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Songwriting

Evolution of an Idea: “We Speak to the Revelator”

I have no idea why, but some time around…2007(?) someone left me a voicemail with the first minute of this song:

No explanation. One of those flipphone-era voicemails with no missed call attached to it. The maddening (and kinda exciting) part was that I couldn’t really suss out what the song was. I think finally my friend Jesse pointed out that it was Cocteau Twins and an hour’s worth of blind searching later, I found “I Wear Your Ring.”

Before that though, I transcribed the main melody and most of the chord changes. I stayed obsessed enough with the idea to begin fashioning a whole song around it. The song would have numerous shifts and time signatures but still retain a kind of poppy feel. As well, I wanted the listener to feel like they were actually “moving” through multiple aural environments during the song, using instruments almost as cinematic foley to create scenarios in the mind’s eye. I had a really vivid idea in my head but it was hard to translate.

So I started sharing the bits and pieces I had with my cohort in The Atomic Bomb Audition. It was too abstract not to get a bit warped in translation but the piece inevitably went from soundscapes to atmospheric rock. And it gave a home to a nice little riff that I had that was very easy to build up to a satisfying peak but..didn’t really go anywhere interesting after that. That became the intro. The only thing left missing was the ending.

So I stole something else. Something I knew. It was “Betty’s Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti from David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. (start at 1:05 to hear the part I’m referencing):

One of my favorite pieces of music just…ever. So? I did something supremely obnoxious: I pilfered the melody and put words to it.

The resulting amalgam of all the above is:

Hey, we tried…

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How are we doing?

My cat Easy (named after the late Eazy-E) is in poor health. He’s got the stereotypical nine lives and he’s a survivor. So despite several brushes with death, he’s with us today. He’s also a motherfucking haggler. If you don’t give him something he wants, he finds a way to get it. He persists with louder meows, pacing the house (loudly, with unclipped nails), and occasionally knocking shit over until you give him what he wants.

He’s also one of the smarter animals I’ve encountered. He knows how to get your sympathy. He knows when you want to give him medicine that tastes like shit and avoids you like the plague. And he can twist fucking doorknobs with his paws.

But he does a strange thing that I’ve noticed that’s not not smart but it’s one of those revealing “ah, you don’t have the universe in the palm of your hand quite like you thought” behaviors. Here it is, step by step:

1. Looks in his food area for food.
2. Demands to be let outside.
[maybe two minutes elapse]
3. Immediately demands to be let back in.
4. Checks for food again in his food area.

Because he goes outside sometimes with no desire but to hunt rats and leap fences (which sometimes results in him being gone until dinner), I think he thinks the action of going outside at all leads to a refresh of his food bowl. Thus he observes a correlation (going outside/inside=food o’clock) that is not entirely accurate.

So, lede-burier that I am, I finally wonder: what do even the smartest humans do that’s based on a false correlation? And who is watching us with enough intellectual remove to recognize that? Because the former can’t exist without the latter and vice versa. Wondering who the who in this question might be is the closest I get to believing in aliens are in our midst. Or at least capable of observing us intimately yet from a distance.

Point being: my cat makes me confident that aliens exist. Check out the title to this record by the inestimable Jack O’ The Clock for the sliver of inspiration that led us here tonight.

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New Music Masters

Aerial Ruin is Magic

Erik Moggridge is Aerial Ruin. I’ve been a fan of his music for almost ten years and was lucky enough to tour with and befriend the man in 2008 (maybe 2009?) while in the Pacific Northwest with my old band, The Atomic Bomb Audition. Just an acoustic guitar and a gentle tenor carrying the wisdom of millennia and he out-heavied our 1000 watts handily. The man is special and his music is magic so go drown in his gorgeous new album, Ash of Your Cares, below:

Great, right? And he’s on a really long tour right now. See if he’s coming near you soon:

Aerial Ruin Spring Tour

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