Some Writing Surrounding my Album

I put out a new album recently. Digging through my old documents, I found some writing that led to what some of the songs became, and a couple other musings. Posting them here feels good, so I’m doing it.


On Barn Burning

Old, dried Grey wood
A friend’s basement, herbal cigarettes
Stuffed marlin on the wall
Cold winter drive, coniferous walls

Green-shrouded basement,
we tried smoking today;
the basement stinks now

Warm, dark orange light,
A barn up in Caledon
Probably burning.


More Body

I am writing about my body.
Hang tense, with flashes of burst cell walls,
explosions of white chalk behind my eyelids.
My feet lie limp, my lower half sinking into disuse.
A great pool opens in my midsection,
an ugly willingness to drop.
My face hangs stern and my head pounds
in strange agony. My eyes twitch behind lids
and put pressure on my brain.
My breathing is uneven and my spine
pulls to the left.


An Image:
[Twelve Black Beetles, bottled.]


Konica C-35

My Konica C-35 was given to me by my Dziadzia. He had it since the 1950s and photographed a lot of people through it. He wasn’t an “art photographer,” but used the camera more for documentation of our family. Other Veterans, neighbours, loved ones; he was more interested in preservation than creation. When he gave me his binoculars, I came to the realization that he’s someone who based his life on experiences, on witnessing the world as clearly as possible. In contrast, I hardly leave the house these days, let alone take photos with the camera.


Monday February 29th, 2016

I hear the clinking of keys hanging from the ignition. My father tells me that people don’t pull over or remove their hats for funeral processions in the big cities anymore. Ahead of us, cars peel off the road to let the hearse pass; their drivers’ heads bowed. Light falls briskly against the mossy green lawns of St. Catharines around noon. My stomach drops a bit as the car lurches through potholes in the old roads, I’m brought back from a daydream to the moisture on my face and the strange weight on my chest. The car carries the faint smell of dried coffee and engine grease. I don’t mind; it’s a lot like being at home.


On The Funeral:

Grey with wind-blasted dew
We follow the old neighbourhood roads
through St. Catharines.
Opposing vehicles peel off the road
in a display of arms opening as ticker tape,
letting us pass.
The beetle-black of the hearse
an indicator that someone great is gone.

At the graveyard:
we step into the hellish cold
of a leap year, wind whipping our faces.

I haven’t seen my father cry since I was very young.
In his words, “he was a true gentleman.”
A poppy driven into the wood of the casket
breaks through him.
A flower from the bouquet blows to my feet,
I place it back on the lid.

 

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Some Writing Surrounding my Album

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

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Jonfrid Eliasen Photography

Next from Coldform is A Death Over The Radio.
I started this song while in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to see my great grandfather who had recently turned 100. It started with the raspy “respirator” synth sound and the various piano melodies, and was left as that for a little while.
I later started sequencing drums, and ended up using a lot of samples from a brush kit because I liked how fluid they felt. Underneath, the rest was essentially basic dance drum patterns.
I tried playing this one live at the release party for my first album World Makers, but it just didn’t seem right; something was missing.
I took the tune to Jesse Manou from Other Families to lay down some electric guitar. He gave me one mean take, and that’s what you can hear in the finished song.

A lot of time passed, and I had moved to Montreal for school. My Great Grandfather died and I started to think about what the song was really about. I got a message one day about the account name for one of my other projects from someone named Súsanna Herálvsdóttir. She wanted to use the name for her own project, Dóttir (pictured). I gave it to her, and discovered that she had the most lovely voice.
I sent her the instrumental to muse over, and after a few months she gave back the recorded vocals. I remember getting really excited upon hearing them for the first time- I immediately called Astrolope and told him to come over and hear them.

A lot of time and small mix revisions later, and the song was finished. For me, this was one of my favourite songs off the album and marked the first time I collaborated with someone I didn’t know in real life.

Listen to A Death Over The Radio: http://bit.ly/1rptc5R

Stay tuned for the process behind the next song; Yourself Open!

Track By Track: A Death Over The Radio

Track By Track: It Turns You On

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The next song on Coldform is It Turns You On.
This song is a bit harder to remember the process behind, but I do know that it started as a solo piano demo.
What changed it was when I ran the piano through a shitload of distortion and realized the lead melody sounded way better that way. I ended up redoing it with a distorted softsynth.
From there I programmed some pretty robotic dance beats and had the skeleton for what became the first chorus.

Once I moved to Montreal, Astrolope (pictured above, around that time) came into the equation and played the pots and pans you can hear in the intro section, as well as made the drums way better overall.
I eked out the bass line with the bass guitar that I would later learn to play, and we ended up with a pretty bare tune.
Izzy came in and did the vocals all in one day. The garbled speech heard toward the beginning is her rapping some of the nastiest shit I’ve ever heard, which was then warped to hell. We wrote the lyrics based on what we thought we heard in the mangled version. Lyrically, we wanted to write a song that was more fun than serious.

This song went through about 10 versions and two years before we were happy with it, and now you can listen to it knowing that Isabella Davis has a rapper alter-ego called Li’l Izzy.

Listen to It Turns You On: http://bit.ly/1RUYYRJ

Next up: A Death Over The Radio!

Track By Track: It Turns You On

Pale [Poem]

Pale
Pale

Pale skin on soft blades
Eyelashes like curtains
Glow of the afterlight
Warm on our cold skin
And you give me goosebumps
When you close your eyes.

We uncover mosses
Lose track of our losses
Stay a while and sleep…

Wake up in the night time
You; still beside me asleep.
I put my head on your chest
and listen to you breathe…

***

Pale [Poem]

Great Attractor [Lyrics]

Rift

 

This is something I wrote a long time ago, and it has a place close to the heart for me. 

 

Alone in space

Your cubby hole

A safety blanket

Playing, the wrong role

 

You’re catching bits

and artifacts

Lonely stars,

We don’t need that,

Not here, it’s much too far.

 

A pale face

Tattoos of homes and hands

You’re changing.

 

Great Attractor

Tell us where you are,

you’re growing

Great Attractor

Take in all you need,

we love you

Great Attractor

Pulling all the weight,

And drifting.

And waiting.

You’re changing.

Great Attractor [Lyrics]

Wingskull [Poem]

Hmm, here’s one o’ them poems I wrote in the winter.

Wingskull

I’m so bored
With feelings
So unnatural
It stings

To think of her
When she’s here,
When she’s gone
Apathy I fear

Emotional
Emotional

Spill my tongues
Glistening and real
Heart so slow
Blood stops
Head to heel

Their ears are sleepy
From repetition
New news
You choose
The old left to omission

Emotional
Emotional

I can only speak
A thousand times
I’m so tired!
Of feelings

Inside a stone skull
My brain has wings
Pulled down by ropes
Only worms and things.

Only worldly wings,
Only worldly wings…


Wingskull [Poem]