NOTES


FROM


A


QUIET


LIFE
NOTES

FROM

A

QUIET

LIFE


















06 10 2024



TASTY MORSELS - RECORD LABEL
I randomly discovered a couple of records a few years ago that I had no idea were related at all. It wasn’t until stumbling upon the Tasty Morsels website that I realized they both put out by this really amazing British label. All of the releases are given away as free .zip files and they are all made by a group of friends working solo or collaborating under various aliases. Perhaps the most well known is h hunt’s “Playing Piano for Dad” which is a really relaxed, improvised solo piano record. However, some of my favorites drift more into ambient and modular experiments. Check out this playlist of some of my favorites. And here is a much larger playlist on Spotify.



THE MUSIC OF FELBM - A FILM BY PIERRE ZYLSTRA →

I discovered Dutch musician Eelco Topper’s project Felbm a few years ago via the Spotify Algorithm. His “Tape” series was really great (this song is particular is my favorite) and I’ve really fallen in love with his “Elements of Nature” release as it uses a lot of metal and wood percussion instruments (which I’m really fond of as well). This film by Pierre Zylstra does a good job of showcasing Felbm’s unique workflow and creative process.




PEACE IS EVERY STEP - THICH NHAT HANH →

I understand that the “Self-Help” genre is not for everyone as it’s sometimes hard to distinguish good, educated advice from something that might be closer to a sensationalized ploy to sell books. And taken a step further, I realize that any books that might reference eastern philosophy might also not be for everyone. But I first saw a documentary that features Thich Nhat Hanh about the benefits of mindfulness and it was very helpful for me to understand how my priorities and focus on productivity was unsustainable and ultimately very unhealthy. Peace Is Every Step was the first book of his that I read and I treated it like a daily devotional - reading short passages every day. A lot of the ideas in the book connect well to some of the other poetry I’ve shared as it stresses the importance of being present and aware of what’s around you. Hanh would say that its only during these moments that you are truly living.











06 17 2024



REFLECTION POOL
I’m a big fan of Japanese style gardens - particularly when they incorporate more minimal, contemporary elements.  I’d seen infinity-style reflection pools on a few occasions but at much larger scales.  The idea is that if the bowl is black enough it feels completely bottomless. Out of all of my recent projects, this was the most strenuous.  The bowl is made of corten steel and is extremely heavy at 60 inches wide.  It took a lot of sanding and painting to get the smooth black finish.  It also took a lot of grading to get the gravel patio surface flat.




ECHO: THE MUSIC OF HAROLD BUDD AND BRIAN ENO →

This unofficial documentary compiles a bunch of rare interviews with Harold Budd and Brian Eno and pairs them with atmospheric visuals and music from the albums they made together. The result lands somewhere between a documentary and a well researched podcast - but the result is super interesting. I love hearing details about the recording session and how they were practically stumbling into creating a lot of the touchstones of ambient music.




FERNANDO PESSOA AND “THE BOOK OF DISQUIET” →

Even though I studied literature in college, I’d never heard of Fernando Pessoa until fairly recently. I discovered his book “The Book of Disquiet” through this short youtube film - which gives background on the writer and outlines a lot of the themes surrounding the book. What makes Pessoa so interesting was that he did most of his writing through pseudonyms which each have their own interesting backstory and stylistic voice. He referred to them as heteronyms as he felt like the name pseudonym didn’t capture how distinct each voice was. The Book of Disquiet is a story told in vignettes that often have no clear relationship to one another and definitely has no clear linear story progression; however, it outlines a particular form of introspection that I identify with a lot.











06 03 2024



JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S THE POWER OF MYTH PBS SERIES
This interview series between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell (shortly before his death) is full of so many great insights. Focusing on the major themes of his book “The Power of Myth”, the two discuss comparative mythology and comparative religion in a way that sheds light on our humanity, the circle of life, and the search for meaning in the world. Not just for artists or writers, I think everyone can find some inspiration in this talk.



SAM WILKES & JACOB MANN’S - SOFT LANDING →

My personal listening taste has become a lot more utilitarian over the last few years. Often I’m just looking for a song that makes me feel relaxed or that creates a nice atmosphere. The Sam Wilkes and Jacob Mann’s collaborative album is great but I was particularly drawn to the live performances of the songs they posted on Youtube. The song “Soft Landing” is particularly good IMO as it showcases their minimalist approach and great playing skills. Be sure and check out the rest of the videos as well.




NFAQL TYPEFACE →

This might only be interesting to graphic design nerds, but the typeface used for this album has a rich and interesting history. I found it after a brief obsession with the Fluxus art movement. The movement is hard to summarize as it’s quite varied but it was very experimental and collaborative with some of the playfulness of Dada and often incorporating an element of chance.

I kept seeing the same typeface on an IG account I follow that collects random work from the era, and I thought it had a nice balance that was formal but also a bit quirky - which fit with some of my conceptual ideas about the art for the album. Luckily, someone did an amazing job scanning old textpages and building Fluxisch Else - which has some great imperfections like floating baselines and erratic kerning.











05 27 2024



MIRROR SCULPTURE
I’d seen a work in person by Olafur Eliasson that utilized a spinning mirror, and I was familiar with some of his other experiments with mirrors. But my design was quite a bit more low-tech and moves solely by the wind. The mirrors are 45 inches wide and are welded together to spin on a simple ball bearing. The heavy weight of the mirrors helps stabilize the spin and they are wide enough that only a small amount of wind is necessary for almost infinite rotations.



CODEX SERAPHINIANUS →

I discovered this book a few years ago and was blown away with its originality. It feels like a forgotten text from some ancient civilization. In fact, it was made by an Italian illustrator and designer over the course of 2.5 years back in the late 70’s. Full of whimsy, he even invented a made-up language and alphabet. This video is a great introduction.




NUNO CANAVARRO - PLUX QUBA →

I guess the theme for this week is super original, “alien” art, as this album sounds like nothing else I’ve heard before. It is certainly not for everyone, but it blew my mind and inspired a yet-to-be-released experimental album that I made a couple of years ago. The album was made in 1988 using only a primitive sampler - see this short article about some basic background. If you can make it through the atonal sections, there are beautiful moments of melody that appear quickly and then disappear.











05 20 2024



BRIAN ENO
Eno is perhaps my all-time favorite artist. He’s the Leonardo da Vinci of modern art and music - as his curiosity seems boundless. He’s made incredible music throughout the years but has also worked in many varying visual mediums. There is a new documentary about his life that has been making the rounds at various film festivals. I haven’t seen it yet - but there is a lesser known documentary made about him back in 1989.


GLIMMERS →

I thought this short blog post was interesting and the idea of “glimmers” that it describes is very similar to the awareness I was attempting to cultivate throughout the album making process.




WENDELL BERRY →

There was a quick shot in the NFAQL doc that showcased a stack of books. One of them was called “The Peace of Wild Things” - which I found very inspiring during the making of the album.

Berry is an extremely prolific writer and activist who’s written in almost every sub-genre possible. However, his book of poems mentioned above is my favorite. Not only do the poems discuss the rejuvenating properties of nature, they often also make light of a type of awareness that if we just pay attention in the present moment there is so much beauty and meaning around us. That practice of mindfulness was an important step for me throughout the making of the album and it has enriched my life tremendously. My favorite poetry inspires this sensation. Check out this short animation of one of Berry’s most popular poems.











05 15 2024



KRISTIAN MELOM →
I randomly came across Kristian’s documentary Dear Dreamer about 6 months ago and I was really blown away. I knew I wanted to make a short doc piece about the making of the album and the tone of Dear Dreamer was exactly what I was looking for. Very lyrical and sensitive, and I loved all of the interesting moments incorporating the young students. I was extra blown away that he lived only about an hour away in ATL. Because it was so important to me to have a vibrant spring look, we didn’t start shooting until Mid-March. So it has been a mad dash to the finish line in terms of shooting and editing. Here is another one of his doc pieces called the River.



ORIGINAL MUSIC FROM THE NFAQL DOC →

I felt burnt out from making music right before starting work on NFAQL and I took about 3 months in early 2022 just making really simple, improvised music. It was the first time in a long time that I wrote just for the fun of it instead of being focused on being productive towards a commercial project. I started playing piano a lot and simply capturing the performances via rough iPhone recordings. When it came time to add “score” music to the documentary it seemed like an obvious place to start. So Kristian picked out a bunch of snippets from my archive. He insisted that we use them “as-is” and not re-record so you can hear a lot of mistakes (as well as background noises like my young son Owen). Here are the recordings that made it in the score.




INSPIRATION FOR THE NFAQL DOC →

Kristian and I both are big film fans and have a special love for nonfiction documentary based story-telling. We spent a lot of time sharing inspiration back and forth. These are a few documentaries that we both really liked and that shared some similarity to the NFAQL story.










05 02 2024



NOTES FROM A QUIET LIFE LP
The musical direction on this album felt a lot more minimalist in terms of the production, so I wanted the cover image to mirror that with a starkness and simplicity. The photo was taken by a Korean photographer named Myoung Ho Lee who builds elaborate white backdrops that frame large trees in space. Conceptually I like how this reframing focuses attention on natural elements as art objects. Check out this long-play BTS footage from one of his shoots.


THE POETRY OF MARY OLIVER →

I’ve enjoyed reading Mary Oliver over the last couple of years.  Not only does she capture beautiful images, but she sheds light on beautiful moments that might otherwise be taken for granted.  I’ve tried to practice this sort of mindfulness and inquisitiveness in my own life. This essay by Maria Popova does a great job of describing the magic of her work.




THE HARDEST PART [OFFICIAL VIDEO] →

The first song from NFAQL has a video directed by a filmmaker I’ve been a fan of for a long time, Paul Trillo. It’s also the first commissioned music video created entirely using OpenAI’s Sora text-to-video model. Sora’s not available to the public yet, so it was cool working with Paul to test the limits of what a tool like that could do in the context of a music video that couldn’t have made with any other technology.














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06 17 2024



REFLECTION POOL
I’m a big fan of Japanese style gardens - particularly when they incorporate more minimal, contemporary elements.  I’d seen infinity-style reflection pools on a few occasions but at much larger scales.  The idea is that if the bowl is black enough it feels completely bottomless. Out of all of my recent projects, this was the most strenuous.  The bowl is made of corten steel and is extremely heavy at 60 inches wide.  It took a lot of sanding and painting to get the smooth black finish.  It also took a lot of grading to get the gravel patio surface flat.




ECHO: THE MUSIC OF HAROLD BUDD AND BRIAN ENO →

This unofficial documentary compiles a bunch of rare interviews with Harold Budd and Brian Eno and pairs them with atmospheric visuals and music from the albums they made together. The result lands somewhere between a documentary and a well researched podcast - but the result is super interesting. I love hearing details about the recording session and how they were practically stumbling into creating a lot of the touchstones of ambient music.




FERNANDO PESSOA AND “THE BOOK OF DISQUIET” →

Even though I studied literature in college, I’d never heard of Fernando Pessoa until fairly recently. I discovered his book “The Book of Disquiet” through this short youtube film - which gives background on the writer and outlines a lot of the themes surrounding the book. What makes Pessoa so interesting was that he did most of his writing through pseudonyms which each have their own interesting backstory and stylistic voice. He referred to them as heteronyms as he felt like the name pseudonym didn’t capture how distinct each voice was. The Book of Disquiet is a story told in vignettes that often have no clear relationship to one another and definitely has no clear linear story progression; however, it outlines a particular form of introspection that I identify with a lot.









06 10 2024



TASTY MORSELS - RECORD LABEL
I randomly discovered a couple of records a few years ago that I had no idea were related at all. It wasn’t until stumbling upon the Tasty Morsels website that I realized they both put out by this really amazing British label. All of the releases are given away as free .zip files and they are all made by a group of friends working solo or collaborating under various aliases. Perhaps the most well known is h hunt’s “Playing Piano for Dad” which is a really relaxed, improvised solo piano record. However, some of my favorites drift more into ambient and modular experiments. Check out this playlist of some of my favorites. And here is a much larger playlist on Spotify.



THE MUSIC OF FELBM - A FILM BY PIERRE ZYLSTRA →

I discovered Dutch musician Eelco Topper’s project Felbm a few years ago via the Spotify Algorithm. His “Tape” series was really great (this song is particular is my favorite) and I’ve really fallen in love with his “Elements of Nature” release as it uses a lot of metal and wood percussion instruments (which I’m really fond of as well). This film by Pierre Zylstra does a good job of showcasing Felbm’s unique workflow and creative process.




PEACE IS EVERY STEP - THICH NHAT HANH →

I understand that the “Self-Help” genre is not for everyone as it’s sometimes hard to distinguish good, educated advice from something that might be closer to a sensationalized ploy to sell books. And taken a step further, I realize that any books that might reference eastern philosophy might also not be for everyone. But I first saw a documentary that features Thich Nhat Hanh about the benefits of mindfulness and it was very helpful for me to understand how my priorities and focus on productivity was unsustainable and ultimately very unhealthy. Peace Is Every Step was the first book of his that I read and I treated it like a daily devotional - reading short passages every day. A lot of the ideas in the book connect well to some of the other poetry I’ve shared as it stresses the importance of being present and aware of what’s around you. Hanh would say that its only during these moments that you are truly living.









06 03 2024


JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S THE POWER OF MYTH PBS SERIES
This interview series between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell (shortly before his death) is full of so many great insights. Focusing on the major themes of his book “The Power of Myth”, the two discuss comparative mythology and comparative religion in a way that sheds light on our humanity, the circle of life, and the search for meaning in the world. Not just for artists or writers, I think everyone can find some inspiration in this talk.



SAM WILKES & JACOB MANN’S - SOFT LANDING →

My personal listening taste has become a lot more utilitarian over the last few years. Often I’m just looking for a song that makes me feel relaxed or that creates a nice atmosphere. The Sam Wilkes and Jacob Mann’s collaborative album is great but I was particularly drawn to the live performances of the songs they posted on Youtube. The song “Soft Landing” is particularly good IMO as it showcases their minimalist approach and great playing skills. Be sure and check out the rest of the videos as well.




NFAQL TYPEFACE →

This might only be interesting to graphic design nerds, but the typeface used for this album has a rich and interesting history. I found it after a brief obsession with the Fluxus art movement. The movement is hard to summarize as it’s quite varied but it was very experimental and collaborative with some of the playfulness of Dada and often incorporating an element of chance.

I kept seeing the same typeface on an IG account I follow that collects random work from the era, and I thought it had a nice balance that was formal but also a bit quirky - which fit with some of my conceptual ideas about the art for the album. Luckily, someone did an amazing job scanning old textpages and building Fluxisch Else - which has some great imperfections like floating baselines and erratic kerning.









05 27 2024


MIRROR SCULPTURE
I’d seen a work in person by Olafur Eliasson that utilized a spinning mirror, and I was familiar with some of his other experiments with mirrors. But my design was quite a bit more low-tech and moves solely by the wind. The mirrors are 45 inches wide and are welded together to spin on a simple ball bearing. The heavy weight of the mirrors helps stabilize the spin and they are wide enough that only a small amount of wind is necessary for almost infinite rotations.


CODEX SERAPHINIANUS →

I discovered this book a few years ago and was blown away with its originality. It feels like a forgotten text from some ancient civilization. In fact, it was made by an Italian illustrator and designer over the course of 2.5 years back in the late 70’s. Full of whimsy, he even invented a made-up language and alphabet. This video is a great introduction.



NUNO CANAVARRO - PLUX QUBA →

I guess the theme for this week is super original, “alien” art, as this album sounds like nothing else I’ve heard before. It is certainly not for everyone, but it blew my mind and inspired a yet-to-be-released experimental album that I made a couple of years ago. The album was made in 1988 using only a primitive sampler - see this short article about some basic background. If you can make it through the atonal sections, there are beautiful moments of melody that appear quickly and then disappear.









05 20 2024


BRIAN ENO
Eno is perhaps my all-time favorite artist. He’s the Leonardo da Vinci of modern art and music - as his curiosity seems boundless. He’s made incredible music throughout the years but has also worked in many varying visual mediums. There is a new documentary about his life that has been making the rounds at various film festivals. I haven’t seen it yet - but there is a lesser known documentary made about him back in 1989.



GLIMMERS →

I thought this short blog post was interesting and the idea of “glimmers” that it describes is very similar to the awareness I was attempting to cultivate throughout the album making process.

There was a quick shot in the NFAQL doc that showcased a stack of books. One of them was called “The Peace of Wild Things” - which I found very inspiring during the making of the album.

Berry is an extremely prolific writer and activist who’s written in almost every sub-genre possible. However, his book of poems mentioned above is my favorite. Not only do the poems discuss the rejuvenating properties of nature, they often also make light of a type of awareness that if we just pay attention in the present moment there is so much beauty and meaning around us. That practice of mindfulness was an important step for me throughout the making of the album and it has enriched my life tremendously. My favorite poetry inspires this sensation. Check out this short animation of one of Berry’s most popular poems.









05 15 2024


KRISTIAN MELOM →
I randomly came across Kristian’s documentary Dear Dreamer about 6 months ago and I was really blown away. I knew I wanted to make a short doc piece about the making of the album and the tone of Dear Dreamer was exactly what I was looking for. Very lyrical and sensitive, and I loved all of the interesting moments incorporating the young students. I was extra blown away that he lived only about an hour away in ATL. Because it was so important to me to have a vibrant spring look, we didn’t start shooting until Mid-March. So it has been a mad dash to the finish line in terms of shooting and editing. Here is another one of his doc pieces called the River.



ORIGINAL MUSIC FROM THE NFAQL DOC →

I felt burnt out from making music right before starting work on NFAQL and I took about 3 months in early 2022 just making really simple, improvised music. It was the first time in a long time that I wrote just for the fun of it instead of being focused on being productive towards a commercial project. I started playing piano a lot and simply capturing the performances via rough iPhone recordings. When it came time to add “score” music to the documentary it seemed like an obvious place to start. So Kristian picked out a bunch of snippets from my archive. He insisted that we use them “as-is” and not re-record so you can hear a lot of mistakes (as well as background noises like my young son Owen). Here are the recordings that made it in the score.




INSPIRATION FOR THE NFAQL DOC →

Kristian and I both are big film fans and have a special love for nonfiction documentary based story-telling. We spent a lot of time sharing inspiration back and forth. These are a few documentaries that we both really liked and that shared some similarity to the NFAQL story.









05 02 2024


NOTES FROM A QUIET LIFE LP
The musical direction on this album felt a lot more minimalist in terms of the production, so I wanted the cover image to mirror that with a starkness and simplicity. The photo was taken by a Korean photographer named Myoung Ho Lee who builds elaborate white backdrops that frame large trees in space. Conceptually I like how this reframing focuses attention on natural elements as art objects. Check out this long-play BTS footage from one of this shoots.



THE POETRY OF MARY OLIVER →

I’ve enjoyed reading Mary Oliver over the last couple of years.  Not only does she capture beautiful images, but she sheds light on beautiful moments that might otherwise be taken for granted.  I’ve tried to practice this sort of mindfulness and inquisitiveness in my own life. This essay by Maria Popova does a great job of describing the magic of her work.





THE HARDEST PART [OFFICIAL VIDEO] →
The first song from NFAQL has video directed by a filmmaker I’ve been a fan of for a long time, Paul Trillo. It’s also the first commissioned music video created entirely using OpenAI’s Sora text-to-video model. Sora’s not available to the public yet, so it was cool working with Paul to test the limits of what a tool like that could do in the context of a music video that couldn’t have made with any other technology.








DISCOGRAPHY