Friday, June 20, 2014

Thoughts on the song Epitaph

I could not have done this one without my friends. I'd been in mourning for my friend Annie and decided that the best way to deal with it was to make something that celebrates life. In one weekend, my friends and I gathered together and raised our voices in song.

The music comes from a grave marker that dates back 2000 years. It's the oldest known complete musical work. It's a timeless melody and the words are relevant even today. I used the following translation of the original Greek inscription.

While you live, shine
Seek no trouble or sorrow at all
For we are here just a short while
And time will always demand its toll.

I wish that I could go back and change things so that Annie was still here and that we'd not had to make this song. But I can't do that so I ask this of you: please share this song with anyone and everyone. It is available as a free download here:

For further information on the song, check this:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who Mourns Eos? - Thoughts and Lyrics

Nathaniel: There's been so much apocalyptic stuff in the news lately - global warming, war on terror, and genocide in those countries over there (which can, all too soon, turn into countries right here). After getting my daily dose of bad news on the internet I had to get out and go for a walk. Thankfully, there's a park near my house where the trees and critters are able to obscure the sights and most of the sounds of the city.

As I sat there I was reminded of a poem that I read many years ago: Sara Teasdale's There Will Come Soft Rains. Here's the text of the poem:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
and swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
and wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war,
not one
will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
of mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
could scarcely know that we were gone.

It was written in 1920 and was a direct result of the carnage of WWI.

In recent times, I've been thinking about where our species is going. Perhaps it won't be war that does us in. Perhaps it's the environment? The latest super-virus? Zombies? Aliens? These are things that aren't necessarily the result of someone pushing the button to launch the missile but are certainly things that we as a species really should be taking steps to ameliorate. Apparently, the US Government is already planning for a Zombie Apocalypse:

It the nuclear dread of the 50's has turned into the ravening cannibal horde dread of the modern day.

An aside: if not for the bravery of one Russian soldier, we all would have died in a nuclear holocaust in 1983. Seriously. Check this link: Scary as hell, that.

Anyway. I didn't mean for this song to be quite as dark as it is but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by it. If we disappear, the sun will still rise. The seasons with still cycle. And critters the world over will still live and, hopefully, thrive. Maybe we can pull our collective asses out of the fire. I remain hopeful.

When Alyssa sent me her first draft of the lyrics she included an iPhone recording of her singing the melody. I popped that into Cubase and it was so good I was just going to keep that as the final take for the album. Alas, we changed the words so we had to fly her to Seattle to have her record on a real mic.

Tempest: Nathan asked me to listen to a melody that he was working on, and what imagery I saw in it. The vision that came to mind as I listened was hazy, but strong morning light illuminating a large empty bed in room with open doors looking out to a similarly empty patio. Morning had come to an empty world, with no one to welcome it. In explaining this picture, I remembered one of Ray Bradbury's short stories I had read half a lifetime ago – of an electronic house in a post-apocalyptic time. Everything was still running as normal, but there was no one there left alive to witness it. Growing up in the era of the Cold War, I was keenly aware that that nuclear devastation loomed possibly just around the corner, and Bradbury's story embedded itself into my subconscious. As I described it, Nathan knew exactly which one I meant.

Alyssa: I am constantly in awe of how insignificant the human race is in the grand scheme of the universe, how we are just moments in time, though we desperately attempt to achieve immortality through what we build and what we destroy. The song started as a tune Nathan sent me and the chorus flowed rather easily….as I continued, the dichotomy of a childhood rhyme that has been linked (though incorrectly) to the black plague that killed a quarter of Europe’s population, seemed a natural fit. And of course, if you listen closely, I left a few easter eggs in the lyrics that are nods to Whedonesque philosophies. There is a vastness of space and we are screaming into the void, but who is left to hear us when we are ourselves are gone?

Who mourns Eos?
Ring around the rosy
Light preceeds the sound
Flashes, Ashes
We all fall down

It’s raining, it’s raining on the home
Standing, still standing all alone
No crying, no crying can erase
The shadows that lie burned ‘cross it’s face.

One, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Who mourns Eos
Who mourns the dawn
Who cries for creation
When the ending's begun

Destruction in the birthing
Death in the morn
Here lies poor Eos
But who’s left to see the dawn

The bridges, the cities, tumbling down
The tides are all rising, soon they’ll drown
Flora and fauna move to reclaim
They’ll never think of the human race

One, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

A mad man, a trigger, missiles fly
No time for a question, time to hide
The mushrooms are growing, cloud the sun
There’s nowhere, there's nowhere, left to run

One, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Who mourns Eos
Who mourns the dawn
Who cries for creation
When the ending's begun

Destruction in the birthing
Death in the morn
Here lies poor Eos
But who’s left to see the dawn

A moment, a minute, all we are
And there is so much black 'tween the stars
The lesson left unlearned to survive
It’s much harder to live than to die

One, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Thoughts about the song Snugglefish

We'd just finished our weekend in Old Tucson at the Wild Wild West Convention in March of 2014. We had woken up too early after a night that went too late and we were punch drunk and would laugh at pretty much anything. When we were standing in line at the security checkpoint I decided that it would be a good idea to ask the internet for words that rhymed with "tentacles." No, i don't know why. I blame the coffee.

Anyway, the response was lightning fast and suddenly I had a thriving FB thread full of suggestions. By the time we'd sat down in our seats on the plane I knew that we needed to write a song with this. Kate, Tempest, and I passed my notebook back and forth and the rest of the song materialized in about 15 minutes. I'm sure the other passengers were plenty irritated by our silliness.

The third verse came a few days later, after I'd sent the song-in-progress to Alyssa. She totally nailed the idea. I loved the Frog & Toad reference!

I don't know what a Snugglefish looks like. I've seen a couple of artist renderings and each one is unique and awesome.


Oh, those dreary days
In my world down below
The sea where I sit
To watch the world's show

The mortals, full of hubris
To their Gods' respect is lackin'
There's just nothing left to do
But shout, “Release the Kraken!”

But I know that deep inside
Your fleshy, squirmy, slimy hide
A heart of gold resides ...

You're my fierce and fanged Snugglefish
My toothy, scaly Snugglefish
The mortals fear you, Snugglefish
As they're gobbled by you, Snugglefish

Lord Zeus says you're nonsensicle
Because of all your tentacles
Residing in my ventricles
Are nothing but respectacles

For you …

My little Snugglefish
My little Cuddlefish

For the Lord of the Sea
It's such a lonely lot
That sometimes I feel
Like you are all I've got

And it pains me ever so
When mortal respect is lackin'
And there's nothing left to say
But, “Release the Kraken!”

Because you've shown me, deep inside
Your fleshy, squirmy, slimy hide
A heart of gold resides …


Instrumental Interlude - DUELING KAZOOS! How cool is that??

You're man’s most dreaded enemy
My best friend, not frenemy
Frog and toad will always be
Envious of you and me

So when you feel down and out
Like all the world’s attackin'
Never worry, I will shout
Hey “Release that Kraken”

Because you've shown me, deep inside
Your fleshy, squirmy, slimy hide
A heart of gold resides …