We walked all night under the cover of darkness​.​.​. in the morning we sought shelter amongst the pines in the valley

by vsls

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1.

about

Continuing in the tradition of documenting, cataloguing and re-releasing "historic" works from my catalogue, I provide this following offering to the masses - "We walked all night under the cover of darkness... in the morning we sought shelter amongst the pines in the valley."

Yeah, I know, long, non-contextual title. Possibly one of the first. And if I remember correctly, took long to officially register as the name of a composition with ASCAP. Having been originally released in 2007, some of the details escape me.

But here's how things came together. This piece is essentially composed of two sounds - a field recording of a diver's breathing taken from an underwater camera from a residency I did at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and flute drones played by MaryClare Bryztwa in that one reverberant stairwell outside the concert hall at Mills College in Oakland, Ca. Both recordings wee made in the summer and fall of 2006, respectively.

When I returned to California for the second year of my MFA in the fall, I was just beginning to connect with the SF noise scene, both as a member of the Pink Canoes (briefly renamed as Noc Spid Aq for our debut show outside of Mills-sponsored events and jaunts to LA for our first of many shows with Gowns) as well as my solo laptop sets, where I'd yet to actually adopt a moniker appropriate for improv and noise scene in the bay - which most would argue was possibly at it's absolute zenith at around that point. As part of that introduction, I was introduced to Grux, who would go on to become a close friend and collaborator of mine, but at that point was fairly intimidating - though admittedly most things were pretty intimidating. Oh the joys of a sheltered childhood and a conservatory education in the midwest. After arriving in California, it took months to come to terms with the fact that I was actually in the bay, studying contemporary music in a well-known graduate program and all the rest. I don't want to say that I was shell-shocked, but for a second I even found myself unable to play my instrument - leading to the usual paths of self-discovery and so on that lead to greater awareness of the universe, and so on and so on.

Right, back to Grux - good guy - kind of mysterious character. Associated with several groups in the bay and has been on the scene for forever. Runs the Noise Pancakes series and occasionally curated the Dolor del Estamago label - which releases good stuff if you're into rare avant grade composers, sound effects and experimental synth and organ jams - with discs typically selling for approx. $2-$5 at various shows. I had a small collection, but never dreamed that I would be included not he label's roster - too academic, etcetc. But one day, boom email inviting me to write a track for people to go to bed to. I'd just started recording the initial tracks that would one day become my album Dormice, and was floored - the local noise label - interested in me - not to mention being the first release on a label that wasn't just my external cd burner, some scrapbooking supplies and the free time I never have. Yeah, kind of small potatoes, but at the time it was something. It was acceptance - it was a sign that I was onto something and people might actually be interested in what I was doing. And with that, this track was born.

So why re-release and why now? Couple reasons. Codified numerically.
1.) It's been 10 years and the scene in the bay has changed drastically - being somewhat of an archivist, I figure it's time to bring it back into the fold.
2.) Did I mention it's been 10 years?
3.) When I made this mix, I really didn't know much about mixing - and somehow managed to burn something out that featured a DC offset that was practically at speaker-killing levels. I'm generally opposed to altering past documents, but it's funny what a simple offset filter will do for your sound.
4.) It was one of the first times one of my pieces extended beyond the usual 8-minute etude mark, effectively paving the way for later multi-hour mixes and
5.) Let's face it, most people still haven't heard it.

So take a listen - whether or not you decide to use it as a sleep aid or not is up to you, but above all else, lease enjoy - and if you don't, hey, I did this over a decade ago - just fast forward to the new stuff if it bother you that much. Also, thanks again to MC for providing hours of recording and collaborations during that era - here's hoping we can work together again at some point in the not-so-distant future.

credits

released August 21, 2017

t.johns - field recordings, sound design
mc bryztwa - flute

paulina v.s. - artwork (on re-release)
bonnie banks - artwork (on original)

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VF Industrial Baltimore, Maryland

Post-industrial soundtracks for abandoned warehouses, crumbling cities and experimental electronics cobbled together from the remains of a beautiful future. Possibly also a spattering of improvised new-age doom, culture jams and zombie field hollers for good measure. I'm not saying you can't dance to it, but it might take some creativity. Or something like that. ... more

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