No Outlet (volume 1: 2007​-​2013)

by Jack O' The Clock

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1.
A MINOR DISASTER As the grape leaves choked the light from the sundial, through the windless air just after the feast of St. Jerome, a flying machine like she'd never seen came bombinating over field and town. It had four square wings the color of lobster claws and a nose that buzzed like her father humming through a comb and it made her sigh and need to fly 'til the engine coughed and the plane came down. Oh my God, is something moving in the cockpit? Somebody's alive in there! They're gonna die if I don't help them! I'm not ready. I'm not ready.
2.
Bus Station 02:53
BUS STATION Waited an hour at the bus station, weary from working. Some guy is washing out his clothes in the bathroom while I'm trying to rinse my hands. Was it a landlord? A hospital bill? Don't look at me like that! I know-- it wouldn't take much. I fell asleep on the bus (this guy was watching me)-- I woke up lost. Now, I don't know, but I tell myself I am no longer young, don't need a lot from the world. But I can't escape this feeling of being drawn backwards through the streets. All right, I guess I'd be crazy just to accept that I got no power. What troubles me are these hideous dreams of impact. I'm walking home with a rose in my hand like an albatross again, to mark the time.
3.
All Saints 03:32
4.
The Matron 03:06
THE MATRON In persistence while you sleep the matron stands before the sink among the objects of the day and grinds away the grime you miss while you chicane the jungle gaze down city shafts throughout the day. You sweat harder than a horse beneath the girth, and when you draw the blinds... And if you didn't drink so much your body wouldn't wake you up and send you squinting out across the floodlit kitchen to relief, to glimpse the flicker of a form among your wants scrubbing and scraping soaping and scouring grinding and grating scrubbing and scraping
5.
Numbers 02:19
NUMBERS Little man leaning over the geometry of the night. Who builds a model of the heart out of numbers is impossibly in love with the light like Methuzelah, who, after 969 oughts stopped counting a week before the flood.
6.
DON"T MAKE ME SLEEP ON THE FLOOR Oh, the wind and the broken rain skimmed across the plain and it blew away the heat. Ever since I left the lakes I've been dreaming about Rawlins and your warm, yellow kitchen at the end of the street. Don't make me sleep on the floor We're not that simple anymore I leave all my work clothes by the door Just don't make me sleep on the floor. I don't know why you always hide your bewilderment inside-- you know it's all I ever wanted to see. After all the years I've known you, after all the wounds I've shown you, how can you be so formal with me? Don't make me sleep on the floor We're not that holy anymore I leave all my history by the door Just don't make me sleep on the floor. Through all my traveling, through all my plans' unravelling, I've always found your garden full and green. You're like a chain of tiny islands skipping along the horizon with the strangest native flora these eyes have ever seen. I leave everything outside of Rawlins by the door

about

NO OUTLET is a compendium of unreleased tracks commemorating the band’s ten years together in the Bay Area. Volume 1, released January 6th 2019, covers the years 2007 through 2013.

credits

released January 7, 2020

Personnel:

Damon Waitkus - vocals, guitars, hammer dulcimer, piano, pianet, banjo, percussion, flutes, recorder
Emily Packard - violins
Kate McLoughlin - bassoon, vocals
Jason Hoopes - bass, vocals, percussion
Jordan Glenn - drums, mallets, percussion

with Nicci Reisnour - harp and wineglasses on “A Minor Disaster”
Ivor Holloway - saxophones on “Numbers”
Jonathan Russell - clarinet and bassoon on “All Saints”
Shauna Laurel Jones - vocals on “The Matron”

All songs by Damon Waitkus except “A Minor Disaster,” by Damon Waitkus and Nicci Reisnour, “All Saints,” by Damon Waitkus, Emily Packard, Jonathan Russell, and Jacob Kramer

Produced and recorded by Damon Waitkus, 2005-2019, Oakland, San Francisco, and Alameda, California, and Brattleboro, Vermont.

Drums and bass to “A Minor Disaster” engineered by The Norman Conquest, 2009

Mastered by Damon Waitkus at Orchard Hill Studio, Brattleboro Vermont, December 2019

ABOUT THE TRACKS:

A MINOR DISASTER

This is sort-of half remix of our early song “Disaster” sung in a minor key, half unreleased track. “Disaster,” along with “Analemma” and, later, “Saturday Afternoon on the Median” was originally part of a live set called “Crazy 8s,” which also included a couple of musical fragments that got excised as the set developed.

The quieter, polyrhythmic harp/hammer dulcimer/wineglasses/bells section which forms the centerpiece for this version is one idea that I always regretted having to abandon (for the sake of the flow) and I’ve had this recording of it kicking around since 2008. Somewhere along the line Kate improvised some bassoon over parts of this alternate version, and I’ve also added a number of layers to it over the years. Though the lyrics and rhythmic feel are almost the same as the original “Disaster,” the mood is quite different and it feels like a new song to me.

BUS STATION

I wrote this when I started turning from contemporary instrumental composition back towards “folky” songwriting, around 2006. Being one of the first songs out of the gate, it created a nice slipstream for its successors but wore itself out in the process. The lyrics are a barely-revised journal entry.

The recording I put together in subsequent years. Emily brought a great energy to this on the 5-string, and I added banjo and a little percussion to get it moving a bit. There was a nice upright bass part from Jason as well, but it unfortunately it succumbed to Arbitrary Digital Immolation.

ALL SAINTS

Emily and I used to record some of our improvisations with Jonathan Russell and Jacob Kramer, among others, and this piece derives from one of those. Here we were playing chords in rhythmic unison, with one person cuing the entrances, picking the pitches out of the air.

I liked part of the session so much that I went back and notated it, then re-recorded it with the original players, replacing Jacob’s classical guitar with bassoon (sorry Jacob, I thought a sustaining instrument would sound better). Included in this sound-collage are pitch-shifted parts of the original improvisation, including some eerie sections where we were all singing through our instruments, as well as Canada geese I recorded flying South for the winter over Alameda, California. The plaintive mood here always had a strongly autumnal feeling to me, so I named it “All Saints” after November 1st. Every fall since 2005 or so, when we did the original improvisation, I would open up the file and work on it a little bit.

NUMBERS

An oddity from around 2011-13, out of the cluttered world of a musical hoarder. I kept working it and reworking it each time I made an album and it never quite got there, until after Night Loops, when I gave it up along with “The Matron.” And yet I still like this warthog.

THE MATRON

Fun with water. I tried to meld my voice with Shauna Jones’ alto to create the impression of a single, androgynous singer. Originally recorded circa 2006 but reworked in vain for each album through Night Loops. Listen with headphones for a thorough head-cleaning.

DON’T MAKE ME SLEEP ON THE FLOOR

Another Travis-picked song from the early years that we rehearsed a little but never really developed. Inspired by so many one-second views down tiny streets in small towns in the middle of the country that seemed to want more attention. Unlike most of the other tunes in this compilation, a lot of this recording is fairly recent.

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Jack O' The Clock Oakland, California

JACK O' THE CLOCK "presents a fine lesson on what it means to write songs that are at once approachable and human while simultaneously being incredibly profound in terms of timbre, depth of emotion, and harmonic complexity," Progulator.

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