About Me

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After years of following an acoustic singer/songwriter guitar path, I've decided to go electric. Bringing loops, ebow and multi-stage delays into a largely improvisational mix that ranges from blissfully ambient to full-on psychedelic journeys in sound.

Breaking Light's latest tune is "Tin Man's Tears Flow"

Friday, December 31, 2010

Super Happy Funland, Houston 12/28/10

This was a cool venue, an art house in the warehouse district of Houston's Third Ward, Lightnin' Hopkins' old stomping ground. Unfortunately I was the last act, so most everyone there at the start of the evening had left, remaining were the duo Wasp & Pair (thanks guys) and the friend and bro I brung with me. It was a nice big room and it was a good move miking my amp into the house p.a.. Got a real BIG sound.

Breaking Light @ Super Happy Funland 12/28/10
Breaking Light @ Super Happy Funland 12/28/10
Breaking Light @ Super Happy Funland 12/28/10
part 1

part 2

Saturday, December 25, 2010

improvFriday submission 12/24/10

I started with Norm's Afoxe'percussion track from alonetone, sped it up and applied some heavy filtering. The bass is gtr thru octave pedal, detuning the low string, no fretting involved. Then some heavily processed/delayed gtr. I like how this turned out and will probably include on the next BL release.

Psychedelic Sleigh

Psychedelacoustic #6 is now!

My annual end of the year multi-genre musical spew is ready for your perusal. Colabs, sit-ins, improvs and other bits from the past year's adventures in the sound lab. Grab it here (it's free) :

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feed Your Head 12/11/10

I've come to accept the fact that no one really wants to come out and hear me play this stuff and I'm ok with that. Experimental music is always a dicey undertaking, and especially in the cultural mecca that is Texas, there's so much more stimulating musical fare to compete with. Anyway, I enjoyed playing for Chris and Elaine and hanging out in their cool hippie store.


improvFriday submissions 12/10/10

handheld cassette recorder, chimes, koto, filtered. Definitely some HIO influence here.


And a miniature Breaking Light loop


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

End of Year Projects!

Ok its crunch time. In addition to the traditional release of my "holiday/end of year" cd, Psyche De L'acoustic (notice the new syntax), this year it's volume 6!, I have the Tonefreakin' Podcast #2 I'm shooting to have done and released on Jan.1 (2011 of course). As if that's not enough, I'm working on a new song for the RPM Holiday Challenge, which is a precursor to the big RPM Challenge thing in February. This song is inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's classic science fiction short story The Star, which is about an astronaut/priest who discovers the supernova remnant that was the Star of Bethlehem, and his resulting doubt in his faith. Obviously it won't be a traditional Christmas song of good cheer.

Friday, December 3, 2010

IF submissions 12/3/10

I cut up snippets of a jam I had with a buddy last Tgiving weekend and laid them over a bleep!Box app beat, with some Paulstretch thrown in. What a mess! Cute title tho, huh?


Then I dusted off the 'ol Multikord pedal steel, ran it thru loads of effects. Unfortunately that ps has a bad ground or maybe just the nature of the single coil pu, but the recording is a bit buzzy/noisy. It is what it is.

Riding Rails

Sunday, November 28, 2010

IF submission 112610-Vortex/Jumbie

A field recording/sound collage from last Saturday at the Fort Worth MOMA. Sounds inside the Serra sculpture Vortex, and the African percussion/dance ensemble Jumbie.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I've just discovered one of the most beautiful guitar records, ever! Bill Frisell's In Line.
His first solo release, on ECM, has some great improvised guitarscapes, alot of deep delay/reverb stuff, and some fine bass accompaniment by Arild Andersen.

..."The distance traveled from his first solo record, In Line, until today is enormous, and Frisell has shown such a broad scope in his playing. But some of his trademark features were present then. The playing is kept deceptively simple, with so much attention given to melody and sound. His thoughtful improvisations are creating contemplative and impressionistic soundscapes, and the result is very beautiful music. And the unique sound leaves a lasting impression on your heart. "I hope I've made some progress since In Line. In some ways, so much of what I do now was already there then. The basic idea was there. I hope I've gotten stronger. I think I have more confidence now. I'm not quite as afraid to do what I want."

In Line

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How nice...uh, New Age?

I am grateful that I've been getting some mentions in the FW Weekly here recently. Here's an excerpt, describing the new BL album Proto-Sapien:

"What you may notice is that the album lies at that bloody crossroads of experimental and New Age — “bloody” because while we applaud experimental (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream), we look down upon New Age (Yanni, John Tesh, Vangelis). Who cares about labels, though, right? Listen without prejudice, and you’ll find that Breaking Light (nĂ© Kavin Allenson) creates music that while atmospheric is highly durable and pleasing. He achieves his sweeping, airy sonicscapes merely via guitar and some sampling wizardry. Quite a trick."

And this week in the FWW Turkey awards, I was mentioned as an example, along with some other fine local artists, of whom local clubs should be booking, instead of the standard "Texas Music" fare. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Friday, November 19, 2010

improvFriday submissions

I shall try to start posting these here every week, as time allows. ImprovFriday is a great new music site where participants upload, share and discuss improvisational recordings every week, from Thursday evening to Saturday night (the site is on Pacific time). Their link is over there on the right.

For this week, my focus was on son Eric's Line 6 POD XT which he let me borrow. The POD really opens a wide range of sound colors for the electric guitar (here I'm using the trusty Squier Tele).

PT's Groove utilizes Peter Thoegersen's 10/8 drum groove which he submitted to improvFriday last week.
I edited down to 2 minutes from the original 4:09 length, because jamming to the whole thing would have taxed the listener a bit much, being improv....I wish I had written down the patch I used, a nice distortion tone that worked well.

Pod Mind- used the Octave Bend setting on the Pod for this one, the pedal used to modulate the pitch bends. Using some slide and ebow, got some pretty wild sounds. Some live looping, reverse and half/double speed looping on my delay modeler (line 6 DL4).

PT's Groove

Pod Mind

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And Then...

new one from

Joe And the Sonic Dirt from Madagascar

"And Then.."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This can be considered the THIRD Breaking Light album release, and it is available only on the internet. No more of those shiny plastic discs for me, uh uh. As always, it's free. If you like it, come to a gig. Seems I have yet to find an audience..

Latest tracks by Breaking Light

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kayo Dot

This review of a Kayo Dot album on eMusic made me laugh. Then I realized he's describing most of the music I listen to these days.

"There are some recordings that people rave about that I hear and think “it must be a big joke”. Just because something is unconventional does not make it genius. Post-rock? Post-metal? How about post-post-post-rock. Or better yet, post-music. This CD does not have songs, it does not have compositions (which implies some structure or, at least, intention or forethought). It barely has anything resembling musicianship. The “songs” typically start imperceptibly quiet and impossibly slow and (sometimes) build to a climax of sludgy noise (or sometimes they don’t). Track 4 would have been almost appealling if it stopped at the four minute mark, but it winds down and then inexplicably restarts with a droning repetition of noise for the next....14 minutes. Which brings to mind another description for this CD: Pretentious. You know what it really sounds like? It sounds like a bunch of stoned guys screwing around on their instruments in someone’s basement with the lights turned out."

To be fair, here's a KD track from a different album ("Coyote"):

Kayo Dot_03_III. Abyss Hinge 1 Sleeping Birds Sighing In Roscolux.mp3

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the rig for tomorrow's gig at Doc's


Rc20XL loop station
DL4 Line 6 delay modeler
Ibanez DE7 delay/echo
Boss Super Octave OC-3

iPod touch running Aura Flux app
slide (regular)
long slide (aluminum)
portable cassette recorder/various tapes

Epiphone Dot Deluxe guitar (not shown)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Exercise for Buchla and Nagra

Ok seems I've become a bit too self-absorbed with this blog so here's this.

Exercise for Buchla and Nagra from Giorgio Sancristoforo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breaking Light set at Hip Pocket

I've been performing the BL thang in the post-play set at Hip Pocket Theatre lately. (my standard acoustic set before the play). I figure what the hell, as I'm usually background music then anyway, unlike before the play where people actually listen and applaud. But I do get some encouraging comments here and there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Petrichor is a word used to describe the scent that rain produces when it saturates dry soil.

Another improvFriday submission.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

new toy


It's a monophonic electronic device you play with a stylus on a keyboard grid.
Hear it here, combined with a synth app and police scanner, the stylophone is the buzzing sound that bounces between your speakers:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

BL @ 806 in Amarillo, 7/10/10

This gig was the culmination of a 1700 mile road trip around Colorado, so I was a bit burnt out come showtime. After a xanax/chai latte/Dead Guy Ale pick-me-up, I was ready to go. A very laid back ambient set, more so than usual.

Thanks to Rene', Stephanie and Julianne for coming out.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This past weekend was my first time to participate in this weekly event
and this is what I submitted:


And another participant took that and mashed together with another artists piece to get this:

La Strut

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What a Killer

There was one song Neil Young played last night at the Meyerson in Dallas which really hit me. The occasion when a live performance really impacts me emotionally is rare, but this was one. His solo take on Cortez the Killer was incredibly powerful. As I listened to the feedback washes and ringing harmonics of his electric guitar, and his plaintive vocal, I had the feeling that this was the last time I would see Neil live. That, and the subject and beauty of the performance itself left me teary-eyed.

For an inkling, listen to this:

Neil Young-Cortez the Killer live at the Morton Meyerson in Dallas June 7, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

BL on the ballot

Surprisingly (to me) I've been nominated for the Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards this year in the "Experimental" category!
If you'd like to vote, go here:

FWWeekly ballot

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kavin.'s tonefreakin' podcast!

Yea, my first podcast. Compiled from musician friends whom I know personally. Great stuff here. Some salty language on one song, so beware with the kiddies. Here's the track list:

Hentai Improvising Orchestra "Track 8" background
Brantley Allen "El Paso, Friday"
Harper "Shots of Tequila"
Sean Martin "Blue Whale"
Carlos the Non-Prophet "Lunatic Fringe"
Fingerz Freinemy (unkown track name)
Hentai Improvising Orchestra "Track 4"
Darrin Kobetich "Twin Falls"
Woodbilly Jugband "Me 'n the Snake"
Michael James "Unsent Letters"

Download or listen:

Kavin.s tonefreakin podcast 1

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Other Hentai

I really dug the Hentai Improvising Orchestra's set at the Other Texas Music show May 1st. So much so that I decided to tweek (er, remix) it! Ended up half as long and almost twice as dense. Mostly heavily editing, some looping passages, and using pitch shifting and tape delay effects.

"Listen with your THIRD ear"....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Breaking Light at Other Texas Music 4/30/10

What a joy. I love these opportunities to play BL to an attentive, appreciate group, such as that that assembled in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center last Friday night. Herb Levy did a fine job of assembling an amazing group of sound and performance artists in a very short length of time. He's one of my local heroes now, for promoting "uncommon" local music artists.

Breaking Light @ Other Texas Music 4/30/10

Breaking Light @ Other Texas Music 4/30/10
photos by Ross Reitzammer

performance excerpt # 1

performance excerpt #2

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'll be doing a set during the Friday show--->
Friday, April 30, 2010 at 8:30pm
Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 8:30pm
Sanders Theater in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy Street
Fort Worth, TX

Performances by Breaking Light; Tammy Gomez & Ramsey Sprague; Hentai Improvising Orchestra; SWIRV; James Talambas & Paul Thomas; Paul Unger; and others.

Final schedule imminent; please check back early & often.

Tickets available at the door: $10/one concert; $15/both

An Other Arts event, produced with generous support from the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County; Linden Realty; & Periplum.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

RPM Challenge Texas listening party

As the lights slowly go out at rpmchallenge.com, the Texas cadre had our last gasp, late (the world-wide party was on March 27) but great, at the Burleson Borders Books last night. Attending were:

Dennis Coble (Love Light Shine/Bad Dr.)
Kavin (Kavin.s Acoustic Church/Breaking Light/Love Light Shine)
Lyndell Brown (Fist Full of Java)
Jonathan Rippe
Samantha Wrinkle (A GIrl Named Sam/Clever Things)

The range, quality and creativity these folks put into their albums during last February is nothing short of amazing.

Here's a video of the jam we had to close the night.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the iPod app project

My original intent for the RPM Challenge this year was to do a non-guitar album using only apps on the iPod Touch. That didn't work out, I ended up just doing a "live" album (see below).

So now I'm gonna do it, for betters or worst. I may add some stretched guitar here and there but it'll be mostly app driven. Here's the playlist. Will be adding to this over time.

Breaking Light - Appstract, sounds and songs from the iPod Touch:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BL @ Backbeat Cafe in Dallas 3/10/10

Trinity Arts Live! at Backbeat Cafe in Dallas 3/10/10

I had reservations about doing this, given the disappointment from the last time I played there, but Gary offered me the "featured artist" slot, so I could play for 30 min. and develop a good set. The only downside of the evening was of course driving to Dallas (but traffic was cooperative) and the lack of attendance.
But I like playing there, it's a nice warm, medium sized room with a high ceiling and good acoustics. If I lived in big D, I would probably visit frequently.

Once I got onstage I was able to drop into the zone fairly quickly. I tried a different kind of intro, layer/looping an ebow drone, then chord washes over that, and away we went. Not so much off the cuff improv, mainly vamping on tried and true motifs, like Blue Hour and Up the Chupacabra, and ending with an abbreviated version of Hymn. I was pleased with how it went, and apparently it touched a lot of people there, got some good feedback afterwards.

The "treehouse" folks are so nice and supportive, I love being around and communing with all of them. Discussing with Gary afterwards about how different people deal with or approach music like this. In a listening space, when "ambient" or improvised music is being played, the audient must choose between letting the music take one over, or get up and do something else, which is all dependent on the disposition of the listener, and what intention or agenda they have brought to the performance. Most people just prefer a song with emphasis on melody, structure and usually lyric content. What I play has almost none of that, relying on a rhythmic and tonal center and letting "found" electronic effects suggest the overlaying SOUND.

Intitial listening of the live recording sounded pretty good, thanks to the aforementioned attributes of the room. Didn't need to add any reverb or much else, just boost the gain a bit and compress slightly.

Here's the first six minutes, which was my favorite part of the set.

RPM Boogie

Song from the Love Light Shine RPM Challenge project. Fueled by whiskey, cookies and pie. They let me play washboard....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dunn Bros. in Keller, Tx. 2/26/10

Apparently nobody in my acquaintance wants to trek to North Tarrant to see my little guitar show. Frankly I can't blame them, the traffic sucks on 35 on Fridays. Thanks to Ross for sitting in on flute and bringing half a dozen of his peeps. Made the evening very enjoyable in spite of starting late (due to said traffic). Several patrons who were there stuck around too, I must be slacking on the weirdness factor. But there were several compliments which made me feel fuzzy. I think Ross' playing does add a different dimension to my meanderings, makes it a bit more accessible to some folks.

As always, recorded the proceedings. Sending the result in as an RPM Challenge album, why the hell not? After alot of eq'ing, compressing and denoising, it's almost listenable!

Monday, February 22, 2010

RPM Challenge 2010 a success!

Yessir I'm done. Yesterday I finished up the last tune and did a rough mastering job. I'll sit on it a few days for tweeking, then send it off. It's an instrumental guitar album, ended up with five acoustic fingerstyle pieces, 2 kinda jazz pieces, 2 ambient things and a psych-blip tune (the obligatory filler track). The lowdown:

The Standing Baba - The melody here came to me in a waking dream the morning of Feb.1. I wanted to do something along the lines of Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross", a slow instrumental with dual lead lines.

Running Past Minor - I've played alot with DADF#AD guitar tuning but never dropped the F# down to F to make it a minor unitl this.

Roko-Kun - Used Michelangelo's free rhythm track "Roko" and ran it through some filters to make this shortie I've had described as Barry White meets Santana.

Much is Seen...Nothing Revealed - Open tuned improv, with some live looping and ring modulation. The "clean" track is in the left channel, and the "effected" track in the right.

Cloud Gate - Trying my hand at some tapping. Lots of Patrick O'Hearn influence here.

Ofelia Comes Home - About a kitty cat we recently adopted.

Jack's Gone - Primitive American guitarist Jack Rose passed away suddenly last December. He was only 38.

Sun on Snow - It snowed here on Feb 11 (my birthday!) and broke all the records. A deliberate attempt to sound like Doug Sparling, an RPM/alonetoner whose been a big influence this past year.

My Flimsy Valentine - a "psych-blip" track using an iPod sequencer app for the foundation. Layered guitar weirdness over that.

Dinardo's Nails - This is the only tune I did not compose this month. Been playing this for many years, but never properly recorded. Probably still not....
Dinardo was a high school buddy who grew his thumb and index fingernails long, and it weren't for guitar picking.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Darrin/Kavin jam 2008

Cleaning out the musical attic, so to speak. This is a long acoustic jam from back in 2008, over at Darrin's house. I'm glad he had his recorder running. The first few minutes are a bit rough, but once we got our bearings, there was no looking back. Probably some of my best resonator playing ever.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dunn Bros. in Keller, Tx. 1/29/10

The gig last night at the coffeeshop last night came off well and I managed to drive away the patrons who were there in short order. But the coolness factor in the room went way up when RPM Challenge conspirator Michelangelo arrived. Had not seen the dude since the 2008 listening party, so it was a pleasure to see him and his friend. My buddy Ross lent some beautiful flute work to some of the proceedings.

If i submit an album this year for RPM Challenge as Breaking Light it'll be a live one, sounding much like this:

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another year, another RPM Challenge!

Starting to think about getting ready to prepare to make plans for the RPM Challenge, 2010 edition. Record an album (10 songs and/or 35 minutes of original music) in February. 28 days of mind bending creative stress. Forget lengthy self-editing, perfection or a decent night's sleep. I've done this thing for the last two years, two albums as Kavin.s Acoustic Church and one album as Breaking Light. It is now becoming tradition. Make it one of yours!

Jan. 15 - My plan for the challenge is, again, multiple album projects. A colab with buds Glenn and Dennis. Either an album each of acoustic guitar instrumentals and ipod app tunes, or a double album of just anything goes, with lots of short improvised ditties.

Jan. 17 - I can't believe most of January is already gone. I've got the arrangement and lyrics worked out for two new songs for the colab;
"Downwind From the Waxahachie Cement Kiln" , a depressing blues tune of redneck despair and "9,9 & 9", which is about what happened on 9/9/09 last year. Well it was daughter Brit's birthday for one thing.
Also reviewing/arranging some drum loops, I don't think that's cheating....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

RD posters

My bro has a massive collection of concert posters from the 60s & 70s. Started to catalog them this weekend. Fillmore, Armadillo WHQ, various Houston venues. So far have only scratched the surface.


This will be a long, ongoing project.
See what we've shot so far here.

Dunn Bros. in Spring Tx. 1/2/10

What fun. To sit and play alongside two of my favorite pickers was a total blast. Sean Martin (r) and Robert Stallard (middle) are accomplished musicians and purveyors of harp guitar.

 Dunn Bros. Spring, Tx. 1/2/10

Sean blew me away by playing Michael Hedges "Because It's There" and John Fahey's "Last Steam Engine Train", two of my favorite all time acoustic pieces, as well as his own harp guitar originals. Robert rocked out on some harp guitar also and did some great looping!

Check both of these amazing artists out:

Sean Martin

Robert Len Stallard
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