2017 SLC Jazz Festival

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au4

Welcome to the au4 listening party!

I love albums that are intentionally created and have a certain flow to them. They deserve to be listened to properly. This party celebrates the art of the album.

I’ve selected an album that has impressed me immensely – “…And Down Goes The Sky” by Canada’s AU4. This is premium ear, mind, soul candy. Sonically, there’s something here for everyone.

Thank you to Five Wives Vodka, E3 Modern, Boozetique, The Chow Truck, and of course, AU4, for making this evening possible.

SALT LAKE CITY FANS:

With your ticket you’ll be treated to dinner by The Chow Truck and beverages by Five Wives Vodka, along with an amazing listening experience on E3 Modern’s incredible audiophile sound system. Following the album, AU4 will join us via Skype for an audience Q&A session.

FANS OUTSIDE OF UTAH:

  • Mark your calendar and prepare to join us at  7pm Pacific /  8pm Mountain / 10 pm Eastern
  • Make sure you have a good way to listen to the album. Ideally buy the high quality .flac files or the 320k MP3’s from thier site at:  http://www.au4.ca/download/  (You can also find the album on Spotify or Bandcamp)
  • Order a bottle of Five Wives Vodka so that you can enjoy the same cocktails we are: https://www.hitimewine.net/five-wives-vodka-from-utah-750-101549
  • Return here soon to get lyric sheets, song commentary, etc, to read along as we listen to the record
  • Write down your questions for the band, you’ll have a chance to ask them after the album plays
  • Keep an eye on AU4’s Facebook profile, they’ll be going Live on Facebook to bring you into the Q&A session.  https://www.facebook.com/Au4.Collective

Remote Participation Schedule:

  • 6 Pacific / 9 Eastern: Eat tacos and drink cocktails! That’s what we’ll be doing
  • 7 Pacific / 10 Eastern Begin listening to “…and down goes the sky”
  • 8 Pacific / 11 Eastern: Join AU4 as they go LIVE on Facebook for a Q&A session. Be sure you are following them on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Au4.Collective

Check out photos and thoughts from a past listening party, featuring the Casualties of Cool record by Devin Townsend: http://www.paulduane.net/2015/10/devin-townsend-listening-party-17-sept-2015/

LISTENING NOTES

for the album “…and down goes the sky” by AU4

Lyrics and listening notes courtesy of AU4

1. Everyone Is Everyone and Everything is Everything

  • BPM:  70
  • Key Signature:  A
  • Time Signature:  4/4
  • Subject:  Formation of the Earth / Dawn of Humankind / Self Awareness
Synopsis:

In a unique moment of awareness, a man find himself awake and in awe of his surroundings. He imagines the formation of the earth and the dawn of human consciousness. He looks out from the canyon and edge and reflects upon the unfathomably chaotic cascade of events that rendered him, right there in that exact moment.

Looking around at the people nearby, his friends and family, it dawns on him how unimaginably improbable it is that he would occupy the same place and time as the ones he loves most.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Composition / Production / Vocals / Keys / Programming
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass / Vocals
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Malcolm Aiken:  Horns
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Intro)

Somehow I found myself here today.

Awakened to these thoughts and feelings,

Or an oceanic sense of lucid dreaming?

 

A strange sort of spherical sensation,

With an overwhelming sense of apprehension.

An emptiness that thunders out

From beyond the mind’s horizon.

 

So far beyond our reach,

Where consciousness coalesces

Like the billowing loom of thunder clouds.

The streaming runs of thought go

‘Round and ’round and ’round.

 

Till the dancing funnels of wind touch down.

And the earth bows down in reverence,

Lest it should be torn to pieces

And blown into oblivi-essence.

 

And all who live will run and hide

And do what we’ve done since the dawn of time.

Everyone flees from the cyclone winds of

One’s own mind.

 

But if one day we should stand on the canyon’s edge,

Peer out through the beating rain, the pounding wind

You’ll find that everyone is everyone

And everything is everything.

 

(Verse One)

Open up

Your hearts and minds.

‘Cause I remember

Nothing.

 

One day now

It all falls down.

But love must keep on

Loving.

 

So start the show,

Here we go.

 

(Chorus)

Dark to light,

The day from night.

A roll of a mountain,

A rip in the sky.

 

Turning the dust to flesh

And ashes to breath.

A pull of a muscle,

A pin the eye.

 

An initial spark

To get this heart of mine pumping.

And another

To get these feet of mine running.

 

But sadly they’ve just taken me

To a place

Where all is devoid

Of your embrace.

 

So baby now we’re falling

Baby now you’re falling

Baby yeah, yeah

Baby now we’re falling, baby yeah.

 

Tripping and tumbling,

Flipping and fumbling.

Flowing on the rivers of sadness

That have been forever rumbling.

 

But from dawn until now

Of all the paths that I could have gone down

Of all the valleys

That I could have been flowing through.

 

In spite of all the chaos

And all that has come between us,

How is it I still find myself

Here with you.

 

(Outro)

So somehow we find ourselves here today,

A feeling in this oceanic sense of lucid dreaming.

 

A strange sort of spherical sensation,

An emptiness that thunders out

From beyond the mind’s horizon.

 

And all of us, we run and hide,

Do what we’ve done since the dawn of time.

 

Peering out through the beating rain,

The pounding wind,

Everyone is everyone

And everything is everything.

 

2. Lost Her Way Home

  • BPM:  120
  • Key Signature:  E
  • Time Signature:  3/4
  • Subject:  The Loss of a Friend / Memories / Missing
Synopsis:

On her way home one day, Donna, a bright young woman with the world before her, spies a hole in the ground that she has never seen before. Wandering closer, as a curious soul would, she loses her footing and falls headlong down the gap, never to find her way out again.

Her friend (the narrator) mourns her loss, likening her to a bright and blooming flower that has wilted before it even had the chance to fully open.

In spite of the tragic and irreparable direction of Donna’s life, she assures her friend that a path of sorrow is still a path none-the-less. “Sorrow’s just another way.” Sorrow and happiness just inevitably end up leading to the very same place.

As she fades into darkness, she tells him not to care about her anymore, that she is okay.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Composition / Production / Keys / Programming
  • Anna Vandas:  Vocals
  • Melanie Krueger:  Vocals
  • Niki Piper:  Violin
  • Clara Shandler:  Cello
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

Donna fell and lost her way home.

Donna fell and lost her way home.

Now she’ll never find her way home.

Donna fell and lost her way home.

Donna fell and lost her way

 

(Chorus)

And I lay awake.

And I lay awake.

She’ll never be the same.

A blooming flower in wilting hour.

And I cried today.

And I cried today.

‘Cause poor Donna’s lost her way.

The love was ours but now she’s gone

 

(Verse Two)

I grew up in sun and shine

But all of it was left behind.

For dreams that said they’d never go

Yet all of them have lost me so.

So I looked down the rabbit hole

And found a many sinking soul.

Sorrow’s just another way.

Please don’t care. ‘Cause I’m okay.

Donna fell and lost her way.

 

(Chorus)

And I lay awake.

And I lay awake.

She’ll never be the same.

A blooming flower in wilting hour.

And I cried today.

And I cried today.

‘Cause poor Donna’s lost her way.

The love was ours but now she’s gone.

 

3.  The Propagation of Light Through the Ether of Emotion

  • BPM:  123
  • Key Signature:  E flat
  • Time Signature:  4/4
  • Subject:  The Speed of Light / Ether Theory / Despair
Synopsis:

In the same way that pressure waves might travel through water, or sound waves utilizes the medium of air, prior to Einstein some scientists believed that waves of light also required a substance to propagate through. They called this theoretical medium the ‘Ether’.

Einstein’s theory of General Relativity ruled out the need to appeal to this ever-elusive ethereal substance.

That being said, this story takes place in a universe where light DOES require the ether for the purpose of its travels. Strangely enough, the very nature of this ether isn’t contingent upon any fundamental law of physics, it’s entirely ruled by the emotions of one young girl.

When this girl is happy, the ether is thin and light can travel fast and freely, but when she is in despair, the ether grows cold and thick, slowing light down and causing the world to grow increasingly dark.

Despite the world’s best attempts to keep her happy, she suffers depressively – her common disposition – potentially leaving the world in a perpetually dark place.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Keys / Programming
  • Anna Vandas:  Vocals
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

Waves pass through the water

While sound glides through air.

But light through the ether

Is how it gets from here to there.

They say the ether is made of

Something beyond a girl.

But what a surprise to find

It’s actually made up of the way I feel.

 

(Verse Two)

Good days are when I laugh

And the light travels fast.

The ether is thin then

And allows the light to thunder past.

But lately the billowing sadness

That blackens my heart

Slows it all down and then

It makes the light, it makes the light go dark.

 

(Chorus)

Speed of thought

Speed of fright

Speed of nothing

The speed of constant…

Light got caught speeding

Drop its phase

Drop its physics now

Just like her lower day.

 

Slow the flash

Slow the beam

Slow the photon

The slowing of the…

Stream got caught slowing

It’s alright

It’s a universe

Just like her lower nights.

 

(Verse Three)

Light passes through the ether

As my emotions allow.

And now that the people know

They cheer me up by sending flowers.

 

But these days the torrents of sadness

That blacken my heart

Slow it all down and then

It makes the light, it makes the light go dark.

 

(Chorus)

Speed of thought

Speed of fright

Speed of nothing

The speed of constant…

 

Light got caught speeding

Drop its phase

Drop its physics now

Just like her lower days.

 

Slow the flash

Slow the beam

Slow the photon

The slowing of the…

 

Stream got caught slowing

It’s alright

It’s a universe

Just like her lower nights.

 

Light’s all bent

Light’s all blamed

Light’s all hammered

The blindness of the…

 

Shamed wish for lighting

But there’s none.

Blessed darkness

For all the enlightened ones.

 

4. So Just Hang On, Beautiful One

  • BPM:  165
  • Key Signature:  B flat
  • Time Signature:  6/8
  • Subject:  Loss of Faith / Existential Crisis / Desperation / Fear of Annihilation
Synopsis:

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” ~Mark Twain

This may very well be the case for Mark Twain, but for the young man in this story the sentiment is quite different…

Having once cherished the beliefs he held as a child, the young man now finds himself at a stage in life where these cherished beliefs are beginning to melt away. He loses his faith in the existence of heaven and an afterlife, and is left staring into face of ‘nothingness beyond the grave.’

In a moment of existential desperation the young man imagines that even an eternity of suffering and torment in hell would be preferable to utter annihilation. Though hell would present an existence of unimaginable pain, it would be ‘existence’ non-the-less.

In his dream, the young man sneaks in through hell’s ominous gates. Having no official passport visa for entrance to the shadowy domain, he is careful to slip unseen past the devilish border guards. But just as the thinks his stealth to be a success, he feels the cold and forceful grip of a guard’s boney hand on his shoulder. It is explained to the young man that without a belief in the existence of Heaven, he forfeits his privilege to reside there, and that Hell operates by the same rules. You simply don’t get to stay if you don’t believe.

With one final maddened attempt, the young man rushes past the guards but they subdue him. With blood streaming from his nose, he pleads with the devils to accept his entrance, but they throw him out and lock the gates behind them.

As the broken man heads home to live his remaining days, he hears warm voices reassuring him that before he was born, everything was okay, and that such will be the same after he is gone.

Contributors:

  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Keys / Programming
  • Melanie Krueger:  Vocals
  • Niki Piper:  Violin
  • Clara Shandler:  Cello
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Intro)

So just hang on, beautiful one

‘Cause when you’re gone, you’re only gone.

And what was then before you came

Everything will be the same.

 

(Verse One)

So heaven’s gone and far away.

Angel’s bell has cracked and fell.

So what’s in store for loss of faith?

Maybe hell will take me now.

 

(Chorus)

Go. Don’t know where to go.

They sent me back home

Now I’m on fire.

Bones is burnin’ everything I…

Know. Don’t know what I know.

There is no more

And I’m so tired.

Heads is turnin’ everywhere I go.

 

(Verse Two)

So I slipped in through the gate almost unknown.

All my border stamps were late. Seven days old.

Cold hand griped my shoulder blade, broke the bone.

Bloody nose and turned away, all the way home.

 

(Chorus)

Go. Don’t know where to go.

They sent me back home

Now I’m on fire.

Bones is burnin’ everything I…

Know. Don’t know what I know.

There is no more

And I’m so tired.

Heads is turnin’ everywhere I go.

 

(Verse Three)

So I stormed in through the gate and I yelled

Please just take this awful shell.

But in a flash I heard her say

Just like heaven, there is no hell.

 

(Outro)

So just hang on, beautiful one

‘Cause when you’re gone, you’re only gone.

And what was then before you came

Everything will be the same.

official music video:

 

5. In Three Seconds I’ll Be Gone

Details
  • BPM:  65
  • Key Signature:  E
  • Time Signature:  6/4, 4/4
  • Subject:  Exploitation
Synopsis:

In this song a young women, who emulates innocence, kindness, virtue, optimism and moral idealism, is lost to a cunning, thieving, and grievously blood-thirsty community.

In order to thrive in this community one must adopt less than admiral methods, and everyone seems to understand these unspoken rules but her.

In such a hostile environment, all it took was 3 seconds for this bright beacon of purity, hope and enlightenment to be extinguished.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Keys / Programming
  • Anna Vandas:  Vocals
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Intro)

Check…

Check…

Check 1.

Here’s a story…

Here’s a story…

Here’s a story about a girl I once loved

And I’d still love her if she was still around.

It felt like yesterday but I’ll say once upon a time

There was a girl who was far more beautiful

Than did her any good.

The amazing thing about it is she had no idea.

And nor did she feel compelled

To notice such things in others.

She just thought that’s how the universe worked.

What she failed to take into account

Is the foundational self interest

Of all sentient beings

And that’s when it all came…

Well for her anyway

That’s when it all came crumbling to pieces.

 

(Verse One)

She was a girl who

Never thought,

Never guessed,

Never got.

 

In spite of all the life and love

There was to go around.

Beauty, purity, liberty, symmetry, serenity and energy

Are only for the ones who pay the price with others blood

And throw…

Down.

Steal that crown,

Taking that slave,

Spinning that head around.

You get it,

They get it,

He got it,

I get it,

Those people got it.

But bless her heart she never even stood a chance in hell.

 

(Chorus)

Oh when I came here I was lost and forgotten

Until then the sun rose in the dawn.

And I just meant to stay forever here running

But in three seconds I’ll be gone.

 

(Verse Two)

She was a girl who

Never thought,

Never guessed,

Never got.

How many tears it took to take

The wretched tyrant down.

You get it,

They get it,

He got it,

I get it,

Those people got it.

But bless her heart she never even stood a chance in hell.

 

(Chorus)

Oh when I came here I was lost and forgotten

Until then the sun rose in the dawn.

And I just meant to stay forever here running

But in three seconds I’ll be gone.

And I can’t remember my name. It’s forgotten,

And they all told me I was wrong.

‘Cause I just meant to stay forever here loving

But in three seconds I’ll be gone.

3, 2, 1…

 

6. Forever Dancing Under a Fallen Sky

Details
  • BPM:  134
  • Key Signature:  B flat
  • Time Signature:  6/8
  • Subject:  Self Expression / Passion / Persevering Through Adversity
Synopsis:

In a colourless world, a young dancer begins to express herself with movement. The cold fixed downward gazes of the citizens nearby break from their collective downcast and look towards her with interest and intrigue. As the dancer moves about with lyrical rhythm, she begins to spread colour and inspiration to the world around her.

Even the gods and myriads of heavenly hosts are so inspired by her act of self-expression that they borrow from some of the colours she is spreading. Stealing some of the blue from her eyes they paint the deep gradients of the sky, and they cast reds, oranges and yellows upon their sunrise.

The girl dances until the natural end of the world. The earth caves in beneath her feet and the sky collapses down upon her, but her melodious patterns and waves of movement carry on, suffusing the dark voids of space.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Keys / Programming
  • Anna Vandas:  Vocals
  • Niki Piper:  Violin
  • Clara Shandler:  Cello
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Intro)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… yeah,

It’s like a waltz.

Left 2, 3. Right 2, 3.

Left 2, 3. Spin…

Very good.

Okay, here we go…

 

(Verse One)

Eyes follow

The rhythm of your soul’s pirouettes

And little twirls.

Hearts and minds also

Spinning in time as this nursery rhyme

All unfurls.

 

(Verse Two)

Deep blue heaven borrows

From the ocean of colour you bring

To this otherwise dead grey world.

Tomorrow’s

Sunrise is nothing in the world

Compared to your blue eyes, girl.

 

(Chorus)

So my darling don’t give up

On these steps you’re making up,

When it all has gone away

It’s your dance that will remain.

So my darling don’t give up

On these hopes you’re stirring up,

When the earth caves in one day

It’s your dance that will remain.

So my darling don’t give up

On these dreams you’re dreaming of,

When the sky falls down one day

It’s your dance that will remain.

 

7. Wherever We Begin to Fall Broken Glass Will Surely Follow

Details
  • BPM:  70
  • Key Signature:  B flat
  • Time Signature:  4/4
  • Subject:  Obsession / Isolation / Community Rejection / Suicide
Synopsis:

This song tells the story of a misanthropic glass artist ‘Sir Nothing Nor Anything’ who fashions the most beautiful glass sculpture that ever was; a gorgeous ballerina standing on point. Becoming obsessed with his new creation, he locks himself in his home, closes his blinds and shuts out the world so as not to disturb his infatuated gaze. He watches as the light from the fireplace refracts through the curves of his beloved figurine

Angered by his seclusion, the people of the town dawn their pitchforks and torches, and proceed to break down the door in order to hold the man to account.

Fearing that the mob will steal his cherished ballerina he climbs to the roof for safety. But upon arriving there, and seeing he has no escape, he leaps to his death.

With him, having a broken heart, and her, having shattered into a thousand pieces, in the final moments as they plummet to their death, we find the man consuming as many broken shards of glass as he can that they might rest together as one.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Keys / Programming
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

There was a glass-man named

Sir Nothing Nor Anything,

And one day he pristined

The perfect glass figurine.

She stood on two

With ballet shoes,

And see-through hair

Her shoulders bare.

 

(Verse Two)

Since then he’s closed his blinds

With her remaining inside,

The people call his name

Keeps silent he all the same.

And in the dark

A fires spark,

Refracts through legs

Of perfect shape.

 

(Chorus)

Wherever we fall with all that’s shattered around

The broken glass will surely follow.

And when we hit the ground all that keeps raining down

Is all the glass we couldn’t swallow.

 

(Verse Three)

With pitchforks and the torch

The people broke down his door,

And when they flooded in

They cried ‘a man full of sin’.

So he climbed up

To roofing top,

And kissed her hair

And then they leapt to air.

 

(Chorus)

Wherever we fall with all that’s shattered around

The broken glass will surely follow.

And when we hit the ground all that keeps raining down

Is all the glass we couldn’t swallow.

 

8. The Empty Gorgeousness of All

Details
  • BPM:  52
  • Key Signature:  E flat
  • Time Signature:  3/4
  • Subject:  Walking At Night
Synopsis:

Leaving from a band rehearsal, a man heads out into a cold wet night. A car passes and he heads off into the tunnel. Memories of his childhood flood his mind and he wonder if anything in life has any lasting meaning.

Then he notices how gorgeous everything is, shimmering and wet, reflecting a waxing moon.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Programming
  • Josh Wylie:  Vocal
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering

The Empty Gorgeousness of All

Lyrics –  Instrumental

9. These Subtle Lights

Details
  • BPM:  120
  • Key Signature:  B
  • Time Signature:  3/4
  • Subject:  Earth Science / The Pursuit of Love
Synopsis:

With one goal on his mind, the determined young man in this story gathers his shovel and pick, and heads out to start digging. The layers of loam hold all manner of element, and as the man descends strata by strata, he embarks on his journey into a deep and ancient earth.

The sands and clays of the earth render untold varieties of precious stones, gems, and geodes, enough to make any man richer beyond their wildest imaginations, but the young man discards them all. There is only one thing that he seeks, and that is crystallized love.

The young man had heard that ‘love in crystal form’ existed in caverns deep beneath the layers in which other riches might be found. Most people who search for this alleged crystal love are waylaid by the bounty they encounter on the way, only to forget their original goal. And so, they leave the love hidden and locked deep with the earth.

But our man digs on. Months, years and even decades pass, but on he digs. Deeper and deeper he burrows until the sunlight fades, not only from view, but from his memory as well.

In a moment of rest, the man hears a rumbling from deep within the earth and the ground gives way. He tumbles down into a deep dark cavern where, upon regaining his consciousness, he sees that he is surrounded by mountains and valleys of crystallized love.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals / Guitar
  • Aaron Wylie:  Composition / Production / Keys / Programming
  • Niki Piper:  Violin
  • Clara Shandler:  Cello
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

Caught myself digging again

And all that I’ve found as I dig deeper down, my friend

Are these subtle lights

These subtle lights

These subtle lights.

 

(Verse Two)

Sunlight has all disappeared

I haven’t seen it since yesteryear.

And all that I hear as throw the earth clear

Is this ringing in my ears.

And these subtle lights

These subtle lights

These subtle lights.

 

(Chorus)

Caverns with diamonds and

Riches from carbon sands.

Hoping you’ll understand

If I return empty handed.

Emeralds and geodes and

All that erodes a man.

Love grows in crystal bands

And mining love, that’s my plan.

 

(Verse Three)

Stop for a moment of rest

Strike a match for a cigarette.

Rumblings emerge from the ground

And falling in, all around.

Surrounded by

These subtle lights

These subtle lights.

Enraptured by

These subtle lights

These subtle lights.

 

(Chorus)

Caverns with diamonds and

Riches from carbon sands.

Hoping you’ll understand

If I return empty handed.

Emeralds and geodes and

All that erodes a man.

Love grows in crystal bands

And mining love, that’s my plan.

 

10.Planck Length

Details
  • BPM:  130
  • Key Signature:  G
  • Time Signature:  4/4
  • Subject:  Existential Quandary / The Nature of Reality / The Existence of the Self
Synopsis:

A man wakes up and notices that his is wearing a torn shirt. For all his efforts he can’t remember how his shirt came to be in such a disheveled state, nor can he remember how he even came to exist in the first place. Burrowing deep into the recesses of his mind, the man tries to summon any memory what-so-ever, even to the point of reaching for memories from before his own birth.

Sitting in the shower he watches the falling water and ponders the nature of the experience. Perhaps this experience is just a dream, or perhaps this experience isn’t anything at all.

Heading out into the rain, the man hops the train and makes his way across town for reasons of no particular consequence to anyone, or himself. But as he sits starring out the window at the cityscape streaming by, he sees some graffiti on an ally wall and leaves the train to read it.

In a perfunctory and still dripping font, it reads, “If you’re not big, then maybe your small.”

Standing there dripping in the rain, man considers the words. He wonders if they might provide some insight into who he is or what he is experiencing. In a philosophical frenzy, one by one the man rules out his ‘self’ as being contingent upon either one of his body, his brain, or his personality. Ultimately he concludes that if there is in fact a self at all, it’s smaller that the shortest unit of length… a self far less than physical or theoretical observation. A self smaller than Planck Length.

(1.616199 × 10-35 meters)

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals
  • Aaron Wylie:  Production / Vocals / Keys / Programming
  • Malcolm Aiken:  Trumpet / Trombone / Flugelhorn
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Anna Vandas:  Vocals
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

There was a man who woke up in early morn,

Wondering why his shirt was torn

And where was he before he was born.

Sat for about an hour in the shower stall

And watched the crystal water fall

But was he there even at all?

 

Delta 5

Minus 9

Inverse square

Over time

Carry 1

Retrograde

Vector of

E-magnetic wave

 

(Verse Two)

There was a man who walked out into the rain,

Missed his bus so he jumped the train.

Does losing one’s self reduce the pain?

He got off early seeing a broken wall,

Written on it in letters tall,

“If you’re not big then maybe you’re small”.

Sine of L

Prime of H

Parallel

Cartesian Plane

Factor in

Low degree

Reduction

Quantum gravity

Root of pi

Multiplied

Beta X

Theta Y

Total sums

Equal not

Answer was

Smaller than he thought

 

(Chorus)

Hey-oh, there’s no other way down.

It’ll be some kind of time from now until we hit the ground.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

 

Hey-oh, this’ll be some kind of ride,

Nothing less ever than some wild times.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

Hey-oh, we see no us inside.

1.6 x 10-35.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

 

(Verse Three)

If you’re not big then maybe you’re small.

That’s what he saw. Paint still dripping off the wall there.

Some vandal’s spray can lightning bolt bearing down

On him from out of nowhere.

This random string of words

Splayed across some random stack of bricks,

That line some random alley way

In some random corner of some random cityscape.

So he pondered where he was,

If he was.

What this ‘awakeness’ somewhere inside was made of,

The flicker of light the so called self is said to be comprised of.

Rule out the body in all of its change

It’s astronomical but ultimately pathologic,

And yet he’s seen darker days.

Well if not the body then how about the brain?

Throw this brain in another man’s suit

And I think he might argue that he’d probably be there too.

But synaptic, plastic, elastic

Is the nature of the neuron.

And memories are all just cascades of brain sparks

That are made up on the spot.

Patterns that another lobe in some other part

Perceives as being the essence of who you are.

And personality?

Program a copy or two of you.

Theoretical. Identical.

A philosophical tool

Or volatile fuel?

For these goddamn no-branching rules.

If you’re not big then maybe you’re small.

Bullshit or base line state?

So he says to himself, if I even exist at all, man,

I’m smaller than a Planck length.

 

(Chorus)

Hey-oh, there’s no other way down.

It’ll be some kind of time from now until we hit the ground.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

Hey-oh, this’ll be some kind of ride,

Nothing less ever than some wild times.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

Hey-oh, we see no us inside.

1.6 x 10-35.

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, it goes.

We’re smaller than a Planck length.

Suck it up,

Just got to let go.

Hey…

Official music video:

 

 

11. Over the Edge It Goes

Details
  • BPM:  85
  • Key Signature:  B
  • Time Signature:  4/4
  • Subject:  Introversion / Forgetting / Letting Go
Synopsis:

A little black box is held in the hands of a man who sits on the edge of a cliff. The man reflects upon the notion that whatever he puts inside the box will never again be retrieved. He might put his secrets and beloved trinkets in the box to protect them from others, but in doing so, the indiscriminating box protects the articles from even their rightful owner. They are lost to all.

The man proceeds to put all that he owns into the box. He stashes all of his memories, experiences, hopes, fears, and any remaining innocents. Even the beams of sunlight that fall on his face, he puts inside to be forever saved.

He, then, ponders whether or not he might jump in, himself.

Contributors:
  • Ben Wylie:  Composition / Lyrics / Production / Vocals
  • Aaron Wylie:  Composition / Production / Keys / Programming
  • Daniel Moir:  Guitar
  • Jason Nickel:  Bass
  • Nathan Wylie:  Drums
  • Richard Dolmat:  Production / Engineering
Lyrics

(Verse One)

All the pieces that I have

Of everything that I am,

I stash away inside

This shiny small, empty little box of mine.

And when I put it there

It disappears in thin air,

To keep it safe from you

From him, and her,

From all of us and even me too.

 

(Verse Two)

One day I found a beam

Of sun intended for me,

In arms I held it close

But smothered it and drowned it out in doing so.

And so I opened up

The box to store all I love,

Inside I hid it well.

Now there’s nothing to show and even less,

There’s nothing to tell.

 

(Chorus)

So many of the small things lost

Already in the box I’ve got.

Put it in and there’s no finding

It has a way of forever hiding.

 

Bits and pieces of a makeshift man

Thrown together like a heap of sand.

All the sympathies and double-crosses

The water comes and then away it washes.

Keep it real and keep it clean

And think of everything I’ve ever seen.

All the parts of me that I remember

Are reconstructions of the ‘who I wish I were’.

All the purities are better saved,

Any innocents that might remain,

Ever gone, forever out of contact.

The little box I have will never give it back.

 

(Bridge)

Over the edge it goes, further into…

No one knows.

 

Purchase their music and / or donate to help fund their future recordings:  http://www.au4.ca/download/

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TAUK in SLC

It’s the best of times to be a music fan.  I love Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist feature. Every week  (usually) I fall in love with a new band. My latest discovery is a band out of New York called TAUK.  If STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector Nine) and Porcupine Tree made funky love at a Phish concert, the baby would be named TAUK.   I had the opportunity to shoot their 24 March 2017 performance at The State Room in Salt Lake City, with support by Yak Attack from Portland.

Look, Listen & Like:

facebook.com/taukband

www.taukband.com/

youtube.com/user/Taukband

Twitter.com/taukband 

SoundCloud.com/tauk

 

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Yak Attack in SLC

Portland’s Yak Attack played Salt Lake City on 24 March 2017 in support of TAUK.  Yak Attack is very RUSH-like in that they are a three piece that generates big sound – albeit more groovy and danceable than my dear, sweet, beloved RUSH.  They describe themselves as “Live-looping meets House meets Breakbeat meets Electro-funK meets Drum&Bass meets Trip Hop” ….and I’d say, if the music thing ever falls through, they should consider getting into the description writing business.

Look, Like & Listen:

yakattackmusic.com

facebook.com/YakAttackPDX

cdbaby.com/cd/yakattack

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Where music comes from according to Kurt Bestor

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On today’s episode, I sit down for a few drinks with composer, pianist, and trumpet player Kurt Bestor. This episode has been a long time in the making.  I mean, Kurt and I have been talking about getting together over mixology and mics for a long time, and life just kept on happening – but it goes further back, for me.

During my LDS Mission to Philadelphia, we were under very strict rules of conduct. Some were obvious: no dating, no rowdy conduct… others less obvious: Be in bed by 10:30pm. Pray before any kind of traveling. Only listen to approved music.

This was the hard one for me. Music is my LIFE! It was my salvation growing up as a kid. My favorite band in the world, RUSH, wrote songs about philosophy and intellectual topics that made me a better person – and yet – I was not allowed to listen to them. We were given a short list of parameters of music we could listen to. Instrumental piano music was one of them. Despite my dedication to the cause, I still needed something in my life besides the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Kurt’s records became some of my favorites.

If only I could go back in time and find the 20 yr old version of me on the streets of Philadelphia, and tell him that 20 years later, I’d be sitting in a cozy tavern, drinking beer with Kurt Bestor and interviewing him for my show…  Nah. It’s pointless. 20 year old me would have blown off the 40 yr old me as some crazy cracked out conspiracy theorist nut job.

In today’s interview, we find Bestor in preparation for his upcoming Christmas production that he’s famous for in SLC. True to a  jazz theme that pops up part way through the interview – thought I knew what I wanted to talk with Kurt about, and the conversation took on a life of it’s own and became far better than I had planned for.  Kurt is an understated, affable dude with an musical palate that spans several continents.

To all you creatives out there – I hope you find something in this conversation that inspires you to take the next step in creating your next big piece of work. I certainly did.

www.KurtBestor.com

 

 

 

And for you trumpet nerds out there like Kurt and I… here’s that Ibrahim Maalouf we spoke of. It’s a long track. It’s a journey, and it’s worth it. Would you expect anything less from me? Pour a drink, turn it up, kick back and buckle in.

 

And some impromptu portraits of Kurt before we hit the mics:


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Peter Breinholt: The artist is more important than ever

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt is a local legend. He seems to be as popular today as he ever was 20 years ago. When many musicians would relegate to “has been” status, Breinholt is anxiously chomping at the bit to create his greatest work yet, along with keeping up a busy performance schedule.  This is how it’s done, kids.

“The artist has a critical role in the world. Who else is talking about the things the artist talks about: compassion, love, forgiveness… who else is doing that right now? You’re not getting that on the news. The artist is more important now than ever”

“If you’re an honest writer I think who you are is going to come through.”

PeterBreinholt.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/peterbreinholt

https://www.facebook.com/PeterBreinholtMusic

https://twitter.com/peterbreinholt

 

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Steven Wilson in SLC: Hopes, Fears, and Rock Star Fantasies

We live in a world where authenticity is not just a nice thing – but essential to our survival.  To be authentic is to be master over one’s fears. When you boil every human problem down to it’s essence, including the current political situation – fear is at the root.

It’s one thing to face one’s fears and be authentic; it’s quite another when that authenticity is rewarded with success in the real world.  In 2005, I was reading an interview with the drummer of RUSH, Neil Peart. (for those unfamiliar with their back story, RUSH gambled with utter failure as they built their career on a foundation of total authenticity, despite massive pressure to sell out in the name of commercial safety. This gamble paid off and earned them one of the most victorious, lucrative, and artistically free positions in music history).

I digress.

Neil Peart said he only knew of two bands currently working who were making a success on their own terms, as RUSH did.  One of the bands he cited was Porcupine Tree. Short story: I checked them out, it was love at first listen.  Porcupine Tree embodied was a grand mix of rock sensibilities, think of Tool + Pink Floyd. Their ability to co-mingle devastatingly heavy sounds with ethereal, light sounds fascinated me. If the Yin / Yang symbol had a soundtrack, Porcupine Tree was it.  As it turns out, Porcupine Tree was fronted by mastermind musician and producer, Steven Wilson.

Wilson soon put Porcupine Tree on hiatus to pursue a solo career. His solo record have been everything we all loved about Porcupine Tree, but with new levels of nuance brought on by collaborations with other world class musicians.

Wilson is kind of a big deal, though you’d never know it by talking to him. As a producer, he’s been entrusted with remastering the King Crimson, YES, and Jethro Tull catalogs. In the music production world he is highly sought after as an engineer. He’s got other bands and projects, too, such as Blackfield, Storm Corrosion, No-Man, Bass Communion.  This guy is prolific by anyone’s standards.

The 4x Grammy nominated musician – widely regarded as the “King of Prog Rock”, made a tour stop in Salt Lake City, playing to an anxious crowd.  Prior to the show, Steven sat down with us for a candid conversation about his work, his hopes, and fears.

On a very personal note – this interview and concert had extra significance for me.  As a divorced father, I’ve found that the decreased amount of time I get to spend with my kids brings an unexpected blessing: the little things that we bond over become incredibly salient.  A few years ago, I introduced my youngest daughter, Makelle, to Steven Wilson. She immediately felt a connection to his music. Ever since, Wilson’s music has been a part of our father – daughter vocabulary. I was able to bring her along to the concert and the interview as a surprise for her 15th Birthday which is this month. Attending a Steven Wilson show is a great treat. Including my daughter in the whole process was a massive honor.  You’ll hear her in the podcast episode.

Connect with Steven Wilson:

http://stevenwilsonhq.com

Twitter @StevenWilsonHQ

Instagram @StevenWilsonHQ

facebook.com/StevenWilsonHQ/

https://www.youtube.com/user/StevenWilsonHQ

See more of my Black and White Photographs  or Color Photographs.
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Black And White Photography

The word photography means, “light (photo) writing (graphy)”. As in the world of words, the ability to convey large meanings with few words is the goal. A well crafted black and white photograph does just that. Every element of a photograph is vocabulary: every color, shade of grey, line, shape, negative space, composition, the darkness, the light. A great photograph will use these elements judiciously.

Sometimes color information is vital to telling the story. Sometimes color is superfluous language. Our eyes see color all day long, do we really need to see more of it? Photography, tell me something I don’t already know about a common place object or face. By peeling away the chatter of color, oftentimes, a great black and white photograph can do just that.

This is a collection of some black and white photography I’ve created over the course of my photography career. It’s not necessarily in chronological order. Some was shot on film, some digital. Come back again, I’ll regularly add to this collection.

COLOR photographs 09DSC_3681

Booking and Contact: 

I am based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and am available for assignments nationwide.


 

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Caleb Chapman thinks Fallout Boy can save Music Education

Maybe it’s that he was a bit of a child prodigy himself, performing professional music gigs by age 15…   Caleb Chapman, of Caleb Chapman’s Sound House, has created an epicenter of music education that is without peers. The Sound House is an after school private music education / performance center geared toward giving serious high school age musicians real world experiences and high level performance opportunities. Their flagship band, The Crescent Super Band, has performed all around the world and at all of the classic jazz venues in the big cities, earning accolades at every stop.

20150608_150420

Caleb joined me in the studio today to discuss how he coaxes such high levels of performance out of the 15 – 18 year old musicians, his view of music education, and he explains how Fall Out Boy songs may be the secret to saving music education in our schools.

http://ccsoundhouse.com/

http://crescentsuperband.com/

 

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Allen Stone

I’ll be honest. I totally judged this guy before hearing a single note. Seriously, look at him:

He looks like Napoleon Dynamite, raised on an Amish farm and gone hipster during Rumshpringa. I’m not terribly fond of the hipster movement, so anyone that shows up in glasses that look like something my little sister wore in 1983, automatically has an uphill climb with me. (Pretty ironic considering that I dress like a circus sideshow. ) I was certain that the next 2 hours (hopefully only 70 min, if we are lucky), would be like fingernails on a chalkboard.

A modest crowd energetically swelled with cheers when the lights dimmed.

The bass player walked out, strapped on a 4 string, and started plunking a simple line. From the first note, I started smiling. The next 5 notes from the bass player made it clear to me that I was wildly mistaken about the goofy looking guy that was about to hit the stage.

The guitarist and drummer came out on stage. They proceeded to climb deep into the pocket and did not leave for the next 2 hours. Soon the hammond B-3 was manned. Lastly, the other keyboard player came on stage, took the mic, and roused the crowd to welcome Allen Stone.

As he took his seat, Allen came bounding onto the stage, launching the band into a couple of numbers that pulled from soul, R&B, and a bit of rock at times. He started singing and bestowed the revelation on all of us: Allen must be the reincarnated spirit of a would-have-been legendary soul singer from the 70’s that was given a second chance at glory. Stone is making very, very good on that chance.

Allen Stone, 2012. www.PaulDuanePhoto.com

Allen Stone ministered to that crowd with an evangelistic zeal that can only come from someone who is positive he’s found the truth. This pastor preached the gospel of smiling and dancing like a fool. Or a pro. Standing still was his only “thou shalt not”… but even then, his punishment for such a transgression was to bellow out even more tunes that were very hard to hold still around.

Allen Stone, 2012. www.PaulDuanePhoto.com

A great cover tune is one of the hallmarks of a true artist, because it forces one to express one’s self on the canvas of a song that everyone knows. Allen Stone and band completely owned “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan. (written by Stevie Wonder, but made famous by Khan), and then reinvented Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”.

Allen Stone, 2012. www.PaulDuanePhoto.com

It does not matter what kind of music you think you like – you WILL have fun at an Allen Stone show. Next time he’s in your town, bring a fun date, and Allen Stone will make sure that you’ll walk away with fantastic memories.

See the rest of the concert photos here: http://www.paulduanephoto.com/2012/11/allen-stone-concert/

 

 

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