Week 231 // What I’m Built For

April 20th, 2015

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On the edge of the dark
A tiny burning thing you’ll always see
You’ll probably know it when you see it
It probably follows you
And this I know
Because it follows me

And I will race you home again
And I will be there waiting
Count on that
It’s what I’m built for
And I will memorize the way
And I will know it backwards
Count on me
And I will count on you

I’m a young young man
I got the whole wide world in front of me
You make it easy to believe that
You make it true
You make it so
You make it real

And I will race you home again
And I will be there waiting
Count on that
It’s what I’m built for
And I will memorize the way
And I will know it backwards
Count on me
And I will count on you

Notes
For months and months I’ve been writing tunes on a nylon string guitar. A lot of them have been pretty nice, but it occurs to me that newcomers to this website might not realize that the Mount Everest catalog is typified by diverse multi-instrumentalism. Lately the sound has been heavily influenced by time constraints, and obligations outside of this project. It has seemed easy and natural to reach for a guitar each time I sit down to write. Today as I contemplated reaching for a ukelele to shake things up, I looked to the piles of papers and clothes on top of my synthesizer and it occurred to me how lonely and neglected it looked. Shoving said papers and clothes to the floor, I found that the familiar keys felt good under my fingers, and I composed this song. It think of it as sweet video game music; a loving meditation punctuated by a simple and expressive digital warmth. It felt good to write it. I hope it feels good to listen to it.

~M.E.

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Week 230 // Bright Spot

April 13th, 2015

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Working hard
On a crowded street
Took a deep deep breath
Now you’re digging deep

Lay down
Off your weary feet
In a bright spot
Darling next to me

Chase the sun
And the work redeemed
And a place you earned
And a perfect dream

Lay down
Off your weary feet
In a bright spot
Darling next to me

Notes
This song is about hard work and a deep, satisfying fatigue. Rebecca and I wen’t down to DC over the weekend to run the annual Cherry Blossom 10 Miler with her sisters. The popular road race was attended by thousands and thousands of runners of all skill levels out to treat themselves to a workout amidst the capitol’s famous cherry blossoms at the peak of their bloom. While 10 miles is routine for some runners (like Rebecca’s impressive marathoning sisters), this race was out of our comfort zone, and we’d been training for months. We were treated to an absolutely perfect day for an absolutely awesome run. The blossoms were like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the scent of rebirth on the spring breeze was an inspiration. We ran faster than we thought we would, and finished with wide grins on our faces. This song is a quiet reflection on the hard work we did, and the sore muscles we earned. After you listen to it, get outside, because spring is in the air.

~M.E.

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Week 229 // Swimmers 2

April 6th, 2015

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Floating on a poem
Great and gracious water
Flow to the horizon
Round the bend we’re going
Say we catch the word
On a sudden blowing wind
And we race into the water
Two by two by two

Race the night a’coming
Hold your hand and greet it
Climb the bank ’till morning
Round the bend we’re going
Say we hear the word
On the sweetest summer breeze
And we race into the water
Two by two by two

Notes
Last week I refrained from naming my song as a number in a sequence of ”River Songs” that I’ve been accumulating over the four and a half years that I’ve been working on this growing catalogue. I chose instead to refocus the title on the swimmers who travel the river together, facing the placid or turbulent flow of time together, and celebrating the virtue of the buddy system both in aquatic pursuits and in life in general. It seems that the river song sequence has sprouted a spinoff series, or perhaps a tributary, as I quickly add a sequel to last weeks “Swimmers.” Who knows how many of these there will be, and how quickly they’ll come. “River Songs” seem to manifest very rarely, with months or years between entries. “Swimmers,” on the other hand, begged my continued attention right away. As Rebecca and I near our wedding day, I can’t help but feel swept up in the flow of time. It’s a great comfort to have her swept up with me. This entry focuses on harmony and repetition. I hope you enjoy listening to it.

~M.E.

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Week 228 // Swimmers

March 30th, 2015

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Like swimming down river
Don’t need to swim at all
Much sooner getting to
That place worth dreaming down the river

And it’s a grand sliver
The sun that’s setting on
The bank we left behind
And wet our feet to swim together

Wide and wide
We scale the other side
Lengthen shadows
Ever goes the time

And you’re a fine swimmer
I think you’ve seen it all
At least you’ve seen enough
To spot the ripples in the water

It’s been a long winter
After a lonely fall
And praised these waters be
They’ll fast convey us to our summer

Wide and wide
We scale the other side
Lengthen shadows
Ever goes the time

Notes
This week’s song could easily have been named as one of Mount Everest’s several River Songs. I think it would have been River Song 4 if I had decided to go that way, but instead I decided to focus on who was in the river, allowing swimming to become the titular metaphor. Certainly, the river has a metaphor to play in this song; it describes time, and destination, and the ease or difficulty of that passage. But here I’ll shift attention back to the swimmers who navigate those waters. Any former summer camp waterfront co-director (such as yours truly) will tell you unequivocally that swimming is an activity in which it is vital to observe the buddy system. Not only is swimming safer if you’ve got somebody with you –somebody who can look out for you as you look out for them– swimming is more enjoyable if you’ve got somebody to swim with. All the marvelous and otherworldly properties of the water are enhanced if you’ve got somebody to share them with. This song is an ode to that simple notion.

~M.E.

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Week 227 // On the Last Snow

March 23rd, 2015

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Weatherman
They could call you an artist
You got a fine spin
On missing the thing

But on the last snow
I said to my darling
Ain’t this the perfect
Way to greet spring

Age old
Scattering moonlight
Dots in the cold
Everyone asking
Where does it go?
Oh my
Where will we go?

Wait up
Screaming out doors
The moment
Insisting it’s yours

Radio
You could call me a pilgrim
I’m spinning round and round
Where you tell me to go

And on the last note
I’ll look to my darling
She’ll give a simple nod
And it means that she knows

Age old
Scattering moonlight
Dots in the cold
Everyone asking
Where does it go?
Oh my
Where will we go?

Wait up
Screaming out doors
The moment
Insisting it’s yours
The picture
Stuck behind glass
The winter
Over at last

Notes
This is a hopeful song. Friday was the first day of spring. Friday was also the day of a pretty decent four or five inch snowfall in New York City. The snow had a hard time accumulating at first, melting as it hit the ground, but little by little this tenacious late winter episode blanketed the city in white as far as the eye could see. The temperature was pretty forgiving and didn’t keep us inside; Rebecca and I enjoyed a snowy run in Prospect Park in the afternoon, and ventured out in the evening to watch performances from our ever talented friends, Nat Osborn and Lyle Divinsky. When we woke in the morning the snow was gone, as if it was never there at all. It seemed a last gasp of winter, and this song posits that it was just that. Perhaps it wasn’t the last snowfall of the year, but its fleeting arrival and departure sure felt like a farewell from old man winter.

Many thanks must go to my parents who alerted me late tonight that I had forgotten to post my song. I finished it Sunday evening, but as I worked on a paper all day it slipped my mind to post it for you all to hear. Crisis averted. It is still Monday somewhere in America after all.

~M.E.

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Week 226 // To Will a Thing Into Existence

March 16th, 2015

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To wear a concept on the outside
To have a better thought about it
To catch a moment of a purely radiant kind
To will a thing
To will a thing
To take the real from all the fiction
To find the truth in all the excess
To seize the order and to fight to make it hold
To will a thing
To will a thing

Notes
I’m pretty tired of creating right now, but that’s OK, because I’ve got a bit of time off this week. I assumed that I’d take the opportunity to write an old-school Mount Everest rocker today, but I found myself embracing entropy as it sunk in that over the past week I wrote approximately one billion words of my master’s thesis. This song is an exhale after holding my breath for a while. The neon lights of the 8th floor of Bobst Library have dulled my vision, and I feel like I should be wearing shades around the house in a bathrobe… This past few weeks weeks were a sheer act of will, and it occurs to me that writing a thesis is a good metaphor for pretty much every other act of will in a person’s life. Anything worth doing takes a bit of effort. Anything worth creating requires an act of concerted will. Even a little guitar song that lasts almost two minutes. I hope you enjoy this one.

~M.E.

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Week 225 // Oh Remedy

March 9th, 2015

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Oh Remedy, One stop and I’m home
My commute was a mess today
Our neighbor got hit by a train
And somewhere the hospital
Counts up the cracks in his bones
Guess the worst of it’s over
The court’ll make sure he gets paid
And it’s a lucky break
He ended up that way
‘Cause if they pay him enough
He’ll never have to ride that train

Come let it raise you up
Come let it hold you up high
Teach the constant expressway
To finally recede to a drone
Come be an animal
Come let the soot in your eye
Let the dust from the overpass in
As you make your way home
And it’s a funny thing
Makes you think that way
Like the soot turns to gold dust
And begs you collect what you may

Notes
It’s probably safe to say that I’m feeling a bit too close to New York’s subway right now. Everyone’s got a daily commute, but I take mine with me. I’ve been working on my master’s thesis, which is about the subway’s soundscape and audio-culture. When I’m not riding the train to school and back, I’m riding it to record its myriad sounds. When I’m not riding the train at all, I’m listening to what I’ve recorded and writing about it. I’ve been riding, recording, listening to, and writing about the subway since last april. I started this project in order to diffuse the anxiety that riding the subway provokes in me by turning the subway into a site of academic inquiry. It worked wonders for a time, but I think I’ve spent enough time with it that I’ve come full circle. I’m feeling pretty fed up with the MTA. This is a song that marvels at how a sooty little apartment underneath the expressway can feel like the hight of peace and quiet. In part have the the subway to thank for the overwhelming tranquility I feel in my home. I don’t hear the cars honking, I don’t hear the sirens wailing, I don’t hear the neighbors making a racket upstairs. The clack of the rails still haunts me, but here I can come close to letting go of it.

~M.E.

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Week 224 // Shrug It Off

March 2nd, 2015

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All the days you’d sit and wonder
If you’d amount to anything
What kind of awful nervous question
What kind of tiny way to think
You used to sing to call the thunder
You used to scowl to egg it on
You used to bare an ugly letter
Took all these years to shrug it off

Notes
I finished this song feeling pleasantly surprised. Actually, it left me with sort of a warm feeling, like I’d been sitting on something like this for a while and didn’t really know it. My process lately has been truncated, to put it delicately. When I devote fewer hours per week to making up songs, perhaps it takes a little bit longer for my most genuine ideas to percolate through the system and rise to the top. That’s not to say there haven’t been some good moments recently, because there certainly have been some. But this one has a solid simplicity that I feel truly takes advantage of the type of quick turnaround that I’ve been working with lately. It arrives, says what it means, and as soon as you’ve given it a good look it’s on its way again. I feel that’s the way a short song should be. This one is about shaky feelings about a misaligned past that seems to have resolved itself. It employs an old convention that used to be standard around here in that every time I say “you” I mean “me”… Anyhow, I sure hope you like listening to it.

~M.E.

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Week 223 // Supposing the Road and the Wind

February 23rd, 2015

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Am I carrying a light load?
No I really wouldn’t put it that way
I’m comparing sticks to stones
And mud to bones
And if you want to know
I’m apt to lose my way

And have I got a short fuse?
I guess that’s something you could say
But worry not, it ain’t for you
It’s self abuse
When every inch gets burned away

Hour after hour
Blowing back to you
Mile after mile
Spinning over me

If you have been the winding road
And I have been the sudden breeze
Then I should be the road for you
And you could be the wind for me

And will I be a good man?
Suppose there’s nothing in the way
Suppose I pray and plan
And make my mark
And understand
Suppose I never lose my way

And if we do the right things
Supposing we know what they are
Suppose we strike the strings
Let loose the choir and hear them sing
Assuming we work real hard

Hour after hour
Blowing back to you
Mile after mile
Spinning over me

If you have been the winding road
And I have been the sudden breeze
Then I should be the road for you
And you could be the wind for me

Notes
This song comes out of a contradictory state that I’ve existed in lately, one of pervasive anxiety and simultaneous relaxed certainty pertaining to the future. I didn’t really know what I was writing when I began, but what came out was surely a reflection of the mounting pressures of finishing my master’s degree by the spring, and somehow helping to plan a wedding and start a bold new future at the same time. I am certain of my course, and have an idea of what must be done, but at the same time all of the particulars completely elude me. Really, this is a song about personal upheaval and mutual support, and that is the real gift of my past year. I’ve always had the personal upheaval. It’s with most of us from day one, and it is part of the price we pay to enjoy being alive on this planet. The mutual support is something new. I’m still getting used to it, but I have to say, it’s pretty nice.

~M.E.

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Week 222 // The Cat

February 16th, 2015

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Little after midnight
Shout a little more
Early in the morning
Right beneath the floor
And it’s a lonesome mercy
That you implore
And up against the furnace
Or clawing at the door
Dreaming of the daylight
And wondering what it’s for
And it’s a mighty burden
That you endure

Notes
There is a cat trapped in the basement beneath our apartment. It is lonesome and suffering, and it wails throughout the day and night. It has done this for months, and despite dozens of phone calls and emails by my fiancĂ©e and me (she baring the brunt of this burden) the cat remains imprisoned and we remain earwitness to its sorrow. We may be inching toward a resolution to this problem. It is hard to say, as the animal is elusive of capture, and everyone we have asked for help has been less than sympathetic to both the animal’s plight and our own. At times I have cursed the little creature, as I tossed and turned in the night, unable to rest. But in the end it is a living thing, just as we are, and I cannot help but root for it. The picture accompanying this song is a photo of the small hole that serves as perhaps the cat’s only window to the outside world. From this tiny breach does it gaze at the traffic and the changing light and dream of freedom? Sometimes it pokes its little face into the hole and we can catch a brief glimpse of it. When I curse the cat in the night, I try to think of the little face in the hole. The cat is not my enemy. We are all in this together until we reach the end.

~M.E.

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