'Lo-Fi Glam Trash Techno': Park Doing releases his solo debut album
Ithaca singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer Park Doing will unveil his solo debut album, “The Origin of Radar,” Friday at the Downstairs. There’s no cover charge for the release show, which kicks off at 8 p.m.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a longtime stalwart of the Ithaca music scene, Doing has played and produced all kinds of music, especially electrified folk, since he arrived here in the early 1990s. He worked with local acts such as The Settlers, Kiev, and Johnny Dowd, and also curated events under his Brightspark moniker.
Doing had previously recorded the new album’s nine songs with his band Atomic Forces. (Disclosure: I played guitar for them from 2009 to 2015.) But it wasn’t until this record that he was able to track them the way he had always envisioned.
“These are the fully realized versions, the way I always had conceived them from the start,” said Doing in a recent interview at his “Rock Room” at Howl Studios in Trumansburg.
He achieved that goal with help of producer Rob Kuhlman at Root Cellar Music Studio, which he had set up in the hills of outside of Ithaca before moving to Monroe, Georgia. Playing and singing all the parts himself, Doing laid down the original tracks at his home studio, then took them to Kuhlman, who replaced the often lo-fi sounds with much higher fidelity ones.
“Park’s ability to hear the smallest of vocal harmonies and layering possibilities is amazing as his vision of what a song can be by arranging it to develop parts over time and expanding instruments in ways most would never think of,” Kuhlman wrote on his Facebook page.
Doing had honed these songs while performing around the U.S. and Europe with Ithaca’s own Johnny Dowd and indie-rock legends Guided by Voices. While Atomic Forces had opened for GBV a couple of times in New York City, Doing had gone fully solo by the time he landed the opening solo for GBV’s Ithaca debut in 2018. Working with samples, pedals, and a looper, he was able to create fully fleshed-out versions of his originals on stage all by himself.
Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard – a longtime friend and mentor from the Dayton, Ohio, music scene – was so impressed he had Doing open another two-dozen shows around the U.S. in 2018. In fact, Doing was the last opening act GBV has ever had, as the band now prefers to play three-hour sets without sharing the stage.
Pollard contributed a couple of his collages as the album cover art, as well as the slogan “File under Lo-Fi Glam Trash Techno” slogan that adorns the front cover. “That’s what I play,” exclaimed Doing the first time he heard the phrase.
During the pandemic, Doing retired from his longtime teaching gig at Cornell University, where he had earned his PhD in Science and Technology Studies. It’s no surprise that most of his lyrics, as well as the album title itself, are inspired by science manuals. He also describes his many ongoing multimedia projects as “investigations into our relationships with our technological reflections.”
Along with performing songs from the album on Friday night, Doing will bring his turntable and play some of the records that inspired the new LP, including vinyl from the Velvet Underground, Gang of Four, Orange Juice, and many other bands. He says: “Come to dance or ponder – it's up to you!”
If you go
Who: Park Doing
What: Album release party for ‘The Origin of Radar.”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 7
Where: The Downstairs
Cost: no cover!