For his second release on innova, Stuart Hyatt has assembled a most unusual group of performers. The new album, Shrimp Attack, chronicles Hyatt’s extended musical collaboration with the member artists of Creative Clay, a non-profit arts center that allows adults with developmental disabilities to create and exhibit their work. These artists have never been recorded before; their heartbreaking lyrics and powerful voices cast a stunning light onto Hyatt’s lo-fi orchestral pop arrangements.
The resulting nine tracks loosely follow an epic wartime narrative. Each song also manages to reflect the engaging spirit of marginalized people finally having their voices heard. On the song Good, Mike, who only says a few words ever (Good…good stuff…big hot dog….yummy), becomes the inspiration for a rousing call and response rock song. On another, March, Mark plays the role of The Shrimp Commander, announcing his plans for domination, but falls into a spiritual stupor. Another song, Ben’s House, features lead vocals by a man who never speaks at all. Hyatt describes the song’s germination: “Ben lives in a mysterious world…but seemed excited to participate…he doesn’t really hear or speak… I put the headphones on and turned the beat up REALLY loud…and Ben began to tap his chest and hum…the result is really beautiful.”
This special limited edition release comes in handmade packages, featuring drawings and text by the member artists of Creative Clay, assembled with ninja tree seeds in a U.S. army canteen pouch used in the Vietnam War era.
Stuart Hyatt’s compositions, recorded under the umbrella of TEAM Records, are location-based field projects that bring together community members in the creation of new music. His innova debut, The Clouds, a gospel/folk album recorded in rural Alabama, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Design and Packaging in 2005.
The CD features experimental pop songs that are at once catchy and entertaining, yet combine to address the complex themes of power, representation, and possible revolution. For this one-time limited edition release, each CD comes in a unique, signed and numbered handmade package made from mostly recycled and salvaged materials. Each package is a fine art object itself, many with original drawings, collages, photographs, and objects tucked inside.- Alizza Punzalan-Hall, College News