standup's picture



Liner Notes: 

During FAWM this year I built a weird instrument. A kalimba glued to a board, with various strings on it to make a slide guitar WITH some what I hoped would be sympathetic strings (but that part didn't work out so well). It looks like this:

So I had to use it for 50/90. I recorded 3 tracks with it. One was slide playing, one was plucking the kalimba tines, and the last one was strumming the sympathetic strings. If I devoted a lot more time to that instrument maybe I could do it all at once. But it's kinda 3 instruments.

This is basically a loose jam, everything improvised without a lot of planning. There’s an actual guitar too, a telecaster with heavy fuzz. And a bit of Wurlitzer electric piano sound.

I've read about people caught up in the wildfires in the western US, and the lyrics are a quick write -- impressions of what that may be like. A friend of mine lost her mom in a California wildfire a couple of years ago, which makes it even more vivid.

Oh, that homemeade instrument is not actually tuneable, so there's some wonky tuning going on here.

My dog started barking at something outside right about in the middle of the song. I think you can hear it.

Kalimbatron was recorded direct into the computer because it was late. The guitar parts are through a Hudsonics amp with a huge fuzz in front of it, which gave me lovely guitar feedback through a 1-watt amp. Nice.

This may be the last gasp for me! We'll see, but I suspect this is my last tune in this 50/90 cycle.


The world's on fire
we breathe the smoke

we smell the houses
that used to stand on the ridge

the glow extends
forever in the distance
devilish silhouettes
cross back and forth
fighting or fanning
the flames.

I lived there most of my life
that house WAS me
I knew every inch of the interior
I knew the yard up to the fence
and I knew miles of woods
in every direction

the heat on my skin
not just on the surface
it penetrates
my heart

the wind rushes by
just like a train
but louder
and deeper

we had no time to get anything together
they came up the road and they said we had to go
Get in the car.
We won't be back
except maybe next week
to look for remains.

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


AndyGetch's picture

Wow! The kalimbatron makes for quite a sonic trip. The lyric about the threats to homes and livelihoods is a heart-wrenching wake-up call to one of the effects of global warming. Well done!

rwc's picture

Really good track – the combination of sounds is really unusual and really effective. I really like the fuzzy guitar and the kalimba sounds. I like the spoken word parts – “that house WAS me”, and the ending is very strong. The electric piano is good too. The kalimbatron looks (and sounds) a fascinating instrument!

philmcmill's picture

Cool instrument(s) - the kalimbatron. Sounds good with the other instruments. The fuzz guitar represents flames to me. Good one!