The v-sides EP includes three tracks I made in January of 2022 using the BeatMaker 3 iPad app, released as a collection on May 1. “styles” samples the “Which Cup” loop from thricedotted’s 2021 Music Loop Variety Pack!, while “ching ching” samples the #11 loop from Hip Hop Makers‘ “Free Synth Sample Pack.”

Listen on Bandcamp / Soundcloud

Videos are also available on YouTube for each of the tracks:

[“log boi” was featured on the May 18, 2022 edition of the We Own This Town podcast.]

villin on the We Own This Town Podcast

For well over a decade, We Own This Town has been a staple in Nashville, putting local music in the spotlight via their blog and podcast. I was asked to take part in WOTT’s 300th podcast episode, selecting a track for the milestone mix, which went live April 19, 2022. To celebrate, I went with a recent favorite which has been in heavy rotation since its release earlier this year: “Showstopper” by Kaby and Brian Brown, with production from Ohdee.

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Diane Nash Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-Ins Ben West

Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-Ins

This past month I’ve dedicated myself to learning more about the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, which began in February of 1960. Moved by the process, I’ve made a two-part audio/video collage in tribute to the heroes who so greatly impacted our city (and nation).

Part one (released February 2, 2022) is titled “peace, quiet and good order,” while the second part (released February 27, 2022) is titled “one more step.” Respect and admiration go to Diane Nash, James Lawson, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, and all who have and continue to take it upon themselves to get into good trouble.

The music behind the series was made using Audacity and the Beatmaker 3 iPad app, sampling “Corrupted World” by Nashville’s Marion James. The video was edited in Premiere Pro, using audio and video from several historical sources: Sit-In, a 1960 documentary by Robert M. Young; an interview with John Lewis, from the Washington University Film and Media Archive; the “Nashville – We Were Warriors” segment from A Force More Powerful, a documentary from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict; the PBS special titled, “John Lewis: Get in the Way”; this interview with James Lawson from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict; and this uncredited video clip.

kings breath villin

king’s breath

The “king’s breath” beat was made with a sample from YAVANE‘s “Vocal Chords,” using the Beatmaker 3 iPad app. The video uses excerpts from “The Flow of Zen” with Alan Watts, retrieved from the Internet Archive. The track also features a brief audio clip from a separate Alan Watts recording, in which he says, “And the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.”

Listen on Bandcamp / Soundcloud

[“king’s breath” was featured on the May 11, 2022 edition of the We Own This Town podcast.]

for thich nhat hanh

This video was created in appreciation of the life and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, serving as a mediation on breathing, happiness, and being.

The track underlying “for thich nhat hanh” was created using a singing bowl drone from myNoise, in conjunction with a selection of singing bowl samples from a “Crystal Singing Bowl Healing Sound Bath” video by Healing Vibrations. The video of Thich Nhat Hanh is sampled from the “Smile – Release” teaching, provided by Plum Tree App, while the background video is from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Memorial Ceremony. The track was created using Audacity and the Beatmaker 3 iPad app, while the video was edited in Premiere Pro.