Poem for the Unknown Soldier

This is a short improvisation at the electric piano I recorded shortly after By the Birds. It draws its title from my grandmother’s favorite poem, The Unknown Soldier by Billy Rose.

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By the Birds

After spending a couple weeks in a creative rut, I came across a simple melody on the piano but couldn’t decide whether to develop it at the acoustical piano or the electric , so I opted to try playing it at both. This piece was originally conceived as something that could be played by one person from beginning to end, but technical problems demanded multitrack recording, so I decided to make the most of the opportunity and include parts that require either two performers or multiple recordings. I’m hoping to adapt the piece for a single performance in the near future, and also expand the introductory piano into a piece of its own for solo piano.

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Harbor Boulevard

I’ve collaborated with Charlie Passarell several times before, but Harbor Boulevard is our first collection under The Pure Products and includes Tony Passarell on the synthesizer and clarinet.

Harbor Boulevard’s four tracks are best described as free jazz, with Charlie playing drums and myself on keyboard.

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Noyes Music

I spent the last month living near a street called Noyes, where life has a tendency to unfold in pleasant terms. I lived in a house of kind creatives, all of whom were musicians, with the exception of one kind and talented writer who lived above me. The success of any artistic pursuit is grounded in dedication to practicing the craft, so living in a community that’s always intentional about continuing to develop their work creates a sort of feedback loop of impetus to continue on one’s own.

This is a collection of work from that period. Six of the seven pieces were recorded in June while the remaining recording, You Got the Love I Need, was finished in late May, shortly before returning to Sacramento for a brief period (where I recorded Home Recordings). Other than You Got the Love I Need, the music is presented in chronological order.


Sharp Focus makes use of a stereo delay on the keyboard.

Pulled by the Collar draws its title from a poem I posted here a few weeks ago, Feeling Blue in San Francisco.

Long Distance and Active Step are played with Charlie Passarell, a close friend of mine who I’ve collaborated with before in Songs from Sacramento (Faithful, Parcel and Jazz Duet) and Home Recordings (Percussion Instruments). The drum tracks in these two songs were recorded in Sacramento and are from the same session as the drum track in Percussion Instruments. Long Distance in particular stands out for Charlie’s drum solo, bookended by my playing the keyboard.

Elevated Tracks is an improvisation from around 5 in the morning, just as the Purple Line begins running in Evanston. My house was situated such that I could watch the train pass from the vantage point of my keyboard, which occupied my vision when I played this.

You Got the Love I Need is a remix of a 45 I found at a closing record store in Sacramento and manipulated largely through physical and analog means, and is accompanied briefly by a synthesizer.

So Long, 2211 was played on a drum machine with synthesizer accompaniment.

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Active Step (ft. Charlie Passarell)

This is yet another collaboration between Charlie Passarell and myself, playing the drums and electric keyboard, respectively.

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Long Distance (ft. Charlie Passarell)

Long Distance is my fifth collaboration with Charlie (a close friend I met in high school) and once again includes Charlie’s drumming. It’s also the first time I accompany with an electric piano.

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Humming (electric piano)

I recorded Humming to an audio cassette back in February during a busy period of work and only recently rediscovered the recording. Since working on Humming I’d developed an interest in incorporating sounds from the medium of recording which in this case was an audio cassette recorder. For better or for worse, this method added noise, static and pops to the track, which I ultimately decided to work with as material in their own right.

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