After I finished writing enigmatics in 1999, I set out to write a follow-up project where all the songs used unconventional chord progressions — moving by thirds, altering common progressions slightly, using modes …

I banged out a few progressions and made a few notes, but I didn’t have the gumption to turn any of those sketches into actual songs. So the project remained dormant, especially after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and songwriting was the last thing on my mind.

I revisited the idea in 2005 after putting together the music for Imprint, and I discovered I was further along on the project that I realized. Of the 13 tracks that would eventually make Restraint, eight had already taken shape and just needed to be completed. Four more songs were needed to fill out the album.

Restraint is something of a strange work, and I’m not sure how successful it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if listeners consider it something of a sophomore slump. The music has influences all over the map: R.E.M., U2, Sasagawa Miwa, Dr.StrangeLove, Robin Holcomb, Celtic music, British pop. Those are the ones I can name.

At the same time, the wide range of music on this album has its charm, and they work together in an odd way. Of course, all those weird progressions pretty much makes this album single-free.

Restraint is not as consistent as Imprint, and it’s not as weird as 「風の歌を聞け」. And it’s not as tuneful as other albums forthcoming in the Work Release Program. But it’s got pluck. I gotta give it that much.


Track Title
1 The One to Make You Whole
2 Without Nothing
3 Letter I
4 Release
5 All the Times I Remember
6 On Paper
7 Speechless
8 Melt
9 Emancipation
10 Reticence
11 Letter II
12 Strange Arrangement
13 Restraint


  • Produced and engineered by Greg Bueno
  • Recorded in the Closet, 2005-2011, Austin, TX and the Closet West 2013, Seattle, WA
  • Photography by Lauren Tarbel
  • Cover design by Greg Bueno
  • Published by Shinkyoku Advocacy (ASCAP)
  • Thanks to Lauren Tarbel and James R. McGirr


  • Release date: October 08, 2013

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