Ernest Hood


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Ernest Hood’s "Neighborhoods" was released some two decades after the Portland, Oregon born and raised musician’s
first forays into field recordings. These very recordings, and those captured over intervening years, define the
universal sound and aural images of childhood, a theme memorialized by Hood’s privately pressed opus of 1975.
Sprawling through a haze of zither, synthesizer melodies, and foraged pedestrian sound, "Neighborhoods" is both a
score and documentary composed and directed by Hood to offer, in his words, joy in reminiscence. Hood’s nostalgic
impulse ran parallel to the developments of other artists, writers, and filmmakers of the 1970s who were looking back
to the 1950s to convey a collective memory of childhood. Unlike some of the widely embraced work of this nature,
the music of "Neighborhoods" eschews irony or detachment for lucidity, striving above all for a dream-like return to the details of sensory memory.

Whether using environmental sounds or instruments, a sense of musical narration is the central component of
"Neighborhoods", a strategy Hood tellingly referred to as “musical cinematography” in his original liner notes. Instead
of using the picture frame, Hood broadcasts melodies and sounds from his beloved Portland surroundings to transport listeners to the story’s scene. Remarkably, "Neighborhoods" never falls into the sentimentality trap. Hood’s music
augments its indeterminate, “anecdotal” sounds with a blend of zither and synthesizer melodies reminiscent of
golden age cinema soundtracks. "Neighborhoods" is an unusual hybrid––not quite an “ambient” record nor a collection of pure field recordings.
The identifiable sounds (screen doors opening and closing, passing motorists, crickets chirping, children playing) feel
both universal and highly specific, like a bulletin of Hood’s private geography from the middle of the last century.
There’s something instructive – if not reparative – about time traveling into the bucolic dimension of "Neighborhoods" in 2019. If Hood were presenting the album today, he might invite listeners to unplug while locating that joy in reminiscence.
In the end, the concerns of "Neighborhoods" are poetic not formal, as Hood’s own summary of the album sounds a lot
like Walt Whitman: “It hardly matters in which neighborhood you sprouted. The games we played, the mocks, the
terminology and the feelings we experienced as youngsters are tantalizingly familiar.” And later, hitting a grand note,
“How familiar, how indelible the pictures are: aromas of soft velvet days, strong friendships, fears, hates, loves... If
the music seems a little bittersweet, well... isn’t that the taste of nostalgia?” Freedom to Spend has restored Ernest
Hood’s nostalgic masterpiece with the same care with which he viewed his source material, offering a remastered
version of Neighborhoods transferred from the original tapes, expanded across four vinyl sides (the original version
was crammed on two). The new edition reproduces Hood’s celebratory liner notes in full, alongside new liner notes by
Michael Klausman. A portion of proceeds from this release will be donated KBOO FM, a volunteer-powered, non-
commercial, listener-sponsored, community radio station for Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, & the World,
founded in part by Ernest Hood. Come! Mend!
A1 Saturday Morning Doze 7:15
A2 At The Store 6:21
A3 August Haze 8:00
A4 The Secret Place 4:30
B1 After School 11:00
B2 Gloaming 7:20
B3 From The Bluff 6:23
B4 Night Games 4:13