I recently contributed a track to this benefit compilation for the victims of the warehouse fire in Oakland. I didn’t personally know anyone lost in the tragedy though I did meet on a few occasions Ara Jo who worked at Rock Paper Scissors collective. I was involved in a couple of the Oakland Art Murmur events a few years back with MAP a mobile arts group who I helped with some installations. Ara helped us out with a power source and also hosted a drag show during one of the events. MAP also just recently had a memorial for the fire victims as well.
You can grab a download or a hand made 3cdr bundled edition limited to 30. All proceeds go to the victims of the fire relief fund being run by Grayarea.org and you can visit their site to see other ways to contribute as well.
For the benefit compilation I chose to work up a piece around some sounds I obtained from David Sanchez Burr who was the guy behind an interactive sound installation called ‘Nowhere Radio’. David erected a ‘sound wall’ that had all of these various items attached to it, pieces of metal and sculpture and faux instruments to beat on and it was all contact mic’ed with the sound running through a system that had effects and also broadcast the signal within a half mile radius. There were mics for people to talk/sing into also. We encouraged people to make noise and to walk around with handheld radios provided for listening to the sounds coming from whatever was being played on the sculpture, kids really dug it and I got some of the sounds recorded from David with his permission to do whatever with, so I thought it apropos to contribute a piece utilising some of this stuff. I chopped it up and arranged it and also added some synth textures for mood. It seemed an apropos contribution since the sounds originated in Oakland at an arts event and this is for Oakland artists. Check out the entire release below and dig the slide show of pics of the ‘Soundwall’ as well!
ALPHASTARE-GHOST SHIP TO SPACE:
“NOWHERE RADIO” SLIDESHOW:
GHOST SHIP LOVE LETTERS
“On December 2, 2016, a tragic fire struck the Ghost Ship, an artists’ collective and DIY music venue in Oakland, California. 36 people were killed that night, including performers and audience members alike.
‘Ghost Ship Love Letters’ is a message of sympathy and solidarity, from alumni and friends of the electroFLUX Experimental Music Series in Erie, Pennsylvania to the families affected by this event.
All proceeds from sales of this compilation will go to the Fire Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency Fund established by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supporting the arts and technology in the Bay Area.
Early in the year I released a couple of EP’s and a full length Disintegration of Faith on Bandcamp. For DOF I also have some handmade cdr’s available. Message me if interested.
I took bit of a break from releasing in order to focus on the bigger picture a bit more…saving for some gear and researching other music out there. I find that I follow a few, likely more than a few artists who release 3-4 things weekly and when I go to their sites it’s just so overwhelming that I leave. It’s usually ambient stuff which imo is oversaturated with artists and the tracks are all really long, which is fine for that genre but I find it frustrating when I actually like an artist but I just don’t have that many hours in a day to consciously explore their work because I also like other artists and want to give attention to a variety of stuff. It also gets to a point where the releases all pretty much sound the same and could probably be curated down to a handful, representing the best work.I see it as a large overgrown garden of sounds and the chronic releasers are stifling the best work by other artists as well as their own.
Some of you know I’m a vinyl collector as well, so I can only dedicate so much time to the digital realm as a form of discovery. Part of the issue is my personal thing of having to listen to EVERYTHING, even if it’s just the first few seconds/minutes of a release. Besides being a bit ocd about it, I also feel the need to listen to as much that is out there as possible largely for discovery but also in order to stay unique in my own work, which is very tricky. I follow a lot of artists on Bandcamp and I currently have over 1000 unopened release notification from BC artists I follow, which gives me anxiety because I’d love to listen to most of it…and I do purchase what I like, but I will likely cherry pick a few titles and delete the rest which is a bummer.
I also want to add that I defend the right for anyone to release as much work as they want as often as they want but to consider the fan who may want to support you but may also get burnt out and buried alive by the deluge of releases. Curate!
That’s pretty much my little rant for today, I rarely rant but it felt good and I’d love to hear any feedback on this.
Back to business. Toward the end of the year I eeked out a few solo EP’s and a new collaboration with Belial Pelegrim . Check out a video from the collaboration:
The full length release:
I also released these 3 EP’s toward the end of 2016 starting with the most recent:
Please take the time to give listen and I hope 2017 is a good year to everyone!
It’s a rainy Sunday All Hallows Eve-Eve as I write this. It’s the perfect backdrop to edit together a few clips of Dwight Twilleys’ set at The Starline in Oakland this past Tuesday (Oct 25, 2016). Perfect as the music he played was mostly dreary acoustic renditions of mostly unknown more recent songs of his. This was both a treat and a bit of a misstep.
He’s been recording and releasing music steadily since the early 70’s and after a long and mostly unsuccessful stint in LA he returned to his hometown of Tulsa where he built a studio and became a fully independent recording artist who has continued to record and release albums to this day.
I got turned on to Twilley by Gary Sperrazza in the early 90’s (he was an early champion of DTB) and wrote about him in the early-mid 70’s. When I first heard that voice, that delicate balance of melody harmony, big-hook riffs and the power and dynamics behind it, I was instantly hooked!
So, it was a rare and wonderful treat to hear that voice in person after being a fan for 20 years, never thinking I’d see him live, but the choice of material was a bit lackluster considering the amount of material he has to choose from. I don’t think he really considered his stuff suited to the acoustic format, so it seems as if he really held back as to not under-serve those songs which were crafted in the studio and built up of layer upon layer of guitars and vocal textures. I beg to differ, I think certain songs like ‘You Were So Warm’ ‘I’m Losing You’ ‘Just Like the Sun’ or ‘Sincerely’ all off the first record…’That I Remember’ ‘Sleeping’ off of the second lp ‘Twilley Don’t Mind’ or even something like ‘Out of My Hands’ from ‘Twilley’ (3rd LP) with the brilliant lyric “When the Walls Around You Melt You Can’t Pretend”… would have made for killer moments in an acoustic format.
The only song he played from that period during the acoustic set was ‘Three Persons’ one of the poppier songs from ‘Sincerely’ which is actually better suited for a band in my opinion.
The other thing that sort of killed the energy level was that he talked quite a bit in between songs. He had us in the palm of his hand with his opener (the first song in the ‘acoustic’ vid below. I don’t know that song or what it was called but it captured both the strength and delicateness of his voice and had that beautiful darkness that pervades a lot of his music. He could have gone right into anything after that but decided to regale us with tales of Ye Olden Days of the industry…running around with Phil Seymour, chasing Hollywood excess and all the stuff that I’d love to read in his bio but in all honesty, just cliche Rock and Roll LA excess done better by others and not why we love Dwight. It was actually cool at first to hear about this but it just got a bit (lot) long (he went on for 7-8 minutes) and then he went into another lesser known mid-slow tempo song about his adventures with Phil called ‘Good Things Come Hard’ (also in the Acoustic vid below). He then talked for another 5 minutes and as soon as he was finally ready to lay another song on us his mic went out! This minor technical difficulty chewed up another precious couple of minutes after which he played yet another lesser known song from 1999’s lp ‘Tulsa’ called ‘A Little Less Love’ then another short story 3-4 minutes this time and another slow tempo song. At this point he’s played 4 songs and we were almost 40 minutes in! It was a small crowd of old fans and a very forgiving one for sure.
After another 7 minutes of story telling he breaks out the first ‘hit’ from one of the early albums, the aforementioned ‘Three Persons’ from the first album ‘Sincerely’ which was at least something people knew but far from the best choice from that gem of an album.
10 more minutes of talking this time and then another slow tempo piece…
His 7th and final song of the main set was an uptempo number with a driving beat and would have been a good one to throw in earlier on to break up the slow tempo that dominated the set. This last song is the third song in the acoustic vid below. I apologize in advance for some of the washed out video.
He finished and left the stage after a long and rambling trip down memory lane accompanied by a handful of songs. After a healthy applause his wife, engineer and Tour Manager Jan Twilley who essentially helped him get his career back in his own control after wallowing in obscurity in LA for years, led a chant for ‘I’m on Fire’ as an encore. Dwight got back up on stage with the opening band to back him up on a pretty solid rendition of that very song from his first LP ‘Sincerely’.
He brought out some old promo posters of ‘Sincerely’ that sat in a box for 40 years and was really cool about hanging out and signing everything.
I picked up his release from last year ‘Always’ on his label ‘Big Oak’ and I’m really enjoying it. I had him sign that for me. I also really liked his 2010 release on Burger/Big Oak ‘Twilley’. That was the first I’d heard he was back and recording, though he had been for awhile and that’s a testament to the way he was treated by the industry. His recent recordings are as rich and warm and as hook-y as anything he’s ever done and I even wonder if a few of these songs have been around in some form for as long or if he’s just mastered his tried and true formula.
Honestly, I was a bit underwhelmed by the evening as a whole but really glad I went. It was a special evening for the old die hard fan but I would have been bummed had I brought someone to this show to turn them on to this legend of a musician and songwriter. That being said, he seems to have enough left in him to return and have another go at it, he still has that magic and with a proper band and a more focused delivery. he would easily slay…
Until then, let’s enjoy this video with Dwight and Phil Seymour joined by Tom Petty on bass (though he actually played some guitar on the album)
Holy crap! What a treat to find this in my inbox…lord knows we need this right now, figuratively and literally. Living Jazz musicians from the old days are very rare right now and we’re losing these greats at a blinding pace. This is the real deal…and when’s the last time you saw someone bust out a proper ‘Hambone’?