albums
Underway
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
2017 The Walking Dad

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 Convenience lyrics 10:19 download listen locally 2002-08-22 2002-09-11
2 Respit - 4:42 download listen locally 2002-09-04 2002-09-18
3 Crisper - 6:35 download listen locally 2002-08-30 2002-09-23
4 Stifl - 5:45 download listen locally 2002-08-28 2002-09-25
5 Seattle Eve - 8:43 download listen locally 2002-08-20 2002-10-01
6 Config Sissy - 15:03 download listen locally 2002-08-10 2002-10-08
7 Anniverse lyrics 6:35 download listen locally 2002-08-09 2002-10-15
8 Convenience Instrumental - 8:42 download listen locally 2002-08-22 2002-09-12
Total 66:24 play all locally album rating:

Notes

Recorded during early Fall 2002, these experimental jams were started weeks or months previously and then polished up in (roughly) reverse order.

Gear: I used a Korg Triton as a controller, sound module, and effects module, sequenced using Sonar, and included electric guitar (via a Pod Pro) on "Config Sissy".

Songs

Convenience

This kicks off the album with fury, wit, and wild vocal effects, much as "Millions of Monkeys" did for The Hermit. It's far more "rock" than anything on Renewal. It tried very hard to inject raw passion and drama into the music (particularly the vocals), and it shows.

The lyrics are about (you guessed it) my dependence upon convenience. I wrote a couple verses and choruses, and then adlibbed the rest. There's often multiple vocal tracks at once, which makes it hard to understand what I was saying. I therefore decided to transcribe the main improvised vocal tracks serially instead of trying to interleave them. Hopefully that'll help add some clarity!

I finished the song exactly a year after I had started "Memorial". It felt like I had come a long way. Sure, my songs were still too long, but at least these were starting to rock.

Lyrics to "Convenience":

INTRO:
  Okay, everybody.  Put your hands together
  and welcome to the stage the little boy
  who stays all day in his room...
    (who stays in his room all day)
    (you screwed up, you screwed up)
  working on computers and chairs and couches
    (just... be quiet)
  and never seemed to do much more than
    (play and play and play and play)
  what he did yesterday
  what he did and what does he say?
  he says, "at least i'm having fun"
  'cause he is, in a way
    (play and play and play and play)
  things repeating, things repeating
    (play and play and play and play)
    (play and play and play and play)
  oh
  well, here's another song

VERSE 1:
  if it isn't at my feet
  i won't go to it
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)

  if it isn't within my reach
  i just don't do it
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)

  if it isn't nice and neat
  i won't plow through it
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (take a walkabout everything)

  and if i gotta get out of my seat
  i just won't do it
  no i won't
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)
    (when you talk about convenience)
    (you talk about everything)

CHORUS:
  gotta talk about convenience
  gotta talk about everything
  'cause i've thought convenience
  and i've thought about everything

  take a walkabout convenience
  take a walkabout everything
  gotta talk about and walkabout
  and talk about and walkabout

VERSE 2:
  if it isn't at my feet
  i won't walk to it

  and if it isn't within arm's reach
  i won't reach to it

  if it isn't short and sweet
  i won't go view it
    (gotta talk about convenience)
    (gotta talk about everything)
    ('cause i've thought convenience)
    (and i've thought about everything)

  'cause if i gotta get out of this seat
  i just won't do it
  i won't
    (take a walkabout convenience)
    (take a walkabout everything)
    (take a walkabout convenience)
    (take a walkabout and talk about everything)

CHORUS:
    (gonna walkabout convenience -- oops)
    (gonna talk about everything)
    (gonna walkabout convenience)
    (gonna talk about everything)

  just shut up, travis
  just shut up and listen to the piano
  'cause that's the good part
  just shut up and stop doing
  what's convenient for you
  just listen to the piano
  because  that's all people wanna hear

BRIDGE:

[these next 3 parts were recorded together]

[part 1]
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  i'm so selfish, i'm so selfish
  so selfish, i'm so selfish
  go sell fish, go sell fish
  so selfish, so selfish
  i'm so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish
  so selfish, so selfish

[part 2]
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i can't, i can't, i can't, i can't
  i can't, i can't, i can't, i can't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i won't
  i won't, i won't, i won't, i can't
  i can't, i can't, i can't, i can't
  i can't, i can't, i can't, i can't
  i can't!!!

[part 3]
  i can't change
  i can't change
  i can't change


VERSE:
  i can't
  i guess i can't
    (can't do what?)
  what a shame

  i can't
    (can't do what?)
  i can't do it
  i can't
    (can't change?)
  what a shame
    (can't change)

[these next 3 parts were recorded together]

[part 1]
  if it isn't at my feet
  if it isn't within my reach
  if it isn't nice and neat
  if i gotta get out of my seat
  if it isn't within my reach
  if it isn't nice and neat
  if i gotta get out of my seat
  if it isn't at my feet
  ...
  i can't, i won't
  i can't, i won't
  i can't, i won't
  i can't, i woooooooon't
  [screaming]

[part  2]
  I just said that, didn't I?   Well, I couldn't
  get around to writing other lyrics, so this
  is what you get.  I'm sorry, but the song is
  not gonna end for another five minutes, ha ha!
  because I'm too lazy to shorten it, because
  shortening it takes time.  Well, here's a solo
  to comfort you during this time.  I can't
  think of anything else to say that's witty...

  except time
  is something
  that you have
  and you don't
  but you think you do
  and that's cryptic
  and pretentious
  but i'm too lazy
  to stop the music
  so i keep recording
  and i do whatever
  is convenient
  and it sounds like junk
  but that's what you get
  when you don't
  spend some time perfecting
  and polishing
  and doing other things
  and it sounds really stupid
  but that's okay
  because this is live
  it's as live as you get
  this sounds stupid
  but that's what you get
  when you don't
  do something
  like, like plan
  and just reach
  any futher
  than you did
  and you could
  and you want to
  just reach
  take a risk
  take chance
  i guess this is a risk
  i guess this is a chance
  i know i'm screwing up
  but that's okay because
  i guess i have a point
  i don't know what it is now
  this sounds stupid
  it sounds so stupid
  well maybe i'll think
  of something to say
  this is like a really bad rap
  really bad rap
  like IPECAC
  bad rap [laugh]
  all i can do
  is laugh and laugh
  and you know what today is?
  it's september 11th
  2002
  a year
  after
  i started
  my first song
  that i finished
  that's the only thing
  that i really care about
  is me
  and my creations
  because i don't have time
  to think about other people
  like new york citizens
  or people at the pentagon
  or people just
  in cities in general
  and people of different religions
  and different politics
  and all that gunk
  so i just sit in my room
  and i do what's convenient and safe
  and sometimes it's fun
  and catchy like this
  sometimes i'll get into a groove
  and i'll love it
  and i won't trade it for anything else
  i won't want to do anything else
  all i want to do
  is preserve the moments that are fun
  and re-experience them
  'cause that's all i can do
  it's the best i can do
  and that's what i do
  it's what i always do
  and if i say "do" a lot of times
  it's because
  i like to do
  i don't like to just watch
  i hate watching
  if i'm not doing something too
  and that didn't come out very clear
  or very organized
  or very wise
  or professional
  or even interesting
  but maybe in parts it was interesting
  and that's the whole point
  of making music and writing
  is everyone once in a while
  your synapses form something
  that you regard as interesting
  and there's always that hope
  and sometimes
  the reality that other people
  find it interesting too
  and then you gonna lose the energy
  because you get self-conscious
  because the music gets quieter
  and i can't stand quiet
  because it just...
  it takes away the din
  i like din
  i like lots of din
  din is good
  din, din is really good
  and so here's some more din!
  and i can't... won't
  can't and i won't
  and i can't and i won't
  i don't, that's the point
  i don't, i just don't
  and i won't, i can't
  and this is repeating
  'cause that's all i can do
  i just can't do anything else
  i can't, i don't
  i can't, and i won't
  i can't, i can't
  i can't break the cycle
  i can't, i can't
  i can't, i won't
  i can't, i don't
  i never get out of the rut
  it just keeps repeating
  just keeps repeating
  just keeps repeating...
    [repeat many times]
  just keep repeating
    [repeat until end]

[part 3]
  oh great
  i can't understand what i'm saying
  i know; it's obvious
  i'm gonna do my own thing
  gonna talk about convenience
  gonna talk about everything...
    [repeated variances many times]
  you're screwing me up
  stop it!
  stay in time
  1 2 3 4
  now you can do it
  just like this
  you blew it!
  [sigh]
  come on, i'm trying to sing here
  you're making it really inconvenient for me
  talk about...
  i can't even do it
  what a groove kill
  a buzz kill
  you kill everything
  you just go on and on
  and you kill everything
  all fun
  you tire me
  you tire us
  you tire everyone
  'cause all you do
  is cater to your own convenience
  talk about everything
  'supposed to talk about everything
  talk about...
  you screwed me up
  i'm gonna try
  to stay in time
  to do it right
  to be creative
  to do it all
  to be a success
  to do things cool
  to be cool
  to be okay
  to do things okay
  to get it okay
  to be all right
  to think ahead
  to plan ahead
  to sing ahead
  to see ahead
  to look ahead
  to look out
  to see out
  to think about
  to stay out
  gotta focus
  on ahead
  on forward
  on the future
  on the future
  on the future
  on the next measure
  talk about convenience
  you talk about everything
  when you talk about convenience
  you talk about everything
  when you talk about convenience
  you talk about everything
  you talk about convenience
  'cause you've thought about convenience
  and you think about convenience
  and you think about it every day
  you think about convenience
  your own convenience
  that's all you think about: convenience
  your own convenience
  you think about convenience
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it every day
  and you think about it in the same old
  and you think about it every day
  and you do things in the same old way
  

Respit

Shortly after recording "Convenience", I decided to complete all my unfinished songs before starting any new ones. I began with the most recent project ("Respit") and methodically worked my way backwards, for the rest of this album and the next (Back Up).

"Respit" was a simple jazz/pop/reggae ditty. Stylistically, it's a step back into easy listening from "Convenience". I tried to toughen it up by giving it a [keyboard] guitar solo and effect-laden drums, but overall the song still comes off pretty light.

The title is a play on the word "respite". I could have been referring to a respite from the aggression of "Convenience", or from the pressures involved in starting new songs.

Crisper

Inspired by a recent trip to Vancouver, this was an attempt to make "modern" sounding jazz. It had synthy instruments and an "artsy" time signature (6/4) which for some reason reminded me of "prog rock". I was trying to see what would happen if I didn't aim for a "live band" feel.

Meanwhile, my dad had told me that although he liked a lot of my new (post-2000) music, most of the songs sounded muffled. I decided to work on making the sound more "crisp", and used this song as a guinea pig (hence the title). My engineering strategy was to:

  • reduce the amount of low-frequency reverb
  • increase the master treble
  • separate instruments via pan and pitch
  • mix with speakers rather than headphones

In the end, the song does sound "crisper" than, say, "Walkman", but it's still a bit messy. Instead of low-frequency reverb, there's now a lot of distracting high-frequency "swishing". Also, it sounds like I pitched all the instruments higher; they're just as much collision in the highs as there used to be in the lows. So now, instead of low-frequency mud I have high-frequency sleet. :)

The music itself is okay; not awesome or anything, just okay. I generally don't like "synthy" music, so my heart wasn't in it. Also, I wasn't sure how to solo in 6/4, so there's not much variance. It was an interesting experiment.

Stifl

This is a simple, catchy EP ditty which I set to a blues progression. It was inspired by my friends Peter and Haakon, whom I had recently visited in Vancouver. There's actually two EPs: one low and one high. For the main melody, they play together harmoniously, but then they drift apart and "do their own thing". In a way, this is a musical portrait of life as a couple.

The title predated the actual music, so no, I wasn't implying that married life is stifling. It's just a bit of wordplay a combination of "stifle" and "stiff". I don't remember why I picked it. It doesn't really fit the song.

Seattle Eve

I started this mellow jam the evening before a trip down to Seattle. I was envisioning driving down the highway at night in the rain. The auto-panning, strings, and sound effects (thunder, rain, zooming cars) are a bit overkill, but some of the solos are nice. There's no "hook"; the song is basically solo after solo after solo, none of which I wanted to throw away. The end result is soothing background music.

Config Sissy

Get funky! This is a simple, bouncy dance/trance loop with lots of solos thrown on top. It also features my first wah-wah-powered guitar!

My wah pedal is actually a MIDI foot controller plugged into my old SY55 keyboard. I connected the SY55 via MIDI to a second PC running SoundDiver, which controlled my Pod Pro (also via MIDI). In SoundDiver I mapped foot controller events to the Pod Pro's wah level. I then recorded output from the Pod Pro on my main music PC. This elaborate setup let me press down on the foot controller and hear the wah effect. I used the same strategy to map a sustain pedal to the Pod Pro's delay toggle.

The title is a play on "config.sys", a DOS configuration file. I was tweaking my studio configuration by setting up the wah-wah pedal. The "sissy" comes from the fact that I wasn't using a real wah pedal, but was instead taking a geeky (MIDI) approach.

I never get tired of listening to this 15-minute monster! I love the slow, funky groove.

Anniverse

"You're doing everything wrong." How many times have I heard this? How many times have you heard this?

This song is about a friend (Ann) who had a habit of making "bad" life decisions. Several of us thought her decisions were "bad" but she may have felt differently. I'm sure people thought (and perhaps still think) that I made "bad" life decisions too: hermiting, moving across the country, exercising excessively. My occasional use of "we're doing everything wrong" indicates that I was including myself among the people who have moments of apparently self-destructive cluelessness.

I had just gotten into the band Suicide. If you've ever heard their music, you'll spot the influences: deliberately "cheesy" sounding drum machines, synths, and nasty, distorted vocals.

The title is a play on "anniversary" and "Ann's universe". I don't remember whose anniversary it was.

Lyrics to "Anniverse":

INTRO:
  this is a song for a girl
  because everything wrong
  because  we don't know why
  we try to figure out why
  but it just confuses us
  when we try to understand
  why she keeps on screwing up

CHORUS:
  hey baby
  you're doing everything wrong
  hey baby
  you're doing everything wrong

  don't you see, don't you see
  don't you see, don't you see
  you're doing everything wrong
    (doing everything wrong)
  don't you know, don't you know
  don't you know, don't you know
  you're doing everything wrong
    (doing everything wrong)

VERSE:
  why must you self-destruct?
  why must you self-destruct?
  are you really self-destructive?

CHORUS:
  baby
  you're doing everything wrong
    (like this song)
  hey baby
  you're doing everything wrong
    (everything wrong)

VERSE:
  you had it going on
  you had it going good
  you had it going on
  you had it all for yourself
  and then you had to self-destruct
    (self-destruct)

  and then you had to screw it up
  you had to screw it up
    (why did you have to screw it up?)
  why did you have to screw it up?
    (why did you have to screw it up?)
  why did you have to screw it up?
    (why did you have to screw it up?)

  why do you have to screw it up?
    (why did you have to screw it up?)
  why do you have to screw it up?
    (why did you have to screw it up?)
  why do you have to screw it up?
    (why do you always screw it up?)
  why must you always screw it up?
    (why must you always screw it up?)

CHORUS:
  hey baby
    (hey baby)
  you're doing everything wrong
    (you're doing everything wrong)
  hey baby
    (yeah)
  you're doing everything wrong
    (you're doing everything wrong)

VERSE:
  you're doing everything wrong
    (it's a habit)
    (to do everything wrong)

  you're dragging your kids down
  you're dragging your friends down
  you're dragging your family down
  you're dragging your sister down

  you're dragging your life down
  you're dragging my life down
  you're dragging my time down
  you're dragging, dragging everything

  down, down, down, down, down, down, down
  you're taking everything down
  down, down, down, down, down, down, down
  you're taking everything down

CHORUS:
  hey baby
    (yeah)
  you're doing everything wrong
  hey baby
  you're doing everything wrong

VERSE: [w/ repeated "everything wrong"]
  you're screwing everything up
  everything up
  you're screwing everything up
  everything up

  you're always screwing up
  you're always screwing up
  you're always screwing up

  at one point you were doing things okay
  at one point you were doing okay
  at one point you were doing okay
  at one point you were doing okay
  but then you had,
  you had to make

  stupid decisions
    (why did you do that?)
  you're always screwing up
    (why did you do that?)
  why are we always screwing up?
    (why did you do that?)
  why are we always screwing up?
    (why did you do that?)

CHORUS:
  hey baby
  we're doing everything wrong
    (doing everything wrong)
  ann
  we're doing everything wrong
    (doing everything wrong)

VERSE:
    (you're doing everything wrong)
      [repeats through verse]

  we're doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong

  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong

  we're doing everything wrong
  we're doing everything wrong
  we're doing everything wrong

  always screwing up
  always screwing up

  you had it started good
  you had it going good
  you had it all good
  you had your life good

  you had everything
  you had a degree
  you were doing okay
  and...

  but then you had to screw it up
  why did you screw it up?
  why must you always screw it up?
  why must you always screw up?

CHORUS:
  oh,  ann
  you did everything wrong
  why must
  we do everything wrong?

END:
  why must
  you do everything wrong?
  tell me why
  why must you do
  why must you
  why must you do anything
  anything wrong
  anything wrong
  you're doing anything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  doing everything wrong
  everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  you're doing everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  everything wrong
  

Convenience Instrumental

This instrumental version of "Convenience" is shorter, cleaned up a bit, and has more emphasis on the solos. I decided to throw it on the end of the album instead of putting it on a separate CD (a la Re-treat). You can think of it as a "bonus track".