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Flashing Red Airplane  =   Jen Wilke
Flashing Red Aiprlane  -   Listen to sounds -
Flashing Red Airplane  ?   College Music Journal - Adds#11 - Chart position(s) - 132
Flashing Red Airplane  *   Some nice people say nice things below
Flashing Red Airplane  %  rejected album artwork which in hindsight should have been used
Flashing Red Airplane  =   matchpale wreck chords

Flashing Red Airplane  =  One girl. One CD. One Peninsula: the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Flashing Red Airplane  =  Some friends. Moving to Boston to start performance version.

Flashing Red Airplane reviews

(people seem to feel inordinately strong about the artwork and layout. This is weird and unnatural)

1. iii #1                                          [ original ]
2. Urban Texture                               [ Original ]
3. Splendid Week of July 23, 2001       [ Original ]
4. Action Attack Helicopter july 2001   [ Original ]
5. paper beats Rock                          [ Original ]
6. Aiding & Abetting #271                  [ Original ]


iii zine#1
- review by Michelle Lukezic

    It's always fun reviewing a project that you are really into. This is the case with Marquette, Michigan's Flashing Red Airplane's release My Life as a Frog.

    Jennifer Wilke is at the center of the project. She writes all the songs. If I could give her a big smootch on the check for her awesome music right now, believe me I would. She has several other people who accompany her on the cd, filling in mostly for drums and samples.

    The release consist of twelve super mellow dreamy tracks. Flashing Red Airplane manages to keep the flow of the cd very subdued, yet adds very original elements such as the samplings.

    Over all the music has a very story telling kind of feel. Listening to this release, is synonymous to reading a good book; you can get lost in it, yet you never loose your attention. I'm kind of picking up on a 70's type folk style in the release. Minimalist music with strong bass lines and Suzane Vega style vocals really make you focus your attention to the movement of the songs, and to the lyrics.

    One thing I incredibly love about the album is the loose jagged drums that accompany on many of the tracks. It gives it a real sloppy (intentional, and totally a plus) laid back kind of feel. Also, the use of panning was paid attention to, in a real interesting and creative way on a couple of the tracks. You will see what I mean if you listen for yourself!

    I'm really excited about this release. I hear so many exausted, uncreative musical attempts from different projects. It's awesome to finally find some musical integrity and creativity that isn't depending on the mainstream fashions of music. Flashing Red Airplane is here to stay!

send $2 concealed cash, or check made out to Michelle Lukezic to: 
   iii zine 
   c/o Michelle Lukezic 
   528 Dodson ct. 
   Bay City, MI 48708 USA 

(Review 2)

Urban Texture Sonic Texture
- Review by Helen Silsburn - 07.10.2001

    From its first faint and fading radio noises mixed with wet picked guitar and a distantly strummed chord of progression, Flashing Red Airplane understands texture. Strong, fleshy vocals sing, “You know it’s all the same. You know who’s to blame. Don’t let this get to you but I just won’t get over you.” Then the drums softly make an appearance. Slightly distorted, they move the song along to beautifully textured places. Without doubt the drums pull the listener in. These songs show a real depth in music making and arrangement. Vocalist and song writer, Jennifer Wilke, constructs and sings beautiful songs about love and self, as she delivers My Life as a Frog patiently to the listener. The album, slow and methodical, truly shares the great need of escape from the banality of everyday.

    The album ends stronger than it begins. Trading live percussion for more electronic means, which take the album to lovely places. The plethora of sound pulls in the taker to rest in inspiration.


Splendid Week of July 23, 2001
- George Zahora

    The few members of the Splendid staff who've seen our "offices" -- which are also home to a number of largish, tank-dwelling amphibians -- might suggest that I grabbed My Life As A Frog purely because the word "frog" appears in the title. And I'll admit, there's a grain of truth there. Rather more importantly, I'm glad that My Life As A Frog attracted my attention, as it's a lovely little gem of an album.

    Flashing Red Airplane is the solo effort of one Jen Wilke, with intermittent assistance from friends and labelmates. Wilke's preferred mode of expression is introspective, mid-tempo pop songs; it's a style that's been amply explored by other artists, so you're forgiven for thinking "Oh, no, not again..." Fortunately, Wilke knows what she's doing; while its presentation hints at amateurishness (more due to font selection and page layout than its artwork), My Life As A Frog is in fact a thoroughly polished album. The vocals, while mostly hushed and confessional, are also pleasingly matter-of-fact; Wilke probably won't win a grammy for her singing, but she's usually on key, avoiding the cutesy excesses of twee pop and the ostentatious vocal flourishes of Top 40 divas. She's not above the occasional indie rock moment; on "It's a Long Way Down When You Know Your Way", for instance, she occasionally slips free of her musical accompaniment to utter matter-of-fact payoff lines like "It's a useless catalyst." When the occasion calls for a little more oomph behind the pipes, as with the cheery "My Boyish Face", she's up to the challenge, though constantly on the brink of losing the tune. If you own the last two Spinanes records, you'll find yourself in familiar territory -- Wilke is a bit more girlish than Rebecca Gates, but seems to be coming from the same place.

    Wilke scores more points for getting a lot of mileage out of her relatively minimal instrumentation. Label cohort Kent Randell provides the bulk of her accompaniment, and it's clear that he's attuned to Wilke's style. Most of the music sounds like it was recorded on a four- or eight-track recorder, albeit by someone who really knows how to use low-end recording equipment; the sound is warm and full, seldom brittle or trebly, and occasionally jazzed up with unexpected instruments. Keyboard melodies add a bit of gloss without overpowering the tunes (though the piano on "Treading Water" sounds a bit dubious), while shortwave radio noise bookends the disc, giving it a measure of Elephant Six artsiness. The irresistable title track even includes an e-bow.

    I'm writing this review on one of the first truly hot days of summer -- uncomfortable and sweaty in a room full of ineffective fans. Most frogs, meanwhile, are floating lazily in the cool shade of secluded ponds. That's what My Life As A Frog makes me want to do -- to stretch out and float in cool comfort, with sensory input trimmed to a minimum. Though I'm trapped in a humid office, Flashing Red Airplane has taken a bit of the edge off. Trust me, it'll do the same for you.


Action Attack Helicopter July 2001
- Kurt Morris

    Before I even listen to a note from this album, there are two immediate strikes. First, the band is called Flashing Red Airplane and the album is called “My Life as a Frog”. It’s one thing to have a bad band name, and it’s another thing to have a bad album name, but to have both? The other problem is that the design is horrendous. It contains sophomoric drawings and poor layout. Blech. With so much against it, Flashing Red Airplane strikes out, right? Not on your life. Rather, this twelve song CD is quite surprising. Softies-like material with warm, inviting female vocals and a simplistic array of instrumental highlights help lift this album to great heights. It’s the little things which assist in putting it over the top. Things such as adding accompanying bass vocals on the track, “Treading Water” or talking and screaming on the otherwise gloomy tune, “It’s a long way down when you know your way”. The lyrics are also relatable. Personally I feel as though I’ve lived out situations similar to the one described on “Crossed Eyes” one too many times, although not to such extremes. In my opinion, an act such as this deserves a shot at something much bigger and better, because the ideas and music are definitely there. It’s a shame to see such good talent go to waste, especially when one realizes how much garbage is out there.

(Review 5)

Paper Beats Rock #1
- Joe. D

    Flashing Red Airplane, insofar as I can tell from the liner notes, is pretty much a project mainly by Jennifer Wilke with some extra musicians helping out. Lo-fi recording that only adds to the songs, which are extremely personal. I get the feeling like these songs were left on a close friend's answering machine or tape deck for no other ears to ever come in contact with. Somewhat in the vein of Bright Eyes or Elliott Smith, this stuff is definitely great. The full effect of the record didn't hit me until I sat down with the lyrics and listened though. Not something to listen to casually, as you'll miss a lot of it and kinda' zone out. My only complaint is I think the songs go on a bit too long at times. But maybe I just need to get a better feel for it. Nice use of samples on here as well. Definitely a good effort by a DIY artist who makes it obvious she has heart.

(Review 6)

Aiding & Abetting #217
- Jon Worley
    Flashing Red Airplane doesn't do anything easily. I mean, if you're gonna go to the trouble to name a song "It's a Long Way Down When You Know Your Way" while giving most of the rest of the pieces one or two word titles (this creates a serious graphic design problem, if you want to know why I'm mentioning something so trivial), you're probably gonna work very hard to write songs that don't always fit perfectly.

But, in fact, the songs do work. Jennifer Wilke is Flashing Red Airplane (with occasional help from friends) and her single-minded approach carries the day. These songs and this album are her statement. And she shines through.

    For the most part, Wilke sets a meditative mood, even when she lets her songs get a little jangly. She's turning herself inside out with these songs, and that's never easy. There's some hesitancy, but that also colors the songs nicely. It's human.

    And this album is something like a conversation. One-sided, I suppose, but I don't mind hearing Wilke tell me about herself and her ideas. Her singing and playing aren't perfect, and her songwriting isn't particularly crafted. There are moments where she doesn't follow form. That's where things get interesting. Sit down. Have a listen. Enjoy.