New Music Monday: A Song Started In 2011

Here is a song that I first started writing back in 2011, thus the rather plain title “2011 09 01”. The title and date associated with it has no meaning; it’s simply the format I use when creating project files.

Yeah, it sometimes takes awhile to finish a piece of music. 🙂

When I write, sometimes a bass line inspires me. At other times a particular sound inspires me. It’s different for every song. If I remember correctly, this one started with the bass line and grew from there.

It’s only at the demo stage and I don’t think I’ll take it any further. Nevertheless, I figured why not let it see the light of day. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Fleeting Moments

The other evening while walking my dachshund, Roxy, the sunset was stunningly gorgeous. There was a thick group of clouds coming in from the northwest, their tops heavy gray, their bottoms glowing purplish red. Would have made for a great picture for this blog post and social media if I’d had my iPhone with me. But I didn’t.

For a second I was disappointed and irritated that I’d left my iPhone at the house. But then I considered that what really irritates me is feeling that compulsion to digitally memorialize every moment, no matter how fleeting. It irritates me when at concerts folks are staring intently at their smartphone screens trying to record a crappy video that they likely will never watch instead of just enjoying the live performance in front of them. Instead of living in the moment, the moment of reality, the moment of actual experience, we’re trying to save it artificially for later in order to gain some online likes, shares and comments. Ugh.

I get it, the need and desire to record life’s important moments. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t at times attempt to do so. But here’s a thought: let some of life’s fleeting moments be just that. Fleeting. No picture, no video, no recording can ever truly capture what our eyes and ears and the rest of our senses can.

I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s live more in the moment rather than for the moment. Let’s experience life instead of feeling compelled to constantly document it, saving it for a later time we may not get around to experiencing.

‘Til next year.

Scale and Proportion

One of my assignments earlier this year had a goal of exhibiting distorted scale and proportion. This is what I came up with.

Okay, a surrealist I’m not. And it’s in no way a sophisticated example of photo editing/blending. But I do find it funny. Each time I go back and look at it, I get this little grin on my face. I think it’s the dinosaur riding the bicycle. Get’s me every time!

Value and Shape

This is something from a recent assignment that was an interesting exercise in shape and value. This project emphasizes the use of curvilinear shapes, specifically circles of various sizes and values. Additionally, there is extensive use of the number 75, and to a lesser extent 11, throughout the work.

Each circle is 75% the size of the next largest circle starting at 11″ for the largest circle.

Circles 1, 3 and 5 (from largest to smallest) are values of black (CYMK) that are 56, 75 and 100 respectively. 75 is of course 75% of 100 and 56 is 75% of 75.

Conversely, circles 2, 4 and 6 (from largest to smallest) are values of black (CYMK) that are 34, 19 and 11 respectively. I chose 11 for the smallest circle to coincide with the size of the largest circle. 19 is 75% more than 11 and 34 is 75% more than 34.

My goal was to achieve movement through space by placing each circle at either the 0, 90, 180 or 270 degree points of the larger circle it sits within. I did this in a clockwise manner which gives it a swirl effect. I used various values of black to bring unity to the overall design. And instead of using lines, I used value to define each shape.

Sunday Stroll

I took a Sunday stroll in the woods near our home.
I took a few photos.
Here they are.

A photo posted by Karl Whetzel (@unrelated.notes) on

A photo posted by Karl Whetzel (@unrelated.notes) on

Newsletter Mockup: Town of Spring Hope

A while back, I was assigned to design a mock informational newsletter promoting a rural North Carolina town. I chose Spring Hope as the primary subject and included text and stats from other previously published articles on various websites noting the source for each.

The main annual event is the Spring Hope Pumpkin Festival, held the first weekend of October, so I chose earth tones to create an autumnal feel to the entire spread. The intent would be to distribute the newsletter to residents and visitors prior to and the day of the Pumpkin Festival in order to promote living in and visiting the town.

I am pleased with the way it turned out, particularly the color selections. The text alignment was a bit tricky in spots, but with a little time and patience, it turned out rather well.

‘Til next time!

“Self Portrait” Collage

For a recent class, I was required to assemble a self-portrait collage. The final piece shown below reflects my personality in that music is a huge part of my life and has been my creative outlet for several decades. You’ll notice that this is a symbolic self-portrait rather than a literal interpretation of my actual appearance.

Self portrait collage by Karl Whetzel, 2016.

Now for a bit of explanation of the bits and pieces:

• The large “W” in the corner denotes my last name.

• The large photo on the right is of Steven Wilson who is my favorite modern musician and artist, one from whom I draw much inspiration and whom I slightly resemble (glasses, long hair, beard). So I used him as a personal likeness.

• The spigot is representative of pouring out many ideas from my mind, capturing them via recordings over the course of a lifetime into a catalog of songs.

• Not being a professional artist/musician, I’m required to project a certain business-like persona in order to make a living.

• Nevertheless, death is the inevitable end of us all which waits at the end of the board.

I arranged this so that someone looking at it will view it from left to right, life to death. A fellow classmate suggested that this would make for a good album cover. Yeah, I think she’s right. 🙂

Going Analog

mmwcameraThose who know me would assume from the title of this post that I’m referencing synths. Typically, I would be. But not today.

During a recent purge of unused stuff from the house, I came across a couple of old cameras. You know, the kind that use actual film. One is a 35mm (with 3 unused rolls of 24 exposure film) and the other is a Polaroid 600 (for you youngsters, this is the original Instagram). Finding them stirred up some nostalgic feelings, so much so that I’ve decided that this Thanksgiving holiday, I’ll not only be taking photos using the trusty iPhone and DSLR cameras, but I’ll also be snapping some good ole-fashioned film pics. Granted, I’ll have to find a place that still processes 35mm film and (gasp!) wait an hour or several days for the pictures to be developed.

I’m actually most anxious to use the Polaroid camera. Having pulled it from storage I found that the film cartridge battery was dead rendering the camera unusable. So began the hunt to find where to buy replacement cartridges. Although Polaroid stopped making instant film in 2008, another company, Impossible Film acquired the last factory producing Polaroid instant film and began “The Impossible Project” to continue manufacturing film for the millions of Polaroid cameras still in existence. So now I’ve got my 8 shot cartridge and will be eagerly anticipating the “whirrrrr” of the camera as it ejects the squarish pic from it’s lower compartment.

I’m looking forward to going back to a 20th century method of taking pictures. There’s something about the tactility of the physicial medium that appeals to me. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not giving up digital photography at all. But for more artistic pursuits, I’m thinking old-school just may be the way to go.


I’m having some blockage. No, not the bodily kind. It’s the dreaded creative block. One song I’ve been working on the past week is almost done, but I just can’t quite figure out an ending. The section I’ve set aside as the bridge could act as the finale, but then I feel the song would end up being too short. And what I’ve added after the bridge as an initial stab at an ending kinda, sorta makes the song too long. I don’t know. Maybe I should just let the song write itself and not worry about the length. A lot of The Beatles’ songs run under three minutes, so if it was good enough for them…