Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)

I’ve started to write a piece of fictional prose, which isn’t something I’ve done in years. I’m trying to take a Hemingway-esque approach, in keeping my descriptions and adjective-use relatively minimal. Here’s my first draft:

David rolled over in his sleep. The moon was out and blue light speckled the forest floor.
I heard a snap and looked past the firepit to the cage across camp, obscured by the gloom; something rustled inside. My eyes fell on Capri, asleep by the coals, rifle rising and falling with his chest.
I quietly woke David, motioned to leave and as silently as we could, we rolled our bedding. I crept over to Capri who was still sound asleep with his arms loosely cradling the rifle. I gently peeled the weapon away from his body and out of his arms. He muttered something about the price of gold.

David and I walked for about four hours in what we assumed was a westward direction, and came to rest in a pine-addled hollow as the sun rose. The air was brisk with autumn and the sunrise peeking through the trees was tinged red. We ate some grits that we stole, and tucked ourselves into a space in the roots of a tree, making beds of pine needles.

David never spoke much, so our conversation was short and mostly about the weather, his face never changing beyond grim and stoic. I looked up from our hiding space to see a lone oak sapling with a few frost-coated leaves, still stubbornly clinging to the stem this late in October. I fell asleep.

***

I must have been dreaming for two hours when I awoke. Snow was falling sparsely; something was wrong. I heard the soft thudding of footsteps nearby and stayed my breathing in a sudden rush of terror. The sound of something heavy nearby- a snarl tore through the hollow. My heart beat deafeningly as the footsteps came to a halt directly above our hiding space. From here, I could smell it, rank as death.

Capri called from the creature’s back, “You boys have really done yourselves in! Not the first time I’ve caught up to runaways.” At this point, I was afraid my heartbeat was audible to the whole forest. I couldn’t see David and I was afraid to make a sound by turning my head to look for him.

Suddenly, Capri was right there peering through the roots at me. “You look lost, Ari. Where’s David?”

I didn’t say anything, only stared into his watery grey eyes. His nose dripped and he inhaled it back in with a snort. He was a disgusting man.

“Have it your way, I’ll find him.” And then he dragged me out by the throat with a grip that surprised me in its strength, especially for a wiry senior. He slugged me down to the base of the hollow and put his foot on my chest. “I’ll take that,” he said as he reached for the rifle- still hanging from my side. I swung my foot up into his face, caught his nose and broke it.  I rolled over in a frenzy, trying to take the weapon in my hands and get a shot off. I felt a dull, hot pain in my leg and lost all orientation of my surroundings, dropping the rifle. The beast had bitten and was dragging and swinging me like a rag-doll. I felt something snap and blacked out.

As of this point in time, I don’t think I really know who the narrator is, or David for that matter. Something to flesh out.

PS: This story idea came from a song of the same title that I wrote back in October.

Cheers!
-Alex

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)

8 Word Poem Excercise

In a writing class I am taking, we tried an interesting exercise where the writer can pick a total of 8 words to keep, with the question
“What 8 words are most important to you?”
Following, the writer is encouraged to write a poem with their 8 words, repetitions allowed if necessary, as well as punctuation.

I ended up with this:

“Live, vast, soft womb; cold like cracked paint.”

I personally found this to be surprisingly conducive to writing on the spot. The creative restriction of only using 8 words eliminates the ego of the writer, methinks. Naturally, a lot of results had the word love included, which I found funny. Family and love seemed to be on people’s minds throughout the class.

What are your eight words and the poem you’d write with them?
Please feel free to share other interesting restrictive exercises!

-A

 

8 Word Poem Excercise

[Poem] Swell

Two-Hundred and Fifty-Four
A number used
often forgotten
How long does it take to stem
the stream asks
the Clocksmith
Burst-apart story of the
being you depend
on your wrist,
on your knees.

Girl, I wish I knew you.
Boy, I wish I knew you.

Your pixelated
Face
fractures our dreams.
Road wanderers
Explorers of orange light
feeding on cheap food
and diluted caffeine after
cheap booze and
diluted conversation.

Cold winter birds,
too loud to hear you overhead
perhaps this dictates day.
perhaps this means going home.
Clocksmith,
dictator at flesh-level.
The nightly nomads
Cold winter birds
Fourth-hour-bends
A kneed arousal.

Visceral sound; wind
Swollen needs
Narrowed eyebrows, no smile.
Breath so hot I can taste it.

Rising chest
Swell
Pulse
Feel

Two-Hundred and Fifty-Four times a minute.

[Poem] Swell

[Poem] Pressure Loss

two tired faces
speaking through stones
their afflictions
with lust for the other
pouring through
their eyes.

stopped in the half-step
by geography
frames dropped
a gasp of pressure loss
a destroyed header
faceless footer at distance.

interruption

lime lifeforms
making it mechanical
click clack
drain away, might feel better
when you’re done.

[Poem] Pressure Loss

The Clock [Poem]

The Clock

This one has a soft spot in me…

The Clock

Taken back to
“Will you?”
Brings up the question of clocks
In a casino like snow-leopards on
The wall, they are counted by name.

Nervously look up at the blank
Space I wish was filled with
Black on white.
The red hand comes around
And your eyes are as uncomfortable
As open heart surgery.
If you break our sound barrier,
I won’t be able to finish
My king’s speech to write a closing letter.

Brought forward to
“Can we please?”
Brings up the question of
Self-hypnosis, of monsters.
The discomfort of continuing
Brings around the red hand again.
A split second of blame and
All I want to do is go home.

I’ve overstayed my visit
And it’s time to move to the
Minutes.
The black hand will be next.

Leaving the concrete enclosure
Will be good for me.
I honestly hope you
Don’t stay and become lost.

Accompanying song:

The Clock [Poem]