Field Notes for “LEt You Go”

Gravity is a phenomenon by which all things with mass are brought toward one another. 


Drop a flower and a firebomb. Guess which one lands first? 


Since energy and mass are equivalent, all forms of energy (including photons and light) cause gravitation and are under the influence of it.


Gravity has an infinite range, although its effects become increasingly weaker on farther objects.


According to the Theory of General Relativity, gravity is not a force, but a consequence.


When a thing is dropped, it “falls” — but whatever let it go still exerts a kind of minor attraction. 


"I deduced that the forces which keep the planets in their orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve," explained Sir Isaac Newton. "And thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the Earth; and found them answer pretty nearly." Because, like, duh.


Open the bomb bay doors!



One night I got an idea that wouldn't leave me alone.

It was a bass line repeating itself obsessively. All you sticklers out there might call it “Ostinato.”

I went into the basement to record what I was hearing in my head on a buzzing synthesizer. Then some ideas came for other elements that'd shift around on top of the bass line: guitars, a piano, vocals, words.

After fiddling with a drum machine, a keyboard, an acoustic guitar, and an electric guitar for about an hour, I had finished a demo of "Let You Go." Some songs you whittle away at for 8 months. Some arrive in an hour.

I suppose this tune is me at my most Muse. Or Secret Machines. My attempt at dystopian arena rock.


The Demo

The recording I made that night as I was writing “Let You Go” — I found it again after cleaning folders on my computer; and it's interesting to me how close that version is to the structure of the song the band eventually recorded.

It’s rough, and you can hear me kinda FINDING the parts as I’m going, but the bones are all there. At some point though we decided to kill the plunky piano part that begins this demo. Not sure why. I kinda like it.


Arthur Parker - Keyboards

Daniel Adlaf - Synth Bass

John Stewart - Drums and Percussion

Chris Robley - Vocals, guitars, and keyboards

Jeff Stuart Saltzman - Engineering at Secret Society and mixing at Mysterious Beard (both in Portland, OR).

Adam Gonsalves - Mastering at Telegraph (in Portland, OR).

Doug & Anna from Chicken 3000Cover artwork.


I gotta let you go (4x)
Oh, how could you shut me out right now
when I couldn't need you more
and how haven't you realized by now
the one you've been waiting for is here

But I wanna be the only one (3x)
you love

I apologize if you came here because you were told my lyrics were “poetic.” Sometimes dumb lyrics work best. 😉

Inside the actors studio

(These are some ridiculous captions, written mostly to make myself laugh, that I posted with pics on Instagram.)


Part 1: Daniel Adlaf

James Lipton: Today I’m speaking with Daniel Adlaf, who played — and quite magnificently — the role of the “Corner Pointer” in Chris Robley’s music video for “Let You Go.” Daniel, what was it like to inhabit that corner?

Daniel: Bright. 

James: Oh indeed. And you wore those glasses well. Tell me, was there a moment in the process where you went deep inside yourself to bring forth your very best for the camera?

Daniel: No, not really; I just kinda had to ... point. 

James: Don’t we all sometimes. Don’t we all. (Pause) but there was a fury in your finger, a menace in your smile. How did you achieve that gravitas with such light touches?

Daniel: Well, you really just need something to laugh at. I guess I waited long enough.

James: A deft move! A deft move indeed. Wonderful. It’s been wonderful having you on Inside the Actors Studio, Daniel, and we are most edified by the opportunity.

Part 2: Arthur Parker

JAMES LIPTON: We now have the great privilege of hearing from Arthur Parker, a man who delighted us all in his role as the “Judgmental Collider” in Chris Robley’s music video for the song “Let You Go.” Arthur, you had the somewhat unique opportunity to reprise this role within the very piece in which your unforgettable character debuted. When you portray something and then portray it again, is your rehearsal twice as rigorous? 

ARTHUR PARKER: No, you just film the same thing twice, or even better, have the editor use the same footage again. 

JAMES: Oh, such economy! Such tremendous economy! You resurface so powerfully on screen it’s as if you are — when all else is stripped away — pursuing yourself. What techniques did you lean upon?

ARTHUR: Mostly walking. Sometimes looking. But mostly walking. 

JAMES: It is, as I said, most powerful. Your chemistry with the “Wearer of the Blue Jacket,” played here by Brad Bush,… it’s as if I were watching Strasberg put two of the very best practitioners of the craft into a supercollider. You and Brad are the bees' knees in these scenes. And here’s the honey; the two of you actually collide, on a street corner. Physically, how did you prepare? 

ARTHUR: Well first you decide which way you’re going to walk, and then you walk until you hit something, or in my case, someone. 

JAMES: But the stare! There is subdued animus. Real judgement. What did you summon in that moment? Do I accurately detect a strand of improv? 

ARTHUR: I don’t like the color blue, so the rest just flowed from there. 

JAMES: Nothing short of brilliant. Thank you Arthur Parker for joining us today on Inside the Actors Studio. We eagerly anticipate all the thrills that your next role, whatever it may be, will deliver.

Part 3: Brad Bush

JAMES LIPTON: One word comes to mind when I think of Brad Bush’s performance as the “Wearer of the Blue Jacket” in Chris Robley’s music video for the song “Let You Go” — and that word is luminous. Bradley, you are simply luminous. 

BRAD: Thanks. 

JAMES: We are grateful beyond measure to have you as our guest today on Inside the Actors Studio. Welcome. 

BRAD: Thanks. 

JAMES: I’ll begin with a question I believe we’re all wondering: Why blue? Was it a nod to the primordial? The oceanic? The endless expanse of time and the tension between past and future? Why, Bradley? Why blue? 

BRAD: They had that jacket in two colors at K-Mart. Blue, and a kind of neon green. Like real You Can’t Do That On Television green. The choice was clear. 

JAMES: Sometimes wisdom arrives as swiftly as Cupid’s arrow. Blue it was! Blue indeed. Tell me about the state of paranoia evident in your performance. How close to home was that delivery? 

BRAD: Well, the video starts and ends in my actual home, so you know…

JAMES: Yes, we know. Indeed we know. And yet there’s a fine line between knowing and feeling. In your character that distinction blurs; we are WITH you in the myriad madnesses of your déjà vu. How, my friend, did you get us to FEEL that your repetitions might also have a linear arc? 

BRAD: Well, anyone who’s worked a day job knows…

JAMES: Yes, we know. and feel. And wonder, and worry, and, ohhhh that is what it means to be transported. Well done, sir! I would like to skip to my final question: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

BRAD: Woooooo!

JAMES: I believe it. I believe it, sir. Bradley, “thanks” is not adequate enough. It was a true pleasure to have you on Inside the Actors Studio.

Part 4: Steve Wilkinson

JAMES LIPTON: Some are both blessed and burdened with talent, and for those souls life itself can become an act of wearing oh so many heavy hats. We have one such talent among us today, Steve Wilkinson. Steve, you are at the very least a triple-threat, and two of your considerable talents are used to full effect in Chris Robley’s music video for “Let You Go.” What was it like to assistant-direct AND act in this exquisite work?

STEVE: Pretty cool. 

JAMES: Oh I dare say so. You exude coolness. May I ask: why the rolling pin? Was it a surrealist gesture, an homage to Lynch, a nod to everything left unresolved in 70’s cinema? 

STEVE: Umm, I was making cookies and…

JAMES: But the cold, bemused look you give Brad when he enters your shop, it’s as if you’re some kind of puppeteer in a play from which there’s no escaping. Funny that you’re insinuated into the video as an orchestrator of the madness, when in fact you helped orchestrate the video itself. Were you in thrall to the auteur David Lane, or was it a collaborative effort?

STEVE: Well, I brainstormed concepts with him, scouted locations, got a rental car, held a rolling pin…

JAMES: Nay, nay, Steve, you WIELDED a rolling pin, you made it monumental, as the Log Lady wielded her monumental log. And for that, I believe I can speak for the entire room here, you are beloved.

STEVE: Well thanks.

JAMES: I would now like to ask you a question I ask all the guests whom I have the privilege to gently interrogate on this show: What sound do you most dislike?

STEVE: Flowery speech. 

JAMES: Oh dear me. Well let me hasten us towards the conclusion then; what job would you NOT like to have, under any circumstance? 

STEVE: Baker. 

JAMES: And that is why they call it acting, is it not? Steve Wilkinson, it was an enormous pleasure to have you here on Inside the Actors Studio. 

Steve: Cool. Thanks.

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