A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

Words to absorb.

Mr. Bradbury, I hope you enjoy the next journey as much as this one.



BECAUSE my hands hear the flowers thinking

I scooped up the moon’s footprints but
The ground climbed past with a sky
And a dove and a bent vapor.
The other half of cling together wove by
In the breath of the willows; fall in
Sang eagle ox ferret and emerald arch.
O we, too, must learn to live here;
To use what we are. O fall in now!
For only love is community! Of various likenesses, none
Unless one love! In the lionleaf, the sonshade
Spreading over a father’s road! When we love,
God thinks in us. And in that home-going time,
We see with the eyes of grass; and in the trees
Hear our own voices speak! So gently, gently, I say
That sleep is the secret-releasing key to this world.
Our lives are watching us—but not from earth.

- Kenneth Patchen

From We Meet.


Think or Smile Holiday Giveaway

Blogging is a bizarre activity. Passions are translated to code then buried on a digital mountain side, hoping someone will find them. At times it’s easy to feel disconnected from reality while sitting behind this computer screen, yet that is what’s celebrated here: reality, art, life. Without you—readers, artists, collaborators, friends—Think or Smile wouldn’t be. That said, I’d like to take this opportunity to show my continued appreciation for both your inspiration and support by bringing back the (now annual) holiday giveaway.

To my surprise, quite the package has come together over the course of just one day, which is a true testament to the generosity of this community. Existing primarily virtually, I think its important to remember that a lot of what I share here and love are physical objects, so included in the giveaway are some of my favorite releases, donated and signed by good friends, along with a New Directions book that traveled with me for a good part of the year, inspiring my own art, which I’ll also include an original of.

Here’s the treasure chest one winner will find at their doorstep: A signed copy of Gem Club’s “Breakers” on vinyl, an out-of-print 12″ of Monster Rally’s “Coral,” signed along with an original drawing of his. The Holy Spirits/Mutual Benefit split “Mutual Spirits” on vinyl, the Mutual Benefit/Philip Seymour Hoffman split on cassette and a signed copy of Teen Daze “A Silent Planet” on CD. I asked RxRy to include an album, instead Rx went into the lab and made an entire mix of (partially unreleased) sounds – “a.GFT” one-of-a-kind CDr in handmade packaging. It’s an Rx original art piece and will be yours alone to space to. New Directions Publishing has been kind enough to donate a copy of Eliot Weinberger’s “An Elemental Thing,” a favorite book on mine this past year. I’ll also hand make a new Thought Orb collage for you.

How to enter: Simply share a comment below. What on the site did you enjoy most this year, or what would you like to see more of next year? Or just say hello. I like hearing from you.

Please, only one entry per person. It will end on 12/25/2011 at midnight EST. I’ll randomly select one winner and notify by email in the days following.

Much love.

UPDATE 12-26-2011: …And the randomly selected winner is Peter A. Thanks to everyone for entering! Here’s to another wonderful year.


Musical Eyes: Teen Daze on A Silent Planet

Over a continuous stream of emotive dance music, Teen Daze has evoked just about every contemplative landscape Earth has to offer—oceans, sunsets, forests, and so on. His latest effort however, leaves this world behind for a day-dreamt voyage through the pages of CS Lewis‘ celestial “Out Of The Silent Planet.” Upon first listen we begin acclimating ourselves with our new found surroundings, wondering what secrets may be hidden beneath the surface. Enlivened by curiosity we begin the exploration, him along side, scoring our thoughts as if hovering in the very atmosphere. He’s been here before and knows the way.

Anticipating that there must be more to the tale than sound and word, I’ve asked Jamison to share with us some of the more visual influences that helped shape the album. Below he describes how the novel, it’s many cover designs, the work of Scott Hansen, Carl Sagan and Candy Claws have effected the ep.

Surface "Surface"
The Harvest "The Harvest"

A Silent Planet
As I read “Out Of The Silent Planet,” the first in CS Lewis’ “Space Trilogy,” I was incredibly moved by the way that Lewis could create such vivid landscapes with his words. It was easy to feel claustrophobic and tense as the main character sped through space in his coffin-like ship, and it was easy to feel disoriented and in wonder as the main character first stepped onto the new planet. Throughout my reading, I had a visual playing in my head. As well as having that visual creation happening, I also heard what the soundtrack to those visions might sound like, and that’s what eventually became “A Silent Planet”. The music on the record is a companion to the visuals that I saw in my mind.

This isn’t the first time that visuals have played a big role in the creation of my music. Listed below are several different artists/pieces of art that have had a significant influence on the creation of A Silent Planet, as well as all my other works as Teen Daze:

Out Of The Silent Planet Novel Covers
Obviously, “A Silent Planet” draws a lot of influence from its novel counterpart. But the physical novel itself even served as an influence; the many pressings of this novel mean that there are many different visual interpretations of the story. Each one tells a different piece of the story, and each presents a different idea visually. Just as I had my own visual experience with the novel, it’s so interesting to see how each one of the illustrators has their own idea of how to represent the novel.


Scott Hansen (aka ISO50)
One of the greatest inspirations for me, both musically and visually, has been the work of Scott Hansen, who creates music under the name Tycho, and designs under the moniker, ISO50. Scott’s works evoke so much emotion and feeling. So much of my work as Teen Daze has been created as “vibe music”, or in other words, it’s been created to have that same characteristic that Scott’s work has. I want Teen Daze records to draw out those same emotions and feelings that I experience when I listen to Tycho, or when I see some of his design work.


I only discovered Carl Sagan this past year, and I dove head first into Cosmos. The man’s passion and love for all things “unexplainable” is so inspiring. The way that he was able to take something very intellectual and formal, and present it in a very relational way was such a wonderful gift. His passion for Science spilled over and became a passion for anyone that came to experience him, whether personally or through this series. Visually, the series itself is so lush and pleasing to the eye. The soundtrack uses electronic music in a way that is more comparable to classical music, rather than dance music, which is a trait that I’ve always strived towards.


Candy Claws In Dreamland
A huge musical influence on the record is the works of Candy Claws. Dreamland is a series of videos that feature the band exploring some of the beautiful nature scenes in their home state of Colorado, as well as showcasing their ability to create other-worldly sounds through the series’ soundtrack. When I first approached Ryan, one of the principle members of Candy Claws, about possibly designing the album art, I was shocked when he said that he was a huge fan of the books when he was growing up. A week or so later, and he sent me his first draft, which ended up being the cover!  His design work has this modern, 50′s look to it, and it suited the feeling of the album so well.

Images from top to bottom:

  1. Out Of The Silent Planet, Publisher: Avon Books 1949
  2. Out Of The Silent Planet, Publisher: Avon T127 1949
  3. Out Of The Silent Planet, Publisher: Pan Books 1962
  4. Out Of The Silent Planet, Publisher: Mac Millan 1970
  5. Out Of The Silent Planet, Publisher: Scribner Paperback Fiction 1986
  6. ISO50 – Tycho: Past is Prologue
  7. ISO50 – Tycho: Dive

A Silent Planet is available (September 13th) digitally on bandcamp and physically at the Lefse Records shop on both CD & cassette.


Fairy tale illustrations of Jaroslav Serych

I stumbled across these illustrations by Jaroslav Serych for the 1979 children book called Contes d’Indonesie (Tales of Indonesia) while browsing the bizarre kid’s books section of A Journey Round My Skull‘s flickr page. From what I’ve been able to dig up, they illustrate the adventures of Kanchil, an Asian animal of sorts, who likes to torment other creatures with mischief. But don’t quote me on that.

What I absolutely love about these are how gorgeous and imaginative they are. It’s as if early Kandinsky and later Dali collaborated to blow some kid’s minds, tapping into some otherworldly inspiration. When I have a child these are the kind of books I’ll be reading them… to a soundtrack of Lisa Gerrard or Loreena McKennitt. I imagine a child’s mind to know no limits until taught, so when it comes to opening up their imagination I’ll be aiding how ever I’m able. Which means they’ll likely be hearing some strange stories along with a healthy dose of Dr. Seuss. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg of bizarre kid’s books too.

Any particular favorites that stood out to you as a child?


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2011