albums
Underway
2017 The Walking Dad
2006 Wonday
Compilations
1993 Songs to Sleep By
1997 Songs to Sleep By 2
2002 Sunday Sampler
2002 Dad's Picks
1999 Mix 1 (sy55)
2010 Mix 2 (triton vocal)
2010 Mix 3 (triton instr.)
SY55
1991 Archives
1992 College Collection
1993 College Collage
1994 The Hermit
1997 Where's My Muse
1999 South or Southeast
Triton
2001 In the Margins
2002 Renewal
2002 Re-treat
2002 Convenience
2002 Back Up
2003 So So
2003 So On
2003 So Long
2003 Baby Steps
2003 Baby Talk
2004 Schmocial
2004 Brroom
2004 Chuckadee
2004 Disco Hike
2004 Extra Extra
2005 Coma Pill
2005 Ourboretum
2005 Jaminy
2005 Padden Drift
2005 Gorilla Love
2005 Aminals
2005 Vegibles
2006 Fruitine
2006 Dignored
2006 Miner
2006 Mouseculine
2006 Yata
2007 Zipit
2007 Sixawon
2007 Halfdosin
2007 Whatcom Home
2008 What Roses
2008 Pho Kit
2008 Composed Pile
2009 Decomposed Pie
2009 Swaddlicious
2010 Lost Train
Soft Synths
2011 Out the Margins
2011 Redebut
2011 Reprogression
2012 Working Progress
2013 Tripico
2014 Aerosol Concrete
2015 Reduced to Clear
2016 Motions

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 Improv - 5:41 download listen locally 2002-04-02 2004-06-08
2 Logic Crash - 3:15 download listen locally 2002-04-03 2004-06-14
3 Contact lyrics 5:40 download listen locally 2002-04-05 2004-06-17
4 CRT - 5:17 download listen locally 2002-05-01 2004-06-23
5 68tan - 4:12 download listen locally 2002-05-02 2004-06-29
6 My Old Tune - 1:40 download listen locally 2002-05-03 2004-06-30
7 Inna Funk - 4:23 download listen locally 2002-05-03 2004-07-06
8 Yet Another Improv - 10:10 download listen locally 2002-05-04 2004-07-08
9 Chickadee Scratch - 7:52 download listen locally 2002-05-20 2004-07-21
10 Sea Dogs - 8:47 download listen locally 2002-05-23 2004-07-31
11 Westy - 6:27 download listen locally 2002-05-24 2004-08-03
12 Drop - 7:52 download listen locally 2002-05-26 2004-08-10
Total 71:16 play all locally album rating:

Notes

Chickadees are the tiny birds I see out my window almost every day while I work. They jump from branch to branch, chirp noisily, and scatter birdseed all over the ground and porch. Those who don't like birds would probably never notice them (or would get annoyed at the mess), but I enjoy watching them because they're cute, agile, and perpetually active, seemingly incapable of remaining still or quiet.

Chuckanut is the nearby "hill" that I've been jogging or hiking almost every week for the past 3 years. Although it's dwarfed by the "real" mountains to the East (the North Cascades), it's super-convenient, full of animals (rabbits, snakes, birds, deer, salmon), and has tons of trails along ridges, lakes, waterfalls, open glades, and deep, tangly old growth forest. I love its variety, accessibility, and liveliness: its "modest majesty".

This album is about tiny, "overlookable" pockets of life, and the enjoyment you can derive from constant activity. The music is simple, inelegant, energetic, and messy, like the birds. And like the mountain, there's dark nooks, chaotic thickets, sudden drop-offs, dead ends, and occasionally a clear view... and then it's back into the underbrush... with the spider webs... and thorns... and little hopping birds... and a fresh sea breeze... and lots of chirping... and bunnies... and flowers... and feathers... and memories.

Gear:

These songs were started in the spring of 2002 using either Sonar, Logic, or the Triton's sequencer. They were finished in the summer of 2004 using Sonar 3.1.1. "Contact" has vocals. The rest of the noises come from the Triton.

Songs

Improv

I had so many computer problems while finishing Brroom (crashes, corrupted files, pops and clicks) that I decided to buy a new music PC. It took me about a month to research and purchase components, build the pc, install the os and software, and test the new setup. During that time I piddled away on "Improv", which was to be the first song on the next album.

It's not a horrible song, but it doesn't open the album with the same "punch" that "Click" did on Brroom. On the positive side, my disappointment in "Improv" took the pressure off the rest of the album; I didn't feel like I had to "live up" to anything, and instead focused on having fun with the various songs.

Logic Crash

I started this song with Logic, and I guess I had some sort of crash. Wow, what insight, Trav! Okay, I'll try again... This is repetitive 80s-esque jazz-synth whatever. Is that better? No? I'm getting tired of typing all these song descriptions! And I'm tired of these little Logic songs that don't go anywhere! They're listenable and usually have nice drums, but they seem too mechanical and sterile.

Contact

Yay, for once I made something interesting out of a Logic song! This is the only one to get vocals. And what vocals! I wrote the choruses and a couple verses, but the rest was improvised.

The lyrics are about making contact with someone you haven't seen in years. Most of the time, when I meet old friends, the first thing I've noticed is how many pounds they've gained! Also, I can't help but judge them based on how they've changed. Over the years, I've gotten slimmer and increasingly productive, while most of the people I knew got plumper and more consumptive, less creative.

Why don't people seem to value physical, mental, and creative exercise? Why do they prefer to pour their free time (and increasingly amorphous bodies) into soft chairs, soft beds, soft cars, soft schedules, soft lives? Why do they gravitate towards relaxation and passive entertainment rather than any sort of constructive activity? Why don't they place any demands on themselves? Where are their creative urges? Where's their fire???

I'm not saying everyone I know has become a fat blob, or that all fat people are lazy and unproductive. It's just that laziness is contagious; it spreads through the individual and friends (here's where being a hermit helps!). People aren't just complacent in one area of their lives; they tend to be either chronically complacent, or chronically proactive. The vast majority of 30-somethings I know are boring, ugly, and dumb compared to their 20-something selves. What's happened to them?

What is it that softens people? Age? Money? Girlfriends? Families? Why do people lose interest in themselves???

If a person isn't making a valiant effort to improve or create something in the world, then that person just isn't worth my time. That's the point of the song.

Lyrics to "Contact":

INTRO:
  hello?
  oh, you!
  i haven't spoken to you in ages
  yeah, well
  i'm kind of writing a song right now
  but i'll get back to you
  okay, cool; good to hear from you

VERSE 1:
  testing, testing, testing
  i'm testing this microphone
  i am tapping on it right now, tap tap tap
  is anybody at home?

  i'm trying to make contact
  i'm trying to say hello
  but if you run away at the sound of my voice
  then i think i know the feeling

CHORUS 1:
  here i am making contact
  hello is anybody listening
  please tell me
  is this microphone on?
    (hello? hello?)

VERSE 2:
  hey
  oh hi there
  good to see you
  it's been a while
  how is the weather?
  how are you doing?
  i sound like a robot
  you sound like a sheep
  isn't this great?
  isn't communication great?

CHORUS 2:
  here we are making contact
  why did we ever lose it?
  here we are making contact
  i got skinny and you got fat

VERSE 3:
  why did we lose it in the first place?
  i think you got caught up in the rat race
  and i continued at my old pace
  now here we are, once again face to face

  i got computers and you got brats
  i got rhythm and you got fat
  i got happy and you got fat
  did i mention that you got fat?
    (because i'm a nerd)
    (a hermit, hermit, hermit)

  it's surprising just how fat
  frankly, i'm amazed how fat
  were you always this fat?
  or is it more recently that you got fat?
    (disgusting and fat)

BRIDGE:
  you're fat, you're fat
  you're fat, you're fat
  you can't touch your toes
  and you call that contact?
  i call that fatus quo

  oh, that's a good one, travis
    (okay, travis, you're a snob)
  you're my idol, travis
  you're my snobby little idol

  i'm basically elitist
  i don't want to make contact
  with you anymore
  because you are a bore
    (elitist, elitist, elitist, elitist)

  i don't want to make contact
  with all the people who are so average
  ???  we are

  your life's a bar
  or a coffee shop
  or the mall
  or tv
    (you're fat, you're a snob)

  where are all the sheep today?
  when will they learn that
  homogeny pays in spades?
  shoves and spades
  and mops
  and lawnmowers
  and trash cans
    (c o n t a c t)

  if you want to contact me
  you can email me
  no, i take it back
  don't bother; you're fat

    (you're fat, you're fat)

  remember the song "south or southeast"?
  remember the song "[i'm a] hermit"?

  remember the album art
  when i just  said go away
  i drew a little stick figure
  of myself that day

  i said go away
  just go away
  'cause i'm a hermit
  and i'll be a hermit
  'til my dying day

  i am thin and you are fat
  ???
  i am thin and you are fat
  you are just a blob

  chew your fat, chew your fat
  chew your fat, chew your fat
  you suck; you're fat, you suck; you're fat
  you suck your fat, you suck your fat

CHORUS 3:
  here we are making contact
  i think i know why we lost it
  here we are making contact
  i got skinny and you got fat

VERSE 4:
  you got so fat
  can i say that without being rude?

  how's the weather?
  how's your children?
  how's your father?
  why bother living?

CHORUS 4:
  here we are making contact
  why didn't we permanently lose it?
  why must we face each other today?

  here we are making contact
  why can't you just disappear now?
  why i must keep seeing you again?
  again and again and again

  here you are making contact
  how did you get my number?
  why oh why can't you just go away?

  beat it!
  

CRT

This starts as uncomfortable techno-soul, but then morphs into a cool funk/dance rhythm. I started it on the Triton and finished it in Sonar two years later. Most of the coolness comes from the later efforts. I already had a song named "Reggae Test", and although I renamed this "Clean Reggae Test" for a while, I ended up shortening the title to "CRT". This is one of my favorite songs on Chuckadee.

68tan

Here's another song I started on the Triton. I guess I was testing the sequencer's (or my) ability to handle a 6/8 time signature. It doesn't do much for me; it's too mechanical, the mix is too cluttered, and there aren't any killer solos (let alone a melody). The title is a play on "sick satan", which is a lyric from the IPECAC song "Kiss the Devil".

My Old Tune

This is a short, early version of the chorus from "My Old School". I didn't spend much time finishing it, because I kept feeling like I'd already made this song once. Plus, it's annoyingly cheesy!

Inna Funk

This is another Triton-started song that I extended with Sonar. It's feels a little sparse and uptight in the beginning, but towards the end it loosens up with some decent solos. From the title, I'm guessing that I (or somebody I knew) was in a bad mood or something. I finished this in early July; maybe I was hot, or annoyed at all the recent fireworks?

Yet Another Improv

This is a long, mellow EP solo. It was pure improv. Yay! I really like this sort of song. It's super-relaxing, great background music for reading and falling asleep!

User Comments:

  1. "I really like the banjo sound in this song." - Giovanna (2010-07-15)

Chickadee Scratch

A little baby mouse grows up into a beautiful chickadee and flies up into the trees. Huh? Plain English, please! This funky, brass-tinged jam starts rough, with lots of atonality and false endings, but then finds its groove. I added the banjo part after Giovanna told me she disliked Bela Fleck; I wanted to see if she'd like the banjo in a non-bluegrass context. I don't remember what her verdict was!

Sea Dogs

Here we go with another long, mellow jam. This one's primarily bass, organ, and drums. It's not as relaxing or subtle as "Yet Another Improv", but has some lively organ solos. My favorite bit is the suspended organ chord that starts at 5:30, lasts 57 seconds, and survives a couple of atonal pitch bends. I don't know where I got the title; maybe I was reading "Endurance" at the time?

Westy

I named this soothing mellow ep/clav jam after a cat which used to hang around our parking lot. I haven't seen Westy in months; I hope the coyotes didn't get him/her/it! Giovanna really likes this one!

Drop

I decided to end the album with the last song I started in May 2002, which was "Drop". When I started finishing it, it was only a couple of minutes long. I realized I had to extended it several more minutes in order to fill up the CD. I also decided to try to finish it (and the album) before my trip to Alaska The pressure was on.

Over three long days of editing in 2004, I kept adding to it: measure after measure, chorus after chrous, solo after solo. It exploded from a modest little fake-guitar test into an epic jam. By the end of the song, my energy level was at a peak; I was probably excited about finishing the album and going to Alaska. This song actually "rocks" towards the end; I love the power of it!