Sunrise Like November Church Bells Singing Through The Valley

from by The Unbearable Lightness

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A year exactly after releasing this for the first time, I was digging through my pile of old cassettes to find the perfect one to record a demo of a new drunken fuzz pop song I just wrote, when I stumbled upon a lost piece I'd recorded with my Tascam 4-track just before it gave up the ghost. I spent the next 5 hours mothering the track instead of recording the demo. I hadn't thought of the piece in a while, it was the first I did after devising a new approach to more analog ambient. I ran my guitar & bass through all the reverbs I had, + a Strymon Ola dBucket chorus that gave it a nice tape warble, straight into the Tascam, and it sounded so much warmer than anything else I'd been up to. Just inspired by the sheer sound, I began looping this simple chord progression with a luminous feel, but messed up the rhythm and only noticed when I tried to record the bass part that cast it in a more melancholy hue. I couldn't play it in time to match up to my erm... excursions off the beat! I meant to re-record the whole track, but my Tascam died. I gave up on the piece altogether, and forgot it in the hubbub of moving away.
And yet, exactly a year later, I find it, completely on accident, hidden in the first tape I picked out of 25. I ripped it with this portable FM stereo that I used to listen to late at night in secret to sneak 'secular' music into my ears while my parents were asleep (this is how I found out about Nirvana, Motorhead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Saves The Day, Jawbreaker...). I added the bass part with a Korg Poly 800 that has been my only true love for 2 months now, I ran her through a beat to hell Marshall MG 100DFX set to a sludge sound and saddled it with a stupid amount of reverb layers afterward.
The feeling of the track reminds me of my religious youth. I grew up in Mennonite schools, and Mennonites are a subsect of Judaism that's basically like the Amish, but they're allowed to have nice cars & satellite TV. Almost all of them are ridiculously affluent, yet wear prim anachronistic farm clothes. Something about this aesthetic matched with their genuine radiant spiritual mirth & the pastoral beauty of the farm lands I lived in still informs so much of my life. The rural life is so rife with expanse, it can feel lonesome in a way that warps you pleasantly. I could just look out at it forever as generative lonesome folk music played in my head. I could never figure out just what the emotion was, but it's still my favorite. The key of F major sounds like November feels to me. Something very proper & Puritan, very warm yet as a measure against the teeming cold, you feel completely lonesome & absolutely surrounded in love at the same time. It's very sacred, very humble & reverent. I attended school in one of the first churches build in America, and on special days, they would chime the bells. I either loved this or hated it, depending on the time of year. In November, they played this simple song in F major, and the way the notes rounded into each other... The way it reminded me of family & friends & the comfort of believing you are looked out for by the being that made the world you live in... I still turn back to that place for comfort in trying times. This track is my tribute to that church bell song. May the traditions that kept our families close never fully die, but echo on in consoling notes like the ones I captured in this track.


from .​.​.​And The Days Meander On (c60), released December 13, 2014



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The Unbearable Lightness Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The abstract soundtrack to the human experience.
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