Category: sounds

ok [sarsaparilla session 20210330, lowell ma]

Solo acoustic version of “ok” from Hola, Sayulita! (2010), and also included on my early-years greatest hits collection Your Song Is Beautiful: 2002-2012 (2012).

This performance is from March 2021 in the old Hood’s Sarsaparilla Soda factory, my temporary home Lowell, MA for the last 8 months. We leave Lowell for good in ~2 weeks on 7/31. I will be wistful about this place, but am also ready to return home to NYC, if only for a few months. Home is home, no matter how long you’ve been gone, or how long you can stay.

A couple days ago, my phone served up some video “memories” of a 2018 trip into Manhattan’s West Village. That night, I took an uptown F from Brooklyn, saw my brother play with his band at The Bitter End, walked a few blocks around Bleeker, and went home. It was just life as we knew it pre-covid, hopefully will know again. Maybe that’s why the images fit so well over this song of enduring friendship, no matter how far-flung in distance and/or time. The videos’ random appearance was my City telling me, “I’m still here, and I’m ok, too.”

The shot of the ambulance in the middle verse, is from covid times, fwiw, and the opening shot’s from a quick round-trip to Brooklyn two weeks ago to start moving back home. Cat is working on the latest final season of Dexter up here in MA, and it was hilarious to see the book that the show was based on sitting in a front-stoop giveaway pile on our block.…

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The Resurrection of Uncle

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That Old Guitar on That Old Guitar

Uncle, a 1934 Gibson L-1 flat-top acoustic, came to me via my wife Cat’s father, Steve, a stellar pianist and big band leader in Chicago. Cat’s great Uncle Ernest, Uncle’s original owner, bequeathed the guitar to Steve.

Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021
Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021

Cat & I found Uncle (in his original case) in Steve’s basement on a trip to her Chicago home. I tuned him up best he would, and strummed an open G major (the strings were a dozen years old, at least). He rang for less than a second before the bridge popped off. The sound of the chord was brilliant, however, and I took him back to New York, where the luthier of legend Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Custom Guitars worked his magic (he is “The Moose” in the lyrics).

Paul has modded all my guitars, and also built me Fabien, an extraterrestrial Peekamoose M2 that’s the only electric guitar I’ll ever need if I ever need to have only 1. Definitely the one I’m grabbing, running from a house fire.

Fabien et moi
Fabien et moi

Uncle’s restoration process at Peekamoose involved a lot of micro-movements, acclimation periods, and clamps. And took almost 2 years.

The original bridge and half of the top’s bracing were not salvageable, and got replaced. Everything else is a time capsule, a literal message in box. The fretboard is still worn where Ernest spent most of his time playing (lower frets in open G tuning from what I can trace), and the flat-top’s 87-year-old finish reveals the most gorgeous cracks when the light hits it just right.…

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[live] 20201122 – The Return of Stryker West


My heteronym daydream cowboy Stryker West said it was high time for another country-fried set, so who was I to refuse? The covers here focused mostly on Texas, as tribute to a dear friend Taylor Rierden. Stryker neglected to play any Willie Nelson, however, and for that, he will have to atone with another set sometime soon.

SET LIST
00:30 – You & Tequila (K.Chesney)
04:50 – Love In This Land
10:05 – Jupiter + Tennessee
13:50 – I’ve Been All Around This World (J.Garcia)
19:05 – Don’t Touch My Willie (K.Fowler)
23:30 – Just A Little Insane
27:30 – Sunset Boulevard (C.Robison)
33:36 – Elizabeth City
38:34 – Sunday Morning Coming Down (K.Kristofferson)
43:16 – This Canyon Drive
47:50 – Down The Road (S.Earle)
50:40 – That Old Guitar

[vid] There Goes The Sky (escape from nyc version)

A fav song took on new resonance in late May when I escaped NYC for a few days, for the first time since December 2019. Performed in Bridgehampton NY, interspersed w/ footage from the heaviest part of NYC’s (1st?) lockdown from March to May.

Original Version on Sunrise Highway (2015)

Lyrics

I set out walking, just to find a friend,
Make a human connection in a world of pretend,
To share faith in the future, in the face of decay,
‘Cos when you can’t escape the night, every dawn is the end of days.

Walls get high,
Darkness amplifies,
There goes the sky.

You can understand, doesn’t mean you feel.
The hardest things to show are the easiest to conceal.
Actions can destroy more than words can heal.
God save us all when all the truths are revealed.

Walls get high.
Darkness amplifies.
There goes the sky.

[vid] Time Zero (LimeLight.live Sound Check)

06 Sep 2020.

Sound check on Limelight app. Unreleased track “Time Zero” surrounded w/ some loose texture and tone. Sometimes ideas that disappear for a a few years all of a sudden calculate their worth in retrospect. “Write it forward,” is a mode I know well.

LYRICS

Things got strange
Sequences rearranged
Machines crashed
Systems disarrayed

Take us back, take us back
Rewind the line
To when we knew love
for the first time!

Time Zero

Soundscapes
Beauty in the everyday
But light and wisdom
Are not the default state

Easy to lose your way
and lash out in blame
because some people you never shake,
some memories never fade

Take us back, take us back
Rewind the line
To when we knew love
for the first time!

Time Zero

Let the memories fade.

[vid] This Canyon Drive (Limelight.live performance)

Final song in my 30 April performance beta-testing the new Limelight.live music app. Happy always to work out a few kinks, and bring some melody to the current chaos.

well I’m climbing up this Canyon drive
high enough to see across time
to the days where you and I
had nothing to leave behind
up here, on this Canyon drive

a thousand feet up in the sky
on a one-lane two-way graded switchback ride
we opened up and saw ourselves from outside
and knew we wanted no other life
up here, on this Canyon drive

down in the Valley a relentless pursuit of dreams
in every shadow a sorrow and a scheme
a world designed to keep you from coming alive
far away from all the light that shines
up here, on this Canyon drive

what price wouldn’t you pay
to let nothing get in your soul’s way
to quiet dark echoes of unlived lives
at least up here there’s hope you’ll find
peace on this Canyon drive

[vid] riding the F riding waves

Sunset F-Train ride last week, out and back over the Culver Viaduct, the highest point in the NYC Subway system. The soundtrack is my riding waves [disquiet066], recorded in 2012 as a posthumous duet with late-musician Jeffrey Melton, better known as nofi.

🎼: riding waves [disquiet0066] off 2013’s transient lines:

[words] rip, ric

under the cold and darkly sky / you trip the light and go…

[medium mirror]

the cars were my fav growing up. their records and lateral solo projects not only will come with me to any desert island, they are my desert island — if i had to choose an island.

ric ocasek catalysed my adolescent desire and urgency to play the electric guitar and to write songs. all-lowercase, overdriven-jangle, and quirky-jerk, ocasek was also endearing, intelligent, and accessible. the cars became my crash course in how to bring depth to “disposable” music; that is, how melody married to meaning could still court the coolest girl in class.

more importantly over the long-arc of my teenage daydreams, some of which linger to this day, their music spoked out innumerable adventures in sonic discovery. riding with the cars, in the backseat i found (among many more) roxy music, david bowie, and t-rex; in the side-view there was robert fripp, steve reich, and john cage; passenger side would find buddy holly, the byrds, and tom petty; and in the way-way-back, crouched flat out of sight of the driver, there were new order, blondie, suicide, the cure, and eventually the ramones, the replacements, and much of what i’ve loved since.

the early 80s was still a world where intelligence and cool were a tough tightrope walk. ocasek and the cars hovered over it all, saying, “c’mon, man, the fringe is the cool. one foot in, one foot out — that fine line — that’s the place to be.”…

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[aired] Blue Skies over the Other Side of the End

St Clair Beach | Dunedin, New Zealand from Dip Creek Productions. [Vimeo | Twitter | YouTube]

A classic blue sky day here in Dunedin, New Zealand. Filmed on Tuesday the 25th of June 2019 in the middle of what has been a surprisingly lovely winter. We thought we would see if there was any surfers brave enough to catch a wave or two? We found one hearty soul! Conditions looked blustery out there.

Most of the shots in the video are filmed at St Clair Beach and the esplanade. As the sun started to set the views toward the end of the video are from St Kilda beach.

Music from Free Music Archive : Westy Reflector, “the other side of the end”

Callum McDonald, New Zealand videographer based in Dunedin, soundtracks a “classic blue sky day” in his home city with my track the other side of the end off my 2017 record cipher /e dreams [Bandcamp | Spotify].

This vid marks the second time Creative Commons licensing has taken my tracks to Dunedin, NZ. In July 2017, Since I Heard the Sun soundtracked a Thunderbird Trike ride on Dunedin’s Mt. Cargill Road. Xclnt to see a city to which I may never travel IRL from another angle.

———————————————–

SOURCE TRACK

[aired] Kites Riding Waves

[edit: Watch here. Playback disabled on external sites. Maybe that’s one reason the video only has 17 views a/o 23 June 2019… :^D]

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Lac du Der ‘station nautique’ France.

Natuur en recreatie, genoeg te beleven voor een weekendje weg.
Ondanks het koude weer toch nog een uurtje gevliegerd met de Freilein.

Nature and recreation, enough to experience for a weekend away.
Despite the cold weather, still flying an hour with the Freilein.

Music: Westy Reflector – ‘Riding Waves’

The Internet is at its best when shared passions become community. When the net first started to gain cultural traction, smack was talked, of course, but digital space wasn’t a tool of division, so much as a journey of discovery and connections. It was a weird (in the best way) and wonderful window into what other people were thinking and doing, made even better when the most obscure and arcane pursuit saw a light of day in ways no other communication system in human history allowed. Net 1.0 was a network of tangible dreams built by concrete dreamers. The physicality of the network itself was way more evident, too: the iconic modem handshake sound; the wires into your computer; the relentless arrival AOL discs in your mailbox…

“You’ve got mail,” indeed.

It was work to get online, but a few dreamers did the heavy lifting and posted sites, or created and managed email listservs. All of a sudden, within a few years, anyone who did anything could find a critical mass.…

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[aired] DaCaLuF.0349: Lonesome Faraway Puerto Perme

DaCaLuF – Saison 3 – Ep49 – Puerto Perme from David Bellais on Vimeo.

Première visite dans un village Kuna. (Panama)
Musique : Lonesome Faraway Sounds par Westy Reflector

Xclnt to find in my alerts another new DaCaLuf adventure soundtracked with a song of mine. Since 2014, videographer David Bellais‘s videos have been some of my fav CC uses. Pure joy of exploration and discovery…

source track:
“Lonesome Faraway Sounds” from my 2017 release, “cipher /e dreams.”

liner notes:
Dedicated to the memory of Berta Cáceres and to the ongoing effort to free Bassel Khartabil.
Update 2017.08: RIP, Bassel.

[aired] DaCaLuF 341 – “Love in This Land”

DaCaLuF – Saison 3 – Ep41 – Santa Marta from David Bellais on Vimeo.

Santa Marta (Colombie) avec les copains! (“Santa Marta (Colombia) with friends!”)
Musique : Love in this Land par Westy Reflector

Psyched to see a new DaCaLuf adventure soundtracked with a song of mine. Going back a few years (2014!), these videos have been some of my fav CC uses. Pure joy of exploration and discovery…

source track:

[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

From January to June 2018, my wife Cat costume designed the Amazon series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming that shot in L.A., so we decamped Brooklyn for a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown, and recorded a couple dozen tracks in our Gould Avenue house. My Gentleman of the Canyon adventure took me to a songwriting time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

This Canyon Drive video:
youtu.be/9M2kgtzeT6M

These tracks are destined for evolution. But for now, they float the aether in a simplest, stripped state, kicking up some glorious west coast dust for me. Who knows where we’ll meet again. Hopefully, in The Canyon.

BANDCAMP (SELECTED TRACKS)

SOUNDCLOUD (FULL SET)

[track] The Last Time Up Ahead

this one’s for the ones who stop to think
this one’s for the ones who always knew
this one’s for the ones who see the absurdity

this was a place we lived in peace
a place we lived in silence
a place we lived together in light

the last time
is cloud nine
and you won’t know
you’re dead

but the saddest time
is the first time
you see
the last time
up ahead

how many days can you see through things
how frayed is a soul made of string
how many ways can a memory bring you down

what happened all the power burned out
what happened all that’s certain’s in doubt
what happened all the love turned it back on us

there’s no one around who doesn’t think they know
nowhere you’re left to be, no place left to go

[track] Canyon Songbird Dream #7

i believe in my dream
I believe in my dream
in my song, i believe you’ll see
all the lives we are to lead

searching for answers
is a waste of precious time
destiny doesn’t ring the bell,
doesn’t tell you you’ve arrived

songbird on an electric line
only knows he’s incomplete
caught up in a lookout for love
all his faith on endless repeat

may never know magic
of a returned call
but he never sounds tragic
never sounds small

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