Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

Mar 15 2018

The February Challenge – 2018

Thanks to some online music groups, I discovered an annual effort where musicians record 10 to 15 songs during the month of February, with the intention of releasing them as an ‘album.’ After some careful thought in January, I decided to join in, but with a slightly modified vision. I decided to compose and record 1 new original music track every day. Before I started I knew that I’d work ‘inside the box.’ Everything would be created in Cubase (on my PC) or in Korg Gadget (iPad) using software synthesizers and mostly original sounds.

There was another challenge that is reflected in some of the tracks. It is the ‘A Synth – A Song’ challenge, where all parts in a track are created using just one synth. The idea, of course, is to push the capabilities of the synth AND one’s own programming skills to create something interesting.

Some of these are completely realized recordings, and others are sketches. Overall, I’m fairly happy with what I created. I didn’t end up meeting my challenge. I really only recorded 26 tracks. Also, I’m still working on one that I started in toward the end of the challenge. That will be a full fledged song, played with some ‘real’ instruments, and will have me singing.

Below, you will find a player that has all 26 tracks (and one alternate version) in alphabetical order. Below that, you’ll find individual players for each track. Also, you can download a playlist of all the tracks. It should open in your favorite music player.

You can also view the site where the challenge originated.

 

 

 

 

      Three To Win
Produced in Cubase using a variety of virtual synths.

 
 
 

      Countdown
Produced in Cubase, this track has an ever shifting time signature, which gives it a floaty sort of feel. All of the synth patches were created by me, using a variety of inbuilt and free VST instruments.
 
 
 
      In Seine Rapids
Here’s a tune to dance to as you skip and stroll along the river Seine. Watch your step, though, as it is in 7/8.
 
 
 
      Walking in Central Park
This is a simple song that evokes a feeling of nostalgia… Created using one Steinberg VST, HAlion, in Cubase.
 
 
 
      A Non-Gender Specific Object Being Consumed by Fire
Another track created in Cubase, using just one synth: the free Eclipsis VST.
 
 
 
      Lullabye
Music to make sleeping children dream of ghostly apparitions. This track was created entirely on the iPad, using Korg Gadget.
 
 
 
      Circular Thinking
Produced in Cubase using just one synth, the free VST, Eclipsis.
 
 
 
      A Broken Vessel
Produced entirely in Cubase, using just one synth, the free VST, Matrix 6000.
 
 
 
      Double Jointed
Here’s a dance number for people with two left feet.
 
 
 
      Changmai Escape
Produced entirely on iPad, using just one synth: Korg Gadget’s Changmai.
 
 
 
      Sweeping The Steppes
This is a recording of a live looping performance on the iPad using just one synth, Wolfgang Palm’s amazing Wavemapper inside Michael Tyson’s AudioBus3 and using his LoopyHD for Frippertronics style looping. All sounds were created by me in Wavemapper, using samples that I recorded. No editing or effects were added after the fact.
 
 
 
      The Empty Mirror
This song was produced on the iPad, using Korg Gadget, and inspired the following lyrics:

“The empty mirror reflects a sadness I cannot see. It politely refuses to let me be.
It asks me to look but nothing is there. It’s hidden the last of me.”
 
 
 

      Dust Devils
An imagined landscape of reds and browns, with swirling winds and plucked strings.
 
 
 
      Love Is (For Shari)
This is an allegorical piece, telling the story of how love brought me out of chaos and into peace and joy. It was composed on Valentine’s Day, for my beloved wife, life partner, and friend. It was produced entirely on the iPad using Korg Gadget.
 
 
 
      Above The Kermadec Trench
As one moves lower, into the deep, the last glimmers of light from the surface begin to fade, and darkness becomes blinding.
 
 
 
      Discadance
This is a musical thought experiment using a systems-based composition technique. No effects, other than reverb on the master mix, were used. No dynamics were manipulated. This track was created using Cubase, and one synth, am early virtual analog synths made by Steinberg. Best heard on speakers.
 
 
 
      Baracha Nada
This one is is kinda groovy in a vaguely latin way, when the band has had one too many to drink, perhaps.
 
 
 
      Point Fermin Fog
A spin-off of the systems-based approach of Discadance, with a much more relaxed, languid feel and a bit more variety in the tones.
 

It inspired a brief poem:

The horn howls like Ginsberg,
cold as the light-knife cuts through
the darkness.
A cloud blanket softens the night,
dampens the forgotten spirits
that haunt Angel’s Gate,
forever waiting for imagined
invaders.
I ache for that softness,
breathe it in,
but the edge remains.
 
 
 

      Sistema Sac Actun
This is a recording of a live performance, made entirely on the iPad, using Korg Module and Loopy HD running in Audiobus 3.
 
 
 
      The Flemish Cap
The Flemish Cap is an underwater ocean area East of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. It is best known because of the collapse of previously abundant sea life due to over-fishing by EU member states in the 1990s.
 
 
 
      Kaddish A Requiem for Humanity
The creation of this track proved to be surprising. A friend was discussing the value of watching the footage of the evacuation and rescue that took place in Florida after the recent shooting. I found myself responding rather passionately and, immediately after, recording tonight’s track. Here’s what I wrote.

When I was 12, my Hebrew School showed all of the students at least three big reels of 16mm Nazi death camp footage. Most of it was filmed by the Nazis before the liberation. It had no sound. It was just silent b/w moving images of horrors that, as a child, I could not previously imagine.

There’s a part of me that feels injured by that experience. There’s another part of me that cherishes it. I think we can too easily look away from the horrors of the world and, in doing so, believe that we are disconnected from them.

As we know, though, safety is an illusion. We know that none of us are immune from the pain and suffering that others feel. We are not separate from each other. Your pain is my pain, and we need to see the truth so we can understand the problem and work together toward a new paradigm.

Gun control is one small part of the problem. We’ve allowed ourselves to isolate the others, those who make us uncomfortable, when we should be reaching out to them and bringing them closer. We have a systemic cultural problem, and there is no easy fix for it.

BTW, ‘Kaddish’ is the Jewish prayer of remembrance for the dead.

Translation:

May His great name be exalted and sanctified in the world which He created according to His will! May He establish His kingdom and may His salvation blossom and His anointed be near during your lifetime and during your days and during the lifetimes of all the House of Israel, speedily and very soon! And say, Amen. May His great name be blessed for ever, and to all eternity! Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, above and beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world! And say, Amen.
 
 
 

      The Great Wall
This piece was created in Cubase using one synth, the free VST, Sonigen Modular.

Lyrics:

What’s so great about a wall?
What is their beef, those Mongol hoards?
With beards and swards
Sweeping the steppes
With dissonant chords.
Why do they install
This monumental wall?

Strong fences make good neighbors
but the hooves and neighs of foaming steeds
bear no quarter but those hung and drawn.

These effortless sketches stretch South and West,
but I’ve forgotten all the rest.
 
 
 

      Bang Header
This tune is really just an excuse for a tune, rather formulaic and sad, except that I like it, kinda. It was fun creating the beat, and I quite like some of the patches. Some are stock and others more custom.

Lyrics:

Head your bang, your bang diddy bang bang.
Head your thang, your thang diddy thang thang.
 
 
 

      Frederated
Here’s another fun odd time signature for all the counters out there. Also, this track used just one synth for all of the sounds, the free VST Sonigen Modular. The track was created in Cubase. The title refers to one of my favorite musicians.
 
 
 
      Whitney Winds
This is a recording of a Frippertronics-style live looping iPad performance using an app called Yonac Steel Guitar.
 
 
 
      Disco Fever
Dance, everybody! Everybody dance!
 
 
 
      Worthy
A song about the struggle to embrace love. Recorded in Cubase with virtual drums and organ, real guitar courtesy of the Sandblaster, the Industrial Guitars Indy Rail lap steel, and my Japanese Fender Fretless Jazz bass with custom humbucking Seymour Duncan pickups and Aguilar preamp.

Lyrics:

Worthy
by Sander Roscoe Wolff

I’m not too bad. I’m not too good.
I’ve not done all the things I should.
This road is rocky. I stumble and fall.
I can’t get up, so I just crawl.

The darkness calls. It knows my name.
My forgotten goodness is hidden by shame.
I look to the depths and decide to go.
But you tell me one thing that I did not know.

You say, “You’re worthy. Worthy of my love.”
You say, “You’re worthy. Worthy of my love.”

Your words, they shake me. I start to cry.
I feel unready to live or die.
I turn to leave but I’m caught by surprise.
I see the truth in your blue eyes.

I said, “I’m worthy. Worthy of your love.”
I said, “I’m worthy. Worthy of your love.”

Some days are dark, and some are sad.
Now, through it all, my heart is glad.
Some days are dark, and some are sad.
Now through it all, my heart is glad.

I said, “I’m worthy. Worthy of my love.”
I said, “I’m worthy. Worthy of my love.”
 
 
 

      Walking in Central Park (One Synth)
– This track uses the same note information as the original, but is realized entirely with one synth, Arturia’s Moog Modular VST in Cubase. Some of the sounds are stock patches, some were tweaked, and some completely original.
 
 
 

No responses yet

May 07 2009

So Far Apart

Published by under Poetry

So Far Apart
by Sander R. Wolff
06-13-98

I’ll be looking at the moon,
its pale face reflecting the sun,
reminding me of all the tomorrows
still unbegun.

I’ll be gazing at the stars
whose flames, consumed in eons past,
still light our rocky path
into the vast, unbridled dawn.

I’ll glimpse the vague galactic plane
whose misty edge we circumscribe;
Where love and life spring forth and die
without completing a single turn.

I’ll be looking at the moon,
its cool caress can touch us both
though time and space may intercede;
But for one moment reason fails
and distance fails, time stands still.

We’re not so far apart after all.

2 responses so far

May 07 2009

Just By Inches

Published by under Poetry,Spirituality

Just By Inches
by Sander R. Wolff
(inspired by P.K. Dick’s Valis)

Whispered in the passage of time:
Secrets of the ancients.
No dust has settled still.

The stone that could have saved me
rolled away in days.
So far we could have risen
had not we been so low,
but I was there to witness
what now are faded memories:
The lance that could have healed me
missed us just by inches.

I say to you this is no dream,
that things are not the way they seem,
that though in agony you scream,
the waiting now has ended.

The satellite is out tonight.
It moves so very quickly.
It sends a light that talks to me:
I’m blinded.

The coding of the matrices
unwinding through the sea of time
makes clear its meaning, shows to me:
Vision comes and visions rise.
That which I had sought to know
brings joyless crushing weight bear down.
I run in dread and wish I fled
the agony of knowing.

Its knowledge now or madness.

No responses yet

May 07 2009

Road-Apple

Published by under Poetry,Spirituality

Road-Apple
by Sander Roscoe Wolff


its so silly to think what you’re doing when you’re just spinning your wheels and life whizzes by and you feel like a road-apple on the hiway of life but you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and carry on and on ’till your back is crunching like snow under foot and a searing red heat runs like lava down both legs and you stop to rest just for a moment and life whizzes by and you feel like a road-apple on the hiway of life but you rise up with strong will and sprint for a while until you realize there ain’t no end to the pavement so you could run and sprint ’till the cows come home and you’d be no closer to the end of it all so you stop and take stock to re-evaluate your goals and life whizzes by and you feel like a road-apple on the hiway of life and you laugh and laugh ’cause you’ve seen it all before and you don’t care if you’re a road-apple or a sprinter or a wise man or a fool ’cause there’s nothing funnier in the whole universe than a man who thinks he knows what the hell is really going on and then all of a sudden life stops right where you’re standing and offers you a ride to the next town so you hop in and lean back and you’re speeding toward your destination and riding in the lap of luxury ’till you realize the road is gone and the driver is missing and you’re moving so fast that

One response so far

Nov 14 2007

Letterbox

Published by under Poetry

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Letterbox flag laughing “Hardi-ho-hee”
Envelope singing “At Last I Am Free”
Stamp sticky licker picks paper-cut blood
And turns from a trickle to river to flood

Argyle paperweight dancing a jig
Chokes on a prune that thinks its a fig
Fork and knife napkin unfold for the cat
Pawsing to spit at the big purple hat

Wine bottle corker despairing the screw
“Turn not that implement thrust into you!”
Merlot and Sherry prove fickle and fight
Shocked, then poor Red turns suddenly white

Impudent light bulb refuses to glow
Sleepwalking peach tree refuses to grow
Seedlings sleep sweetly in flowery beds
Visions of flatware spin off with their heads

Flatware and seedlings, peach tree and light
Wine goes not softly toward this good night
Hats, cats and napkins… well, you do the math
Letterbox flag always gets the last laugh

No responses yet

May 03 2007

Go

Published by under Poetry

Go
By Sander Roscoe Wolff
6/29/03 12:43 AM

Inarticulate yearnings abound, boundless Love resounds
Running in place, no sound in space, no winner to this race
Man, humanity, this lump of flesh, expands
Exceeding limitations and conceptions, boundless Love resounds
This unknown face, familiar grace, moving in time and space
Human beings, stretched beyond all limits, boundless Love resounds
We stand on the brink of new knowing, new boundaries
We know only what was, and imagine what may be
We cannot see, or know, but only go and hope to show others
Where they dare not go

This place is cold at night, dark and alone here, no knowing
Can comfort this space, abandoned by the human race
No Earth upon which to make a stand, no familiar face
No walls to bounce the sound of resounding Love
Just limitlessness
Is this my humanity? Must I let go of it all to go?
How can I know?

Inarticulate yearnings abound, boundless Love resounds
Running in place, no sound in space, no winner to this race
Man, humanity, this lump of flesh, expands
Exceeding limitations and conceptions, boundless Love resounds
This unknown face, familiar grace, moving in time and space
Human beings, stretched beyond all limits, boundless Love resounds
We move beyond the brink of new knowing, new boundaries
We knew only what was, and imagined what might be
We could not see, or know, but only go and hope to show others
Where we dared not go

No responses yet

May 02 2007

Pearl Thistle Plug Epistle

Published by under Poetry

Pearl Thistle Plug Epistle
by Sander Roscoe Wolff
October 1, 2006

Drinking milk, a flood of calcium in hopes of growing
luminescent glowing pearl, her love a grain of sand.
My heart slows, knowing it will not sustain this
frantic pace, racing away from her blindly
when she speaks unkindly.

Won’t this magic coalesce? I’m a swine, now where’s mine?
I want to form one ‘round this formless soul, this
strained muscle that keeps beating itself against her walls.
She laughs at my fumbling metaphors, tosses her hair and
suddenly not there.

It’s a thistle, grown around my healing heart, to ward off
eager, careless hands. Demands upon it will not stand.
This epistle blossoms in the Spring,
the sting of cruelty long forgotten,
memories of misbegotten days.

How I long to forget her, to not see her face
whenever I close my eyes. Forget her whispers, laugh,
and sighs. I close my eyes. This lingering appetite for
all that stills me, all that kills me, won’t be denied.
Have I died?

Drugs and alcohol, Vicodin and regret, a strange cocktail
mixed in a broken glass. Cigarettes burn, I can’t forget. I
yearn for that sting, the pain she brings, it cannot end until
I die. She is my life support. Am I strong enough
to pull the plug?

No responses yet

May 02 2007

Come To Me

Published by under Music,Poetry,Songs,Uncategorized

Come To Me (Lyrics to

      a song
)
by Sander Roscoe Wolff

The pain inside has died at last
All hope has perished too
And every dream has turned to ash
There’s nothing left to do

I’ve walked alone through worse, I know,
And faced my every fear
Yet somehow as the end draws close
I wish that you were here

I don’t want your comfort, lord,
Forgiveness will not come
I want for you to know me once
Before I’m really gone

Your devils waiting patiently
Their flames are drawing near
And as their talons tear my flesh
I wish that you were here

I wish you stood inside these shoes
And bore this misery
But I refuse to call your name
And you won’t come to me

You made me in your image, lord
Yet you will shed no tear
This mother’s son has earned no love
I wish that you were here

No responses yet

Jun 09 2006

Hold My Course

Published by under Poetry,Spirituality

by Sander Roscoe Wolff
12:00 AM 01-10-03

This day began like any other:
Woke up to the blade and lather,
Burned a stick, and drank a cup,
And drove me to my nine to fiver.

In this endless dance, I wondered
“Can I feel a deeper meaning?
Can I have an understanding
Far beyond these things I know?”

Still, the ritual continued,
Daily till the years drew closer,
Closer than the scent of lovers
Lingering on dampened pillows.

Closer, till the air around me
Did not fit my tired body.
Closer, so my skin cried out
For any kind of brief respite.

Then, I saw with eyes unbounded,
Past these passing moments spinning
Something I cannot describe
In words that pass as fragile flame.

In this moment, knowing only
That my life was spread before me,
Still, for once, no doubt or question.
Not an answer but this: _____.

Knowing, as I did, that instant
Spreading out to fill each void,
Echoes of my endless being
Endless in the briefest time.

Boundless, now, unbidden go.
Truth is not to seek, or know.
As above, it is below.

Now, this next day comes so quickly.
Do I rise to fall again?
Do I act to change these patterns
Or do I simply hold the course?

Do I act to change these patterns
Or do I simply hold my course?

No responses yet

Apr 12 2006

Hide Not Your Heart

This song, called

      Hide Not Your Heart
, was written a few years back when I was recording songs as birthday gifts for my friends. At a local farmer’s market, I found a small stone heart that was carved from some sort of crystal. It looked rather dull and gray until the sun hit it. When it was illuminated directly, it sparkled and shined, refracting the light from within. This became a lyrical metaphor for me, and sparked the song. My singing, especially at the beginning, is a bit ragged. The harmonies are all staggered and informal. This was all planned. The guitar solo is perhaps one of the best I’ve ever recorded, not for its technical skill, but because to me it is filled with feeling. As the solo progresses, the rest of the music fades away. To me, this was also a metaphor for being couragous in letting one’s heart shine… At the end, my vocal is softer, warmer, and more intimate…. Almost a whisper.

To me, this is a very special song. I don’t know if anyone else likes it much, as I understand that aspects of it can be challenging. Still, for me, I felt like I reached a place in the creation of it that was emotional and personally profound.

Having said that, I absolutely welcome and encourage any and all feedback and impressions you care to share, positive or negative.

Here are the lyrics:

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2 responses so far

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