Fall Down and Breathe

There is something happening with me. Things are gaining mass; growing fecund with layers of meaning.  I feel like just maybe I am learning slowly to hold oneness and chaos together.

The release of these songs into the world comes at a momentous time.  Big things are happening, and the ripples reach everywhere. These songs are a part of those vibrations; their refraction through me.

I am grateful for every story I have ever read, lived, or been told. Each one has prepared me by stretching my imagination that much further; so that when life happens, it does not feel so unfamiliar. So that each day— or if not today, then tomorrow— I feel just a little less lost; a little less alone.

Today, I "didn't accomplish much."  Things I tried to do didn't go as planned.  Opportunities to go out and see beautiful things slipped away. But I am not angry or disappointed.  I fed and cleaned my body, I showed care for those in my company, and I let this music go— like yesterday I said I would.

This title of this EP, and of three of its five songs, are in Basque— or Euskara.  Perhaps the beauty of its name, in its own tongue, can explain my infatuation with the language— its round, open vowels and slithering syllables. Erori Da, the collection's title, means "fall down." Harrigarria, the opening track, composed around Parisian sirens caught in a rainy rush hour, means "amazing," or "surprising." Katea means "string;" and arnasketa, "breathe."

These songs were made between December 2017 and February 2018.

Thank you.

Sam Moth
Big Week, Basically

This week was very long, and very full, and very challenging, and made me feel young, and old, and tired, and weak, and strong, and loved. I'll stick to the good stuff.

One highlight was visiting and performing with lovely friends at Orchard on Wednesday.  Dave Shapiro organized a great gig, with songwriter/bassist/vocalist Brittany Karlson (whose project is called Karl), poet Nikole Jewell, bass drone master Zach Rowden, and me. It was intimate, and I knew almost everyone in the room, but I felt nervous before performing.  I hope the set was as soothing for the audience as it was for me, because by the end of the performance I was feeling so happy.  Thank you to everybody who was there for making such a supportive and warm space. 

Here's my set:

 
 

And then, on Friday, Nick released an album he's been crafting for a while: Live With Your Possibility.  He made it on my laptop!—an unusual production method for his recordings; and it's perhaps more "concise" than initiated listeners might have come to expect. I think it's fantastic, and its grooves do well to thaw a winter's chill. (Though, you know, there's really an unfair bias against cold...)

Live With Your Possibility is up for your listening pleasure on Bandcamp— and is free to download!

Sam Moth
bodily by Sam Moth

Around 2am on Saturday morning, I debuted the two sung songs that, together with two longer compositions, comprise bodily

This EP developed over the past three months as a meditation on perception: the overwhelming nature of our sensory experience as it interacts with our acculturated mind.

Our minds have the capacity to run myriad programs at once, often without our knowledge. Tremendous power can be harnessed from focusing attention on our internal functioning. Magic can be felt when all our senses tune in to the harmonics vibrating continuously between and through everything in the universe. 

The creation of these songs has been an attempt, on my part, to re-enter realms of experience that may be glimpsed only fleetingly; to dwell longer in feelings sparked and snuffed in the flash of an eye.  And to make peace with those experiences which recur or seem to be chronic; to find beauty even in the limitations and decline of my own sensory machine.

With everything that happens each day in the world, it is remarkable how potent our own immediate experiences remain.  The drive to remain alive, to remain engaged, to experience connection, remains paramount despite the onslaught of input that seeks to numb, to nullify, and to divide.

Thank you, I hope you know who you are, you who remind me daily of life's beauty.  These songs are from you, and for you.

Love,

Sam Moth
Fair Games
 Photo: Karen Ponzio

Photo: Karen Ponzio

For the past ten months (and hopefully for many more), Paul Belbusti and his band, Mercy Choir, have been hosting a concert series on the last Friday of the month at the one-of-kind Never Ending Books, in New Haven, CT: Mercy Choir and Friends.

On Friday, May 26th, I had the pleasure of performing at an unusual show in the series: Lines West and Mercy Choir, typically bands of 4+ musicians, appeared as a duo and a solo act, respectively.  I was (not so) secretly glad of this stripped-down scenario, as it made me and my laptop slightly less anomalous among the evening's fare.

I was thrilled to start off the night, and debuted two songs from my first EP, Pupa, that had yet to see the stage lights.  Lines West lulled the audience into comfortable revery with intimate arrangements and lovely harmonies, and dusted off some less-played songs of their own. (They also invited me back to the stage to don wings and bobbling antennae as their Honeybee.) And, had Paul simply pulled out his guitar and played any of his (literally) hundreds of well-loved songs, it would have been a perfect evening...

But he did us one better.

With the Mercy Choir and Friends residency in its tenth month, Paul had been looking for ways to keep things interesting— for himself, as well as his audience.  So he decided, for this solo show, to write an entirely new album. The ten songs which he played make up Fair Games, a startling album with songs ranging from the existential and introspective, to the speculative, and even the silly.

The twenty or so of us there that night were privy to a truly wonderful musical moment; the kind of moment that is— blessedly, and no less wonderfully for it— a semi-regular occurrence in New Haven.

Thank you, Paul, for a memorable night.

Sam Moth
Musings While Listening to Kenneth Kirschner's Field Recordings of a Protest Held at the Onset of the War in Iraq

I remember arriving in the terminal, confronted by a crowd so large it teemed like an ocean. My father took my hand, gripped it hard, and we weaved between the bodies like an eel through schools of fish.

The crowd did not dissipate on the sidewalks.  It densified, intensified, and the myriad voices converged into one.  We were not apart from this multitude, but a part of it. We were here to amplify that voice, if only by half a decibel.

I was nine inches shorter, then.  Seventeen years younger.  Among the smallest in the crowd, and possessing the greatest hope.  I had never seen the likes of this before.  I did not have to suspend my disbelief or stretch my imagination to hold faithfully to the dear hope that this would matter; this would make a difference.

An eight-foot-tall lobster, covered head to toe in crimson fuzz, danced through the streets.

Poster board signs shared strong opinions, and adults— more of them than I have ever seen— chanted obscenities in unison, without glancing at me or moving to cover my ears:

“1, 2, 3, 4- WE DON’T WANT YOUR FUCKING WAR!”

At the time, profanity felt powerful.  Perhaps if the Bush administration had actually been a pack of children, as they were alleged to be, they would have been persuaded by our rhetoric. 

I don’t mean to be a pessimist, now, but I have seen a lot since then. 

I have attended other marches, and attempted always to amplify the voices that I believe need to be heard— if only by a meagre microdecibel. 

But I watched Bill Nye Saves The World the other night, and it made me cringe, so I don’t really know what to do, now.