Category Archives: tracks


[img] Saturday Night On The Outskirts Of Town

Photo: @catmthomas. Thx to everyone who deemed me, and then The Tell, worthy of Saturday night. Had a blast. Until the next time!
May 21, 2017 at 01:35AM
via instagram


Solo Set: Saturday 20 May

Lacquer down and light it up! This Saturday (20 May) at Halyards in Gowanus, I’m flying solo and electric, opening for the debut of xclnt friends The Tell. On for ~half-hour starting 9:30…

The Tell is a trio formed of the core of After School Special: Josh Matthews, Ashley Semrick-DesRochers, and David Miller. I’ll be doing a 25-30 minute “Storytellers” set to ease the throttle into the big show, and let everyone float away into the evening. We’ll laugh a bit, maybe cry, maybe even daydream like landlocked surfers.

Stripped down songs, just me and Fabien (my Peekamoose custom M2), a few pedals and my Fender Super Champ X2 amp. Short set, so ambient flights to a minimum – more of an Americana-heavy romp through a few favs from across my catalog, with some superhero origin backstory between. For sure, Windfall and Love In This Land. The other three or four are up for grabs. It’s a Saturday night and I feel like leaving everyone with a smile or two, so nothing with too much gravity.

Since my last solo live performance, there’ve been nine records, a quarter million spins and 70K downloads(!!), a ton of collaboration, a bit of exposure, and a lot of inspiration. All this to say, this gig is overdue, and I hope it’s way less time until the next time.

——————————————————



[latest record] cipher /e dreams


[track] sterling fades [disquiet0260-tonefade]

PROCESS
Thank you so much, Marc (@disquiet) for thinking of Sterling in this project. As I told Marc in an email exchange where he told me of the dedication in this week’s prompt, my thinking about how the sound waves we produce may somehow go on forever began with the Junto’s week dedicated to the death of Jefferey Melton (@Nofi). This week brings much of that exploration full circle.

Nick Drake’s ‘Northern Sky’ open tuning resolves to a Dsus4 chord (with the suspended G as the center note and F# up high)
D-A-D-G-D-F#

I was gifted knowledge of Drake while working at Rolling Stone as an intern in 1992, and ever since, ‘Northern Sky’ is the song I turn to when skies darken. Felt right to invoke it here by striking its open chord for a few minutes. (Note: Soundcloud’s auto-compression revealed my perceived silences to be not so silent. Hi ho.)

Sterling passed in our home at the hand of kind veterinarians, on a soft rug, with easy, knowing caresses on 22 December 2016 ~6:20 EST. I trust he’s suspended somewhere now between space & time in painless parallel peace. Fwiw, we had David Bowie on random shuffle and ‘Absolute Beginners’ came on as the process began. Perfect is a strange word in this context, but life works in curious ways sometimes to deliver solace.

All the love.

:^D

RELEVANT EXTERNAL LINKS:
My reflections on Sterling:
https://medium.com/westyreflector/sterling-at-the-gates-dcff944b76df

Alan Watts on how the universe is made of vibrations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhHfKqLR6NI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmkwqn0mSQs

My prior piece “Riding Waves” to honor the passing of Nofi:
https://soundcloud.com/thereflectors/riding-waves

RIG
Guitar:
Jolie (2000 Gibson ES-335 DOT reissue, modded 100% with custom http://peekamoose.com electronics)

Pedal Board:
EQ Devices The Warden optical compressor -> Lotus Pedals SnowJob Underdrive -> tc electronic Flashback delay -> Diamond Tremolo -> EQ Devices Grand Orbiter -> EQ Devices Afterneath -> Strymon blueSky Reverb

Recording:
Line6 POD-XT (Blackface Lux emulator) -> MOTU 828mk2 firewire interface -> AcidPro 7.0 -> Harrison Consoles Mixbus (Mastering)

META
More on this 260th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Tone Fade: An exercise in when a sound ends

(This project is for Sterling.)

More on the Disquiet Junto

Subscribe to project announcements.

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:
http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0260-tone-fade/5809

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Photo associated with this project is by Michel Banabila, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:
flic.kr/p/5GB7bn


[track] wake up time

Sing a song for life in the morning
As the sunrise waltzes through leaves
Let all the anger and pain
And destructive refrains
Dissolve into your dreams

Maybe we’ll wake up
It’s time we wake up
Maybe we’ll wake up
Wake up time

The first thing you see before you open your eyes
Is the truest reflection of you
One day the first thing we’ll know
is a sunrise so slow
And a world renewed

PROCESS

My 66th(!) junto contribution was written and recorded on Monday evening 26 Sep 2016 while watching the 1st 2016 US Presidential debate (on mute, CSPAN only) with the project photograph (goo.gl/djQ31Y) in my field of vision on an iPad and a few glasses of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in my bloodstream. This may be the most normie crossover americana country pop track EVER posted to the Junto, but I’ve embraced that side lately, perhaps as a contrarian move to a deep dive into the dark web and anonymity in the last year (as well as being the caretaker of a terminally ill dog).

Acoustic and electric rhythm guitars and vocals are organic. Drums, bass, Hammond B3, pedal steel, and horn parts are built from samples looped in Acid (total ~60 tracks through 11 busses). If you think there’s more than one human involved in this, I’ve done my job.

> 3/4 waltz + rock, 148 bpm.
> there are 27 figures in the graphic and the first verse has 27 words. couldn’t hold myself to that in the 2nd verse, but all’s forgiven.
> mostly a back-door tribute to Tony Rice’s version of A Song For Life, but not slavish in its ape.

Enjoy life, fellow Junto-ers. Embrace melody and structure every once in a while. There’s magic (and sanity) in the way a fifth and a third can play with each other.

Our world is fucked from here on forward, but fuck it.

:^D

————————————————–

More on this 247th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Interpret as a graphic score an illustration drawn upon waking by Lark Pien” — at:
disquiet.com/0247/

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

Subscribe to project announcements here:
tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:
llllllll.co/t/a-cartoon-graphic-score-disquiet-junto-project-0247/4647

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is the (unintended, but used with approval) graphic score by Lark Pien.
goo.gl/djQ31Y


[track] the other side of the end

a sunny trip thru simulation theory, alan watts, and the watercourse way.
:^D

all the dreams have been blamed
all the sources have been named
there’s no hiding in the shadows anymore
all the ‘steins have been ‘stained
all the acid has been rained
there’s no overriding the code

[ch]
we’re on the other side of the end
with no trace no chance to defend
the true meaning of our being, friends
on the other side of the end

the simulation reset
everyone’s free to forget
all the ways we used to agree
and the lines of least resistance
destroyed by destroying
all the ways water courses to the sea

easy to miss when everything’s not right
the signs can hide in plain sight

[ch]


[track] europa sunrise [disquiet0236] (escaping earth remix)

extended remix of my contribution to the july 2016 disquiet junto’s collection of tracks saying “hi” in morse code to the juno jupiter probe…

original track here


[track] europa sunrise [disquiet0236-hellojun(t)o]

PROCESS
The task to create a friendly “Hi” to the Juno probe based on the Morse Code for “Hi” (…. ..) became the perfect excuse to duet with my Teenage Engineering PO-16. I’ve owned it for a while and though I am fascinated by it and screw around with it at times, it hadn’t yet found its way into the studio. Part of that is because it’s one of those pieces of equipment I don’t fully understand and really can’t do much with, but its mystery deepens my affection. Kind of like astrophysics.

In any case, the PO-16 generated all the Morse Code beeping in various notes around the key of D. The rest of the piece fell into place around the syncopated and stacked tones. Diving into my effect library, I found a sample of a countdown and liftoff of a Saturn I rocket, and the track crescendos around that. Built basic basic drum and bass tracks to keep it moving (one of these days I have to try to loose myself from rhythms) and dropped in a few sweeping pads from the archives. Ended up a bit longer than expected but there’s not much difference between 1 minute and 2.75 minutes in light years, you know?

RIG
Teenage Engineering PO-16 factory, Peekamoose Guitars Custom M2, SmallSound/BigSound Sparkle Motion, tc electronic flashback delay, Earthquaker Devices Afterneath, Strymon blueSky reverb, Line6 POD-XT, MOTU 828-mk2, DAW: Sony Acid Pro (Win 8.1), Mastering: Harrison MixBus (OSX)

PROJECT
The Assignment: Say hi to the Juno Spacecraft by embedding Morse code in an original composition.

In this project we’re going to send a friendly signal to the NASA probe, the Juno spacecraft, that just entered orbit around Jupiter. Well, we’re going to compose such signals. Sending them is a separate endeavor. We’re going to build on the “Say ‘Hi’ to Juno” endeavor, which had thousands of ham operators sending a message to Juno during its five-year voyage. The “Say ‘Hi’ to Juno” message was Morse code for “Hi” — that is, four dots followed by two dots (…. ..).

Step 1: Listen to the Morse code for “hi” (four dots followed by two dots) on repeat for a short time.

Step 2: Create an original musical composition that in one or more ways interpolates that Morse code.

—————————————
More on this 236th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Say hi to the Juno Spacecraft by embedding Morse code in an original composition”

More on the Disquiet Junto

Join the Disquiet Junto

Subscribe to project announcements

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL

More on the Juno Spacecraft technology

More on the “Say ‘Hi’ to Juno” ham operator project


[track] Love In This Land

Written early July 2016 on the way home from a final visit to my wife’s family farm in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania, outside Gettysburg. RIP, Aunt Suzanne…

This track also grieves not for an America that was – but for an America that could have been.

A few hours west of the City line
About 200 miles as the crow flies
Your family farm up on that hill
A place that made time stand still

Where Saturday nights on the outskirts of town
and ways of life were hand-me-downs
Every sunrise let you know just where you stand

There was love in this land
But time made other plans
In time you’ll understand
How much love was in this land

Now we’re taking one last drive tonight
To say one long last goodbye
To the land that held your family name
Thru an America getting auctioned away

By a world designed with no stop just go
That knows you never miss what you never know
That’s countin’ on you to forget where you stand

And all the love in this land

When the radio starts playing favorite songs
You can’t help (but) wonder where we went wrong

The moms and dads pass’d away
The kids flew away on the interstate
The farm is now in other hands
It’s up to you to still give a damn


[track] Last Call Home

Out of time
This is my last call home

It’s a dream
to fall back to
safe spaces
where you never change.

Where soft delusions
tell you you
never have to
feel any pain.

Don’t lose yourself
in distant seclusion.
Keepers of the truth
never walk alone.
Out of time,
I’m done with confusion.
This is my
last call home.

It’s a dream
to find easy
answers on either
end of a gun.

Never forget what
made you you
and how we lived
in defense of love.


[track] broken heart > wasted soul

All those years with you on the edge of a knife,
so many dark days set the sun on lost nights.
I hope the great beyond buries the reasons why,
and you spend your life emanating light.

Better a broken heart than a wasted soul.
Better to walk away than to cede control.
Better to be ripped apart
than forever fixing holes.
Better a broken heart than a wasted soul.

I saw you leave; you had no fear,
just calm and faith and courage beyond your years.
Carry on as the wind that carries your tears,
and on the other side of goodbye I’ll reappear.


[track] angel let down

Don’t waste time on love with no return
Two sides always makes a third
In the end the sole unknown
is the worth of words
Don’t waste time on love with no return

I wanted that you found release
I wanted you lived in peace
Instead the world turned its back
On everything you believe
I wanted that you found release

An angel let you down
Tired of the work
Made a break for it, slipped town
No brakes no sound
Left no trace no doubt
Your angel let you down

There are no permanent stars
Nothing points us back to the start
No use for home
where you (always) lose who you are
There are no permanent stars

It’s not on you, It’s not on me
Light’s what’s blocked by what we see
Things as they are (against)
Things as they should be
It’s not on you, it’s not on me

040716.1534, 041416.0822


[track] lonesome faraway sounds

Dedicated to the memory of Berta Cáceres and to the ongoing effort to free Bassel Khartabil.

distant cries
of cracked-down souls
trapped underground
church bells at dawn
ringing for ones
silenced by crowds

high lonesome faraway sounds
filtered through the air
echoing off clouds
lost frequencies explain
the essence that remains
high lonesome faraway sounds

could be something coming
up through the earth or
falling from the sky
warning calls to stay away
no need to amplify

[ch.]

through a cone of confusion
lateral diffusion
jets descend overhead
truth blown by the wind
trains coming round the bend
you know how these stories end

[ch.]


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


[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/