Category Archives: sounds


Almost X

Ten more dice rolls. Records don’t so much freeze as liquify time. I’ve lost years to music. Time is the price you pay, however, to alleviate dreams.

Almost X where X = whom, where, what or even why you want to be. Let’s fly this town, through the looking glass, riding our 99th dream into the stars, towards X.

“Nothing means anything.” – Kurt Vonnegut

:^D

released January 15, 2016

Written, performed and produced by Westy Reflector

Cover photo: “Drew’s Spare”
Dave Westreich, 17 July 2010, 04:02

Lead guitar on That Old Guitar:
Jason Perkel | switchfactory.com

Samples on Sedimentronic Figures
courtesy of:
Rupert Lally | rupertlally.bandcamp.com
and
Ahornberg | ahornberg.bandcamp.com


[track] King Jack’s 99th Dream

This track started out life as a disquiet junto challenge a couple years ago:

Assignment: re-tell a single-page comic strip, 99 Ways To Tell A Story [Panel 1], by Matt Madden:

Background (via disquiet.com): “Matt Madden’s single-page comic is the template for a book he created titled 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. In the book, Madden told that same story 99 different ways, each in a different comic-book style. For example, he told it as a superhero comic, he told it as a manga, he told it as experienced from upstairs, and he told it as if it were overheard at a bar. Madden did this in homage to the French writer Raymond Queneau’s own Exercises in Style, which is a key text of the literary movement known as Oulipo. Oulipo approaches the act of writing with intentional constraints, and the movement’s approach to creativity was a strong influence on the development of the Disquiet Junto. Oubapo is the name of the comics version of Oulipo. What we’re up to is the musical version: Oumupo.”

Original track is here.

Time to make up your mind
Time never falls behind
Time to make up your mind and close the door

She drew you in, black and white
From her studio in the sky
She drew you eight times ninety-nine…

Frames in time
And you will never escape that night
Until you make up your mind
And close the door

Should’ve paid off those bills
Should’ve laid off those pills
Should’ve written one more word
Before you put your machine to sleep

What the hell were you looking for
when you opened up that door?
What the hell were you looking for,
if not time?

It’s just like Jack once said
“Bittersweet life is at best.”
It’s just like King Jack once said

You’re framed in time
And you will never escape that night
If you never make up your mind
Yeah, you’re framed in time
And you’ll never escape that night
Until you make up your mind
And close the door


Particle Theory: Spotify

2016 project: Put my solo work from the last few years onto Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc. The permanency of these commercial uploads requires (re)mastering and attention to details often overlooked in the flurry of my usual ad-hoc self-releasing. Particle Theory (2014) is first up. Every spin puts a shred of lettuce on a sandwich and thus always appreciated.

:^D

http://open.spotify.com/album/2QVZh6KaHFMetVQa6WmPDp


[track] Nothing / Anything

“Nothing means anything.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

LYRICS
There’s no right and wrong or light and dark
There are only in-betweens
When this world gives you no end
And you know nothing but your means

Nothing means anything

I crossed state lines and changed my name
Twenty years down that way
Still lost in song; still don’t belong
Nothing’s changed nothing’s changed

Nothing means anything

It’s how you end,
not where you start
Life is easy –
it’s living that’s hard

Dispossession, constant rejection
A world designed to keep you low
So the smartest thing you can ever do
Is let go

Nothing means anything


[track] Parallel Memories [disquiet0207-remixingmarilli]

The records you make don’t freeze so much as liquify time. As with Michel, 1983 was a pivotal musical year for me, too, so this week’s challenge fired a wonderful cascade of memories.

Playing with the tonal and harmonics filters in Paulstretch, I stretched each of the three 32-year old samples to 32x their original length (and M1 also to 64x)a few times. Brought them into Sony Acid and started layering at random. Touches of reverb, compression, chorus and resonance found a sweet spot of lushness – where I was at ease with bygone days. The piece runs at 137.1 BPM (which is what M1 beatmapped to), so a sync’ed 8th note amplitude modulation was added to the M2 sample to create a ping-pong glitch beat at that tempo.

—————————

More on this 207th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Rework source audio from Michel Banabila’s 1983 album, Marilli”) at:
http://disquiet.com/2015/12/17/disquiet0207-remixingmarilli/

The audio was sourced from the 1983 album Marilli by the album’s composer, Michel Banabila. This project marks the release of the 2015 album Marilli Remixed:
https://banabila.bandcamp.com/album/marilli-remixed-free-download

More on the Disquiet Junto…

Join the Disquiet Junto…

Subscribe to project announcements…

Disquiet Junto general discussion…


[track] Since I Heard The Sun

processing darkness with the sun works wonders. may your futures be full of light.

It’s been so long
since I heard the sun
call my name.
It’s been so long
since I had the power to
light my way.

Dreams left me high
and lovely,
(but) in darkness
with life undone.

It’s been so long
since I heard the sun.

It’s been so long
since I became
a forgotten one.
It’s been so long
since I started spinning
into oblivion.

You can still be a refugee
in a place you can’t escape,
running ahead as lights turn red,
trying to duck fate.

It’s been so long
since I had faith
in future plans.
It’s been so long
since I had faith
in a promised land.

Dreams left me high
and lovely,
(but) in darkness
with life undone.

It’s been so long
since I heard the sun.

track was developed from a piece of expository writing from this past october.
http://westyreflector.net/2015/10/words-since-i-heard-the-sun/


[track] Life In Candid Wonder (The Cost Of Future Tense) [Disquiet0202-CostOfFreedom]

“Creating is living doubly.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

This was the third Disquiet Junto project that revolved around Bassel Khartabil Safadi, a coder, artist and free-expression pioneer wrongfully jailed by Syria, his home country, for “harming state security.” In October, he was transferred to a secret location, and his whereabouts as of this writing are unknown. This past week (2015.11.14), disturbing rumors surfaced of a possible death sentence. The background and all current updates on Bassel’s case can be found here: http://freebassel.org.

Please sign this petition and hold the Syrian government accountable for Bassel’s fate.

Twenty seven artists contributed to this Junto project, which endeavored to create an audiobook of the Creative Commons collection of essays about Bassel, The Cost Of Freedom.

I chose hellekin’s epilogue, The Cost Of Future Tense, a beautiful piece of writing that became more transcendent with each successive reading. I didn’t want to get in the way, so went about crafting a minimal, improvised ambient duet for acoustic guitar and AniMoog to allow the words to float and breathe.

Original Text:
http://costoffreedom.cc/book/epilogue/the-cost-of-future-tense
Author:
hellekin (http://twitter.com/hellekin)

RIG
GUITAR
“Whitey” (1988 Ovation Custom Balladeer) –> SmallSound / BigSound Sparkle Motion –> tc electronic Flashback Delay –> Earthquaker Afterneath –> Strymon blueSky reverberator

TUNING
C-G-D-D-A-E (Michael Hedges “Breakfast In The Field” tuning)

VOCALS
AKG C3000B –> Lexicon MX200 rack reverb

SYNTH
AniMoog for iPad –> Flux:FX (Multi-Verb preset)

AMP / DAW
Line6 Pod-XT Tube PreAmp –> MOTU 828mk2 –> Sony Acid 7.0 (Win 8.1)

I was proud to contribute a track to the first #freebassel Junto project in 2014, which coincided with the 2nd anniversary of Bassel’s incarceration. That track, Intransitive Disappearance, was also released on my record, Particle Theory (bandcamp | soundcloud | freemusicacrchive).

———————————————–

More on this 202nd weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Create an audiobook chapter from the new essay collection The Cost of Freedom”)

The source of the text in this project is from the book The Cost of Freedom, which raises awareness about the ongoing detainment of Creative Commons coder/artist Bassel Khartabil Sadafi.

More on the Disquiet Junto

Join the Disquiet Junto

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Disquiet Junto general discussion

#freebassel
#newpalmyra


[track] The Young Unicorns [disquiet0196-wholelottawhole]

PROCESS
In which I fire up my old-friend Casio CZ-1000, program a quasi new wave dance groove with Acid loops and sight read the notes in the photo. The CZ was set to a square wave with a slight detune and vibrato. Luckily, it goes 6-note polyphonic so it handled the 3-note chords fine. The 11-measure sequence in the photo is repeated as 8 measure sequences break it up into a couple verses, choruses and a bridge. The 11 vs 8 tension resulted in no two verses or choruses having the same melody line, which served to amplify the fun. Very meditative, too, to allow whole notes to fill spaces.

I had designs on recording the bass on the Casio, too, using the image’s staff as a bass clef. This created more mess than movement, though, so I left the photo to represent a treble clef staff only and built the piece around a right hand melody.

122 BPM
Key: C

PROJECT
Sight-read the whiteboard notation from a children’s music class.

Step 1: Read the music notation in the following image (note that the photograph was taken at a music class for elementary and preschool students).

The image is here:
goo.gl/2C1mqT

Step 2: Record a piece of music based on that notation.

Step 3: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, October 1, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 5, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be roughly one minute, though longer is certainly fine.

META
More on this 196th Disquiet Junto project (“Sight-read the whiteboard notation from a children’s music class”) at:
disquiet.com/2015/10/01/disquiet0196-wholelottawhole/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:
disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:
soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:
disquiet.com/forums/


[track] split seconds [disquiet0194-clockplay]

PROCESS
I do not own a clock (or any time keeping device) that makes operational noise, so I used a CC-Attribution sample at freesound.org of 4 one-second clock ticks that looped perfectly without any cutting at 120 BPM. This juggled me a bit, since the 60 BPM clock ticks were playing in double-time to be in real-time at half-time to the track time.

The clock is layered a few times to build counter-rhythms and dynamics, to evince the double-timeness of its sampling. A very rough bass track came from a few 8 and 16 bar loops. The bed arose from an 800% stretch of my recent “chasing flight” (Thereflectors – Chasing-flight). Aiming for playful sweetness, I strummed chords over the result in two live passes and voila, here we are in the present.

In the end, I learned clocks can keep all sorts of time.

:^D

Clock Loop by Natalie Kirk (Esper Studio, Sydney, AUS)
freesound.org/people/OwlStorm/sounds/212181/

PROJECT
More on this 194th Disquiet Junto project (“Record the sound of a clock and make something playful and sweet out of it”) at:
disquiet.com/2015/09/17/disquiet0194-clockplay/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:
disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:
soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:
disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project by Brian Biggs, who drew it specifically for this project, and who provided the project’s timely creative nudge.
mrbiggs.com/
dancerobotdance.com/
@dance-robot-dance


[track] chasing flight

ambient.drone.guitar

CHAIN
Pigtronix Infinity Looper –> Small Sound / Big Sound Sparkle Motion –> SS/BS Mini F*ck –> Electro-Faustus EF107 Regurgitator (send/receive: tc electronic flashback –> Earthquaker Grand Orbiter) –> electro-harmonix SuperEgo (send/receive: EQD Arpanoid –> Diamond Tremolo) –> EQD Afterneath –> Strymon blueSky –> Line6 Fender Blackface emulator


[track] That Old Guitar

Country-fried me.
special lead guitar guest star: Jason Perkel (switchfactory.com | soundcloud.com/switch-factory | soundcloud.com/halfofsf)

My wife comes from the South Side of Chicago,
and when she first brought me back in ‘ninety four,
down in the basement of her childhood home
I found an old guitar.

She said “That was my great uncle Bill’s,
“I guess he left it to my dad.
“I remember after Bill lost his Kentucky farm,
that Gibson was all he had.”

“But he said ‘I’m not scared of a changing world
Or losing anything we are
‘Cos I wave hi to distant good times
every time I play that guitar.’ “

For eleven quiet years after Bill passed on,
that L-1, I guess, had waited for me
‘Cos it rang one brilliant chord before the bridge caved in
Just to let me hear what it could be

You got to draw lines
Back through time
To know who you really are
Every note Bill played
Rang again that day
When we picked up that old guitar

So it returned with us to New York.
In the hands of The ‘Moose returned to life.
And the sound that it made again
returned Bill to my angel wife

He said, “I’m not scared of a changing world
or losing anything we are.
I just wave hi to distant good times
every time I play that guitar.”

So I’m not scared of a changing world.
We’ve lost nothing that we are.
‘Cos I hear echoes of distant good times
every time I play that old guitar.


[track] Through The Looking Glass

This track grew out of a poem written in August.
Man, sometimes this world…
:^D

We’re surrounded by people
Who can’t think for themselves
They fear loneliness more than they feel hell
Then take comfort that they can’t even tell
Say goodbye to the world it’s just as well

We’ve gone through the looking glass
Nothing’s left up ahead we haven’t already passed
Now we’re so alone
We don’t need to turn our backs
We’ve gone through the looking glass

We’re surrounded by people
Who don’t learn for themselves
They buy into the bullshit they turn around and sell
Then take comfort in the lies they tell
Say goodbye to the world it’s just as well

We’ve gone through the looking glass

But you and me
come from a place beyond time
in the company of love
we live outside the lines

We’re surrounded by people
Who only live for themselves
They drink all the water but can’t dig a well
They say they make love but it’s just a shell
Say goodbye to the world it’s just as well


[track] sedimentronic figures [disquiet0190-missedconnections]

PROCESS
20 bars of Rupert Lally‘s “Sediment Layers

8 bars of Ahornberg‘s “Digital Frippertronics

Loads of flying, fluttery harmonics and shifting undertones as these loops cycled together. Rupert Lally’s track loop is 30% right and ahornberg’s is 30% left in the mix and they’re both blended (smeared?) together by a slight (27% wet) band-pass (1500Hz) resonance filter and a bit of room reverb. They’re both in related keys (G and D, it seemed) so their ensuing conversation took some pretty turns. Put my guitar down this week in favor of Propellerhead’s Figure app for iPad (the latest update’s “arpeggiator” has become a tiny addiction). I programmed 8 bar synth and bass loops in the key of G at 96bpm and played the percussion pad live as the track streamed along with the sources on my Acid timeline. Figure ran via Audiobus into Flux:FX’s “Multi-Verb” preset located in the app’s stock Ambient bank.

RIG
Propellerhead Figure: “Sonny” drum kit (4/4 kick, 6/4 snareclap, 12/4 hats, 10/4 toms), “Bassguitar” bass (5/4 rhythm, 7 scale steps), “Super Poly” synth (5/4 rhythm, 7 scale steps)
Noiise Flux:FX for iPad (ver 1.01): Ambience “Multi-Verb” preset
Audiobus for iPad (2.1.17), Sony Acid 7.0, Win 8.1

PROJECT
“Set two out-of-sync loops atop each other, and then add sonic glue”

More on this 190th Disquiet Junto project

More on the Disquiet Junto

Join the Disquiet Junto

Disquiet Junto general discussion


[track] c swells [disquiet0189-tonelayer]

PROCESS

Single notes in the key of C, staggered and stacked to move through different chords. “Attack” was eliminated using a combination of my trusted E-bow fed through an EHX POG2 with its attack setting jacked all the way up for max swell. Tape Delay, Phaser, Reverb added for space travel (or ocean travel as the case may be here).

RIG

Fabien (Peekamoose Custom Guitars M2), EHX POG2, Small Sound / Big Sound Sparkle Motion, tc electronic flashback delay, EQD Grand Orbiter, EQD Afterneath, Strymon blueSky, Line6 POD-XT (Vox AC-30 emulation), RECORDING DAW: Sony Acid 7.0 (Win 8.1), MASTERING DAW: Harrison Mixbus 2.5 (Mac OS 10.7.5)

PROJECT

Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source.

Step 1: Choose an instrument that can create extended tones.

Step 2: Record a short loop of a single held tone on that instrument. Use a volume pedal or other tool to eliminate the attack at the start of the tone.

Step 3: Create many more such loops, all with the same instrument, and layer them atop the original loop.

Step 4: Record a document of these layered loops lasting approximately 1 minute.

Step 5: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

————————————————
More on this 189th Disquiet Junto project (“Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source”) at:
disquiet.com/2015/08/13/disquiet0189-tonelayer/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:
disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:
soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:
disquiet.com/forums/


[track] Elena’s Stars

Dusted off some twang for a story of beauty in sadness. Some days, whiskey over absinthe…

Elena lived on Avenue X,
next to a trestle
all her life.

She dreamed of distant places
and of jumping random trains
a thousand times.

She craved a sky that let her know she was home.
An endless sky that left the stars alone
to shine.
Beyond her life,
that sky showed her some way home.

Counting the trains
to and from Coney Island
every night,

searching in vain
for salvation, in a city
full of lies.

[ch.]

I’m still here, amidst the fallout of our life.
I’m still here, living with her dreams.

She found a sky that let her know she was home.
An endless sky that left the stars alone
to shine.
Beyond her life,
that sky showed her some way home.


[track] fly this town

alan watts reflected in a disco ball

there’s a rip in the galaxy
sounds like wind through a door
it’s headed for us full speed ahead
we’ve got nothing to lose anymore

so no more running from the past
running from the dark
searching through the void
chasing love

let’s fly this town tonight
dance away from these city lights
take our cues from distant satellites
let’s fly this town

over the horizon lies
a ring of endless light
made of the dreams we carried
through our coldest nights

there’s no more falling out of time
falling for the cons
calling out in vain
waiting on love

let’s fly this town tonight
dance away from these city lights
take our cues from distant satellites
let’s fly this town


Sunrise Highway (2015)

Rag top down. Flying past exit signs, through memories, to the end of the island.

Released 02 July 2015

Written, performed, programmed and produced by Westy Reflector.

Cover Photo: “She Rode East” (1994)


Sunrise Highway

take me back, to the end of the island
early ’94 in the dead of winter
before the hedge funds bought all the sand
before the century came to an end

are you waiting for me
standing on that point of land
where the atlantic meets the sound and
everything’s going according to plan

and we’re at the head of a table in a house full of windows
at the end of an island that only the sunrise knows

the northern lights from providence
bleed into the milky way
and the whole wide world
stays a safe distance away

we’ll meet under the lighthouse
embrace on top of the bluff
the light will erase the time between us
once again we’ll be the ones

at the head of a table in a house full of windows
at the end of an island that only the sunrise knows

so i’m in a 20 year old car
with a dream baby dream i drive
ever eastward ever eastward ever eastward
into the sunrise


The Seventh Word

I’m chasing this dream. I’ve got a few chords.
And I’m just riding on the F, back + forth,
Thinking one thought, since I got on.
I think that I’m the only one on this train who realizes what went wrong.

Jolie, I just missed falling in…
Jolie, I just missed falling in…
You sped off in that taxi
Before I said the seventh word
Now I’m afraid you only heard
“Jolie, I just missed falling in…”

She wasn’t looking for a cushion. She’s only got one life.
But she was searching for a softer landing and a peaceful flight.
So she went for a graceful exit before I gave her one that she don’t like.
Now I’m the only one still thinking about it on this endless ride.

When loose bricks fall on quiet sidewalks,
you can hear ’em crash from blocks away.
Without scaffolding they just keep raining down.
She’s still speeding away and I know she still feels lucky to this day.

‘cause you’re always missing the seventh word


night flight: le rêve de fabien [disquiet0181-instrumentaldream]

My latest guitar is named Fabien, after the pilot in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Night Flight.” It has quickly become my fav instrument. I read him the passage below from the book last night and woke up to this track in my DAW. Seems Fabien dreamed me reading to him in French.

A Dick Dale-esque fast-picked drone over a sample of “the world’s largest wind tunnel” simulates propellers and everything’s capped off with some more samples of 1980s weather satellite telemetry. All samples are from a Bainbridge sound effects disc circa 1989. The beats are garage band.

“Night Flight” tells the story of a mail pilot lost over Patagonia and the ways tragedy and the relentless drone of modern life intersect and collide on the ground. In this track, one of my favorite novels meets my favorite guitar.

Fabien is a Peekamoose Custom M2 (http://peekamoose.com). He’s pictured being held by his luthier, Paul Schwartz, in the shop where he was forged.

————————————————-
NARRATION

“Fabien, quel est votre position?”
Fabien, what’s your location?
….

Sans avoir à lutter, il serrait les mains sur les commandes. Quelque chose se préparait qu’il ne comprenait pas. Il bandait ses muscles, telle une bête qui va sauter, mais il ne voyait rien qui ne fût calme. Oui, calme, mais chargé d’un étrange pouvoir. Puis tout s’est aiguisé. Ces arêtes, ces pics, tout devenait aigu : on les sentait pénétrer, comme des étraves, le vent dur. Et puis il lui sembla qu’elles viraient et dérivaient autour de lui, à la façon de navires géants qui s’installent pour le combat. Et puis il y eut, mêlée à l’air, une poussière : elle montait, flottant doucement, comme un voile, le long des neiges. Alors, pour chercher une issue en cas de retraite nécessaire, il se retourna et trembla : toute la Cordillère, en arrière, semblait fermenter.

“Je suis perdu.”

Instinctively he tightened his grasp on the controls. Something he did not understand was on its way and he tautened his muscles, like a beast about to spring. Yet, as far as the eye could see, all was at peace. Peaceful, yes, but tense with dark potency. Suddenly all grew sharp; peaks and ridges seemed keen-edged prows cutting athwart heavy head wind. Veering around him, they deployed like dreadnoughts taking their positions in a battle-line. Dusk began to mingle with the air, rising and hovering, a veil above the snow. Looking back to see if retreat might still be feasible, he shuddered; all the Cordillera behind him was in seething ferment.

“I’m lost.”

————————————
More on this 181st Disquiet Junto project (“Imagine your favorite instrument is dreaming while it sleeps — what does it sound like?”) at:
http://disquiet.com/2015/06/18/disquiet0181-instrumentaldream/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:
http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:
http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:
http://disquiet.com/forums/