Week 247 // On Account of I Love You

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I’m here today to call you, darling
What you truly are to me
I shall always write you love songs
Trace tiny circles when you sleep

And I shall always be your friend
And I will dream and walk beside you
Oh what a fool I might have been
You’re the one I’m sticking to

Here I am
Oh what love can be
Just take a leap of faith
Rough around the edges
Grasping at the change
Written in our fate

Through my worst and your worst, darling
Through my best and your best too
The strength I didn’t know I needed
The joy I lacked, I have with you

We will laugh when the going gets tough
Head to the sky, your easy truth
And never will I give up on us
Take to heart that I’m with you

Here I am
Oh what love can be
Just take a leap of faith
Rough around the edges
Grasping at the change
Written in our fate

Notes
After winding our way through New England, getting married along the way, then mini-mooning in Northern Maine, and the Jersey Shore, Rebecca and I are home in Brooklyn, and we are definitively hitched. Last week’s song was recorded in advance of the nuptials, so this song is the post-wedding reflection that I’ve been looking forward to writing for so long. Marriage is a collaboration, so there was really only one way to do this song right. Here I present a true duet with my new wife, old friend, and best collaborator in life. We adapted the lyrics to this song from our wedding vows. Recording with Rebecca was the perfect way to put a cap on our wedding experience, and just the right way to calm our impending nerves as we prepare to attack an apartment search on top of our job searches already in progress. This is an exciting and unpredictable time for us, and this song represents the steady thing that will take us through all of what life has in store. This is the kind of song that makes me so glad I have this project in my life. As an artist, a standing record of this era of my life will be something to hold dear in the years to come. Thanks for being here with us.

Again, the photograph accompanying this song is by the amazing Jessica Oh, and you can find her work at jessicaohphotography.squarespace.com.

~M.E.

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Week 246 // Pieces of Moment

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There’s a warm breeze
Blowin’ down the sidewalk
And I can ride it
Darlin’ all the way to you

There’s a picture wall
Tiny pieces of the moment
I love to look back
But looking forward’s all I want to do

And if our next stop is around the corner
We could keep our places
Little things we do
But we could spin the globe
And drop a finger too
‘Cause baby all I need is you

There’s a wildcat
Sleeping in the corner
Yeah, she’ll bite and scratch
But honey she’s in love with you

And from my silent perch
I’m watching you intently
Arranging knick knacks
I’m studying the things you do

And if our next stop is around the corner
We could keep our places
Little things we do
But we could spin the globe
And drop a finger too
‘Cause baby all I need is you

Notes
Wow wow wow! We got married, and I can’t believe how awesome it was! Many of you have told me how excited you are to hear my post wedding Mount Everest song. That is going to have to wait another week, because in preparation for our nuptials and mini-moon, I pre-recorded this week’s tune. This is one final pre-wedding reflection. It is a serene little number about sharing space with somebody you love, and looking forward to the future. This song takes place in our little apartment. It is a place we have built into a private world which we will take with us no matter which walls surround it in the future. I am excited to reflect upon our amazing wedding in song, but this little offering functions as a much needed moment to catch my breath after a transformative weekend. The photograph is by the inimitable Jessica Oh whose incredible work can be found at jessicaohphotography.squarespace.com. Filled with love from the open road, signing off until next week.

~M.E.

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Week 245 // The Candle and the Compass

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I wandered like I was condemned
Through shallow seas and canyon walls
Until it struck me

A piece of you was on my mind
For years or more it whispered words
And so we spoke them

I’ll be there right beside you
Weightless, carrying the candle
Way above the earth
Hand in hand we’re falling
Landing like we’re feathers in the grass
And up again

The future may not ever be
A picture in a crystal ball
But this I’ll tell you

It feels like a familiar place
A verandah and a warm embrace
The sound of rainfall

I see you right beside me
Darling, carrying the compass
Way above the earth
Hand in hand we’re falling
Landing like we’re feathers in the grass
And up again

Notes
This is the last Monday before I am a married man. On Saturday we will wed and begin a brand new chapter. I wanted to offer a song that speaks to the serenity I feel with Rebecca and the beautiful optimism that the notion of our marriage evokes in me. This song plays the future against the past a little; they’re both hazy in detail but the future is far more inviting. It didn’t always seem that way. I am going to keep this write-up short, opting instead to focus the remainder of the evening on my wedding vows. Love to you all, and wish us luck!

~M.E.

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Week 242 // Bend the Light

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You’re driving through the rainstorm
I’m looking out the window
I trust you got this one
And peering through the forest
And somewhere past the wreckage
I think I see the sun
See how the light
Bends around everyone
See how your hand
Guides us back
To the sun

Do me one more favor
Yes, anything for you dear
Be only who you are
And do me one more favor
Yes anything you ask of me
Is granted in the stars
See how your light
Fills the gaps in my heart
See how your eyes
Bend the light of the stars

And can you remember me
The way I was before?
I sure remember you, dear
From so many years before
And can you remember me
The way I was before?
I sure remember you, dear
From so many years before

See how your heart
Bends the course of your life
See how the dark
Leads us back to the light

Notes
So the big thing lately is that in less than four weeks I’m going to get married! It’s a really big deal; the biggest deal. I think it is safe to assume that in the coming weeks this website is going to be a venue for much reflection on life and love. This week’s song is a part of that. The lyrics pick up during a wild rain storm that Rebecca drove me through a couple of weeks ago on our way back from Massachusetts, where we applied for our marriage license. She braved the downpour while I marveled at the twisted remains of the forest on the shoulder of the highway. It looked like a twister had come through. It dawned on me that my life was in her hands, and that I trusted her deeply with it. This song reflects on our long friendship and more recent love, and the deeply intertwined nature of our lives. My light bends towards hers, and hers toward mine. I think this song jumps around a bit through time and space, anchored mostly by a pretty gnarly bass groove, and a few moments of insight. Thanks for listening.

~M.E.

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Week 239 // Asteroid

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Sitting in a catapult
Sail into the open air
Burning in the atmosphere
Brilliant like an asteroid

What is it like
Crackin’ at the seams?
What does it mean?
What is a life
Wakin’ from a dream
What can it mean?
What is it like?

Sitting in a taxi cab
Sail into the open air
Burning up the dollar bills
Brilliant like an asterisk

What is it like
Crackin’ at the seams?
What does it mean?
What is a life
Wakin’ from a dream
What can it mean?
What is it like?

All along the waterfront
Chanting like a sacrifice
Sirens in the summer rain
Brilliant like a symphony

Notes
This week’s song is squeaking in moments before midnight. After a false start, and a day of consternation, I finally got a handle on this one. This was a situation where something wasn’t working in the original guitar part that I had recorded, and I was trying to write around it instead of throwing it away in favor of the better parts I was trying to fit with it. Ultimately I started to understand the song, but much time had gotten away from me. I really like this tune, but there is so much more I would have done with the arrangement. The lyrics are an urban mishmash of summer stream of consciousness. It’s a slow jam because the day was hot. If I had time, I would have fixed the second verse in which I mistakenly sang the name of the popular French comic character, Asterix, instead of the name of the punctuation mark, asterisk, that I had intended. Oh Well. Time is short. Here’s a brand new song!

~M.E.

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Week 238 // A Measure of the Chaos

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There’s a kind of silhouette
An empty thing
That I dream of in the morning
When I focus on the face
I awake, shaken up again
And you say let it all out

On an evening in the spring
I was told
Many stories of the stranger
As I tried to understand
What it meant
To have listened to the rain
You said let it all out

Shaking slightly I’m aware
That everyone’s
Got a measure of the chaos
Floating up above the earth
Two of us
Held together
And you let me get it all out

Notes
Last week I began (in earnest) the project of rehabbing Mount Everest. It wasn’t necessarily broken or anything, just sort of spinning its wheels. I wanted to get back to the type of layered, multi-instrumental arrangements that once dominated my weekly practice on this website, having long been focused on my graduate studies, writing week after week of simple acoustic tunes to keep this project in existence. I hit a creative wall quickly after I began, and resigned to view my effort as more of a study than a complete idea, understanding that one must work to regain the thing he has put away for some time. This week I was resolved to put the in the work, and to find the frame of mind that it takes to write these kinds of songs again. It turned out that all I really needed to do was reach for my bass. It makes sense; it was, after all, my first among many musical loves, and has long sat neglected in the corner of my apartment. It also makes sense because a bass-line is a foundation, and when one needs confidence, one cannot stand upon shaky ground. I put down something solid, and the rest seemed to fall into place. This song didn’t go everywhere I could have taken it, but I’m pleased with what I hear. I hope you are too.

~M.E.

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Week 233 // Leaving Tracks

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I think I’m leaving tracks
And I got days to wait
And in the stacks and stacks
I stumble and it’s getting late

And there’s a bright red wall
You know I gotta get around
And it don’t matter how I do it
Beating cracks in every door I’ve found

And everyone knows
When you’re out in the rain
You get trampled upon
And you see it come
And everyone feels
When they’re out in the storm
It’ll never let up
But then it does

I got a good good plan
You see it’s something like this
I’m gonna chase the light
‘Till morning catches up with me
And slip into the mist

And it’s a good good year
For letting trouble slip away
For letting go of all the little things
I used to let get in the way

And everyone knows
When you’re out in the rain
You get trampled upon
And you see it come
And everyone feels
When they’re out in the storm
It’ll never let up
But it always does

Notes
I can hardly believe that it’s May of 2015. May of 2015 has long loomed over me for a couple of reasons. I imagine that I’ll address each of them on this website in the coming weeks, but to give you a preview, I’m currently swimming in an existential soup because this month I’ll turn 30, and also receive my Master’s degree. My 30th birthday (sometime next week, I’m sort of too busy to keep track of it) doesn’t feel like an accomplishment, so much as a benchmark of which I must take serious note. The notion of my soon-to-be newly minted master’s degree, on the other hand, really knocks my socks off. The last two years have flown by, and thanks to the catalyst of coming to New York to pursue my degree, literally every aspect of my life has been transformed. It has been an arduous couple of years in many ways, but also a tremendously optimistic time for me. Wrapping it up feels strange, like I’ll need to find a new reason to struggle (I’m sure that as I face the job market I’ll find one). This song is a collection of sentiments having to do with all of this stuff. I can’t really explain what it says, but here it is nonetheless.

Also, I’m pretty sure I ripped off a couple of my old songs with this one. It has been happening more and more lately; a natural function of doing this week after week. I prefer to think of it as a conceptual re-appropriation — here are some old ideas set in new colors.

~M.E.

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Week 232 // Wild Blue

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Rising moon
Mid/late day
Wild blue
and 10 balloons
Floating away

Setting soon
Light looks strange
Alien hues
And street lights too
Buzzing away

How does it get you?
Nobody knows
Light like an evening
Those years ago
Strange how it works you
Right to the bone
Song from a morning
Ages ago

Hold my hand
Tight my dear
Such a friend
I lose my head
Having you near

Old old light
Disappears
Catch the ribbon
On the breeze
Hold it for years

How does it get you?
Nobody knows
Light like an evening
Those years ago
Strange how it works you
Right to the bone
Song from a morning
Ages ago

Notes
This is a song about when something in the air is familiar and it catches you off guard. Sometimes when the air is just right, or the temperature hovers in a particular place, or a song wafts by your ears, or the clouds look just a certain way, or the light fades at just the right instant, you can be transported to other places and other times. Memory sneaks up on you, and past blends with present, and time folds in on itself and unfolds in curious and unexpected ways. It is different from mere deja vu in which your memory is confused and mistakes the present for the past. It is the discovery a moment that complements a memory, and a realization that life is full of symmetry, and refrains come back around just like the chorus of a song. It is a curious sensation, and when it happens, moments last longer, and linger in your perception. I try to savor those moments when it seems like life is a song.

~M.E.

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Week 229 // Swimmers 2

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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 225 // Oh Remedy

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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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