Gold Standards

 

This might be a long one. For anyone interested in the basic facts, separated by informative bullet-points, it might be best to skip ahead to the actual page. For those interested in how this all came to be, hey now, read on.

Travis tells a story in his typical rambling fashion:

This is how this all happened. Three things went down in January 2013. First, Pau and I went to Panama on an art thing. Second, we got married. And third, I began contemplating a return to the United States, taking into account such factors as location, occupation and minimal income needed to sponsor Pau’s immigration proceedings. A few months earlier, I’d applied to a few positions in anticipation, but inevitably learned the hard way that regardless of how internationally well-versed you seem and what biennial’s you’ve shown at, a knock of opportunity isn’t necessarily a guaranteed thing.

In short, get over yourself. Love, Your Ego.

Two addendum to that last statement. The first parallels a common mistake I’ve often made in the few fistfights I’ve been in over the course of my existence – don’t just throw a punch and expect it to be over with. Usually that ends up leading to you standing and looking dumbstruck as your opponent a.) doesn’t flop to the ground in some sort of glorious heavyweight knockout and b.) probably will rally the gusto to decide to take a swing back, not necessarily parlaying to the same rules of fisticuffs of bygone era’s depicted in newsreels of the vaudeville. Instead, it’s better to keep swinging, thoroughly pummeling your opponent until the threat of any imminent retaliation has been subdued into a dusty, blood-spattering pulp on the boardwalk. It’s not that I don’t yearn for the vaudevillian era of dueling – its just, well, you know how these trying times are, metaphorically speaking. I guess what I’m trying to say is you can no longer submit just one application to what you perceive as your dream job and wait to hear back as if nothing else matters in the world. Instead you have to keep sending out apps to anything marginally related to our desired position and hope for the best. Yeah, that fits the metaphor, right?

Addendum two: Just like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. So in April 2013, I boarded a flight north and landed in New York, intent to hit the ground running and hope I could potentially nab something zesty within driving distance of the nest, or at least from an organization willing to cover the cost of airfare. However, before I could do anything, I had to run a couple errands. Funny how that happens. One of which involved taking a trip to Baltimore to return a pair of sandals to a friend with a rather large footprint. Being of average size for your typical American male, I was unaware of this, but apparently anything over a size 14 is extremely hard to come by and the cost of shipping is commensurate with the cost of a one-way ticket on the chinatown bus. Adding to the necessity of this trip to Baltimore was my friend Ami, who was playing in New York that weekend and just so happened to be looking for some company on the drive back – trust me on this one – New York and Baltimore seem close on a map, but the drive itself is a bit of an endurance test. Well most routes, at least. There is that one way that goes through Harrisburg that’s kind of pleasant, but it also dumps you out 100 miles north of the city. Good for Hudson Valley farm rats such as myself, not so much for the metropolitan commute. We left at 8. We arrived at 2. I slept most of the way. Apologies, I’m a horrible navigator.

Later that morning, my boots hit the pavement in search of coffee and a rendezvous with Peter. Ironically, I ended up getting coffee at the coffee shop next to my future office, observing the banners for the school and contemplating whether or not they had any open positions. Imagine the time I could’ve saved. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy reconnecting with New York, but eh, necessity and industry and whatnot. I met Pete in the early afternoon, and after spending a good chunk of the day talking circuits and playing in the park with his son, we reconnected with his wife, Ayako, who I went to grad school with, as well as Liz Meredith, a very old friend, violist, collaborator, band-mate, composer, etc., also from my California era, as well as a couple bi-coastal tours afterwards for good measure. Good people, one and all. And, like many good people who haven’t seen each other in a while, we had dinner and we talked.

Of the many subjects that came up that night was the future of VauxFlores, since said cottage industry had blossomed just a bit since our last collective encounter, not to mention the intrigue on how, or if I would continue to carry the torch now that I was back in the states and actively seeking a day-gig. At that point, I was honestly a little undecided. Shortly after the weeding, I’d placed an order for a couple boxes and switches in hopes of depleting my reserves and returning without my usual tools and components, but the combination of my Ticotronics class and our trip to Guatemala pushed things back a bit. I mean, I did finish a couple and while describing these special editions, I mentioned this one gold-colored, stripped-down 24 that I had just sold in New York a few days prior that ended up being pretty cool in the end and was jokingly referred to as my new “Gold Standard” while describing the box. This is what it looked like, by the way.

 

IMG_0334

 

The next part is a bit hazy – sorry, I don’t remember every conversation I have over dinner with friends, but by the end of the evening, Liz and I had agreed to collaborate on a pedal, with Liz supplying the artwork and me designing the circuitry. And finally, after nearly 8 months, we’re proud to introduce y’all to the newest addition to the VauxFlores family – a dirty, striped-down fuzz-monster capable of some amazing heaviness that invokes a symphony of harmonically-rich buzz saws, grinding, shredding, tearing, even vivisecting your tone, cutting through mixes and taking no prisoners. It’s intense, it’s gated, it’s for real. It even sounds great on bass, guitar and viola, produces some amazing chirps and artifacts when not passing signal and in certain settings, the tone control does this strange filter sweep thing. Is it for the tone chasers out there? Nope, not in the least – there’s nothing transparent about this beast. Is it something intended for the crowd who believe that every box they rock needs more controls than an Apollo module? Nope. Think minimal racing-edition – built for speed, not precision. But for the crowd looking for something interesting that applies itself to creative music in a footprint that we all know and love, hey, it’s worth a shot. Not to mention in comes in a sparkly gold enclosure with some killer artwork that doubles as a graphic score. Into score-based, aleatoric shoegaze? Now you can look cool and follow the chart at the same time – how’s that for forward thinking?

Either way, both Liz and I are proud of this little number and we’re happy to share our collaboration with the world. So uh, yeah, take the plunge. We like it. And if we like it, who knows, maybe you might, too.

Here’s the link again, for anyone who just read this and is adverse to scrolling.

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~ by vauxflores on December 19, 2013.