The concept of sublimation has roots in multiple scientific doctrines. In the physical sciences, sublimation is the transition of a solid into a gas, sans the usual liquid phase (ie - ice into vapor, without ever becoming water) - this transition is rare, and requires intense amounts of pressure and energy. In the psychological sciences, sublimation generally refers to the transformation of emotions or impulses into socially acceptable behavior - Freud (of course) highlighted the transformation of sexual energy into creative output; whereas Jung referred to a mystical process, with roots in alchemy, wherein the great mysteries of creation are unconsciously revealed through evolution.

The constants between these disciplines and disciples are creativity and radical change. Over the last several years, I have attempted multiple musical experiments based around this concept, involving ever-changing ensembles; songs pulled from the past, present and ether (and in some cases, created on the spot); and most importantly, very little rehearsal or recording time. Though the initial goal was to create a sprawling masterwork, the individual sessions themselves have proved enlightening; and while never perfect nor polished, they are possibly more interesting and complex than anything I could have arranged or orchestrated beforehand.

The Sublimative Sessions - Vol. 2: Darling Hall (RIP) was recorded in a single night at the now defunct home of The Vega Star and Flojo collective rehearsal, recording and living space. Four of us entered the room at 4pm on Friday, April 13, with almost no preparation - three of us had never technically made music together before - and by midnight we had roughly three takes each of five songs. Strings and light guitar accents were added later, using the same improvisational approach, but the performances remain intact; a document of us discovering the music, with some very raw emotions bleeding through here and there.

For various reasons, I spent two years avoiding this session, refusing to listen back and resolving to destroy the evidence. Special thanks goes out to Jackson Messner and Justin Rolbiecki for encouraging me to revisit and relive, and thereby heal some old psychic wounds - Justin, in particular, has worked his ass off to turn these rough performances into something listenable, and for that I am eternally grateful. Listening back with a little more objectivity, I can honestly say this is one of the best things I have ever recorded - I hope you feel the same.


I give up. I will be perpetually tardy. On everything. Forever.

July's promised release is a live album by Milwaukee supergroup (critics' words, not mine) Buffalo Gospel. We played the Peck School of the Arts last October in a live broadcast for WMSE - our second show (ever) was basically a reinterpretation of the album we had released a couple months prior, We Can Be Horses, and despite our relative youth (and my daughter having been born a week prior, ensuring my absolute exhaustion), upon listening back we were all pleasantly surprised by the results. I spent a couple of weeks remixing everything, et voila: Hoarse as a Crow: Live On Air was born.

I can say with absolute honesty that this is basically a faithful document of an hour of our lives - I made very few corrections, almost no edits (save cutting out dead air for the sake of keeping things moving along), and no added effects - unlike many "live" albums that punch in cleaned-up guitar solos or auto-tune flat vocals, what you hear is what we played. I was prepared to hate every note I played (and many of them I still do), but as the mixing process went along, I became more and more impressed with our live chemistry - I hope the listener agrees.

As always, more shows and monthly releases forthcoming. August is a busy month for me, gig-wise, and I'm excited to be playing some more of my own material, as well as backing up some of my best friends and favorite musicians in the city. I won't even pretend to be more timely with my updates, but I do promise that the monthly releases will keep flowing: four more months left, and even I'm excited to see what will pop out next. Stay tuned.


I promised a monthly release, but I never promised a monthly update ...

I'm gonna go ahead and ride a friend's coat-tails for June's release: Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds finally knocked out our new full-length - Things I Remember Golden - with a CD release on June 13 at Linneman's, featuring yet another little side project as opener, the newly-formed and christened Lyric Advisory Board. Inspired by a throw away joke from the album liner notes, I pieced together some friends from the Rare Birds and Buffalo Gospel for a one-off musical experiment  (it went so well, there may be a reprise ...).

This album is the culmination of my entire time spent with the band - I first joined at the CD release for Heidi's last album - and the results are well worth the three years of production. As always, I'm honored and humbled to be a part of it.

More releases coming up soon, including a live set from Buffalo Gospel, and the second installment of the Sublimative Sessions - I'll do my best to make the posts/updates a little more timely.


So the promised monthly releases are on time, even if the monthly posts/updates aren't ...

My old "friend" Tex Coyote and his band of vagrants, Oedipus Tex and the Motherfuckers, have wandered back in from the wilderness to drop another single - "Hipster Assassin" - and of course I produced it for them (cuz I'm a sucker like that). This is nothing you would expect from any of us, but it turned out surprisingly well (one reviewer even said "I didn't expect to actually like it) ...

Buffalo Gospel and Wolfgang Schaefer - two bands with whom I play - are sharing the stage on Saturday, May 31 at Cactus Club. We'll be supporting Whitney Mann out of Madison, WI - with whom I used to play - so it'll be a lovely little night of incest featuring yours truly as the unifying factor.

Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds finally have the new album in hand, and we'll be celebrating on June 13 at Linneman's with the Lyric Advisory Board. I personally guarantee this will be one of the best shows you'll attend all year, and if you have any doubts, check the lunar calendar - it's the only full moon Friday the 13th for quite some time.

In other news, there is no other news - get yer cute patoots down to one of the next two shows, or you're dead to me (and maybe the world in general).

April's Fool

The Year of Productivity continues with the release of a single ... er, EP ... well, really an addendum to an existing album ...

Anyway. The Marriage: Epilogue is now available for free download on my site, featuring a pair of tunes originally arranged and recorded for weddings. For those of you who already own The Marriage, this makes a nice companion piece; for those of you who don't ... get on it (there's only one physical copy left).

Couch by Couchwest awarded my little publicity stunt runner-up in the "Least Dressed" category - a dubious honor, at best, but flattering that they even made it all the way through the video. I guess next year I'm just gonna have to go full frontal.

Some killer shows coming up, including a top secret project to celebrate the release of the new Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album at Linneman's on June 13 - I can't say much right now, but I PROMISE this is going to be one of the best shows going down this year - best of all, it falls on a full moon Friday the 13th ...

Lots more releases in the works, and I can honestly and humbly say that the performance and production quality just keeps improving (probably because I'm finally figuring out how to use this box with wires and keys and such). Check back in for next month's release - it might shock, it might appall, it might appeal, but it will NOT be boring (or folky).

March Madness

I made a promise on New Year's Day that I would be attempting to release one new "thing" - album, EP, single, video, whatever - every month in an attempt to spur my own work ethic and finally clear out the years of backlogged material. This promise was accompanied by the second movement of Symphonia Pro Punctum, an ambient symphony created for Milwaukee Community Acupuncture.

So far, I have slipped a little (typical) - February's travels, combined with the searing cold (and ensuing depression) that gripped the nation meant that I was unable to complete the second installment in time - however, February's loss is March's gain, as I am pleased to announce MULTIPLE releases this month!

First and foremost, I am excited and relieved to finally release The Sublimative Sessions - Vol 1: Live at WMSE - the first in a continuing series of one-off recording sessions, featuring shifting players and soundscapes, Vol. 1 features a live broadcast of Jackson Messner and myself performing on 91.7 WMSE (way back on June 16, 2009). There will be further installments of this series debuting as the year goes on, and they all come together to form an interesting (and hopefully enlightening) view of the creative process - each release will be available for free download until the next chapter rolls along, so snap 'em up now.

Next up, the fine folks at Couch by Couchwest put on an annual online music festival for those of us too broke (or savvy) to make the long trek down to Austin - as someone who lived, worked and played there for many years, trust me when I say you'd rather spend this week on your couch. While helping Ryan Necci put together a Buffalo Gospel video for the festival, I was struck with another idea that I thought might be too ... um, let's say "revealing" for the rest of the band ... so I submitted it myself. Milwaukee is well-covered (or not) at CXCW 2014.

Lastly, I make a promise to you that I will not drop the ball again (at least until Summer): already got the next few months lined up and ready to go, with some very exciting additions to the ever-broadening sprawl that is my catalog, including the long-awaited return of a so-called "friend" ...

Also, keep your eyes peeled for the even-more-anticipated release of the new Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album (and accompanying films); further Buffalo Gospel projects; and a wide variety of shows with various artists, in varying styles and situations - hopefully, by the end of the year I will have provided something to appease every member of your immediate family (save maybe your uber-conservative father-in-law) ...

Or at least I'll finally empty the cupboard.