. It was recorded by Erik Huber. From the cassette vault.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals

Off the Coast
A piano solo from the beginning of time. I think it may have been captured during some downtime during the recording of Since Childhood sometime in 1990. The audio is so aged, I think this one may have been digitized from clay tablets.

Mark Oppenneer: piano

Song of Leaving
I wrote this song for Rebecca Nielsen when I was around 17 (1988-ish). It was recorded much later. It is so saccharine sweet your teeth will hurt. But I love it for what it is: a snapshot of longing and young love.

Mark Oppenneer: piano & vocals

I'm Coming Home
I thought this one had died in the proverbial fire. The PC that used to be my studio shit the bed and took some of my songs-in-progress with it when it went. At some point I must have burned a copy of this song to review. The levels are way off and some of the tracks weren’t intended to be keepers, but I’m just happy to have found it again. It also makes a nice counterpoint to the Song of Leaving. Recorded sometime in the early 2000s.

Mark Oppenneer: piano, samples & vocals