Have you heard… ?

Bay of Mystery

Hallowed Bones

The Middle Mass Extinction

Upbringing

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As a matter of fact…

“The paradox of any artist’s life is you need to cultivate confidence AND humility to survive.

But you know what? That’s the paradox of your life too.”

Chad Clark / Beauty Pill

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A job and a music education

Recently, I was listening to Can’s Tago Mago. It’s one of my all-time favorites, especially “Halleluhwah” and it still gets played a minimum of once a year. This time, I got to thinking about when I first heard it.

My “formative” music years began in a very small town in upstate NY, where I had access to AM radio. My father played Romantic Classical and Dixie Jazz records. Eventually, I discovered the FM station at Syracuse University, which was only slightly better than AM radio, albeit no commercials. Although artists like King Crimson and Pink Floyd had found their way to my ears, I was a musical know-nothing.

By 1972 I had migrated to Colorado Springs and had just started working in a record store. The business was contractually tied to dealing exclusively with a one-stop in Denver. But what a deal it was. We had 100% return privileges, meaning any merchandise could be returned no matter the condition it was in. I understood that also meant I could open and play any record that seemed even remotely interesting. The UK cover of Tago Mago was a shot of the band on stage with Damo Suzuki’s hair flying around. I had to hear what they sounded like, and I quickly fell into playing the two-disc album at least once every day. (My co-worker wasn’t impressed and stuck to his steady diet of Cat Stevens, Grateful Dead and Thick as a Brick.)

That wasn’t the only discovery highlight during my time working in that store. The doors to the European Music Theatre were wide open and I didn’t hesitate to run through. Samla Mammas Manna, Gryphon, PFM, Magma, Klaus Schulze, Popul Vuh, Grobschnitt, Zao, Agitation Free, Weather Report, Greenslade, Neu!, Wallenstein, Ash Ra Tempel, Nektar, Tangerine Dream, Gentle Giant, Caravan, Super Sister, Matching Mole, Cluster, Henry Cow, Curved Air, Hatfield and the North, Van der Graaf Generator (inhale!)… and so many more.

Until then, I hadn’t realized I was so interested in exploring music that wouldn’t be heard on everyday radio. Those few years I spent in that store had an enormous, positive influence on my music education. The snowball got a solid kick start and it hasn’t stopped rolling. I mentally shudder to think what it might have been like otherwise.

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No tones alone

I’ve learned of another worthwhile place to post music. Alonetone.com is a “soundcloud” of mp3-only music (or whatever) that is all feely downloadable. You don’t need an account to listen or download. There’s a community function, if one should feel like asking or stating. I’m figuring it to be a place for my more experimental side(s), maybe demos – although one of my three pieces there now is a short slice of vocal/keyboard melancholy. Material that will likely be found nowhere else.
https://alonetone.com/wobblybits

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Heatwave

I wrote these words in 2001, a few days after the event in the USA we memorialize each year on this day.

HEATWAVE
(Jeff Sampson)

(whisper)

things are not what they seem.

(lightly)

your tranquility – there for all to see – it’s about to be disrupted.
you wait and see – it’ll come to be – destruction.

hollow meaning sends us reeling
our senses seem to lose all feeling.

your tranquility – there for all to see – it’s about to be disrupted.
you wait and see – it’ll come to be – destruction.

(with aggression)

five will get you ten your end feels close at hand.
I highly recommend
you gather things that keep you pleased
to get you through your time of need.

(very aggressive)

you can’t run anymore.
the heat rolls across in waves.
no use to grovel or implore,
what waits for you is a grave.

how could you know?
who could have seen?
you’re taught you reap what you sow –
get up! – take the heat.

(lightly)

torture – heavy
rapture – waiting
torture – heavy
rapture – waiting.

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Play Today

Why does today seem like a good day to tell you what I listened to? I’ve no idea, so I’ll do it.

Frank Zappa: Sleep Dirt
Eric Snelders: The Source of Scarlet Dreams
Gert Blokzijl: Frame of Reference
Keller and Schönwälder: Collectors Items
The Dur et Doux sampler “La fête de la musique” (while I watched the US destroy Chile in the FIBA U16 Americas Women’s Championship)

Also watched a video demo of the Chrysalid Arpeggiator, and a Kenny Gioia tutorial on layering reverbs.

Good stuff all around.

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Fruition

Some things just take a long while to reach fruition. Sara Ayers and I released a three song EP back in 2006 (Thrice Thy Heart Shall Broken Be). A year later (maybe less), the label discontinued it without saying anything to us. We moved it to another online shop, which eventually (and quietly) closed its doors. Again, no notice given to us.

During those years in between we slowly and sporadically worked together on new songs. Life kept getting in the way. Then, life REALLY got in the way.

However, after individual despair and heartbreak, we found ourselves helping pick each other up. And we finished what we’d been working on, polished what was already “finished”, and ta-da! – a new album of mostly previously unheard material. (We’ve included the songs from the 2006 EP, remastered to fit sonically with the more recent work).

Some of the work is ethereal, some is more song oriented. It can all be heard at

https://jeffsampson.bandcamp.com/album/if-we-had-known

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Savage

What – already? Yup, a new piece of music sitting on Soundcloud. Titled “Silk Stocking”, it falls under the “Groove ‘n’ Spoke” umbrella. I like it a lot. What do you think?

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He’s Back!

Hello!

Admittedly, there hasn’t been much in the way of new music from me the past few years. That’s only because I hadn’t been putting many consecutive minutes into making any. 🙂 I got a decent nudge about a year ago though, and then a bit later in the year another nudge, and I’m slowly ramping up the processes, and now I feel it’s safe to say I’m back to working with sound.

As “proof” 🙂 I’ve made a mix of excerpts from some of what I’ve been working on the last several months. I’ve put it on Bandcamp and it’ll be there until there’s another mix of WIPs to replace it. Seasonally? Perhaps.

(Update: Too late, it’s gone.)

https://jeffsampson.bandcamp.com/track/newsie

In the order they appear in the mix:

“Exhaust”
A completed piece I haven’t figured out what to do with.

“Lost Room” (excerpt)
New work with Sara Ayers. This section will likely be noticeably different when the piece is finished.

“Blue Wood” (excerpt)
Very much a WIP with, currently, no particular place to go.

“Outpost” (excerpt)
A lengthy piece that was originally intended as a bed for a particular poet, but his interest wasn’t piqued so I’ll finish it myself. I’ve already reworked enough of it that he probably wouldn’t recognize it as something he’d already heard.

“Efem10” (excerpt)
A working title for another WIP. What I’m trying to accomplish here hasn’t quite made itself known.

“16 Spectres” (excerpt)
has been a WIP for so long, I may decide to never finish it. 🙂 I doubt I’ve revisited it more than once a year. Maybe not even that often. (I really should keep better notes – like Swamp Messiah does.)

“Caught Between Madness and Innocence” (excerpt)
A WIP designated for an album in progress titled Substantiating Nightmares.

“Lights Out, Pale Blue Dot”
A finished piece earmeaked for Substantiating Nightmares.

Plus! It had always been my intention to write English lyrics for “Sombre” (the Sampson – Carroll tune that appears on From Dust to Dusk) and then get the song re-recorded. Well, the re-recording isn’t going to happen but the lyrics finally did(!) and they’ve been added to the proper Bandcamp page. They fit real well with the vocal melody.

https://jeffsampson.bandcamp.com/album/from-dust-to-dusk

Ahh, well that’s all for now folks. Be well – stay well.

Jeff

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