William Sanford Putting Out Boomer Vibes

I’m not saying I want to do drugs with William Sanford, but I’m also not saying that I don’t want to. Hard to believe that it was just eight months ago when we were all “Doin the Buttcrack,” Sanford’s satirical take on “made-for-Tik Tok” compositions. Alas, the summer has since passed as well as time, and William Sanford is back to true psychedelia form with his latest full-length album release, “Boomer Vibe Sessions.” Given that in the last piece I wrote about him, I admittedly declared my “boomer-ness” about understanding the modern pop culture technology, I’m feeling a little called out here Mr. Sanford. As with most of his previous releases, there is an underlying concept throughout the entire album, in absence of words or lyrics, and is indubitably …. trippy.

My first impression and I guess, realization, upon listening to “Boomer Vibes” is that the idea of a “Boomer” being the target audience for this work is highly unlikely. Unless we are talking someone very old on very high doses of something really good. No. Conversely, the album slaps. Big time bass progressions and drum beats that would blow out Grandpa’s speakers, quite honestly. The “concept” as it were, lies within the titles of songs and the auditory sensibilities embedded within each composition. Movement after movement of each composition, Sanford tells a story, albeit a Magical Mystery Tour-ish type of story, throughout the album. I liken it to when I’d listen to “Peter and the Wolf” in school. No lyrics or words ever literally stated, “Peter is a little boy” and “here comes the wolf!” Rather, you would pick up on those subtle implications by way of movements in the composition and instruments. The strings (for Peter) and the French horns (for the wolf). Obviously, we’re not apples to apples in comparison, Sanford is not conducting an orchestra here (although, I wouldn’t put it past him that he could, if he really desired to, given the opportunity) but he is piecing together movements in an audibly artistic expression, similarly. Aside from obvious distinctions like big budget orchestras, the artistic difference is that his story is a psychedelic one, intended for you to kick back, let your mind wander, and vibe to rather than thumb through a pamphlet and pretend to wear a monocle. Okay, maybe that last part is just what I’d do, if they’d let me into those types of places.

Here are some of my notes and travel logs from the “trip:”

The album opens with the track “Florals with Mr. Gramophone” and introduces what will turn out to be a recurring character throughout the album, Mr. Gramophone. Mr. Gramophone is a mostly inaudible voice, watery, that literally sounds like it’s coming out of one of those “old-timey” gramophones. This is the featured song in the AMS Radio Blog playlist.

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About 3:50 into the track, it kicks into a tripped out hypnotic trance that leads you into the next track, “Space Race,” and as the title implies there are tons of sci-fi like sounding synths incorporated amidst some indistinct, for lack of a better term, “astronaut scuttlebutt.” This track is featured on the Indie Archives playlist.

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Pluto will always be in a Boomer’s Heart” is a title that makes me giggle. I am basically taking that as a reference to how Pluto is not a planet, despite what we were originally taught about our solar system in school, wait.. maybe I am a boomer (what the heck is a “dwarf” planet anyway?) And in step with the funky title is a bit of some funky electric piano, jazz fusion. At times some of the “riffing” reminds of Ray Manzerik from The Doors. Check this tune out on AMS Radio’s “Cool Compositions” playlist.

Hey Mr. Would You Go Bop?” is most definitely one of my favorites. At about the 3:07 mark it has this huge space-age movement shift with heavy bumping bass and some electric dissonant guitar. People too soon forget in these days of MIDI how effective a guitar can be for psychedelic sounds. Not William Sanford though. #KnowYourRoots. Check this track out as the lead off for “The Bullpen.”

Boomers got a Gramophone” is probably my favorite one. Possibly. Our friend from track one, “Mr. Gramophone,” returns to make an appearance on this track. And what else can I say about that bass? Other than what No Life Shaq would say: “DAT’S TOUGH!” Listen to this track on the “Indie Anarchy” playlist.

Check out our radio station’s featured Spotify playlist, “Indie Anarchy”

Chicago Memories on the L” is the most contemporary of all the songs, in my opinion. The minor key progressions invoke a sentimental feeling. Synths are tastefully placed to intensify parts of the movement. The guitar picking, rhythmically almost models banda or mariachi type of strumming patterns to me, but “feel wise” the progression comes off more folk.

Flapperjacks” is a song that feels like a psychedelic carnival to me. Almost like the “after-party” for the Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” It does take a hard turn at the 2:10 mark with some saloon style piano rolls (calling back to the whole old-timey “boomer” concept) and end points right into a synthesized crescendo. The name of the song, however, is completely lost on me. Whatever you do, don’t look up the urban dictionary definition of it.

We May be Old, but our Brains still Dance” is, as the title would imply, the track that would be most accurately described as the “dance” number. And in title, it sticks with the “Boomer” concept. However, in reality it sounds like EDM. I know of no Boomers who listen to EDM. Mr. Gramophone returns once again shortly before the 2-minute mark.

Ghosts Be Vibin” was a perfect song to be the lead off a playlist for the month of Halloween. The beat knocks, no boomers or gramophones here on this one, just slapping bass and spooky vibes from a synth organ. The movement does shift to a video game type of soundtrack at the 1:30 mark. Check it out on the AMS Radio “Rhyme and Reason” playlist:

Nag Champa” is a track with meditative spoken word narration. Is that William Sanford’s voice? I was unable to find out in research. I am truly curious to know. Due to this basically being a meditation session, you can find it on the AMS “Deep Thoughts” playlist

In closing, I would say that William Sanford’s album is a great thing to put on while you are studying or reading. It’s very mind expanding and sparks your imagination. Or if you’re a bit of a knucklehead like me, put that thing on and vibe out while you play some video games. I definitely went a couple rounds on it myself that way. I would recommend William’s music if you are into psychedelic instrumentals, or even music that breaks into long pieces of musical exploration like The Grateful Dead or Earthless. It even covers the spectrum of beat oriented type of experimental music like Marc Rebillet.

Follow William Sanford Online:

Bandcamp // Spotify // Instagram // Facebook // Website

Check out more independent artists and AMS Radio Playlists:

Volume 2 of the Archives series
Volume 3 of Archives
The Heavy Stuff

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