Fox Fur

Foxfur music, thoughts, and essays.

—Bed of Nails August Final

This song will be on the upcoming EP, which will be downloadable on bandcamp. 

John-Flor Sisante

—Hayop Ka 031713 Final

First version of Hayop Ka (You’re an Animal). Listen with headphones.

chorus: hayop ka/sino nagturo sa’yo/na saktan siya ng ganito/madilim ang buhay mo///hayop ka/laruan mo siya hangang/’yong kalaluwan maging/itim ang kulay

"You’re an animal/who taught you/how to hurt her like this/your life is dark///you’re an animal/you play with her until/your soul becomes/the color black" 

I made this silly video after a fun show at Hunter College last night.  Can you believe I used to be a professional dancer?

new song preview tonight. Days Like No Other

lyrics:

I read from the Good Book

is this where I’m going?

you said “if we don’t know Him, but we still got time…

you leapt in the hammock

we made from a parachute

(that) we found in the attic after Lolo had passed.

vs 2:

you said “come and get me”.

I did, yelling “Timber!”

and fell into the blanket punctuated with light

that took look to reach us

and when it arrived here

it lit up my fingers on your infinite back

ch: if ever I’m hiding

    please remind me of days like no other

    invite me to gaze in your eyes

    then I will remember

    and I will surrender

    together, igniting the stars in the sky

vs 3:

we painted the evening

stayed up til the morning

as if we were dreaming in conversation and fire

that dripped from the maple ghost tree that you loved so

you said “don’t let me go”

as my lips sung in praise;

battle hymns gone ablaze.

lyrics, words and music by John-Flor Sisante 2012

Wise words from friend and fellow singer-songwriter Brian Sendrowitz of Beat Radio. He consistently makes music that etches its lyrics on my heart. Look up his songs “Golden Age”, “Fearful”, “Mexico”, “Planes Fly By”. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant writing. 
wearebeatradio:

the endeavor of making music is weird.  sometimes you get hung up on the  idea of “success” or “money” or being “famous” and sometimes it feels  like that’s happening and other times it feels like that will never  happen but after a while you get used to the emotional rollercoaster and  you just decide that either way, you’re going to make the whole process  an awesome, joyful, beautiful experience.  i’ve been doing this for  like, forever, but it took me a while to learn how to keep my sense of  humor through all the ups and downs.  i’m sitting in my basement studio.  i can make any kind of record i want to make.  that still feels like a miracle to me.

Wise words from friend and fellow singer-songwriter Brian Sendrowitz of Beat Radio. He consistently makes music that etches its lyrics on my heart. Look up his songs “Golden Age”, “Fearful”, “Mexico”, “Planes Fly By”. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant writing. 

wearebeatradio:

the endeavor of making music is weird.  sometimes you get hung up on the idea of “success” or “money” or being “famous” and sometimes it feels like that’s happening and other times it feels like that will never happen but after a while you get used to the emotional rollercoaster and you just decide that either way, you’re going to make the whole process an awesome, joyful, beautiful experience.  i’ve been doing this for like, forever, but it took me a while to learn how to keep my sense of humor through all the ups and downs.  i’m sitting in my basement studio.  i can make any kind of record i want to make.  that still feels like a miracle to me.

Ukulele music love song (sorta) that I wrote last year. 

Listen with headphones. 

How Jeremy Lin Has Awakened The Once Dormant Knicks-Loving, Asian American Kid In Me.

As a Filipino-American and  Asian-American who’s lived in New York almost his entire life, the last and only time I’ve been a New York Knicks fan was during the early 90s. I remember fondly how my my father, little brother, the occasional relative or family friend, and I would would watch the Knicks after mom’s epic mealtime of rice, Filipino dish comprised of something meaty with very little vegetables, and coke. Sometimes when my brother and I did schoolwork in our bedroom and couldn’t watch the game, I would go out to the living room, ask my dad what the score is, and then would ask him what the specifics are which led to the current state in said basketball game. A lot of the times, this would be the only communication that I would have with my dad the whole day, besides the mano po (a part of Filipino culture where you gently take your elder’s right hand, and place it on your forehead as a sign of respect.) 

Not only did we watch the Knicks, however; my brother and I wanted to be future New York Knicks. We both joined a Catholic Youth league basketball program for a season, with very mixed results; while my four-year younger brother was undoubtedly a much better basketball player who can do all those cray-cray crossover and dribble-between-the-legs-to-make-your-opponent-guarding-you-look-like-a-moron moves, I was one whose slow athleticism meant that I perhaps had a minute or two of game time, where during the whole ten game season I can count the number of times on my hand I’ve been passed the ball (thrice) and scored. (does -2 count? because not only did I never officially score a point in that youth league series, but I also attempted to shoot the ball on the wrong net. Oops.)  My brother was a young John Starks in the making. I was not as fortunate, so I immersed myself into playing saxophone and trumpet scales instead. 

Yet for all those hours watching the Knicks after mealtime, and wanting to be in the Knicks, my basketball fandom eventually would be crushed mercilessly when the Knicks were defeated in the 1994 NBA Finals. {John Starks, why did you forsake us with your 2 for 18 FG shooting in Game 7? Honestly?} During my lamentations after the game, I swore to myself to never be a Knicks, and thus, basketball fan. My heart couldn’t take the utter evisceration of following the Knicks, ever again. 

My disavowal  for the Knicks and basketball seemed unbreakable, and I wasn’t ever interested in the Knicks or basketball since. I’ve moved my illogical hopes and dreams to other sports (I’m a Mets fan, for Pete’s sake.) and other areas (I’m a musician, for Pete’s sake). 

Then Jeremy Lin appears out of nowhere, emerging as if by teleportation, and then proceeds to outmaneuver everyone and everything in his path; it’s as if he was Captain America running around the ship obstacles and landmines on D-Day, then picking up a whole company of Nazis and tossing them, like pebbles, into the Atlantic Ocean. And yet the BEST part, which I think is what so many Asian Americans such as myself feel akin to, is that this Captain America is Asian-American.

The Legend of Lin has all amazing stories that comprise it. How he sent videos of himself during high school to college scouts because none of the scouts had the foresight to see him play at his games. How he was picked up by the Knicks after not showing any promise with Sacramento Kings, only to have himself demoted because he “could use some work”. How he slept on his brother’s mythical couch. How he saved the Princess from the evil Gannon while simultaneously having a jam session with Yo Yo Ma, solving Poincare Conjecture independently, and making the most magnificent tofu scramble ever…while hanging out on his brother’s mythical couch. It’s insane. I’m sorry, I meant to say, it’s linsane

So would you say that I’m now officially a part of Linsanity? Perhaps. I also wouldn’t be able to refute your staid argument if you connote me with getting on the Knicks’ bandwagon (which seems to also be a thread I’ve been seeing in Facebook the past few days from long-suffering, accusing Knicks fans.)  Well, I am ok with that. The inner adolescent kid in me: who had buck teeth, strange glasses, and got bowl haircuts from dad; who considered it his mission to wear snap bracelets and Cavaricci pants while reciting in verbatim the poetry from the Leonard Cohens of our time, a.k.a., Kriss Kross; and who cheered so strongly for the Knicks, has come back after years of hiding. And we’re high-fiving each other, because of Jeremy Lin.

- signed,

          john-flor sisante

—Mystery more bass and harmonies

the harmony part to the “Mystery song” I wrote a few months ago. My new album hopefully will be dropping in the Summer…God willing.

- fxfr

My favorite songs of 2011 . Part 2

6. Low Anthem - To Them Ghosts Who Write History Books

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7hOkCQogTk&feature=related

To me, another beautiful song about mortality, impermanence, sacredness of life. I’m also recently rediscovering how beautiful the clarinet can be when used tastefullly in song…all because of this band.

favorite lyric: to them ghosts who write songs/everyone asks would you write one about me

7. Beat Radio - Golden Age

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZcdOCdXAb8

My friend Brian Sendrowitz  and his band Beat Radio make beautiful indie pop songs. This song is so honest, vulnerable, and absolutely undeniably hopeful. Like the coming year.

favorite lyric:I feel a little bit nervous, but I’m not afraid/I wanna make good on the plans we made/I love you now like I loved you then/I’ll never make those same mistakes again

8. Hooray for Earth - True Loves

It’s fun seeing people do awesome things with their music, and then be like “I was that guys RA in college!”. Yes, my former floor resident Noel Heroux continues to make great, anthemic rock music time and time again, with impeccable melodies, and captivating arrangements.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVwSP51KVO8&ob=av2n

9. William Fitzsimmons - Let You Break

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyHCmK40vLk

I’m biased here once again, since my friend Josh Kaler of Slow Runner co-produced William’s album, but this track is just so damn good. I give up.

10. James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVgEaDemxjc

So this guy pretty much blew up in 2012, which is great and I feel, much deserved. He just creates beautiful, atmospheric music and isn’t afraid to really explore the sonic landscapes in his arrangements.

lyric: I don’t know about my love/I don’t know about my lovin’ anymore/all that I know is I’ve fallen fallen fallen/might as well fall

11. Fleet Foxes - Montezuma

Another splendid song that consumed a good amount of my headspace for a while in 2011. I distinctly remember listening to this tune and letting God speak to me as I walked across the Boston’s Charles River during a very cold October night to see Slow Runner play in Cambridge. The water was irridiated with the embers of reflected night, and I joyfully continued my journey to see my friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdN2bfov9JQ

favorite lyrics: In birth and in exit/ both the slave and the empress will return to the dirt I guess/naked as they came

12. Elizabeth and the Catapult - Race You

A friend from school where she used to do her thing at the Songwriters Forum, Elizabeth Ziman has musically matured into a indie pop music gem creating monster. I remember hearing this song earlier this year and liking it, but not loving it…then my bassist friend Pete O’Neill invited me to see her perform at Rockwood 2. This song live was just absolutely memorable and genuine, that I had that butterfly feeling in my stomach that one associates with falling in love. Well, I fell in love with this song.

favorite lyrics: cuz there’s a shortcut down the beaten path/one step to the right and three to the left/the moon’s so high the wind’s so fast/makes us feel like goddesses

Those are my top 12. Yet the songs below also rocked my world, made me dance, made me repeat the youtube video at least 5 consecutive times, made me hum its melody while walking to the L train, made me butcher its lyrics while I showered for a brand new day.

Mike Doughty - Na Na Nothing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVbKJP_MJdM

Little Anchor - Until Our Eyes Adjust http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ8UAkO_5b4

Auto Happy - Slow Runner

Mates of State - Gets Better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdoYK9jOltQ

And my other favorite songs (in no rank or particular order):

Oh Land - White Nights

Elbow- Mirrorball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMD7FIpq11Q

Elbow - The Seldom Seem Kid

Mr. Jenkins - Off the Record http://mrjenkins.bandcamp.com/track/off-the-record

Hooray For Earth - Surrounded By Your Friends

Mates of State - Palomino

Rorie Kelly - This is Not A Love Song

Run Dan Run - Gestures and Pattern http://www.myspace.com/rundanrun/music/songs/gestures-patterns-84738949

Sufjan Stevens - Too Much http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLyq0xlAa-Y

Toro Y Moi - Talamak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gxhLiNypVU

Sam Amidon - Pretty Fair Damsel

Darwin Deez - DNA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQNJgVKE9UY

Miles to Dayton - Deep Underground

My favorite songs of 2011 - Part 1 of 2.

All the songs below here were songs I first heard in 2011, though they might not have been released this year. They all rocked my world…and made me feel less afraid of my mortality.

Here’s my top 6 songs (out of 12).

1. Fleet Foxes- Grown Ocean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgv6dKV03dA

This song was the first song on my playlist when I went on my whale-watching trip in Boston this past Fall; it was the perfect whale-watching song, evoking to me the  immediacy of our human journey from life to death, and the awe and wonder that come along with each of these moments.

2. Slow Runner-Devil Moon

I most likely will be biased, since Michael Flynn of Slow Runner was my college roommate and is one of my closest friends…but I’ll say it anyway. From the arpeggiated notes you hear in the beginning, to the wistful harmonies intertwined with the lyrics and drum arrangement,to the entrance of the electric guitar in the end, this gorgeous song conjures up feelings of melancholy and nostalgia. This was the most repeated song on my iTunes playlist for 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwZC-WMd4d4

favorite lyrics: held together by some chords and caffeine/I wanna trade my piano for a time machine…

3. Sam Amidon - Relief (R. Kelly Cover)

Sam Amidon takes American folk songs from the mid 19th century and then reinterprets it for these times….except for this stunning cover of an R. Kelly song.  And when he played this song last at Rockwood Music Hall 2, the whole crowd sang the chorus.

favorite lyrics: What a relief to know we are one/what a relief to know the war is over/what a relief to know there’s an angel in the sky/what a relief to know love is still alive…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhryN1hSJKg

4. Barr Brothers  - Water and the Windmill (?)

I saw the Barr Brothers twice: the first was in September as I waited to see my friend’s band Aunt Martha play at the Mercury Lounge;the second was this month, with my brother, his girlfriend, and a new friend, at Union Pool. At both performances, my jaw dropped upon hearing this song (not sure of the title, but he says Water and the Windmill twice in the song). The harp player plays the guitar, the drummer brother plays a manjo (cross between a mandolin and a banjo) and they all gather around this condenser mic to play the softest, yet most beautiful tune they have (and they have a couple of beauties).

favorite lyric: I bring to you with reverent hands the books that my lover binds..

5. Jose Gonzalez -Hand On Your Heart (Kylie Minogue cover)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucOjx01zwrE

Heard this song (released in 2009) during the beginning of the year while watching the hypnotic video late at night. From the imperfectness of the recording, the intricate yet urgent guitar arrangement,  to what I perceive to be seagulls sampled in the background (though it could also be sampled strings being bowed at a high register), Mr. Gonzalez knows how to make a cover song (and recording of said song) his own.

favorite lyric: put your hand on your heart and tell me it’s all over/I won’t believe it til you put your hand on your heart and tell me that we’re through…

6. Darwin Deez - Radar Detector

Darwin Deez looks like what would have happened if John C Reilly had a baby with….John C Reilly. But don’t let all that handsomeness fool you; Mr. Deez makes ridiculously catchy, brilliant pop songs. Like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pbdLqTh_x4

favorite lyrics: you and I go shopping and find exactly what we’re looking for/you and I go shopping and fall asleep inside a mattress store