The Tiny Bits And Pieces

by Ben Martin

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in jewel case with 8-page booklet containing a beautiful foto artwork by Christoph Haiderer

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Tiny Bits And Pieces via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

This album has a mostly light and optimistic feeling to it, which I obviously wasn't aware of back in late 2005, when journalist Robert Rotifer wrote this album info based on an interview:

„Singer/Songwriter as a genre is the biggest bullshit ever“ says Ben Martin. Sounds as if a lot has happened since the release of his debut album „That State Of Mind“ in 2004. While the mp3-only album „Travelling“, that filled the intervening gap, reached even deeper into the world of acoustic guitars and delicate sounds, „The Tiny Bits And Pieces“ presents Martin as the frontman of a bona fide rock band.

Martin seems to be able to move effortlessly between writing songs in the bedroom and blowing them up to a full rock line-up, so to him this transformation might seem less radical then to most admirers of his earlier work. After all, he had played the guitar in various bands before going solo. Martin and his congenial drummer Daniel go back thirteen years. They didn't even have to shave when they first played together. Nowadays, their band is completed by bassist May Köllner as well as Georg Tran (a.k.a. Landscape Izuma) on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals.

If it's Ben Martin’s aim to „prove to people that music doesn’t necessarily have to be soft and quiet just because the singer is also the songwriter“, then „The Tiny Bits And Pieces“ serves as a convincing case in point.

„Glory Days“, Bruce Springsteen once sang, „they just pass you by / in the wink of a young girl’s eye.“ „The glory days of rock’n’roll are gone“, concludes Ben Martin twenty years later, even though the euphoric opening song of his new album, driven by energetic piano chords, would suggest rather the opposite. Thanks in no small part to the help of co-producer/engineer Lelo Brossmann, these powerful sounds were not minted in some top-end recording studio, but rather on the top floor of Daniel’s parents' house, which he shares with his 95-year-old grandmother, as well as in Ben Martin’s small Viennese flat.

Noise was a problem, not in terms of angry neighbours though, but because of a building site right next door, which put out a constant, undesirable drone that set Martin’s and Brossmann’s nerves on egde. Maybe it was Martin's anger at the sound of a jackhammer bleeding onto a vocal track that added to the previously unheard venom in his singing.

„My route to rock’n’roll has been quite untypical and – I dare say – unique“, says Martin, who actually got a diploma as a jazz guitarist from a Viennese Conservatory. „I’ve always been lagging behind, I’ve always discovered bands later than everybody else. While everyone was listening to Nirvana, Guns’n’Roses or Extreme in the early Nineties, my heroes were J.J. Cale, The Blues Brothers, Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton (especially in Cream). And it went on the same way from there. I discovered Ryan Adams for myself while he had already been an old companion to many others. I found out about Billy Corgan when he was with Zwan. The list goes on forever.“

In his early childhood, Martin already got into Jazz, „but more into 70s ECM-Records than classic Swing Jazz. In this department, Gypsy-Swing Jazz was more formative for me. My CD collection is a mix of many different styles and artists, which don't go together by anybody else's standards.“ Only one piece is missing on Ben Martin’s record shelf: The very first LP by 8ts jive-popsters Matt Bianco with its many loveable inconsistencies and flaws, to which he compares his girlfriend in a catchy tune named after the band. „I’m mad about your little imperfections / Compare it to an old LP of Matt Bianco“, go the lyrics. „My Dad used to listen to the first album from Matt Bianco in our car over and over again when I was a child, which stuck in my memory. Some time ago I recalled the band and listened to it again after all these years, realizing how great it still is.“

The fact that his indie chums wouldn’t really share this notion only makes it better for Martin: „To call a song 'Badly Drawn Boy' would have been dull“, Martin argues, „I’ve always had the urge to do things that
deliberately move away from the fashionable consensus. Years ago this also used to show in the clothes I was wearing – you should have seen me in my younger days – and now it crops up in those kind of small details.“

„The Tiny Bits And Pieces“ therefore isn’t the soundtrack to the pursuit of the newest hottest shit, but a singing songwriter’s / songwriting singer’s intelligent rock album. The joyful enthusiasm of uptempo songs like „Let It All Begin“, „Cool To You“ or „The Heating Is On Again“ is highly infective, but the album also has its emotionally loaded moments, such as the beautifully arranged harmonies in „A Year“, the slide guitar and the backing vocals with a hint of Emmylou Harris in „I Am With You“ (hard to believe that Martin has never been to the US), or the two moving songs that close the album:

„In Time“ is the story of man who has all he wants but can't find satisfaction, it's „this ‚there got to be more’-feeling“, as Martin puts it. And then „I Wonder Why“, a true anecdote about an unexpected encounter by telephone with an old play-friend from his childhood: „I had been working at a phone hotline for a while when one day this guy called. I knew it was him right away. I was too insecure about him remembering me and wasn't sure if this was the right time and place to chat about the old times. After all, we'd only played football together. Thinking about it now, it was the right decision not to reveal myself. But at the time it bothered me.“

And so by the end of the album, the defiant clarion call of the opening track "The Glory Days of Rock'n'Roll" takes on a whole new, deeper, different kind of relevance. „We won’t ever make it / At least not make money / We won’t break the charts / Why not take a real job?“ For Ben Martin, there's just one possible answer: „We want to win back the glory of rock’n’roll“. Too right we do.

Robert Rotifer, Canterbury, 27.1.2006

credits

released February 17, 2006

Ben Martin - Vocals, Guitars, Lap Steel Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Glockenspiel, Bass, 2-Bar Cymbal on "I Am With You"
Georg Tran - Guitars on "Shoes" and "Cool To You", Backing Vocals on "The Heating Is On Again" And "Macon County"
Markus Köllner - Bass on "Listen To Me", "Shoes", "When Tires Collapse" and "The Heating Is On Again"
Daniel Letschka - All drums and percussions
Barbara Gruber - Backing Vocals on "I Am With You", "Macon County" and "Matt Bianco"

All songs written and produced by Ben Martin
Co-produced by Lelo Brossmann
Recorded by Ben Martin, Lelo Brossmann and Daniel Letschka
Mixed by Ben Martin, assisted by Lelo Brossmann
Mastered by Martin Scheer

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about

Ben Martin Sankt Pölten, Austria

I'm here to write, perform and spread music that has its roots in pop with influences from soul, jazz and folk rock. Ever since I discovered the guitar as a means to express my feelings in 1985, I'm constantly refining and clearing the channel through which I receive, digest and send out music. I recorded "The Endless Stream Of Everything" to share my love and songs with you. ... more

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Track Name: The Glory Days Of Rock'n'Roll
The glory days of Rock'n'Roll are gone
We're not supposed to have any fun
and if we want to get going
we need to pull the strings

No big house and no cadillac
Will we ever get anything back
We are working statistics
instead of mystics, I know
I won't miss this when I'm moving on

I'm working hard to just getting paid
While all the others are getting laid
while this sounds pathetic
It's my ethics in life

Whenever we talk about our jobs
They're telling us to go sob
we won't ever make it
at least not make money
we won't break the charts
why not take a real job

We are still on our way
don't ever look around
Can't ever take a detour
to what we ever want
Don't ever block the road to our goals anymore
Don't stop us now, don't dare to try
We want to win back the glory of Rock'n'Roll

Ok now you say that ain't right
What I am writing here just seems light
Just prove me wrong
and I'll carry on as you tell me

I wish it all would be just a bit
The way we fancied on our way to hit
But in the end we'll make it
I'm sure we'll break it all
Just don't take away my will to make it at last
Track Name: Let It All Begin
When pain troubles me
Comes over my body I'm in agony
For days and days it's gone
The very next moment it comes over me

My pain stays with me
as long as you're gone, you know I believe
In you, my dearest of all
My very last hope, I'm in agony

We grow old, we grow wise
There are things we despise
But we sure are in love
Many times we might fall
Swear to god it was all
We could take, then again
There is no way out
There is no way around

The pain I once knew
Took some time 'til it went away
What will remain is what I know
What I grow to esteem

We grow old, we grow wise
There are things we despise
But we sure are in love
Many times we might fall
Swear to god it was all
We could take, then again
There is no way out
There is no way around
Track Name: Matt Bianco
I love your perfect body even though you won't agree
You'll tell that you think I'm mad in fact you maybe right
No matter what you tell me I won't even care
'Cause that's the way I love you and I don't bother what you say

I love the tiny bits and pieces that are odd
I'm mad about your little imperfections
To me that's the way you work for me and always did
Compare it to an old LP of Matt Bianco

There's ups and downs and many bumpers where I could get lost
The crackles in your voice remind me of the good old days
Track Name: When Tires Collapse
When tires collapse
chaos is near
you'd rather not
stay inside there

When gas is out
don't switch the light
or else you get
paralized

When someone aims
a gun at you
you'd better not
call him an asshole

When trains collide
you are inside
your chances are
close to zero

Almost every minute you can die
Just do what you want but don't ask why

When you got aches
it's possible
your time has come
no matter how old you are

When sex is intense
you are inside
your pump's on strike
say goodbye

Almost every minute you can die
Just do what you want but don't ask why
Almost every minute you can die
Just do what you want but don't ask why

When Tires Collapse (2x)
Track Name: Cool To You
I don’t dance, I’d rather stand in the corner
I watch the teenage girls
I sip my drink smiling back at you
The band is playing all night through
I stand there dancing with you
Everyone who knows me is assured
This must be love

Hey, I never knew I could be cool
Hey, I’m feeling better and I blame you
Hey, Tonight I fuck all the rules
Hey, it doesn’t matter if I’m a fool
As long as I am cool to you

A little chit-chat in the corner
You even asked me out
We didn't kiss but it had happened in our minds

One night without your smile
One night without the smell of your lips
One night without the way you laugh
One night

Hey, I never knew I could be cool
Hey, I’m feeling better and I blame you
Hey, Tonight I fuck all the rules
Hey, it doesn’t matter if I’m a fool
As long as I am cool to you
Track Name: Listen To Me
Right now I'm on my
Height now please come around
Help me I'm dangerous
I'm scared of my thoughts

You know me better than you think
Take a drink with me and ease my mind
I know I can rely on you
Will you just listen to me tonight

Although it’s working out
I'm still feeling just not right
These thoughts of death are there
Since I've walked two feet by

You know me better than you think
take a drink with me and ease my mind
I know I can rely on you
Will you just listen to me tonight

I work on my own fears
Still I am almost in tears
These thoughts of death are gone
Since I’ve walked right ahead

You know me better than you think
take a drink with me and ease my mind
I know I can rely on you
Thank you for listening to me tonight

There's something inside of me
it's telling me to move along
I'm trying hard but still not sure
I'm giving in since I want to grow
Track Name: I Am With You
I won't be far tonight
Where our dreams collide
I am with you in mind
making you smile

Catch all your fears before
they wake you up
dry all your tears tonight
and cheer you up

It seems like longer
so don't upset
I'll give you comfort
you won't regret

'Cause I'm with you
In all I do

The day will come
When we return
To our life
I'm sure it will turn out right

'Cause I'm with you
In all I do
Track Name: A Year
The sun is shining on my already faded haid
The silver lining on my wall reflects the light
I am almost falling asleep, gently dreaming away
I wake up late my head is humming like a fridge
I brush my teeth I make some breakfast right away
The TV's on we have some fun, like all the other days

You say you have to talk to me about some things
My mind is wondering, my heart starts racing off
Looking somewhat guilty you tell me, you are about to leave

My head starts rushing I ask when
Some weeks ahead and not for long
You will be back for Christman Eve you promise me
I think about it and I realize
it's a year

You say you'd call on monday night, so I am wondering
It's thursday morning and I still haven't heard your voice
I am running in circles seeing you lying in some hole
The other night you called, you've not even apologized
You said we have to talk you've had the time to think
Time has come to break up, you just want to be free

My head starts rushing I ask when
Some weeks ago but now you're sure
You won't be back for Christman Eve as if you've promised me
I think about it and I realize
it's been a year
Track Name: Macon County
Moving in with red and blue
They catch you just from falling
Going out with green and white
You'll see what you can get

Kind of home is everywhere
You'll find yourself alive
Settle down and help yourself
in Macon County

Red and blue are wondering
Why you are so concerned
keep away the eee's and stuff
you'll see what green will bring
Track Name: Shoes
No, I won't walk away now
Stay with you and talk it out
I know I won't be far 'til
I pick up the phone and apologize

I will stop when tears are falling
Fight no more and bring it down
Quietly we will be sitting
'Til I break the silence with a smile

Since I love you, I need to
Feel like I wear the right shoes
When we fight I'll never be
Mad at you for long

Back in your arms again
Dry up your tears with my sleeve
Hold you so tight as if we would
fight again right away
Track Name: The Heating Is On Again
Back together
Come on take me
Look out the window
Can you see our stars

It's been raining
no umbrella around
Look out the window
can you see our sun

It is warm now
the heating is on again
we're not cold anymore
the heating is on
the heating is on

Under the blanket
we have fun again
we can't look out the window
can you see our stars

It is warm now
the heating is on again
we're not cold anymore

It is warm now
the heating is on again
we're not cold anymore
the heating is on
the heating is on again
Track Name: In Time
I'm not lonely
Never feeling sad
My life's working
Always go to bed in time

Got a good job
Always doing right
Get together
With my friends in time
Sex is great
Never getting dull

I feel
Like there's still
More in
My life

I couldn't claim
I don't know the way
How to grow
And still remain in time
Down to earth
While I'm moving on

I feel
Like there's still
More in
My life

I think I need to calm down
And give it all
A little more
Time
Just don't lose
The focus how
to end up happy
Track Name: I Wonder Why
I grew up real save
Still remember well
What it was like
Back with my friends in the yard

We were playing games
Football most of all
Having laughs I recall
It was all real nice

Just some weeks ago
Just by accident
I was talking to one of the guys on the phone

Cannot tell if he
Recalled who I was
In the end I didn't dare to reveal myself
I wonder why
I wonder why
Track Name: Travelling (Bonus Track)
Days passin' by
On our way home
Feelin' alright with you alone here

We're on a ride
Looking what else is there
Apart from life in inner space now

We're travelling in places
We want to know what else is there
It can't be anything we're in now

People alive
more than expected, did we
why don't we take a little closer look

Everything's old
new is what we are calling out
Why don't we make a little closer step