Released in 2019
1. Coyotes (feat. Anthony Ruptak)
2. Moonlight (feat. Justin Davis and Russ Brozovich)
3. Hard to Reach
4. Step Up
5. Love Myself
6. A Little While
8. Dusk (Interlude)
9. Constellations (feat. Not Kate)
11. Walk Sign
13. Marbles (feat. The River)
15. Sweaterist / The View
I was living in Denver's Cap Hill, in a Victorian mansion that had been cut into 15 odd little apartments. #1 started where the sidewalk ended, adjacent to the best sleeping alley in the city, at least according to the people that slept in it.
I lived below a biological engineer whose "bathtub fun" meant my ceiling fan occasionally became an indoor waterfall. We independently got into epoxy-based tactile art at the same time. I lived above a trapeze artist and a garbage sculptor with the most relaxed dog I've ever met. Elsewhere in the building were the usual cap hill folks—drug dealers, opera singers, freelance architects—all doing their own things.
Meanwhile, I was recording this album in my porch room, a bonus room to my one-room studio apartment that literally used to be a porch. It was all windows and creaky floor. I could only stand in one spot that didn't creak, and it always seemed like I got a great take just as an ambulance sped down Washington. Eventually I left the ambulances in, for ambience.
I didn't know I was making an album when I started. I had written Retrograde, and it was kinda like the songs I had on Chess Moves, but kinda not. I knew where I needed to take things, but didn't know how to get there.
I had a recorded snippet of my friend Dan telling me I was blocking the view, and that was the foundation for what the album became. Observing people is my thing, particularly through windows, as that barrier adds some essential degree of separation. I make mental and written notes on what I see and experience, and often those observations work their way into my music.
He died that summer, and I started collecting snippets from everyone I knew that was willing, figuring I'd find a place for them...eventually. They ended up being the glue that makes Observation Notes a cohesive whole.
They're inside and on the edges of nearly every song, some layered atop others; others still obscured and indistinguishable from noise. It's as though they're having a conversation with my lyrics, which are on subjects I'd have actual conversations about, or at least conversations I'd have with myself.