Meet Danny Greenwald, a.k.a. Glassine -- a 30-year-old Baltimore musician with a Soundcloud page filled with #experimental jams (no seriously, that's what they're tagged as). They've got names like "Human Shield" and "Parchment Rise," and oh yeah, he recorded them at local Guitar Center stores. Twist ending, right?
As Greenwald told Noisey on Monday (July 13), he ambled around two Guitar Center shops (one in Brooklyn and one in Baltimore) and used his iPhone to record various customers trying out the in-store gear. Then he spliced separate fragments of the raw audio together to create seven dreamy, billowing, miniature sound collages. The end result was No Stairway, an album named after a LOL-worthy "Wayne's World" joke.
"The recorder wasn't out in the open. I didn't walk around pointing my phone at people," Greenwald told Noisey. "I would kind of follow sounds that I thought would be useful. Not all of them were pretty or alluring... I would go record for some time in the stores. Sometimes for hours. Then I would come home and sift through the booty."
This is definitely a novel idea, taking natural in-store sounds from a retail music shop and blending them into something otherworldly and interesting. But what's crazy is how Greenwald wasn't the first to have it (or act on it). Back in April, a musician named Noah Wall basically did the same thing, organizing raw, unedited field recordings of Guitar Center patrons in Manhattan into a hectic project of his own. This one is not dreamy. It is horrifying and panic-inducing. You've been warned.
While Greenwald presents more of a hazy ambient landscape, Wall's end results are literally just recreations of the spontaneous clutter you'll hear in any Guitar Center store. But it's kind of cosmic.
"There’s a general respect in terms of volume, and sometimes strangers play in the same key and seemingly with one other," Wall wrote on his website. "On two different days, two different people on two different instruments in two different rooms play the same Jackson 5 song."
But the plot thickens! This phenomenon isn't merely limited to Guitar Center. It's also branching out -- both creatively and geographically -- to the Apple Store, thanks to rapper Prince Harvey.
As he told The Daily Beast earlier this month, Harvey laid down track after track at the Apple Store in SoHo for four months straight until he had completed the album PHATASS -- an acronym for "Prince Harvey At The Apple Store SoHo" -- comprised entirely of vocal samples. Yep, #AcapellaHipHop at its finest.
"It wasn’t my plan to record this at the Apple Store," Harvey said in the interview. "First, my computer died. Then my external [hard drive] died. New York is expensive. I couldn’t just buy another laptop. I just thought, ‘I’m going to die before anyone knows I’m hot.'"
Now PHATASS has arrived, and it seems so has Prince Harvey.
So, where will intrepid, studio-minded musicians go from here? Wringing percussion tracks out of the display wooden floors at IKEA? Rearranging the chimes from baby toys at Toys 'R' Us? Or, like, doing something cool with subway noises?
Let's hope for all of the above.