Category Archives: tracks


[track] Canyon Bees, Birds, and a Chicken (20180509.1)

“A bee, a bird, and a chicken are hanging out in the Hollywood hills…” sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s just a field recording. The bees are pollinating a perpetual-blooming Echium Candicans (“pride of Madeira”) flowering shrub in our Laurel Canyon Garden, while a mockingbird, a scrub jay, a few other birds, and a chicken across the street join in the chorus. Live iPhone recording via a Shure MOTIV MV88.

Echium Candicans
pride of Madeira
subshrub invasive ornament
Spanish nectar
going-steady bees
soda jerk two-straw shake
canyon hillside date
10 minutes drive
from a retrofit-rail-car diner
off Sunset


[track] Every Light Leads (20180426.1)

all you’ve got is a feeling
and what i got won’t show
b/c our visions of love
only intersected long ago

gonna go where every light leads
if it only takes me round the block
i don’t care
at least i’m searching
at least i’m driving
where you’re still aching
to get somewhere

first time i knew luck was
the first time we laughed at the same truth
but there’s only so many lies
you can sell yourself and still pull through

“burning a bridge” burns one ahead,
not one already crossed.
those things you leave behind
are, anyways, already lost

lenses
filters
living as if reality
mirrors
windows
living as if we really see


[track] Quiet Nowhere (20180426.1)

the smarter you are today
the more you live in shadow
never giving up all you know
‘cos it’s

quiet nowhere
la la la la la la la la la
it’s quiet nowhere

to long for someday soon
is to long for days gone by
they’re both parallel paper streets
through a

quiet nowhere

the sound of things falling is the same sound
as things rising into the air
time spent afraid of what you might hear
well, that’s a quiet nowhere

that feel when the world lets you down
that feel when old friends freeze you out
when you’re seen as wrong when everyone’s not right

it’s quiet nowhere


[track] Love Your Self Any Way (20180426.1)

we were young
you were younger
never were to be in love
i should’ve known better
every price has a one

you wanted the world to burn
vanish into points of no return
‘cos hardest to learn
you never could say
love your self any way

afraid of truth
living in shadows
is no way to move through life
in the end, in this haunted future
you set yourself alight

saturation turns to gray
where there are only beautiful days

you found only
darkness in sunshine
you saw only one
way out


[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

Cat’s costume designing the series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming, shooting in L.A., so we’re living for six months in a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. When I landed, I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown. Figured I’d have the Gentleman of the Canyon adventure I always dreamt, and now I’m on a trip all the way back to my own time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

Putting the demos up as I go, embracing every mistake as an intention…


[track] Wonderland (20180418.1)

Mattie was the kinda girl
who saw the end of the world
every time she opened her eyes
Roger was the kinda guy
never turned down a ride
figured “the end of days is just down the line.”

the price you pay
counting on judgment day for love
is to waste the light away
wide awake
wishing on the dark
(in Wonderland)

they found an acre and a half
halfway up Wonderland
in September 1973
they spent a few years
thinking the end was near
and cut down none of their trees

their earth gave way on a red flag day
right around 1982
they held on fast
against a backdraft
into the black they flew

they always thought of each other
as first time lovers
in an endless secret rendezvous
but sometimes living a life of desire
leaves you dreaming of fire
in a state of always almost coming true


[track] What’s Left Of You Is Here (live, 20180313)

I knew everything of you
in how you said your name.
On our way to points B unknown
from whatever points A.

I will never need to know
how the shadows fell across your face
In that place you used to be
Before you escaped

To California. for untold revelations, on a self-sent invitation. What’s left for you to fear
in California? Your train is the station. Your dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.

“Maybe I’m out here on a lie,
but it’s only a lie to the skin I shed.
What’s left of me here
is the truth.”

There’s gold inside us all
But we just pass each other by
Because you gotta wash away the dirt
To find what’s not a lie

That’s California. unknown elevations, sends no invitations. What’s left for you to fear in California? Trains are the stations. A dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.


[track] It (20180412.1a)

I wanna blow the doors off of everything
just because I can
I got no direction
I don’t care much for a plan
I’m gonna do it just because I can

I wanna call the world out for what it is
just because it can’t
I got a few ideas
that I know that it can’t stand
I wanna do it just because it can’t

I wanna make this life as simple as you say
just because it’s free
I got a few years left
and they’re still ahead of me
I’m gonna do it
just because


[track] Clouds Over LA (20180412.7)

time will not release
a missing puzzle piece
faded memories
don’t know what you mean

you can’t watch a sunrise
through someone else’s eyes
if they never see you
in dreams

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

distant freeways shimmer
traffic as rivers
red and white ribbons
valley to sky

lost friends reappear
in dusty windshields
as evening light hits
California 5

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

drifting the night
suspended from life
shadows of every last good bye

clouds over LA dance alone between skies


Canyon Morning [20180314]

a laurel canyon dawn: guitar + sunrise + birds + distant traffic

slow and loose channeling of Tony Rice’s interpretation of Shenandoah


[track] Jupiter & Tennessee (20180313.4)

She said, “Pull off at Exit Two Eighteen.
Let me out, I’ll find another ride.
I just don’t know where the time has gone,
and I’m tired of these freeway signs.

“Your stories make me laugh,
but your songs make me cry.
I don’t think I can live that way.
I need someone not so low, and maybe not so high.
I’m tired of living years every day.”

Between Jupiter and Tennessee,
stars collapsed on me.
The moon faded to eternity
between Jupiter and Tennessee.

Memories make a dotted line,
as if in between there was no time.

Things that feel long ago,
in light years are just yesterday.
No regrets where the mind never goes.
Sad times just count the days.


[track] Counting (20180310.3)

What if we could ride all the waves
What if the world was safe
for everything we are
What if we could exchange
Every turn we’ll ever take
For one true North Star

Counting on lightning
Counting on dreaming
Counting on sleeping sometime soon
Counting on one plan
Counting on another hand
(and I’m still) Counting on counting on you

What if we could live on a cloud
above the rain
where stars are the only lights
But you need stable ground
your wings need a break
You carry me through the sky

Sometimes the faster you hold on
To each other
The faster you drift apart
Together


[track] Riding the D with Casey and Bob (20180310)

RIP Bob Jacks


Into Endless Blue [20180308.8a]

1/2 way up the hill
is a long way down
to extend your horizon
to wave away clouds

Into the great unknown
Into endless blue
1/2 way up the hill
was the best we could do

where calm clear sky
is the everyday
no wonder the sun
yearns to steal away

into the great unknown
into endless blue
1/2 way up the hill
was the best we could do

echoes of times
when we were strong
swirled into good bye
after so longs

what keeps you alive
is not the same
as what makes you live
or what flies away


Need To Be (20180307.3b)

Picture a house with no mirrors,
where you never need to see
your self as a reflection,
you just need to be.

There’s no such thing as slowing down
speed is only how far
you feel you are in time

There’s no such thing is getting old
age is only how long
you think you are in time

There’s no such thing as living alone
bonds are just as strong
you know we are in time

some pain is not a window, but a wall
you build so no one can see you
and you can’t see out at all

There’s no such thing as giving up
life is just as long as
you don’t think in time


[track] this canyon drive (20180307.3a)

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 us 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


[track] sun child [disquiet0294-offlinestatus]

This is the fourth track I’ve recorded in honor of Bassel Khartabil Safadi, a pioneering and beloved Syrian open-source programmer who gave his life to ensuring an open web, teaching others about technology, and contributing his experience freely to help the world. Syrian military police arrested him in 2012 for unstated crimes, and held him without trial. In August of 2017, the world learned he had been executed in October 2015. To this date, his body has not been given to his family for proper mourning and burial, and the manner in which he was put to death remains a mystery.

In the end, pessimism breaks people quicker, and with more permanence, than fear. The greatest weapon used against free-thought warriors such as Bassel is not to make them scared – it’s to make them feel alone in their fight, discouraged and ashamed.

Apologize for nothing, Bassel.

All sounds either Bassel or guitar.

Underlying bed is reversed “Amazing Grace” mixed with three tracks of Bassel’s phrase ~13x stretched: One track is him harmonized and pitched down to F#; One is him disambiguated as noise; One is him just straight up sloooowed doowwwn.

Floated over the affair with an eBow.

This track marks my 69th Disquiet Junto contribution.
https://soundcloud.com/thereflectors/sets/disquietwesty

My studio suffered an irreparable crash last week while attempting the first of these two most recent #freebassel projects. Kind creative forces graced me, however, with a few workarounds and a long-overdue seat kick into a more current-era workflow. I hold onto the thought that all my tech disruption (forced unwinding and time-zero reconfiguration of twenty+ years of habits) would make Bassel, well, just laugh. I hope that laughing’s all he’s doing now.

Over the course of Bassel’s incarceration, the Disquiet Junto dedicated a number of its weekly projects to the #FreeBassel movement in the hopes of keeping his story – and possibly Bassel himself – alive. I produced a couple tracks that made it into their respective Junto weeks:


One other project I attempted stalled in the concept phase, but instead of letting it languish, I fleshed it out on my latest record into a Dylan-esque acerbic romp through a world refusing to change:

This week’s track, though, was the first of these for Bassel I recorded knowing he will never hear it. Killed the urgency and upped the poignancy, I guess. Wish I was less numb about all this.

Peace.

______________________________________

RIG
Guitar: Peekamoose Custom Workhorse M2

Pedalboard: SmallSound/BigSound Sparkle Motion -> SS/BS Mini F*ck -> tc electronic Flashback Delay -> EHX Superego (Send/Receive: EQD Arpanoid -> EHX POG2 -> Diamond Tremolo) -> EHX Freeze -> EQD Grand Orbiter -> EQD Afterneath -> Strymon blueSky Reverb -> Pigtronix Infinity Looper

Amp: Fender SuperChamp X2 (set to vintage Princeton Reverb voice)

Hardware:
MOTU 828mk2 -> MacBook Pro
Windows PC (DIY)

Software:
Paulstretch (standalone, Windows 10)
Dropbox
Harrison Mixbus 4 (DAW and mastering)

______________________________________

PROJECT:
Disquiet Junto Project 0294: Offline Status

Pay tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil by turning his spoken words into music.

More on this 294th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Offline Status: Pay tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil by turning his spoken words into music. — at:
https://disquiet.com/0294/

Thanks to Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, and Barry Threw for encouraging this project. More on Bassel here:
http://freebassel.org

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

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:
https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0294-offline-status/

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


[track] ’57 Echoes [Disquiet0258-RoomsWithinRooms]

Spending this week in Venice, FL, at The Herron House. Built by architect Victor A. Lundy (FAIA) in 1957 for the Herron family, the house was restored to its original grandeur by its current owners, Ursula Kohl and Peter Bartos, in 2008. It’s a masterstroke of mid-century American imagination, and a timeless time capsule that will always feel like the future.

Most of the house is open-plan (only the bedrooms and offices have doors), all the rooms, save one, have at least two glass walls, and there are two spectacular rooms within the envelope of the roof line that have floor-to-ceiling screens as their 4th walls separating them from the outside. The result is a house that breathes with its occupants (lizards included), creating an inside-out and outside-in soundscape that leaves you in a true suspension of time and space.

This piece was recorded inside the house during night and day rainstorms (Rooms A and C, respectively), as well as a clear morning (Room B). Most of the time, the house provides a serene silence, which I wanted to capture for the C-section, but the iPad mic is not conducive to recording nuanced calmness, so this piece captures none of the house’s tranquility. Rest assured, however, this has been a relaxing week, replete with luck to have graced its environs.

Went minimal to the max for this. Only mics I have down here are an iPad and iPhone, and only DAW is a GarageBand program I never learned to use with any proficiency. The project instructions said “don’t add any other effects or sonic material,” so here’s three rooms, with zero(0) processing, in loose arrangement as a song. Each room’s stereo tracks are two tracks recorded close in time, panned left and right. I’d call it unfinished, but I’m on vacation, slipped into another life, so I lost where I started.

GarageBand audio recorder –> iCloud –> GarageBand 10.2.0 for OS X Sierra.

Room A:
venice-fla-71.jpg
Rear sun room. This room is one of the two rooms with a screen-wall, and also has a massive screen skylight that allows rain inside. The tick-tocking sound (a short sample of which is looped as the Room A tone) is rain hitting the metal arm and vinyl-covered padding of a vintage outdoor rocking chair sitting under the screen skylight.

Room B:
venice-fla-1.jpg
Front sun room, secondary entertainment and dining area. Like Room A, this room also has a floor-to-ceiling screen wall, which in this room’s case faces the driveway and gives vegetation obscured views of the street. This room has an opaque glass skylight, however, so remains protected during bad weather (aside from whatever might pass through the screen wall in windier conditions). The recording was taken on a calm morning while drinking coffee at the table in the room, and the local birds were out in full force in the palm trees and plants that shield the house.

Room C:
venice-fla-100.jpg
Kitchen informal dining area. Floor-to-celing glass-enclosed on 3 sides. Looks out on the pool and outdoor seating area. The downspouts from the roof are tucked away on either side of the exterior of this room. As a result, during rainstorms, sitting at the table results in a stereo clattering of water rushing down from the roof to the underground drain. The glass is true to 1957 vintage and single paned, so there isn’t much in the way of sound absorption. The effect lends the sensation of standing behind a waterfall in a dry cave.

Check out my Flickr for some detailed interior and exterior shots of the house.

_______________________________________

More on this 283rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Rooms Within Rooms: Make an instrumental song built from the sounds of different rooms” — at:
https://disquiet.com/0283/

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

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:
https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0283-rooms-within-rooms/

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


[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.

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