Saturday, December 31, 2011

December package

Our final package of the year ended up being our most sentimental.  The lyrical content was partially inspired by the birth of Jeff's daughter at the beginning of December, though it was an emotional month for different reasons for most of the monks.

Thanks again for listening.  We'll post again soon with plans for 2012.

This music and earlier releases are available for download at

Thursday, December 15, 2011

moon waltz

Folks, it's the last mid-month track of the year. Our 23rd release of 2011, with number 24 coming in two weeks. We hope you enjoy it:

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Movember has come to a close, though there's still time left to contribute to our Movember campaign:

Thanks again for supporting us and helping to change the face of men's health. Here are the final moustaches. Please let us know what you think!

Eric went for a slightly curvy moustache, and achieved a pretty thick and consistent look.

Jeff's moustache didn't get quite as thick over the month, though his wide face makes it stretch a ways without having to turn down much at the corners. Of course, Jeff's is also in color.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November package

This month featured sounds borrowed from Gregory Taylor's exquisite dua_belas album, through Parade of Lights. We used a loop created from sounds in his track yakobus_anak_alfeus as the starting point for our work on both of our tunes this month, later also incorporating sounds from filipus_yang_melit into bridge across decay.

This music and earlier releases are available for download at

Today is also the last day of Movember. A separate blog with pictures of our final moustaches will be posted tomorrow. But remember that all purchases made through this month will count towards our Movember campaign.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

penumbra for june

Our November 15th track, penumbra for june, is now available for streaming.
Please enjoy:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

show November 18

Show this Friday, November 18, at the Whitewater Cultural Arts Center, being sponsored by the Whitewater Arts Alliance:  We're playing with our friends, the weather duo.  Show starts at 7:30 (it will probably start on time or almost on time).

We'll be displaying our Movember moustaches in process!  Don't forget that all purchases of our music this month will go towards our Movember campaign, which fights for men's health causes.  Check out our bandcamp page to contribute:

preview track will be up soon! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Hello, everyone.
Recently, a group that we like and respect, Arms and Sleepers, started selling their entire discography for only $10 as a way to raise funds for worldwide hunger and the ongoing widespread famine in East Africa. Not only is that a sweet deal (it's 110 tracks), but it's also an easy way for anyone to make a contribution.

This has inspired us to do something similar. Because of the timing of our decision and the limited resources at our disposal, we thought it would be a good idea to jump on the Movember campaign and start a bell monks team.

Many of you are probably familiar with the tradition of "no-shave-November". Jeff and I are already pretty lax about our shaving habits, so growing a beard for a month is not at all unusual for either of us. Movember takes it one step further by specifically focusing on the growing of a mustache throughout the month of November as a way to bring attention towards issues of male health, specifically those of prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

What we're going to do, besides just growing awesome mustaches (which we are both very capable of) is this:
100% of the money that goes towards any purchase on our bandcamp page during the month of November will be donated to the Movember campaign by the bell monks team.

We've always offered our album "lullabies" and each of our monthly packages on a pay-what-you-like basis. This will continue to be the case during this donation period. Meaning, if you want to donate $5, you can perhaps pay $5 for April's package and then download all the rest for free. Or pay $1 each for May-September. You get the idea,

If you've already downloaded all of our music and just want to make a direct donation to Movember on behalf of bell monks, you can do so here.

We will, of course, provide occasional pictures so that you can follow the progress of our facial hair. Personally, I'll probably be going with the Trucker, which is an official mustache style of the Movember campaign. I was hoping to go with the Frank Zappa, which I've grown once or twice with considerable success, but it wasn't on the list.

I don't know what Jeff will end up with, but I would guess something like the Undercover Brother.
You can see the styles I'm talking about here.
We'll post more updates about donations and building the team as we learn more, but for now, I just wanted to make sure that we got the initial information online today in order to kick off the campaign on time.
Thanks for your time, and we hope you consider making a donation.


To make it official, here are our clean-shaven faces as of today:

Monday, October 31, 2011

October package

Hello, everyone.
October's package is now available:

Jeff and I have been in Virginia for the last several days at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance, which was hosted by our good friend Mark Snyder at the University of Mary Washington. Coincidentally, we were here with our video person Anna and our friends Ben and Pat from The Weather Duo. All of us were presenting various works at the festival, none related to bell monks.
Posting our monthly packages while out of town can be quite challenging, but we made it. This is not the first time we've had to make do with the slow upload speeds and crazy schedules of being on the road while our deadline looms.
We're very much looking forward to getting the last two packages up, taking a little time to rest, and then evaluating possibilities for future projects.
Thanks for listening.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

reflections on the surface at sunset

inspired by windy afternoons and cool evenings:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September's video

Even though she's an ocean away now, our video artist has come up with a lovely video for this month's song. Shot in HD at the Swiss Historical Village in New Glarus, WI. Many thanks to the staff at the museum for letting us come and film (and for volunteering their time).

P.S. Be sure to select 720p to see the video in all its HD glory.

Friday, September 30, 2011


New songs for the month of september are up. This month, we're featuring the fabulous bells of percussionist Trevor Saint, who joined us for the second song in this month's release, "rising and falling." With Trevor moving to our area (from Alaska), it seems likely that we'll try to get him involved in more future recordings!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

at the end of the day

for the beginning of fall, as the days get shorter.... physically and otherwise, it seems.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


New package for the month of August is up.

P.S. We apologize if the video is not yet viewable. Vimeo does not appear to be cooperating at the moment.

Pathetic and Muddled from bell monks on Vimeo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

vicodin daze of summer

Our mid-month song this time around is called "vicodin daze of summer". I had surgery early last week and was out of it for the next few days. really, I was still mostly out of it when we were working on this over the weekend. fortunately, eric was doing fine (the benefits of collaboration).
i hope you enjoy - jeff

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I must be brief, as the internet is not yet working at our new place and I'm leeching off the library's wifi right now.
I should mention that the library is closed. If that weren't the case, then there wouldn't be any rush at all.
Please enjoy July's package, with the brand new song, "blue lights" (second track).
Thank you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

waiting for you to return

It's the 15th of the month again, and we've got a new mid-month song to share with you called "waiting for you to return". This was inspired by a recent trip to Texas, where it is really really nasty in the summer time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

at the halfway point

Hello, everyone.
Thanks for stopping by to check out yet another release.

We are now halfway through our yearlong project of releasing 2 tracks every month with original photography and video. This seems as good a time as any to pause for reflection.

So far this year, we have produced almost exactly 55 minutes of music, more than 30 minutes of which also includes video, along with photos for each release. Compare this with our debut album, "lullabies", which was approximately 45 minutes long and took somewhere around 3 years to finish (and had no video until we started playing live shows). Amazing what deadlines can do!

One of the really fun parts of the year has been the creation of the mid-month teasers/interludes/what-have-yous, as we've sought different ways to connect those tracks to the larger end-of-month songs. We usually also had less time to create these shorter tunes (in most cases, just 1-2 days), which has resulted in more experimentation and playfulness, simply so that we could finish on time.

Coincidentally, right as we were starting our yearlong project, Ryan Lott (Son Lux) announced that he would be participating in an album-in-a-month project for February (check out This concluded with the release of his album "We Are Rising". It's not a perfect album (though we like it a lot!), but it's a fascinating example of how a shortened time frame, which sometimes required extreme collaboration to record, resulted in an album with non-standard song structures and unique studio-crafted sounds. In some ways, we've seen those parallels in our own work. Creating so much within such a short period of time has forced us to react instinctively, about sounds, orchestration, form, shape, etc., which has helped our music grow and change rapidly. It's been invigorating, challenging, fun and frustrating.

In closing, I'll just mention that we're currently looking at ways to push things even further for the rest of the year, starting, hopefully, with July's track (keep in mind that we often start each month with no idea as to what we're going to put out at the end of the month!). In particular, we plan to seek out more collaborations with other performers. We had a great time working with the Weather Duo on our May track, "let the waves carry us (part 1)", and we would like to explore this kind of thing more extensively in the second half of the year.
Thanks for listening.
-Eric and Jeff

P.S. In light of what will likely become a heavier emphasis on collaboration, detailed track credits and anecdotes will be coming to the site soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

woman in dress

It's the 15th of the month again, and we've got a new mid-month song to share with you called "woman in dress".
Since our release at the end of June will mark the halfway point of our yearlong 2-tracks-a-month project, expect a slightly more robust update to the website at that time.
Also, just a preliminary notice: we have a show with fellow Madisonians Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps on June 30 at Lothlorien Coop. More details will be posted soon.
Thanks, and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

05/11 May (with special guests, Weather Duo)

May's package is now available to stream and download.
Something new this time:
"let the waves carry us (part I)" features our good friends Ben Willis (bass) and Pat Reinholz (cello) from Weather Duo. A big "thank you" to both of them for their time and talents. As a bonus, we'll be playing a show with them very soon, June 5 7:30pm at the Project Lodge.
Don't forget to watch the video below!

Monday, May 16, 2011

let the waves carry us

please enjoy our preview track for May, which can be streamed below. The full package will be out at the end of the month!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

interview posted

a recent interview with Ben Schapiro (of Lovely Socialite and The Count) has been posted on the Mine All Mine website:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

april package

Hello, everyone.
The April package is up, with a new tune called "your eyes were filled with violence".
It's a very long song, so the video ended up being a rather large endeavor this time around and will be posted within the next day or two.
For now, enjoy the sounds:

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15th

Time for a new teaser track.
This one ended up a little more song-like than the previous teaser tracks have been, but still followed the same methods we've been using so far this year.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March's package is available to stream and download. Visit the announcement on Mine All Mine Records' site for more details: mam169
Tracks can be downloaded in any format from our bandcamp page or from Mine All Mine.
The download includes original album art for each track.
The video is also available to download from Mine All Mine.

This was a fun tune to work on, and even includes some car noises in the break about halfway through the track, which were picked up by the room mic we used on the drum kit - a happy accident! We hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

mid March teaser

Hi, everyone.
Our middle of the month teaser track for March is up.

One thing that we originally intended to do with this blog format is occasionally write about the creative process.  Working on two unique tracks per month has certainly been challenging, and getting the music written, recorded, and mixed in time for release has not left much time for reflection.  We certainly have had plenty of conversation within the group about the various successes, failures, strengths, and weaknesses of the finished tracks and the processes that get us there, but have not been able to share those thoughts

Now that we're three months in, I'd like to just briefly mention how these mid-month tracks have been developed.  So far, they have been directly related to the songs that come out at the end of the month, though the manifestation of that relationship has been a little different each time.  Sometimes one of us might play along with the end-of-month track and come up with a new keyboard/guitar/etc part that spins off into it's own creation.  Other times, a snippet of the end-of-month track is manipulated and turned into a loop, which we then play over to come up with totally new parts.  Or, at the very least, experimenting on an instrument and trying to mimic the shape of the end-of-month melody or chord progressions turns into a whole new yet strongly connected piece of music.

That's all for now.  See you again in a couple of weeks.

Monday, February 28, 2011

02/11 February

February's package is available to stream and download. Visit the announcement on Mine All Mine Records' site for more details: mam161
Tracks can be downloaded in any format from our bandcamp page or from Mine All Mine.
The download includes original album art for each track.
The video is also available to download from Mine All Mine.
Thanks for checking it out.  We hope you enjoy it and look forward to bringing you more music every month.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

across gelid waters

Our 15th-of-the-month track, "across gelid waters", has been up on bandcamp for a week... but somehow we missed posting it on our blog! Here you go:

Monday, January 31, 2011

01/11 January

Our first monthly package is now available to stream and download.Visit the announcement on Mine All Mine Records' site for more details: mam157
Tracks can be downloaded in any format from our bandcamp page or from Mine All Mine.
The download includes original album art for each track.
The video is also available to download from Mine All Mine.
Thanks for checking it out.  We hope you enjoy it and look forward to bringing you more music every month.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

adrift in white video

I'm delayed a few days in posting this, but a video to accompany our first track of the year, adrift in white, has been posted to our vimeo page.
In general, videos will be released at the end of each month as a part of our 2011 project and will often accompany the song slated for the end of the month release.  However, in this case, Anna was firing on all cylinders and put together a bonus video ahead of schedule!
Please check it out, and enjoy.

Adrift in White from bell monks on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Today marks a bell monks milestone.

First of all, we are entering into a new year-long partnership with Madison-based Mine All Mine Records.
They will be regularly releasing our new material for all of 2011, which includes a streaming teaser track on the 15th of every month and, on the last day of every month, a downloadable package that includes the aforementioned teaser, a brand new full-length song, artwork and video.  In addition, we will be partnering with Mine All Mine some time towards the end of the year to plan a lovely physical packaged release of the tracks we posted throughout the year.

Got that?  New teaser track on the 15th of every month that you can listen to online, two tracks (the teaser from the 15th and a brand new full-length song) with photos and video that you can download on the last day of every month.

As for the second part of the news I have to share, let's see... what's today?...
Oh, right.  The 15th.  So, for your listening pleasure, I give you our very first release of the year: