Tag Archives: freebassel


[words] of #pride and particle theory

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The bar, as many are, late into random Wednesday nights, was almost empty. We toasted the straight line between the 1969 riots that spilled out of the bar and the 2015 Supreme Court decision that realized many of the demands of those courageous rioters to simply be seen as human. We toasted love. We toasted John.

The original court case, fwiw, was Obergefell v. Kasich, and revolved around the inability for John and Jim to be listed as spouses on John’s Ohio death certificate. They wanted to be buried together. You couldn’t share a family cemetery plot in Ohio if the state didn’t recognize you as family. That the case centered on a death certificate, not a marriage license, from a legal POV, brought the equal protection clause to bear in a way that Ohio could never get around. 

Doesn’t mean they didn’t try.

If you recognize the defendant in that original case, it’s because John and Jim sued the state of Ohio, and Former Gov. John Kasich became the de facto defendant in court documents. Kasich, though, with his presidential ambitions, and his tea leaves reading correctly that this case would be decided against him ahead of the 2016 elections by the U.S. Supreme Court, forced a patsy in the Ohio Department of Health named Hodges to take his place in the case.

Weasels gonna weasel.

John’s and Cat’s being lifelong friends, we had a front row seat to the whole glorious, tragic, bittersweet, and loving arc of their two-decade relationship. Their wedding took place on a tarmac in Maryland in July 2013, a few months before John’s death.

My 2014 record Particle Theory [Spotify \ Bandcamp] was was written during the last stages of John’s battle with ALS, dedicated to Jim and him, and released after John passed away, a full year before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on their landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case. The case’s outcome was never certain, and the tracks revolve around the nature of love and justice, death and sentience, and finding one’s self in the context of politics. As happens when your writing’s tuned in a bit deeper into current events, songs on the album tell the stories of a few people, real and imagined, consumed in the global common denominator struggle to protect rights of the individual in the face of cold anti-humanity.

The opening track, Drifting Moon / Spinning Earth tells the story of a queer person’s escaping Ohio, who uses their “shadow as a sword” to find love “1000 feet in the air” in New York City.

The title track later on was written on the plane home after John’s memorial service in Cincinnati, OH. Those songs bookend some of the songs I am most happy to have written, but never wanted to have to write, including a track exploring the disappearing of Syrian programmer and open-source advocate, Bassel Khartabil. Alive when I released Particle Theory, Khartabil was executed in late 2015.

The cover photograph is a sunset moonrise over the North Carolina Outer Banks beach in front of John & Jim’s house where we spent many summer weeks with them. The shot is from December 2013, when we took a trip down there to say goodbye to John towards the end of his battle with ALS.

It’s a dark record under its sunny surface – which is my wheelhouse, of course. Dancing through darkness is the only way I know. Could be one reason why queer folk and straight AF me have always found safe harbor in each other. Very psyched Particle Theory remains among my most spun and downloaded collection of songs, and that it’s a grace note, as well as a footnote, for a movement based on love.


[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.


[dispatch] I DEMAND 09152017.1430

September 15, 2017 at 04:30PM
via IFTTT


[dispatch] 20170905.1749

September 05, 2017 at 05:49PM
via IFTTT


[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] 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.]


[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


intransitive disapperance [disquiet0108-freebassel]

PROCESS
Connected to this assignment, and wanted to do some small part to keep Bassel’s cause and case out front. I’m not a foley artist and field recording is not my game, though, so consider this less a soundscape than a track that might run over closing credits.

Married some royalty-free congas, tambourines and trap kit loops on an Acid timeline.
Selected two samples of Bassel speaking from the video: “I’m sorry I can’t see you.” and “That can be controlled.”
Locked in a drone with an EHX Superego and Freeze running through a Strymon Blue Sky.
Improvised a bed with an ebow.
Then riffed around the most “eastern” scale I know. The result may be more Spanish Gypsy than Syrian, but still felt Mediterranean. Just wanted to evoke a mood.

“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”
– Albert Camus

We can all be disappeared now. More and more it’s an intransitive verb.

Peace,
:^D

PROJECT
Disquiet Junto Project 0108: Free Bassel

For this week’s project, we’re going to create soundscapes for an ancient Middle Eastern city. And in the process, we’re going to raise awareness about an imprisoned open-source developer with strong ties to the Creative Commons community. Bassel Khartabil, before his arrest on March 15, 2012, in Damascus, was working on several projects, among them a 3D rendering of the ancient city of Palmyra. Much as Bassel was trying to revive an ancient world, you are, in essence, keeping one of his projects alive while he is incapable of doing so.

The project instructions are as follows:

Step 1: View this video for background on Bassel’s digital Palmyra project:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G7fyWS-ysA

Step 2: If you aren’t viewing this instruction on the Disquiet.com project page, go to the following URL to view three still images from Bassel’s 3D work:

disquiet.com/2014/01/23/disquiet0108-freebassel/

Step 3: Create a soundscape of between one and three minutes that might be employed in an immersive, completed digital visualization of ancient Palmyra.

————————————–

More on this 108th Disquiet Junto project (“Create a soundscape for the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.”)

More on the Disquiet Junto

Join the Disquiet Junto

More on the campaign to free Bassel

For their collaboration on this project, special thanks to: Niki Korth, Barry Threw, and Jon Phillips.