Paul Slavens has made a lot of music over the years. And no, that doesn't just mean the songs he makes up off the top of his head every Monday at Dan's Silverleaf for Pau Slavens and Friends. That doesn't even mean his decades of material released as the front man for Ten Hands or as a solo artist. Slavens has troves of unreleased music, and now he's getting ready to make sure some of it sees the light of day.
This morning, the Sunday night KXT host announced plans to release 10 albums' worth of previously unheard four-track demos under the name Juvenilia. The recordings span about 10 years, starting in the early 1980s when Slavens had first moved to Denton and before Ten Hands had started.
"I ended up with around 60 cassettes which I dumped to computer and remixed," Slavens said in a release this morning. He says he spent about 18 months on the transfer. "What I ended up with was around six hours of music, almost 100 tracks. It's the sound of a younger me, with some vintage synths and some cheap equipment, getting creative, being naive and having fun."
One song, "Ursa Minor," is available for streaming now on Slavens' Soundcloud page. Recorded on a Foster X-15, "the first consumer cassette multitrack," the instrumental track features an eerily simple keyboard line with a synth melody and simple percussion. "Lo-fi would be a compliment on most of this," Slavens quips in the release.
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But the music — the first Slavens has released since Alphabet Girls Vol. 1 in 2010 — isn't intended strictly to stand on its own: "My hope is that people will take this stuff and mess with it, remix it, appropriate it, use it.”
Juvenalia will be released online next Friday, May 20 (Slavens' birthday), with a a release party and "art installation" planned for June 1 at the Norman Roscoe Pop Up on the square in Denton. Artwork will be provided by artist Sue Little.
But this is just the start for Slavens' archival plans.
"This is the beginning of a larger archive and release project," Slavens adds, saying that the future releases could include reissues, chamber movements, and live improv recordings. The archival releases are intended to lead up to the release of his next album of new material, Alphabet Girls Vol. 2.