Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Feb 05 2022

New Collaborative Acoustic Ambient Album: Raw Materials

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After completing Songs of Intuition and Ignorance in July of 2021, I wanted to do something completely different. Songs was primarily a solitary process, with the exception of significant contributions by Kenny Blacklock on Particle Accelerator. I was working alone, stuck with my own habits and inclinations, necessitated by the global pandemic that raged on. I’ve always been interested in abstraction, and I pushed myself to write lyrics that were both abstract and evocative.

For my next project, I wanted to do something more expansive, less inward-looking. I wanted to create a kind of wordless sonic beauty I’d find comforting. To that end, I decided to collaborate more significantly. I knew many artists who were wood-shedding and recording at home. I began to compile a list of my ‘dream team,’ artists who are both adventurous and excellent. The plan was to request an unprocessed improvisation of an acoustic instrument in the key of Fm. These recordings would then become the raw materials for an ambient composition.

The previously-mentioned Kenny Blacklock was first because we’d worked together on a number of projects, and he’s almost always up for anything. He’s a part of the Northern California music scene, primarily known as a fiddler, but he’s a composer, producer, educator, and experimenter. He delivered several tracks of violin and, listening to them, I was enraptured. (This happened again and again, as more and more tracks came in.)

Next was flute. I’d originally asked my long-time Norwegian friend Ketil Vestrum Einarsen, who’s played or led some of my favorite bands. Sadly, he was unable to participate. Next, Emily Hay, who was an important part of the Los Angeles avant garde scene in the 80s, playing in U-Totem and Motor Totemist Guild. Since then, she’s had a long and storied career as an improviser, vocalist, and good egg. I’d been a stupid fan-boy of hers for years, and she was super gracious when I asked her but, sadly, she was unable to participate either. Finally, I remembered Ellen Burr. She’d worked with several people I know, both as an improviser but, also, with deep roots in classical and modern composed music. Her CV is insane. I reached out, explained what I was doing, and she agreed. The track she delivered was gorgeous, and I listened to it obsessively.

I’d met Jeff Kaiser at a looping festival in Long Beach. I remember watching him at that performance, operating software he’d written himself that made his trumpet bounce around the room doing somersaults and jumping jacks. At that time he was teaching in San Diego but, subsequently, relocated to the University of Central Missouri, where he runs a fantastic music technology program. Dr Kaiser has worked with jazz and avant garde luminaries in the LA music scene, has written scholarly texts, operated a record label, and didn’t laugh at me when I asked him for a track. He delivered an improvisation on flugelhorn. Again, I sat and listened to his recording repeatedly, and I remember the feeling of holding my breath in reverence.

I knew I wanted acoustic guitar, and guitarists are everywhere, but it didn’t take me long to realize that Angelo Metz was my first choice. I’ve seen him perform in countless different contexts, playing acoustic and electric guitar. He’s probably best known for playing Brazilian music, but he’s a classically trained artist who has complete command of his instruments. Plus, he’s an electronic music experimenter. Dr Metz was gracious and submitted a recording that, again, became an endless loop in my headphones.

Several years ago I’d become enamored of Scandinavian progressive rock, and was subsequently afforded the opportunity to interview a number of important artists. Strangely, many of the projects I most loved were, in some way, connected to Mattias Olsson. Olsson is perhaps best known as the drummer of Änglagård, but he he is constantly busy recording and producing a steady flow of great artists, working on his own projects, and playing on countless others. His Roth-händle studio is packed with all sorts of instruments but, in the hope he’d say ‘yes,’ I asked for glockenspiel, which is fairly easy to set up. He came through with a gorgeous track.

I knew I wanted bass, and Tom Peters is a local musician who performs with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, and is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory. He’s also a wonderful composer, creating scores for silent films. He’s a live looper, too. His achingly beautiful album, Lamentations, absolutely captivated me. When I asked if he’d participate, he was amazingly gracious, and sent me four (4) different tracks. These tracks ended up opening and closing Part 1, and breathed a kind of magical intensity into the work.

I didn’t really know Katie Porter, but she’d been working with some people I know, and I’d been following her career with some interest. She’s a clarinetist, but specializes in bass clarinet, and seems to focus primarily on new music, improvisation, and experimental performance. I’d noticed that she had been in Germany for a concert series, and returned for a festival in the desert, so I just sent her a Facebook message out of the blue, explaining who I was and what I was doing. She had been booked for a recording session, and graciously provided me with a beautiful track, which ended up being really important to the culmination of all three parts.

Gigi ‘Gee’ Rabe is known as “LA’s Accordion Diva,” and that’s fantastic. She’s a graduate of CSULB’s music program, and plays absolutely every musical style. I’ve heard her play Klezmer, folk, rock, jazz, and classical pieces. She’s not, however, an experimental artist. I met her, briefly, way back in the 80s, and have been a fan ever since. Like so many musicians, she’d been cut off from her performance work due to the pandemic. When I asked her to participate, I got the feeling that she didn’t quite ‘get’ what I was doing, but she recorded an improvisation that, upon first listen, sent goosebumps up and down my whole body. The track starts out somewhat playfully but, tentatively, it works its way into a really beautiful and tender place, which I used several times in all three parts. It and Kenny’s violin form a lovely duet.

I met Charles Sharp in the mid 90s, when he and I both worked at the local jazz radio station on campus, KLON (now KKJZ 88.1). Even then his knowledge of music, all music, was shockingly encyclopedic, but he had a special interest in avant garde American music. Now, he co-hosts a KXLU program focused on improvised music, and is on the faculty of CSU Fullerton. Dr Sharp, like Dr Kaiser, is known for extended instrumental techniques. Like Tom, he frequently performed live scores for silent movies, as part of the Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble. He graciously agreed to record an improvisation with alto saxophone, which was both beautiful and interesting.

I had the good fortune to meet Daniel Smith in 2016, when he was first launching The Infinite Stage, which presents “innovative and experimental classical music experiences.” Dr Smith is a masterful cellist, deeply rooted in composed music from many periods. With the violin and bass in hand, I knew that I wanted cello to complete the string section. I explained what I was looking for and, using his cel phone, recorded some really lovely passages.

Once I had all the raw materials in hand, I loaded them all into my computer and began chopping them up into chunks. This was partly because some phrases didn’t fit the key, and partly to focus on passages that felt really strong to me. I intentionally did not listen to multiple instruments simultaneously. I had a reference ‘chord’ that played as I made the cuts. Once I had all the segments, some a single note and some quite long, I loaded them all onto my 2017 iPad Pro. I’ve been using this iPad for live performance since 2017, and decided that the tools available to me on that platform would help me to craft interesting and beautiful sonic transformations. I used a series of processes, including time-stretching, granular synthesis, modulation and delay effects to create the pieces that would end up in part one. I wanted to create abstractions that were not identifiable as the instruments used to create the sounds, but still have their sonic DNA. Once I’d processed all the parts, I began to assemble them into Part 1.

As I said, I was really enamored of the raw materials I was given. I wanted to create a piece that would showcase the artistry of the musicians, and the beautiful sounds of their instruments. Using the chopped up bits, I assembled Part 3, adding just a bit of delay and reverb.

For Part 2, I took Part 3, which was just under 2 minutes long, and time-stretched it to just over 20 minutes. I added a bit of delay and reverb but, other than that, it really is the same as Part 3, but much, much, much slower.

I was deeply moved by the generosity of the participating artists, and how graciously they gave of their talent and artistry, not knowing at all what the end result would be. We stepped off the precipice together, virtually, and I am eternally grateful for their courage and kindness.

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Aug 24 2021

Songs of Intuition and Ignorance

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Thanks to some inspiration from a Hop-Frog colleague, Eric Baughn, I began writing and recording songs in January of 2021. It was, at least in part, an extension of the massive Covid music creation process that started back in March of 2020, when I was furloughed. Eric had suggested collaborating on an album of songs, but was drawn to work on other projects, so I just kind of started, and went on from there. The first song, Particle Accelerator, was based on words I’d written more than 20 years ago. I rediscovered them and felt inspired to create a musical setting for them. During that process, Petaluma-based musician Kenny Blacklock heard it and asked for stems, which I gladly sent him. He returned a bunch of tracks, some of which ended up in the final mix. His contributions included acoustic guitar, piano bass, and tape strings.

I tried to give each song a unique musical setting, with it’s own logic and feeling. Structurally, some are fairly traditional, and some are quite experimental. Anyway, they’re all currently collected on BandCamp. Check them out if you wish to.

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Jan 27 2021

The February Challenge [FAWM 2020]

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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 of 2020, I decided to join in. It was my second time doing it. The first, in 2016, was insane. For some reason, I decided to compose and record 1 new original music track every day. (I didn’t quite make it, and only got to 26.)

For this 2nd time, I kept my ambitions reigned in, and ended up with just 17 new tracks. Some were live performances, created using my iPad Pro. Some were highly composed pieces. Some were experimental and abstract. Many were created on my PC using Cubase and a variety of free and in-built virtual synths and effects.

Below, you will find a player that has all 17 tracks 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.




Here are the individual tracks, with brief descriptions:

      Blink And Miss It
An exciting, up-beat instrumental piece with acoustic instruments. Produced in Korg Gadget, running on an iPad Pro.


      Duet Tuet
Produced on the iPad Pro, this track an imaginary duet between two fake flutes that twist and interweave in an intricate and beautiful way.
Here’s a tune to dance to, maybe. Created in Korg Gadget on my iPad Pro.
      Graciousness In Shallow Shadows
Mysterious oscillations eminate from beneath the shallow shadows. Holding my breath, the hand of death passes by. Lights from sightless eyes shine in the narrow way, we stay inside the shuddered room, a womb for our fears. Created, I’m pretty sure, in Cubase on my PC, using various free VST synths and effects.
      I Dare You
A RAWQ song, with me singing (badly.) Get out your lighters!

I Dare You
Copyright by Sander Roscoe Wolff
02212020 20:08

A calculation in the mind
begins the count down
The sand is falling, grain by grain,
onto the sticky ground.

Perambulators rumble by
transporting hopes and schemes
They and I begin to cry
and tremble ‘midst our screams.

He who cannot speak, cannot lie.
Look me in the eye.
He who cannot speak, cannot lie.
Silent, you and I.

Laugh, go ahead, I dare you.
Turn to face the light.
Speak, go ahead, I dare you.
You are in the right.

A percolation in the ground
disturbs the ebb and flow
The sky is falling, do or die,
upon the earth, below.

      Imperiled Vectors
This is a tribute, homage, or rip-off of one of my favorite and little-known tracks by King Crimson. It evokes, in a small way, the feeling of the track that inspired it. It was produced on my iPad Pro. The lead ‘guitar’ was created with GeoShred.
      Leap Of Faith
An experiment with a complex set of delays, recorded live, using a variety of samples and synths. Produced on my iPad Pro.
      Plus One
Another experiment, this time with piano, delays, reversed audio, and a mess of other effects. I think this was created in Cubase on my PC, but I’m not entirely sure.
      Psychotic Break
Here’s a dance number for people having mental breakdowns. I’m pretty sure this one was done in Cubase, on the PC.
      Slow Waters
Fake guitars, delays, preverb, and whatnot. A live performance on the iPad Pro, featuring GeoShred.
      Swing From The Hip
An upbeat, but strange, musical exploration with acoustic-ish instruments. Created in Cubase. I quite like this one.
      This Is My Final Answer
Chance encounters with budding flowers, dancing showers us with petals. Metal tines ring, I sing this tired tune. Created on the iPad Pro.
      Thistle Bone Time
This one is pretty wack, but I like it. I think it might have been created in Korg Gadget.
      Time Police
Sometimes I just love to play guitar, and create many layers of parts. I quite like how this turned out.
      Within Hibiscus Crysalis
She holds her breath like a wreath, beneath the blossom’s glory. It glistens, listening to the call of forgotten voices. Choices, now made, begin to fade away. Live performance on the iPad Pro, featuring GeoShred and a whole bunch of delays.
      Within The Between
An electronic journey of sonic impulses. Evocative and strangely beautiful. Created in Cubase on PC with a variety of in-built and free virtual instruments.
      Zebulon Fricassee
My idea of an electronic minuet. I can imagine people in fancy Elizabethan costumes prancing about to this. Created on iPad Pro in Korg Gadget.

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Sep 29 2016

Long Beach Culture Radio

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I was exploring an ancient archive buried deep on an old hard drive and discovered a bunch of music files from 2000, when my friends and I were exploring various ways to support the local music scene. One way we found was to run an automated streaming radio station, which continued for about a year. Here’s what I found:




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Feb 23 2009

Downey Incident

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While waiting for an appointment at the County Animal Shelter on Friday, Feb 20 2009, I decided to use the time for some exercise. I walked on the sidewalk, North on Pangborn, then East on Washburn, then North again on Regentview. I then turned East on Downey Norwalk Road. About half way down the street I stepped on a fiberglass cover to an inset hole. The fiberglass cover had, from environmental forces, degraded to the point where my foot went straight through it and down into the hole. My leg was torn up, both in the front and back.

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Nov 03 2008

Halloween 2008

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Lauren and several of her friends went out trick-or-treating last Friday, and they came up with some great costumes. First is a group shot, taken some hours after they’d been pounding the pavement in search of terror and/or candy:

From left to right: October, Angel, Lauren, Sierra, and Ashley

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Jun 13 2008

City Video

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Apr 11 2008

The Poem Will Save You: A conversation with Raindog

Raindog Armstrong is a poet, publisher, and pied piper for poetry. With his Lummox Press, he published the Lummox Journal as a monthly magazine, which showcased artists from around the country, and around the world. Publishing both poetry and in-depth interviews, the Journal has now moved onto the internet. This has freed him, at last, to publish the first of several volumes of his own work, the first of which is called Fire & Rain. It reaches back to some of his earliest work, and spans nearly 15 years of creativity.

Raindog joined me for a free wheeling, and wide ranging, conversation that includes three poetry recitations, discussions of 9/11, and his past and future musical efforts. It is 50 minutes of honest talk with one of our fair City’s creative icons.

If you can’t commit to listening to an hour-long conversation, you can hear all three of his poems:


Traveling Man (an homage to Charles Kuralt)

The Poem Will Save You

Also, you can see a brief video of Raindog reciting Eyes Like Mingus:

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Oct 12 2007

Niko Nekko: Hellspawn

Niko was beating up on our other kitty, Violet, so I went out to the living room to play with him. He wasn’t playing:

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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

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