In 2013, a weekend stay at a house in New England that had a set of chimes on the back porch led me to record some improvisations. Some of those recordings ended up on Continental Burns (on "Every Afternoon a New One") and I continued to find comfort in their resonant overtones. Chimes are commonplace to the point of mundanity or cliche, but as someone who grew up and still lives in a major city, my opportunity to hear them in open air has been fairly limited and therefore still exciting. In the years since, I have bought more chimes and continue to record them each summer when visiting family, who are kind enough to hang them on their porch and encourage my developing interest in them.
The first four pieces on this album are recorded at that house in Maine. For better or worse, I have grown very fond of the integrity of simply documenting a moment, imperfect though it may be. "Blush" and "Rose Bench," both recorded in one take, are indicative of this approach. "Gypsy Moth," edited down from a similar live recording, is grounded in the recording of a kalimba and the distortion that can occur when a mic muzzles the tynes--there's no processing there either. In contrast, both "The Sun Elides" and "Handwashing Delicates (once more)" are heavily processed and composed of tones and chords elongated and stitched together. (The latter appeared in a slightly different form on my 2008 album, Ivory Kettle.)
Lastly, "Sternal Sky" takes as its foundation a slowed-down recording of my dog playing tug in the yard of the Maine house, looped with no particular concession to rhythm or synchronization with the other elements. My aim was to create an ambient piece that provided various small comforts, almost like a reflecting pool...something that one could wander in and out of, but with a genuine forward motion.