Some Writing Surrounding my Album

I put out a new album recently. Digging through my old documents, I found some writing that led to what some of the songs became, and a couple other musings. Posting them here feels good, so I’m doing it.


On Barn Burning

Old, dried Grey wood
A friend’s basement, herbal cigarettes
Stuffed marlin on the wall
Cold winter drive, coniferous walls

Green-shrouded basement,
we tried smoking today;
the basement stinks now

Warm, dark orange light,
A barn up in Caledon
Probably burning.


More Body

I am writing about my body.
Hang tense, with flashes of burst cell walls,
explosions of white chalk behind my eyelids.
My feet lie limp, my lower half sinking into disuse.
A great pool opens in my midsection,
an ugly willingness to drop.
My face hangs stern and my head pounds
in strange agony. My eyes twitch behind lids
and put pressure on my brain.
My breathing is uneven and my spine
pulls to the left.


An Image:
[Twelve Black Beetles, bottled.]


Konica C-35

My Konica C-35 was given to me by my Dziadzia. He had it since the 1950s and photographed a lot of people through it. He wasn’t an “art photographer,” but used the camera more for documentation of our family. Other Veterans, neighbours, loved ones; he was more interested in preservation than creation. When he gave me his binoculars, I came to the realization that he’s someone who based his life on experiences, on witnessing the world as clearly as possible. In contrast, I hardly leave the house these days, let alone take photos with the camera.


Monday February 29th, 2016

I hear the clinking of keys hanging from the ignition. My father tells me that people don’t pull over or remove their hats for funeral processions in the big cities anymore. Ahead of us, cars peel off the road to let the hearse pass; their drivers’ heads bowed. Light falls briskly against the mossy green lawns of St. Catharines around noon. My stomach drops a bit as the car lurches through potholes in the old roads, I’m brought back from a daydream to the moisture on my face and the strange weight on my chest. The car carries the faint smell of dried coffee and engine grease. I don’t mind; it’s a lot like being at home.


On The Funeral:

Grey with wind-blasted dew
We follow the old neighbourhood roads
through St. Catharines.
Opposing vehicles peel off the road
in a display of arms opening as ticker tape,
letting us pass.
The beetle-black of the hearse
an indicator that someone great is gone.

At the graveyard:
we step into the hellish cold
of a leap year, wind whipping our faces.

I haven’t seen my father cry since I was very young.
In his words, “he was a true gentleman.”
A poppy driven into the wood of the casket
breaks through him.
A flower from the bouquet blows to my feet,
I place it back on the lid.

 

Some Writing Surrounding my Album

Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

Track By Track: Yourself Open

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

dottir2
Jonfrid Eliasen Photography

Next from Coldform is A Death Over The Radio.
I started this song while in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to see my great grandfather who had recently turned 100. It started with the raspy “respirator” synth sound and the various piano melodies, and was left as that for a little while.
I later started sequencing drums, and ended up using a lot of samples from a brush kit because I liked how fluid they felt. Underneath, the rest was essentially basic dance drum patterns.
I tried playing this one live at the release party for my first album World Makers, but it just didn’t seem right; something was missing.
I took the tune to Jesse Manou from Other Families to lay down some electric guitar. He gave me one mean take, and that’s what you can hear in the finished song.

A lot of time passed, and I had moved to Montreal for school. My Great Grandfather died and I started to think about what the song was really about. I got a message one day about the account name for one of my other projects from someone named Súsanna Herálvsdóttir. She wanted to use the name for her own project, Dóttir (pictured). I gave it to her, and discovered that she had the most lovely voice.
I sent her the instrumental to muse over, and after a few months she gave back the recorded vocals. I remember getting really excited upon hearing them for the first time- I immediately called Astrolope and told him to come over and hear them.

A lot of time and small mix revisions later, and the song was finished. For me, this was one of my favourite songs off the album and marked the first time I collaborated with someone I didn’t know in real life.

Listen to A Death Over The Radio: http://bit.ly/1rptc5R

Stay tuned for the process behind the next song; Yourself Open!

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

Weight, Structure and Electroacoustic Music

Bad Line Tumult
Bad Line Tumult Artwork.

Hello all.
Today I’ve put out my latest collection of works for my Dóttirhjarta project.
It is an album containing various works made for my electroacoustic studies. If you like the stranger sides of electronic music, this may be for you.

Most of the songs explore weight and its relationship to structure.
For example, I wrote Growth Talk as an exploration of fungi and the formation of neural networks in large populations of such. The opening song Containers uses data from natural disasters around the world over the past 30 years to inform its structure. Repercussions is about the chaotic ripple effect of events over time.

There are many different styles of sound play at work on the record. I tended to focus a lot on an acousmatic approach, but on the flip-side songs like Growth Talk and Sundering use analog synthesis for 90% of their composition. Repercussions was sourced entirely from a virtual synthesizer I built in Max MSP.

Included is a live recording of a song called Seventwenty, written and performed with Matthew Murphy of Look Vibrant and Kevin Cogen of CJ Austin.

The album is free, or you can pay what you want for it. Bonus track comes with a download of the whole album.

Love and Warmth,
-Alex

Weight, Structure and Electroacoustic Music

Waxlimbs Going Forward:

The New Dirt Cover 2
Some artwork for the new album.

I haven’t posted on my wordpress blog in a very long time. I don’t have many followers here, but I really should use it more often for the longer posts. Apologies. Here’s what’s going on in the world of Waxlimbs.

The new album is finished, and now begins the long process of planning a release for it. I really cannot wait to show people what I’ve been working on for the past (nearly) two years.
It’s very much an album which tries to explore death and the process of traveling through it, as well as the perspective of those left behind. I feel like the ways in which I write songs have changed, with an emphasis on the lyrical part of songwriting.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for us this far. When people come up to us after a show and tell us how they feel, it’s unlike any other sort of feedback. That’s where we get to have a real and direct interaction with those listening. It’s an incredible feeling and oftentimes we’re at a loss for words when confronted with it.
So thank you for talking to us, it’s painful, it’s strange and it’s beautiful.

We’re going to go away for a little while to work on getting this record ready for release and revamping our live performance. We’ll come back in the new year. See you when things start to bloom again.

With love,
-Alex

PS: In the meantime, my latest record can be heard and downloaded here.

Waxlimbs Going Forward:

Great Release

Photo by Evan Spicer
Photo by Evan Spicer

On Saturday, July 6th 2013, I held my release concert for my new World Makers LP.
I had never put on a show before this, so I was really amazed at the amount of work that went into it.
I had Rob Lee helping with producing and organizing it, and a lot of friends backing.

I was also amazed by the crazy ups and downs that I went through at the show, emotionally. One minute it would be euphoria, the next; extreme dysphoria. Maybe it was due to all the leadup and planning of the event, and perhaps that combined with releasing something I had been working on for so long…

So the event came, we had a strange and wondrous time, and then it was over. Just like that. My album was out, I had performed, my friends and fellow musicians performed, and that was it.
After months of having something to hold back and hype, I have nothing.
In a second my plate was clean.

When you release something you worked really hard on, it’s a bit like sending your kid off to school for the first time (or so I’m told). You have this long stretch of time where you got to know it, helped shape and mold it, gave it strengths and inherent weaknesses, created it. Then the day comes where you say goodbye and put it in someone else’s hands.
It’s a very strange feeling.

There are parts of this record I am proud of. There are parts of this record I am not proud of. What matters to me though is that it’s done. I started writing it in 2010, and that was three years ago. Three years is a long fucking time for someone my age.
It feels like now that this is out, I can finally breathe. I don’t have this weird ethereal thing sitting on my chest anymore. I understand that its strong points and shortcomings will reflect on me for a long time, if not forever. I understand that where I have failed, people will see that as a reflection of my ability to make music.
I also understand that now there’s no barrier of having unfinished business with my old work. There’s no obligation to it anymore. I can only acknowledge that it happened, and now it’s over.
It really does feel amazing.

So that phase of my life is over. The themes covered on the album aren’t really at the forefront for me anymore. I’m subconsciously focusing on different things now. I’m moving away from Toronto to work at a university degree in Montreal. I may not even perform again in Toronto until December. I may come back with more than just myself involved in Waxlimbs, and I may not even come back with Waxlimbs…

I think uncertainty through time is a wonderful thing. There’s opportunity for something to change into something better, and there’s opportunity for something to die and have something else take its place.

The best part? I’m completely fucking uncertain.

You can stream and download World Makers for free right here, or on my bandcamp page.

Great Release

Dustcloud EP Release! [FREE MUSIC.]

Hey, I just recently released a FREE EP! It’s called Dustcloud, and you should give it a listen/download here.


The album follows the process of creating a world, and the problems that come with it. If you have any opinions or thoughts, send me an email at walkingshrub@gmail.com!

ALSO: I just remastered and created a newer mix of a remix I did a long time ago. You can listen to that here.

Cheers,

-Alex

Dustcloud EP Release! [FREE MUSIC.]