Please tune in to Radio Spiral‘s program Around the Campfire for the Streaming Premiere, Jan. 29 at 8pm Central.

Powering up the studio in early December 2019, on a whim I opened my folder of Odd Pieces – as one does. I’ve sketched out and filed away lots of project ideas over the years, to be revisited “someday”. A recent nagging desire to sort through – and deal with – whatever I’d buried there finally said “NOW”.

Most of what I found was, as expected, disposable – ideas for which enthusiasm had waned, for which I had written down a sentence or two to capture the idea, but had recorded nothing, or very little. A few of them even had 20 to 30 tracks set up in Ableton Live – all or mostly empty.

With five albums in progress, I have plenty going on that really excites me, which makes it easy to let go of these artifacts without looking back. “They are merely empty shells. Dispose of them as you see fit.”

But … there were four exceptions, which I had not listened to in years. They stood up very well, though one was an unfinished composition, two needed additional parts, and all needed some remixing.

The result is We Once Were Lost, a “lost pieces” album coming soon on Kalindi Music.

Track List:
1. Abyssal   28.43
2. Aurora   10.54
3. Gypsy Girl in Paris   10.28
4. Confluence of Souls   16.10

Abyssal began as a short, improvised synth jam from March 2005. I cherry-picked the good bits (about three minutes’ worth) and set about reworking them into an Actual Composition. A good combination of Absynth and Alchemy patches evoked the eerie, deep submersion I was looking for, and I ended up with an extended, live-recorded performance. This will be a Serious Blast to play live…

Aurora is all heavily-processed 12-string harmonics, short clips arranged into five tracks. Recorded in September 2010, it needed only some post-production adjustment. It had been filed away for inclusion on a later album, as there was no place for it on The Separate Ones, which was nearly finished at this time. I never wrote down what I played, and had completely forgotten it, so Aurora has truly earned the “lost piece” tag. This would have been right at home on The White Island.

Gypsy Girl in Paris began as a set of melodic sequences for Piano and Santur, and the parts were recorded in June 2011. This was contemporaneous with Exquisite Divination of Patterns and Radiant Perception from the Divinations album and, like those two pieces, was a laptop creation.

These parts were intended to be recycled by a friend for a project of his. As sometimes happens, that plan wasn’t realized, but I had always intended to find a way to finish it myself. So I changed the Piano part to Marimba and added two synth chords, which felt like a perfect frame for the melodic lines.

Confluence of Souls has the most ambitious origin story. It was planned as a longform piece built on at least two guitar loops, featuring two voice loops which were to begin at separate times and gradually move toward synchronizing.

Two guitar loops were recorded in October 2007 and the project was set aside. The original ambition having faded, the piece feels complete with just a quiet airbrushed synth part added.

Confluence of Souls is one of my earliest guitar pieces (only Radha’s Tears and First Day Apart predate it), and the first with more than one part.

The cover features another excellent photo from my wife Daci, taken in Minnesota’s Boundary Water wilderness on an early Summer morning in 2019. She also suggested the title.

We Once Were Lost will be a digital-only release, available Jan. 27 from my Bandcamp store. You can hear Gypsy Girl in Paris and the Preview Clip now. I hope you enjoy it!