Five Alive

There’s a well-protected place in my psyche for avant-rock music. I also have a strong appreciation for Western (usually European) music that incorporates styles, scales, etc. from regions like North Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Asia. Not that I can discuss the technical aspects of those scales and styles, but they definitely resonate with me.

When avant-rock artists connect with musicians from those regions, it feels like heaven on earth. In my mind, this meeting of French and Korean is especially noteworthy. Ladies and gentlemen: PoiL Ueda.

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Have You Heard (and Watched)… ?


Orange, You Glad?

Proving Grounds (audio) (with Sean Carroll)

Proving Grounds (video) (with Sean Carroll)

Barefoot in Imaginarium

Elegy for a Drowning World (with Sara Ayers)

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That Was Only Yesterday

It was going to be “today’s playlist” but I kept thinking I’d be adding to it and that never happened. I just got too busy with stuff that didn’t have headspace for someone else’s music.

I find it interesting that this list starts out in an electronic/space/Berlin School manner, quickly moves to avant-prog/art rock, back to electronic/space, and ends in a post-rock/drone manner. I’m not really aware of how much my listening crosses genres unless I keep a list like this.

Also, it’s unusual that what I listened to was released during the last 13 years. I’m normally more spread out over the decades than that. At least, it feels like I am.

Kubusschnitt: The Core (2022)
Unit Wail: Retort (2013)
La Coscienza di Zeno: La Coscienza di Zeno (pt 2) (2018)
Martin Stürtzer: Dyson Sphere Alpha (pt 3) (2021)
Palancar: Final Theory, Vol. 1 (2018)
The Silent Ballet, Vol. 13 (2009)

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Words to sing by

New lyrics posted on, of all places, the Lyrics page. The Silly Comes is an Often Coiled song and appears on the self-titled EP.

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Have you heard… ?

Bay of Mystery

Hallowed Bones

The Middle Mass Extinction


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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. 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.

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

(Jeff Sampson)


things are not what they seem.


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.


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 Schonwalder: Collectors Items
The Dur et Doux sampler “La fete 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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