Week 219 // What the Silence Means

January 26th, 2015

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On our vast and crowded islands
Huddled fast against the storm
It’s hard to reckon what your truth is
And wait in line for something warm
You gotta hold on to something good

And on the eve of cataclysm
You hear how still the night can be
You gotta wonder about the silence
You’ve gotta linger on what it means
You gotta hold on to something good

Notes
The bodegas are all sold out of bread. The liquor store has a line around the block. Modell’s is selling record numbers of winter boots, and Rebecca and I have canceled our evening plans in favor of hunkering down and avoiding what would surely have been a most frustrating subway journey. The denizens of this fair city have soggy socks. The blizzard has arrived. I skim social media and read sensational stories about the storm of the century. Yes it is snowing out, but surely the apocalyptic rhetoric is overblown, right? I skim again, and see the cynics scoffing at our collective panic; this is winter — it is supposed to snow. As a son of New England, the land where men, women, and children laugh in the face of nor’easters, I am sympathetic to the cynics. However, I look around New York, and it is as plain as the nose on the Old Man in the Mountain (RIP) that not all is well. Sensational as reports might be, many New Yorkers lack the simple resources to weather this storm. You can see them everywhere you look, seeking solace on warm exhaust vents, in subway cars, and under flimsy awnings. If you find yourself scoffing at sensational reports of a historic storm of biblical proportions, consider your station. If you have what you need, and this storm is a cakewalk, be thankful, not cynical. Be safe and stay warm.

~M.E.

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Week 218 // A Trick in the Dark

January 19th, 2015

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Almighty our god
Is an angry old man
With his hand in his pocket
And his gun in that hand
And if he pulls it on you
You’ll be dead where you stand
so think of that
When you’re saying your prayers

Almighty our god
Is a lamp in the sky
And if you tell enough friends
You’ll switch on when you die
Yeah if you tell enough people
You’ll spend eternity high
So think of that
When you speak to your friends

Halleluja

Almighty our god
Is a word you can’t say
And should he rise to your lips
You must push him away
‘Cause he is jealous and vengeful
And we like him that way
‘Cause he is ours
And says we’re not wrong

Halleluja

but hold on a minute…

Almighty our god
Is a trick in the dark
And although it is hard
We’ll light up with a spark
That revenge isn’t love
And that a god who embarks
On revenge
Is a god who is not love

Notes
What this song is not: an indictment of all religion, belief, practice, or doctrine. What this song is: a critique of many popular religions, beliefs, practices, and doctrines. In the faith of my upbringing, god is love. God cannot both be love and anger. God cannot be both love and divisiveness through superiority of one group over another. God cannot be both love and petty jealousness. God cannot be both love and damning of kind people who disagree on god’s nature or existence. God cannot be both love and damning at all. God cannot be both love and the reason to fight a war. God cannot be both love and an excuse to discriminate against, persecute, and systematically disenfranchise marginalized groups. God cannot possibly be both love and vengeance.

I am unequipped to say what god is. I don’t know that god is anything. I do know that the only god worthy of any of my attention would have to be a loving one. The god I hear people talking about out there is most often not a loving one. I’m thinking hard on this one.

~M.E.

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Week 217 // Join the Conversation

January 12th, 2015

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Join the conversation
Listen up, god knows
They could jaw for hours
And they’d never know
There’s a topic bleeding
On the ice and snow
Join the conversation
And let nothing go

And what are you
But the point you make?

That’s your conscience fading
Knocking at your door
There’s an outcome waiting
And it isn’t yours

Notes
It seems that the deeper our problems grow (our problems as a civilization, that is) the more superficial our discourse becomes. It’s bad out there, and precious few people seem to have anything of substance to say about it. That’s what I’m singing about in this song, and unfortunately (or perhaps fittingly) the song is characteristic of the discourse it is critical of. It offers nothing but to say that if you aren’t a part of the conversation, you’re a part of the problem. It advances no cause other than discourse. It stakes no claim other than that better claims must be staked.

I had a lot of fun with the drum and bass programming on this number, making a couple of moments really go, while keeping it extremely simple. There are also a couple of useful moments on the guitar. The track is stylish; I only wish I’d had more to say about how preciously little anyone has to say that’s worth saying. I’ll try again later on down the line, I’m sure.

~M.E.

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Week 216 // The Year

January 5th, 2015

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On the morning that I woke up
Convinced that this would be the year
Come on, what a notion
Little whispers in my ear

Light and radiant on the highway
I never realized what it meant
Come on, what a notion
That every second lived is spent
So come on

Burning down the country fire
And knowing for a fact this moment’s real
Come on, what a notion
So many moments we could steal
So come on

Notes
Hello out there! Happy New Year! The year is already five days old, but this is the first Everest track of 2015, so I’m still coasting on the optimism and good times of what has always been my favorite holiday. I know a lot of you must be groaning, because every year I come on this blog and sing and write and pontificate about how great the new year is because it represents renewal, and second chances, and the importance of our brief light in the ever progressing march of time and on and on and yadda yadda yadda. Well this year is no different, and since this going to be a big year for me, I’m kicking it off with a fun little number that is meant to herald the year to come, and to take stock of its fleeting moments as precious commodities to be held and cherished. Wherever this song finds you out there, and whatever shape your life is taking, I wish you a new year worth holding on to.

~M.E.

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Week 215 // But Wait

December 29th, 2014

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Like the moon in the night sky
I been waiting for you
Lit up by your sunshine
Far away from you

All alone on the last night
I been thinking of you
Way off in the sun rise
Nothing else I can do
But wait

Notes
This quiet meditation is the final song of the three that I wrote and recorded in the week preceding Rebecca’s return. Its calm and simplicity put a period on that week’s creative exploration, as well as the wait itself, since It was recorded on the final morning before she came home. It is in contention for the title of shortest Mount Everest song, but I lack the desire to verify its status. It is every thing it should be though; a momentary punctuation to a much larger sentiment.

Included is an unrelated photograph from my older brother, Eben. I’ve posted it here because I like it, and because Eben’s photography deserves wider circulation. More of his photographs can be seen at renaissancedilettante.com.

I hope this week’s song finds you all fat and happy from a holiday season well spent with friends and loved ones. This is the final Mount Everest song of 2014, which turned out to be a big year for me. Here’s hoping you all enjoy peace, prosperity, love, and kindness in the year to come. Sing Auld Lang Syne with great gusto, and raise a glass to old friends this New Year, then pat yourself on the back for completing another lap around the sun. Great job!

~M.E.

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Week 214 // Midnight in the Clearing

December 22nd, 2014

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Candle in the window
Light the way
Light the way
What am I to do?
Sit and wait
Sit and wait
Crack the end of autumn
On the way
On the way
Hold on
Hold on
Hold on

Sound of heavy concrete
Gone away
Gone away
Midnight in the clearing
On the way
On the way
Hold on
Hold on
Hold on

Notes
Last week I wrote of the approaching return of my fiencée from her season of work abroad, and just as last week’s song anticipated, she arrived on Friday, much to our mutual joy relief. I spent the week writing songs in advance of the holiday season and the travel and logistics that often make keeping up with Mount Everest difficult. Having already written of her return, I had intended to explore other subjects and territories, but sometimes an emotion and an event looms so large that I cannot write around it, so I embraced the wait and I kept meditating on it. To that end, here is yet another song about Rebecca’s approaching return, despite the fact that I am releasing it days after the event. There is yet another one like it cued up for a week from today, and both of them were written and recorded last week. Some Monday early in the new year Mount Everest will catch up to real life, no longer lingering on that week’s wait. There was simply nothing else I could imagine writing about.

This song plays with a slightly elaborate electronic arrangement. I pull off a few things with a synthesizer that I haven’t really tried before. I hope you enjoy it.

~M.E.

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Week 213 // Patience

December 15th, 2014

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Way above the freezing rain
You traverse the earth on a flying plane
And it scrapes the sky to inscribe our names
And we see they’re both the same

And that bird that lifts you up
On its precious wing, yes it’s strong enough
And on the day it brings you I raise my cup
To be near you, praise my luck

And if I know what searching means
Then I know the peace of discovery
And the placeless ages that intervened
And we wake into a dream

And if you know what patience is
And I know the world locked behind your kiss
Then we know you carry a place like this
‘Cause we need it, this is it

Notes
Friends, it has been a long fall, and coming to the end of it, I think it was even harder than I’ve given it credit for. My fiancée is coming home from a season abroad in Amman, Jordan. We’ve spent the fall patiently waiting for this coming Friday, fortunate to live in the age of modern conveniences like Skype. But there is no substitute for the real thing. This song is a sigh of relief for her imminent return, as well as a tribute to the accomplishment of diligently committing to our work, and providing support to each other despite the distance. We kicked ass. We have well earned the joy of our imminent reunion.

I’m looking forward to the next few days, because in the absence of my responsibilities to graduate school (which I completed for the semester last night) I am going to attempt a bit of a songwriting marathon to load up Mount Everest ahead of the holiday season, so I can breathe and enjoy friends and loved ones. I haven’t done this in a little while, so wish me luck!

~M.E.

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Week 212 // Ember

December 8th, 2014

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The season gets long
And the stranger it gets
I hold an ember
It’s at the heart of it
And I’ll give it to you
You hold it tight in your hands
I want you to be a part of it

The season gets long
And the stranger it gets
I hold an ember
It’s at the heart of it
And I’ll give it to you
You hold it tight in your hands
I want you to be a part of it

Take a look around
This place was made for conversation

Notes
This song is anticipating a much deeper part of winter, the part when things get a little weird. Any winterdwellers know what I’m talking about. There’s going to come a day not too long from now, after the holidays are over, after the novelty has worn off, when we’ll realize we’re in the very middle of it. Autumn will be a flicker of a memory, and spring will be a bizarre fantasy; a lie somebody told you once. The walls will feel closer. Time will slow down. But then something will happen. It will become a beautiful part of winter, because it will be the moment when we give up on the superficial relief of other less mighty seasons, and we will turn to each other. People keep this little warm thing at their center; they tend to it. They keep it burning. It is precious. One day when the sun is dim they take it out and they give it to somebody else. Winter is about human connection, and as the air shifted this week, and autumn left us, I began stoking the little ember in me. I need to keep it glowing, so it will be bright enough to give away later on.

~M.E.

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Week 211 // A Moment

December 1st, 2014

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Up into the air
Crossing o’er the valley
Something down below
Catches light just like a diamond
What am I to do
But fix my eyes upon it sadly?

Pictures stuck between
Pages of a notebook
Turn them in my hand
Recognize the faces slowly
What am I to do
But fix my eyes upon them gladly

Notes
What I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks, and what I may be doing a few weeks longer as finals hit NYU, is sort of like the songwriting equivalent of haiku. This is a short song that set out to be short. Here are phrases and ideas that are hoping to be something complete rather than something truncated due to lack of time to flesh it out. This song is really just a moment in time. It has a little sadness. It has a little happiness. It evokes places and people without ever spelling them out. I wanted it to be a song you could run your fingers over, one with a little texture, like a physical object. Maybe I did that, or maybe I didn’t. I enjoy making these little meditations. If I didn’t have Mount Everest, I’d never bother to make a song so small and simple.

~M.E.

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Week 210 // At the Center of the Earth

November 24th, 2014

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At the center of the earth
Not far away from here at all
The buried rocks beneath the dirt
And the hot fire ball

When molten rocks push through the seam
To scorch the surface of the earth
We’re never asking what it means
We only ask how it works

Notes
This is a steady, patient little slow burn of a song. I suppose it’s about our modern proclivity to quantify the world around us, rather than searching for deeper meaning. I must have developed some frustration with this phenomenon during my time in graduate school. It isn’t so much that people never search for deeper meaning. That’s the whole project of the arts after all. I guess my problem is that qualitative perspectives are so easily sunk by numbers in our culture. They amount to nothing but a nice addendum to the figures. It isn’t right. Data drives us so deep down that our critical minds, and perhaps even our very hearts, are losing authority. Reader, Listener, please never cede the authority of your heart.

~M.E.

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