“A cloud fitted with an iron scaffold,” wrote Marc Weidenbaum of disquiet.com on hearing the opening track of Westy Reflector’s 2013 record “transient lines.” As with most spot-on descriptions, Weidenbaum’s analogy turns out to be a universal. The “cloud” speaks to a tendency towards abstraction, flights of fancy and spaced-out melodies; the “iron scaffold” to a love and reverence for traditional (read: accessible, turn the radio up) song structures. You get three chords and three changes in rock ‘n roll songs, and Westy makes the most of them.
Soaring melodies and big hooks are the stock and trade – but Westy’s older than he sounds, so dissonant architecture and quiet contemplation trace an arc of maturity through his recent catalog. From rock and pop confections to ambient, dance, shoegaze, field recordings, sound manipulations and spoken word, he’ll try on any hat, styles of the day be damned.
Westy’s first official release was “Windfall” in 2004, at the tender age of thirty-three. Twelve records later, he is not slowing down – and his urgency to make up lost time parallels the poignancy of the characters in his songs. His home base of New York City provides endless raw materials for lyrical and sonic adventures, but he also leaves behind the city’s relentless din, high culture and low squalor – to see the other side of the sun and a true starry sky.
A lucid writer, Westy’s released catchy, ambitious and resonant songs that have gone around the world and back. Each song is a beautiful fractal of his world-view, and if you love one, you will love all.
In any event, enough about me in the third person. Enjoy life, and don’t put too much faith in anyone.
“A cloud fitted with an iron scaffold…”
Marc Weidenbaum, disquiet.com
“A groovy intergalactic beach party…”
Josh Matthews, Blue Man Group / After School Special
“…danceable and feelable tunes. Great guitar work and tight rhythm section underneath it all.”
Kees de Groot (aka, Roofhare)
Drew Barrymore, Whip It / Grey Gardens / E.T.
“Really really fine…”
Liz Berg, WFMU
Kurt Anderson, Studio360 / NPR
“Up my alley…”
Ellen Page, Whip It / Juno
“Soaring and atmospheric… I wish I lived in a world where PSAs sounded like this.”
Rob Walker, Unconsumption / New York Times
“So good, I just had to collaborate…”
Lee Rosevere, Happy Puppy Records / CBC
“Download the magic…”
K.L. Sealegs, CFRC
Beat The Indie Drum
Fabien – 2015 Peekamoose Custom Guitars M2
Jolie – 2000 Gibson ES-335 DOT reissue
Uncle – 1934 Gibson L-1 acoustic
Ursula – 1985 Gibson Les Paul Studio
Ford – 1988 Ovation Custom Balladeer
It’s ridiculous that war can be “declared” whereas peace must be “negotiated.”
Florence, Italy, December 2013
Credit: Cat Thomas