Playing Live

The past six weeks have been full of live performances. I was tallying it up today, and I think I’ve played somewhere every week for the last six, from a pair of shows with the expanding band lineup, to a few solo acoustic sets, and the odd open mic here and there. It occurred to me in thinking about this today, that while I have a vision for this music, I still don’t have a plan.

I’m ok with that. This whole process has been a long and unfolding adventure, so I’ll keep that up. The closest thing I have to a plan is to say that from here on out, we’ll try to play a show a month and no more, because I’ve still got a few more songs to write on my new John Henry-inspired concept album. Maybe it’s more of a song cycle than a strict concept album, but whatever it is, it needs to get recorded later this year. Steps are being taken to make that happen, too. So we’ll see where this road takes us.

In any event, it’s time to introduce the rest of the band. Sci-Fi Romance is now myself (Vance Kotrla) on vocals and guitar, Kurt Bloom on drums, and Jody Stark on cello. These musicians are a blessing, and if you are local to LA and you haven’t had a chance to see us play together, I think I can say you’re missing out. I say that as a fan of them, myself.

Here are a couple of videos from our last show at the Pig N Whistle, which may become our local home.

As the descriptions say, the quality isn’t astonishing, but you get the idea.


Mission 13 has remixed the track “When Breath Becomes Visible,” otherwise known as Track 3 on …and surrender my body to the flames.  For those of you not in the know (which, honestly, is probably everybody) Mission 13 has provided original tracks for films of mine like The Return of the Forest Monster, Dali’s Hairs, and Anatomy of a Composite Shot, and has now turned a digital eye on Sci-Fi Romance.

I’ve always been a big fan of Kieran Hebden of Four Tet, as far back as the original release of Pause, which I had to get as an import before it was available in the States.  Four Tet is this amazing blend of folk and jazz instrumentation with electronica, and so as a fan of the trail that Hebden blazed, it is personally very cool for me to hear one of my songs reworked into a similar sort of setting. People have called Four Tet “folktronica” for a while, so I suppose it’s only reasonable to consider the Sci-Fi Romance remix steamfolktronica, or to riff on what The Music Slut called SFR, I supposed you might call it “apocalyptic post-folktronica.”  Either way, you get to have fun with the ridiculous morass that is the intense genrefication of modern music, which is always great.

Versions of the remix with and without vocals are available as web-exclusive free downloads from the Sci-Fi Romance music page.  I hope if there is a steampunk dance club somewhere, they will somehow be led to this track…

Below, you can find the original version of the song: