Jim of Seattle /  Seattle Orchestrated pop from Seatown with a touch of whimsy, a touch of doom.
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Jim of Seattle

Orchestrated pop from Seatown with a touch of whimsy, a touch of doom.
Seattle

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Jim of Seattle makes music that engages the brain and beautifies the soul. Freaky but friendly!

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Jim of Seattle Revisited! — 05/27/2015

Frank Gutch Jr. tells is like it is. “From the carnival intro of Overture through the folk/psych and sixties farfisa rock of Everybody Now to the Oingo-Boingo-ish deviltry of Laboratory Rat, this album begs a complete listen. Give it one and you get equal parts fringe rock with classical interludes and the occasional cross between glee club and Hi-Los which practically sounds like recordings from a monastery. The small compositions, for they are worthy of that designation, fade in and out seamlessly, the distance between one and the next timed to perfection.”

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Jim of Seattle - Laboratory Rat (Official Music Video)...

Jim of Seattle - Laboratory Rat (Official Music Video)

From the Jim of Seattle CD "We Are All Famous" http://www.greenmonkeyrecords.com/ In my teens I wrote and recorded songs and put them together into "albums",...

Both The Planet Frank and The Chet Lambert Show | Jim of Seattle
Both The Planet Frank and The Chet Lambert Show
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Back Cover
We All Are Famous | Jim of Seattle
We All Are Famous
Jim of Seattle | Jim of Seattle
Jim of Seattle

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Jim of Seattle /  Seattle Orchestrated pop from Seatown with a touch of whimsy, a touch of doom.

Jim has been doing music stuff since 1980, when he made "albums" on a cheap cassette recorder complete with album covers made from cardboard and felt pens. Exactly one copy exists of each. They are:
Classical Punk
Beatless 4 Ever
Life in Cucumberville
Maple Bars on the Rampage
A Bunch of Squiggly Lines
Phonographic Memory
Jim Sings the American Top 40

He then went to music school at University of Washington and learned how to write music he hated, including forgettable "modern" pieces such as "Screams for Solo Piano". Enough said there. His next non-hated output was for two comic book operas, Sweeney Todd God and Door Door Door Door Me, also cheap cassette recordings. These were way better. Jim did the drawings as well, but he can't really draw.

After college, Jim went to Japan and worked for the Japanese mafia, taking a hiatus from music. Upon his return to the US, he entered the world of musical theatre, writing a bunch of musicals that never saw the light of day. He attended the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in Los Angeles and among other things wrote the score to the a cappella musical 4AM Boogie Blues, which had some success in Chicago, New York and Seattle. He began work on a musical adaptation of Heidi, then in 2001 decided he'd had enough of musical theatre and abruptly dropped out of that world, never to return. Too many rules.

After a few years writing instrumental children's music as well as a gig with Disney to write songs for a video game called Nightmare Ned, Jim spent several years writing for the online songwriting competition Song Fight (songfight.org), which gave him the opportunity to get back to his own style. After twenty years dabbling in modern classical and musical theatre, his music again sounded like it did when he was in his basement with a cheap cassette recorder. A few years later he was discovered by Tom Dyer of Green Monkey Records, through a mutual acquaintance who remembered "Laboratory Rat", a song from one of those old cassette-recorded albums which had gained some improbable local radio airplay back in 1981 and was still remembered. Tom invited Jim to finally produce a real album, which became We Are All Famous, released in 2013. Famous pulled bits from his 30-odd years of music into one cohesive experience. The album made multiple top ten lists and received much critical acclaim. Jim was satisfied and thought that might be it for him.

But it turns out that wasn't it. Since then, Jim has been hard at work on his second album, Both the Planet Frank and The Chet Lambert Show, due out in October 2016.

Jim of Seattle was born, raised and still lives within the Seattle city limits. He thinks he might be the only one left. He is married to a psychotherapist, writer and occasional singer, and his only daughter is a successful painter. He has a day job doing computer stuff.

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May 27, 2015

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Jim of Seattle Revisited!

Frank Gutch Jr. tells is like it is. “From the carnival intro of Overture through the folk/psych and sixties farfisa rock of Everybody Now to the Oingo-Boingo-ish deviltry of Laboratory Rat, this album begs a complete listen. Give it one and you get equal parts fringe rock with classical interludes and the occasional cross between glee club and Hi-Los which practically sounds like recordings from a monastery. The small compositions, for they are worthy of that designation, fade in and out seamlessly, the distance between one and the next timed to perfection.”

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Dec 27, 2013

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Best Albums of 2013 - #3!

Ted Gioa Top 100 of 2013 list - all genres!

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Dec 26, 2013

shoutout

Sparky’s List Of Very Nice 2013 All Indie CDs - Shockpop

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Dec 22, 2013

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"We Are All Famous may have been the single most pleasing musical discovery I made during 2013." Ted Gioa - Daily Beasti

Is this Brian Wilson Recording Under a Pseudonym? No, it’s just Jim of Seattle. Or so they say. But I’m still skeptical. Jim’s We Are All Famous, is just too creative for a self-produced project by an all-but-unknown performer. Jim knows every rock-pop production trick in the book, and uses each one at some point in this album. His conception of vocal harmonies is especially adept. Get this man out of Seattle and bring him to Carnegie Hall! We Are All Famous may have been the single most pleasing musical discovery I made during 2013.

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Dec 17, 2013

milestone

Jim of Seattle make yet another Tops of 2013 list for This Is Books Music!

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Jul 15, 2013

milestone

Jim of Seattle has Witchy Number on Ball of Wax 32

Our very own Jim of Seattle has a tune, Starting a Witch Hunt on Ball of Wax 32! Pretty good.

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Jun 20, 2013

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Bravo, Jim. I don't know what's in the water in your part of Seattle, but I hope it never goes away. Jon Davis

How to start a review when a simple list of all the styles touched on in the music would use the entire word count? Jim of Seattle is one guy recording with a little help from friends (or possibly family), and his talents and objectives are positively sprawling. Apparently there was enough material available for three CDs in different stylistic categories, but it was compiled into these 19 tracks. One general stream is pseudo-orchestral music like the opening "Overture," which features accordion, solo violin and a synthesized orchestra, in a style reminiscent of movie music from the 1940s. Maybe backing a European café or street scene. And then there are tracks like "Everbody Now," which is a kind of lush chamber pop with some 60s psychedelic overtones - think of the Turtles. Jim's voice is overdubbed into massive clone choruses, and the melodies are ridiculously catchy. There are also some more electronic tracks, maybe resembling Devo with less guitar. We're also treated to a child singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Martians Are Going to Eat Us," some a cappella tracks (all parts Jim), and a diversion into what might be called orchestrated protest-folk. Some of the other artists that come to mind during the course of listening to We Are All Famous include Kevin Gilbert, Mike Keneally (though with less guitar), XTC, and Neutral Milk Hotel. Not bad company to be in. Bravo, Jim. I don't know what's in the water in your part of Seattle, but I hope it never goes away. And I positively adore the paintings that adorn the package, surreal visions by Tyson Grumm.

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Jun 04, 2013

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Eccentric, fascinating, diverse and wacky to the smallest detail, Patrick Bruneel, Gonzo Circ

TRANSLATION: More than thirty years, the composer Jim Of Seattle, the alter ego of Jim Owen, already music. He has composed for theater, film and musicals and even contributed to some films from Disney. Meanwhile, he played a lot of covers on his piano at home, in his basement. It is there that he so far all his music put together. He played until now never anything of his music on a stage or in front of an audience. Perhaps there be change as "We Are All Famous' creates some interest and notoriety. The last few years, Owen wrote a lot of songs in various genres that were not designed to contribute to a work site of a third party. However, he still felt that he had not enough songs that fit together in some way to make them punching together on a disc. Tom Dyer, head of Green Monkey, Owen asked to send a selection that could be checked whether the label is still able to something. Owen sent more than sixty songs, which Dyer made a choice and who submitted to Owen to make stabbing in some order. To his amazement turned the eclectic mix to work anyway. Jim, in reality, actually from Seattle, sounding sometimes like Frank Zappa, seems as unhinged as the British humor of Monty Python, while other pieces are more singer-songwriter, a children's song, something that may be suitable for a musical, playful sounding or as psychedelics from the year 1960. it is the work of a creative person who uses all sorts of genres, there is something that sounds different than what others do, and constantly surprises us. 'Welcome To Windows "for example, the startup tune Windows XP and piano, which go together perfectly. A recording of the voice of his daughter acts of long ago in the traditional 'Twinkle Twinkle Star', even while the song Madi Owen once wrote, "The Martians Are Going To Eat Us', pops. Eccentric, fascinating, diverse and wacky to the smallest detail, in our opinion does Jim from Seattle again not to wait so long before he makes a solo album.

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Jun 01, 2013

milestone

“No last names here…..this guy has apparently making music for 30 years but this I his first release. It’s all over the map but most of it is melodic in an oddball , off-kilter kinda way. I started out hating it then I ended up really liking it by midway

“No last names here…..this guy has apparently making music for 30 years but this I his first release. It’s all over the map but most of it is melodic in an oddball , off-kilter kinda way. I started out hating it then I ended up really liking it by midway through. He even covers a Rancid song (“Black Lung”). Unique and worth checking out.” Dagger

Jun 01, 2013

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Jim Of Seattle Top 10 in Big Takeover!

Jim of Seattle – We Are All Famous (Green Monkey) Don’t lie – as a music nerd, you’ve long imagined what a hybrid of the Zombies, the Residents, R. Stevie Moore, the Magnetic Fields, Sparks and Van Dyke Parks would sound like. Well, here it is – nineteen tracks of sometimes quirky, often zany, but extremely well-crafted tracks of sophistipop from the enigmatic composer Jim of Seattle. Includes a piano duet with the Windows start-up chime sure to have you checking your computer every few seconds. Picks to click: “We Are All Famous,” “Laboratory Rat”

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May 14, 2013

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“What it is is either a rock opera pieced together very carefully and in the minutest detail, or it is 19 experiments in music or perhaps musical theater woven together with the skill of one who suffers from OCD." Frank Gutch Jr.

We Are All Famous No we aren't, Jim of Seattle, but if you keep this up, you certainly will be. I had no idea what this was when it came. I knew it was from Green Monkey Records, of course, and I knew it had the highest recommendations of head monkey Tom Dyer and his henchman and my good friend Howie Wahlen, but you have to figure that a lot of that comes from being on the label. Then again, the fact that Dyer heard something in We Are All Famous he found worth releasing says one hell of a lot right there. Howie? I've learned I have to trust him or run the risk of missing music I do not want to miss. Still, this is not exactly what I expected. From the cover alone, I knew the songs would be more on the fringe. No one puts together artwork worthy of a Monty Python or Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and then slips classic rock or Broadway or even modern classical in the jacket. Look closely and without thinking, try to guess what kind of music is on this album. You can't, right? Then again, maybe you're closer than you might think. Theatrical? Odd? Is it a rock opera? Is it a soap opera? Hell, it could be circus music judging by the cover and, not surprisingly, it is, if only for a short interlude. What it is is either a rock opera pieced together very carefully and in the minutest detail, or it is 19 experiments in music or perhaps musical theater woven together with the skill of one who suffers from OCD. I am leaning toward the former because the more I hear this, the more I hear genius. It is a wild but controlled genius, an ear for sequencing so many pieces of music in just the right order. Granted, without the music, the sequencing would be wasted. I do believe Jim wasted not a drop. From the carnival intro of Overture through the folk/psych and sixties farfisa rock of Everybody Now to the Oingo-Boingo-ish deviltry of Laboratory Rat, this album begs a complete listen. Give it one and you get equal parts fringe rock with classical interludes and the occasional cross between glee club and Hi-Los which practically sounds like recordings from a monastery. The small compositions, for they are worthy of that designation, fade in and out seamlessly, the distance between one and the next timed to perfection. I'm going to tell you right now that while you may find favorite tracks on We Are All Famous, listening to them individually takes away from their true impact. Jim obviously worked extremely hard to make this album flow from beginning to end in such a way that each track sets the next one up in the best way possible. This is only a portion of the “genius” to which I earlier alluded. So I sit here listening for what must be the 20th or 30th time, coffee cup at hand because I need caffeine to make my own words flow enough to just keep up. If you were sitting here with me, you'd be gulping coffee too. This is amazing stuff. I wish I didn't have to say “you have to hear this to believe it”. It stops most people dead in their tracks. But I have to. This is way beyond what I expected. Normally, I try to steer clear of personal messages in reviews, but Jim, my apologies for taking so long with this. It has taken me this long to even begin to understand the whole of We Are All Famous. And if, as you predict, The Martians Are Going to Eat Us, I hope they hold off for some time. I need more time. At least a thousands listens worth. Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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Jan 19, 2013

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“We Are All Famous is pop eclecticism at its very best.” John Book

We Are All Famous (Green Monkey) is pop eclecticism at its very best. Take the professional recording studio and home recording quirks, along with that passion to be self-contained, like Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, and Prince, and combine them in a mix that involves creating voluptuous music but by balancing on the cusp/rim/lip while maintaining incredible balance. That’s one Jim Owen, who is simply known as Jim Of Seattle. He sings all of the lead vocals and does most of the background vocals and instrumentation here, so when you step into We Are All Famous, you are very much entering the domain of Jim Of Seattle. Not Seattle, although that’s very much a clue, but Jim Of Seattle. There’s a lot of depth in his songs that may sound like mini-stories, or tracks like the instrumental “A Conversation”, which seems to be a passageway towards something much more grand (or simply the next phase). He uses natural sounds with great results, but he also isn’t afraid to use electronic drums to make a statement within a statement. Then you have a track like “Black Lung” (a Rancid cover done nothing like you’d expect) which may sound like something you’d revive out of your dream based on a school auditorium assembly. Even with a lyric sheet, it’s hard to say if this is a concept album, an album with a running theme, a theme within a concept, a concept within a few themes, or just a collection of songs that are there to fuck with your mind in order to find some sense or continuity. If music is a game, We Are All Famous is a practical game piece and Jim Of Seattle is a very spirited player. Others may give up on the game due to exhaustion, but Jim Of Seattle is not in it to win it, but merely to play for the spirit of playing. For that, he is a gold medal winner.

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Jan 13, 2013

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"one of the most intriguingly enigmatic collection of sounds you’ll hear all year." Jeff Penczak, Terrascope

http://terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Reviews_January_13.htm#JimofSeattle After three decades of mucking about with a wide variety of songs (including compositions for film and Disney), Jim decided to settle down and assemble this collection with is barely linked together by a thin thread of insanity that marks the best of the shenanigans produced by Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Kim Fowley, et.al. It’s almost as if Jim set the fertile imagination of Charlie Kaufmann to music! Oompah bands, waltzing violins, and accordions transport us to Paris for a stroll down the Champs Elysses as the ‘Overture’ sets high expectations for the variety of music to follow. The Residents spring to mind as I listened to ‘Everybody Now’, as does Bruce Kerr’s ‘In-A-Ga-Da-Da-Vida-Polka’, so you know right from the start that ol’ Jim could be leading us on a wild goose chase through the history of music. Show tunes, spoken word, wacky voices, cheesy keyboards – they’re all here and it’s a roller coaster ride that’ll make your head spin with its giddy humour, fractured fairy tales (his 2-year old daughter sings ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’!), and trawl through rock and roll’s back catalogue of stylistic inventions. Jim plays almost everything, but I must single out Madi Owen’s extraordinary violin solos which give the album some grounding and (just barely) keep it from floating off on the back of Tinkerbell’s fairy dust. Beach Boys harmonies crossed with a barbershop quartet arrangement yields ‘One Beautiful Summer’, ‘A Conversation’ isn’t a conversation at all, but an instrumental reprise of the ‘Overture’ theme – the kind of stuff that the Elephant 6 collective in general and the Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel in particular used to do that drove me crazy – in a good way! Then, out of the clear blue, it starts raining, a train pulls out of the station, a violin strolls into the scene, and… it’s a cover of Rancid’s ‘Black Lung’ with a chorus of hundreds turning the punk classic into a backyard bar-b-q singalong orchestrated by Sir Monty Python. Elsewhere, ‘Cloud-Cuckoo Land’ is a gorgeous, semi-classical (violins and piano dominate) tearjerker that redefines “wistful”, ‘When She Landed’ would not be out of place on either of the first two Soft Machine albums, ‘OK’ is pure Bongwater (the band not the liquid, although who knows what Jim and guest vocalist Patrice Janda have been drinking!), and, then a childrens’ crusade marches into earshot with the hyper-theatrical singalong, ‘The Martians Are Going To Eat Us’ that Danny Elfman and Tim Burton need to use to soundtrack their next animated feature. Any album that combines the sensibilities and radical restructuring of linear musical thinking that fondly recalls the best of Zappa, Beefheart, the E6 crew, The Residents, the Softies, Rachmaninoff, the Van Beethovans (Camper and Ludwig), Weird Al Yankovic, and even, ahem, borrows Eno’s Windows Operating System Startup theme (‘Welcome to Windows’) is bound to become one of the most intriguingly enigmatic collection of sounds you’ll hear all year. Just don’t make us wait another three decades for the follow-up, Jim! (Jeff Penczak)