Fog Chaser
Volume III
In The Garden

In The Garden

Exploration 006 | Somewhere / Nowhere | Vol. III, Issue 6

Welcome to the latest installment of the Fog Chaser newsletter.

I’m thrilled to announce that the soundtrack I wrote for a special book project has officially been released into the world today.

🎵 This month’s piece is from the new album Oblivion, Vol. I (Original Book Score).1

the cover for this volume - by Elle Griffin

To mark the occasion of this album’s release today, I’m pleased to share In The Garden, the third track on the record.

Each of the ten songs on this album accompanied a chapter of

’s novel Oblivion, released through her newsletter The Elysian. These songs are now together for the first time.

Elle and I first connected back in 2021 when we expressed a mutual interest in adding tailored music to her serialized novels. Elle’s newsletter “imagines a more beautiful future” through a mix of essays, fiction, and community. 

Back then she was writing her Gothic novel, Obscurity. But it wasn’t until she sent me plans for her utopian novel that I really started envisioning the music that would accompany her words. In the prologue of Oblivion, Elle writes that the novel’s world is a “paradise that blossomed from the ocean.” I wanted to write songs that were oceanic, dreamy, amnesiac, utopian, and mysterious.

As the album’s title suggests, this is just the first volume for this project. The book is still being written and there are more chapters coming next year. Once Elle finishes the novel, we plan to release both volumes of music on vinyl in addition to print copies of the book which will include artwork, maps, and animations from visual artists that will enhance this incredible story. So, stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I invite you to listen to the entire album. It can be a good companion for zoning out, working, writing, daydreaming, walking the dog, meditating, yoga, etc. 

📷 This month’s photo was taken on a slow walk in Oregon.2

I invite you to sit with this month’s song and album, photo, and poem and make them a small part of your day, whether that’s your morning ritual, afternoon break, or your evening wind-down.

As always, if you feel like it, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you again for being here.

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about collaborative worldbuilding with Elle Griffin

The concept of worldbuilding was new to me until a couple of years ago, but in collaborating with Elle, I realized that the world of Fog Chaser is also meant to be a kind of haven, a place for peace and contemplation. I’ve written before about this project as a place that is "aspirational", much like ideas of utopia. So when Elle invited me into the world she was building with Oblivion, I was excited to create the sonic foundation for the setting.

Elle was kind enough to have a brief exchange here with me so we could share more about her process and our collaboration:

Elle: One of the things that excites me about the album is that my art which inspired your music, led to your art which will now inspire my writing.

Oblivion was an experiment. My first novel was already complete by the time I started publishing it as a serial, and when I set out to write my second novel I thought I would write it live, coming out with new chapters as I wrote them.

That didn’t work for me. After I wrote and published the first 11 chapters I realized I needed to make some major edits to the draft in order to create the beautiful ethereal world I wanted to create. BUT, the first eleven chapters led to your first eleven songs and now I will be able to listen to that album as I edit and finish the novel, writing art inspired by your art.

I’m curious what gets you inspired to create? How does a feeling or a setting become a sound?

Matt: I love that concept — we’re in a sort of reciprocal generative cycle of inspiration or something. Anyway, for me, musically, I love having something to react to (which is why I like scoring films and want to do more of that). In our case, I would read each chapter a few times through and notice any and all elements that lent themselves to something auditory — water, birds, footsteps. I also loved the images you were generating for each chapter and would imagine myself floating in the ether of this world, imagining the types of sounds that one might hear in such a landscape. There was an overwhelming sense of peace in your writing, and that was something I felt could only be conveyed with lush, rich, and fairly unobtrusive pieces.

I think early on we determined that simplicity was key — we didn’t want the music to feel too busy, or have too much melodic movement. That led to a lot of droning/ambient sounds that had long sustains, mixed with field recordings of waves, rivers, birds, etc. Listening back, there are things I would change, but I’m really happy with these tunes overall. 

I also remember having a conversation with you about my perception of a “darkness” to the story, which you disagreed with. Do you remember that convo? 

Elle: Yes! The main character in my novel, Elysia, wakes up in paradise, but doesn’t remember her past. When I sent you the third chapter, in which the botanist tried to help her remember, she thinks: “I was lost to myself and for that all the better. For there was no past to haunt me, no memory to inform me, no aspiration to climb toward, nor purpose to fulfill. I would simply live amidst the poppies forever. A child of the Elysian fields.” 

When I wrote that passage, I was wondering if life would feel more beautiful without the baggage of the past. And, in fact, in later chapters where she starts to remember who she is, she sometimes wishes she could have maintained that blissful naïveté. But, when you returned the song for it, I was surprised to find it somewhat melancholy. You said it was based on that line. 

You said, “part of me feels like Elysia maybe has some sadness as she discovers this new world (and isn’t quite sure where she’s from). But that’s just my interpretation, probably because I’m all emo.”

I love that art feels different on different people—but so does life! We are all coming at it with different experiences, different perspectives, and different choices about how we want to respond to things. I think that’s the challenge of writing a utopian novel, that utopia looks different to everyone. But I think that’s also what’s fun about making it a collaborative art project: Why can’t we all interpret utopia differently!

Matt: Oh yes, emo me. I’m often looking for the darkness, because the skeptic in me doesn’t believe we can truly appreciate the good without knowing — intimately knowing — the bad.

And on that uplifting note, let’s wrap up this conversation and pick it up at a later time. I’m looking forward to seeing how this project unfolds in the coming year+!

Listen to 'Oblivion'


by A.R. Ammons

Birds are flowers flying
and flowers perched birds.



In The Garden / Written, performed, and produced by Fog Chaser.


Viburnum, In The Garden / iPhone / Utopia


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Fog Chaser
Volume III
Volume III of the original music shared in the Fog Chaser newsletter (November 2023 - October 2024)
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