Week 104 // The Sound of Planets Spinning

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Say what’s coming to you
When you say it
Can you try a little less attitude
Sometimes it hits you
That you feel like it’s just something to do
That you’re getting pretty old

And you’re wondering
If it’s getting to you
To think about getting old

And it’s just sun in your eyes
It’s got you blinking
Think about the people outside
Think about the last time
Anyone caught you surprised
And you’re getting pretty cold

And you wonder ‘bout your secrets and lies
And they’re getting over sold

And you wonder ‘bout your secrets and lies
And they’re getting over sold

Now here’s dirt in your eyes
Remember thinking
That you’re young
And you got plenty of time
And you believed it so sincerely
That you let it all slide
And will it hurt to recognize…

…That you saw the sun setting on a part of your life
And you didn’t really try?

And there’s no time to surrender
Something’s burning to the ground
So you can build it again
And you’re in love with the sound
Of planets spinning and working and turning again

The sound of planets spinning and working and turing again

Notes
This week’s song is about lots of stuff like getting older, keeping your regrets as secrets and building them up as monoliths, realizing that they’re all overblown in your own head, and understanding that letting moments pass you by has been the most tangibly regrettable thing you’ve done. It is about past moments and future moments orbiting each other like planets. I wanted to do something very different this week. I took a few risks, particularly with the vocals, and I think they worked out. The song has this sort of screwed up/off kilter exotic feel that I think I barely could have tried for. It was a total accident, but a happy one.

There are 52 weeks in a year, therefore 104 weeks make two years, thus this week’s song marks the two year anniversary of Mount Everest as a weekly recording project! I made a sizable stink just a few weeks ago about reaching 100 songs. Those of you who don’t know me very well might suspect that it is too soon to do something like that again. Those who do know me will understand that when it comes to this project, I never miss an opportunity to stroke my own ego or to pat myself on the back. I don’t think I am an unusually egotistical person. It is just that this is a tangible moment that I dare not miss. I dare not miss it because I need to thank all you faithful listeners out there in internet-land for giving me a reason to keep doing this. Your feedback and participation make my life so awesome. You rule! To celebrate this milestone (the last for a little while), I have prepared somewhat of a Mount Everest retrospective. I aim to highlight some of the notable songs from this project in order to gain some perspective before embarking on year three! Each song featured here (including the newest one) will be free to download for a week, so tell everyone!

Disclaimer: Some of these superlatives make qualitative statements like “best” or “worst” which are of course my opinion, and are up to debate. If you disagree with anything, please argue your point in the comments section below.

The Best Song:
This was a hard choice. This one wins because it earns its big ending.


The Worst Song:
I hate literally everything about this song. Every time I hear it, I wish I’d never started a website.


Biggest Hit:
This song got over 50,000 hits on HitRECord! Pretty neat.


Awesome But Nobody Noticed:
This song has about 10 bass overdubs at once. What could be better?


Mom’s Favorite:
One of the prettiest ones.


Dad’s Favorite:
Super funky. Tongue firmly in cheek.


Most of My Friends’ Favorite (I’m pretty sure):
Way up there for me too.


Most Synth:
Dig the breakdown here.


Best Least Synth:
Lots of my songs have no synth. This is the best one. Collaboration!


I Just Want It On This List:
Also, click through to Bandcamp where you’ll find that the Week 75 E.P.s are still free!


My Jam:
I got my acoustic guitar as danceable as it will ever get (on that instrument I was trying to channel David Byrne).


Craziest Collaboration:
Holy crap Tama. Bring it on home, Girl.


Most Covered:
This version is by Tama and Miguel.


I noticed while putting this together that this retrospective skews slightly toward year one, rather than year two. I have to say that I actually prefer year two on the whole, but perhaps it is underrepresented here because I haven’t yet had time to get nostalgic about it. There are so many songs on this website, and I didn’t have nearly room enough to show you all of my favorites, or really even the best ones. This is just a sampling of some of the best and worst of what I do. I hope it is enough to entice you back here next week for the start of year three! Thanks for listening folks!

~M.E.

P.S.
The following people performed in songs featured in this retrospective (they are cool): Nick Mastors, Miguel Williams, Alex Selby, Tamarinda Figueroa, and Dave Roush. It just goes to show you that I’m not really in this alone. Thanks for all the help gang! And thanks to my family, all of my other collaborators, listeners, and friends!

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Week 102 // Hurricane Music

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Fine, look me in the eye
And say it’s nothing to you
What a wind like this could do
And something’s raising doubts
The storm will wash them out

My God, I said turning around
And it was in the way
Rehearsed and overplayed
Ignore the rising wall out front
No way the storm will wash this out

No, you can’t look me in the eye
And say you’re feeling removed
With a wind like this
Don’t you even try
To say it’s nothing to you

In the barn, or hiding underground
You got something to say?
I recognize the loss in your eyes
And then you put it away
Think of the storm that broke your heart
Giving in to this one tears you apart

No, you can’t look me in the eye
And say you’re feeling removed
With a wind like this
Don’t you even try
To say it’s nothing to you

Notes
I wrote another song about a storm once, a very long time ago with some friends of mine. It was called “Big Big Wind” and it was about how a huge and violent storm interrupted our year and functioned as a thematic epilogue to the premature death of a friend in an unrelated incident. I wanted to write about this new storm, but my thoughts kept drifting back to that old one. But that’s sort of the thing about storms isn’t it? We batten down the hatches and talk smack about how it is all a bunch of hype. But in the back of our minds, we remember in perfect detail the storm that knocked out the power for days, the storm that put the tree over the hood of a friends car, the storm that flooded the basement, the storm that left you out in the cold, the storms that weren’t storms at all but equally jarring traumas that left the world strewn with debris, both real and metaphorical. We puff our chests out and bluster about the weatherman hunting for ratings, but we know that any one of these storms could be the storm. So that’s what I wrote about. I wrote about how storms remind us of loss, and that with all our courage and false bravado, we can do little but wait it out and be impressed. Stay safe everybody!

~M.E.

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Week 100 // Cars Trucks Animals People

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special video credit to co-director Kristen Handerhan


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You think you’re getting there
You said it the other day
You’re pissed it’s taken another year
It takes a lot just to hear you say

You’re standing on the roof
An American point of view
And it’s your right what’s beneath your shoes
And you’ll be damned if they’ll see you lose

And that ain’t so much like you

You set your own rules
And there ain’t no one who likes it
You’re acting all hard
And there ain’t nobody like that
It’s coming apart and you don’t even react
And you’re acting all cool
And there ain’t nobody like that
You set your own rules
And there ain’t no one who likes it
You’re acting all hard
And there ain’t nobody like that
It’s coming apart and you don’t even react
And you’re acting all cool
And there ain’t nobody like that

And what about the rest?
You never forget a face
But maybe you could misplace a time
And over time you could lose a place

And anybody there
They could see you just passing by
Maybe waving from in your car
Too quick to look them right in the eye

But that’s not so much like you
And I know I’ve said it before
But you’ve still got a lot to explain

You set your own rules
And there ain’t no one who likes it
You’re acting all hard
And there ain’t nobody like that
It’s coming apart and you don’t even react
And you’re acting all cool
And there ain’t nobody like that
You set your own rules
And there ain’t no one who likes it
You’re acting all hard
And there ain’t nobody like that
It’s coming apart and you don’t even react
And you’re acting all cool
And there ain’t nobody like that

Notes
Yes!!!! Good guys win! Welcome to Mount Everest #100. This week I’ve got a tune that moves. It is about getting too big for your britches and needing to put things in perspective. The title comes from a permanent-marker label that I found on a toy bin at my friend’s house. When you lose track of your priorities, just think of simple stuff like cars, trucks, animals, and people…

To celebrate 100 new songs in 100 weeks, I present the first ever Mount Everest music video!!! I had a ton of help from the wonderful and creative Kristen Handerhan on this project. She’s got more experience with stop-motion animation than I do, so her perspective, guidance, and hard work were really quite appreciated. I love the way this came out. I especially love that the creature seems to have developed a bit of a personality of its own in the process of making this video.

I would be grossly under-selling my current state of mind if I didn’t mention that today I feel like the champion of the universe. Today Mount Everest crosses yet another inevitable threshold, except that it wasn’t inevitable at all. It only seems that way. This whole thing could have lasted only a couple of weeks, and then fizzled away. It could have been a forgettable blip in my life’s story, but instead it has come to define me in a way that I never could have imagined. For that, I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people. There are too many to try and list, and I’m afraid to leave somebody out. So instead I’ll just say that I am grateful to my incredible family, friends, and collaborators. You’re the inspiration for this whole thing. I’ll specifically thank my parents as well. Thanks Mom and Dad. You made all of this as much as I did.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

P.S. And a special thanks to Nick Mastors who got the ball rolling with me on this thing in the first place.

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Week 99 // Gold Shore/Green Sea

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When I saw you
For the first time
In a new light

Might as well have been the first time
That I ever
Saw the stars shine

And the first time
I felt the heat of your kiss
Might as well have been the first time
I knew just what to do with my lips

And I’m gonna love you
Up and down every cliche
Heard around this town

Hey Green Eyes
Hazel never looked so good to me
There is a landscape
Where the gold of the shore
Meets the green of the sea
And I am drowning
No matter how cliche that may be

When you saw me
For the first time
Tears in my eyes

Might as well have been the last time
That I ever let another man make me cry

If only I’d known
I’d one day be by your side
I wouldn’t have wasted
So many years of my precious time

And I’m gonna love you up and down

Hey Green Eyes
Hazel never looked so good to me
There is a landscape
Where the gold of the shore
Meets the green of the sea
And I am drowning
No matter how cliche that may be

You are my sun
my sky, my clouds on high
My earth, my oceans, my fire
My heart, my soul,
This lack of control just fuels my desire
Those green eyes
They got me shoutin’ S.O.S
Without those green eyes
My love, I’d be a down and god-awful, lonesome mess

Hey Green Eyes
Hey Goodle
Never looked so good to me
There is a landscape
Where the gold of the shore
Meets the green of the sea
And I am drowning
No matter how cliche that may be

Notes
Soundmaking Buddies are back with a surprising new lineup! Tama on lead vocals! Dave on the sonic-lazer-pulse! Jesse on electrical-guitar! Eric Claptron on the faders! Tama enlisted the help of Dave to smuggle her out of New York City! Jesse maintained radio-silence for optimum secrecy! Why would they go to such great lengths!? To help Tama wish a Happy Birthday to her main squeeze of course; none other than superfriend (and founding member of the Soundmaking Buddies) Miguel Williams!

Tama came up with these loving/sexy lyrics and she needed help making the song a reality as a surprise for Miguel. Since Dave and I are pretty much Miguel’s main bros, we jumped at the opportunity to make it happen. This was one of the most fun writing experiences ever. Tama brought a powerful performance with just enough vulnerability. Dave was a mad genious/auteur and contributed at least 77 ideas for each measure of the song. Squeezed into my tiny bedroom studio, we stayed up till the break of dawn, and accomplished something surprisingly original with what is at its core a blues song.

As for Miguel, I hung out with him for a couple of days this weekend and it was pretty hard to bite my tongue about the existence of this song. I think I told him that I didn’t get him anything for his birthday because “I don’t like [him] that much.” I lied. Happy Birthday Goodle! By the way… damn, that woman loves you.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 97 // Part of the Price to Exist

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Notes
People can forge such strong connections with places. They can live in our hearts and our memories nearly as vividly as people. They are containers for our experiences, and incubators for our emotions. I found out this past week that a house I once shared with some friends has been demolished. I hadn’t seen it in a very long time, in fact I was a bit surprised that it hadn’t been torn down long ago, along with the rest of the student housing development in which it was situated. It was the sort of crusty old place that had seriously been through the wars. It was surely filled with asbestos and mold, and I don’t want to know what else, but I didn’t really mind because I was too young to turn my nose up at such conditions. We filled it with friends and lovers and it was as alive as a place could be. My life isn’t any different now that it’s gone. After all, for me it has only existed as a memory for the past six years anyway. But knowing it is gone twists me up just a little bit. It is a reminder of the way the days and weeks slowly turn over, taking with them people and places as they go. Those people and places are part of the price we pay just for being here. We get attached. They go away. They also make the whole thing worth it, so I suppose it is a price that I’ll reluctantly pay.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 96 // Starlight and Other Things

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If the sun is shining
I’m like the moon light
I’m throwing cold light at you

And if the earth is burning
I’m like the stop sign
I like a fresh disaster

If you know
All the cleverest phrases
And easy mistakes
And the reasons you wake up cold

And if the curtain’s rising
Sing hallelujah
I think you’re on to something

In the starlight
Starlight
In the starlight you will let go

If the ground is moving
I’m standing right here
I am a stubborn child

And all my powers brewing
I made myself clear
I shall not crack a smile

If you know
All the shallow excuses
And devious uses
And deep cuts and bruises grow

If the curtain’s rising
Sing to your brother
I think you’re on to something

In the starlight
Starlight
In the starlight you can let go

Notes
This week’s song is meant as sort of a bratty retort to last week’s “The Sun and Other Things.” The first song acknowledges that life changes, but the sun is still going to rise, and there will still be things that are good and constant. The retort says “screw change, I’m going to stay right where I am.” It is a nod to the idea that every time we make progress, we necessarily slide back a bit before truly moving forward. The song takes the position of the “stubborn child” digging in his heels in the face of change, but it ultimately makes peace. Even the stubborn child, when nudged, will eventually move.

The tune is as simple as it gets, which in part is thematically part of the “bratty retort” to last week’s song which was extremely elaborate. This week, all I’ve got is voice and guitar, and there are audible mistakes on both of them. I had time to fix them, but I liked the sort of awkward vulnerability that they lent to the song. When a stubborn child digs his heels in, he exposes his immaturity, just as I have left some of these bare mistakes exposed.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 95 // The Sun and Other Things

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Say you’ve gone soft
Is it such a surprise
That you’re carrying on?

One time in your life
Is as good as gone

Rubbing the dust from your eyes
To look upon what?

If you thought you’d never
See the sun again
You should lighten up

If you thought you’d never
Love the world again
It’s good enough

If you thought you’d never
See the sun again
You should lighten up

If you thought you’d never
Love the world again

Reaching your hand up
To cover your eyes
From the light of the sun

No memory of
Trying to reach beyond

So suddenly silenced
By what’s just begun

If you thought you’d never
See the sun again
You should lighten up

If you thought you’d never
Love the world again
It’s good enough

If you thought you’d never
See the sun again
You should lighten up

If you thought you’d never
Love the world again

Notes
For many many months I haven’t written a song like this one. With only a few exceptions, I’ve stuck pretty tenaciously with acoustic instrumentation, and a much different feel. My synth has played backup on only a few rare occasions, and my electric guitar has been quite literally stuffed in the back of a coat closet ever since I moved in early June. Sometimes I need to avoid something for a while to remember the ways in which it can be a creative asset. This song feels deliciously old-school to me, by which I mean it sounds like I wrote it over a year ago. It’s probably because I recently listened back over a lot of my older music, looking for audio-aesthetic landmarks, and thematic markers that I used to dwell on. The resulting “kitchen-sink” approach to songwriting can sound a bit crowded at times, but with this tune I feel that I really focused on a few moments, and really drew them out.

The song is about the moving parts of one’s life. It’s about realizing that certain parts of your life are just over and not coming back. It is about recognizing the things that still remain good and constant when that happens. Like the sun for example. And other things.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 94 // Restless Mind (Limited Heart)

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What you gonna do with your restless mind?
You can feel it rolling over
And you’re acting strange
You can feel all the ways
That you’re using up time
Yeah you feel it in your gut
Like you’re itching inside
What you gonna do with your restless mind?

And what you gonna do with that limited heart?
See, what you’ve done with it lately
Sort of seems like a waste
Cause you let it become a vestigial part
Now it’s pumping out of habit
And it’s begging you to start
What you gonna do with your limited heart?

I suggest you find another way
I do believe there is another way

What you gonna do when you lose control?
When nothing ever seems to go your way
Is that when you lose yourself, acting all cold?
Is that the day you curse your luck, selling your soul?
Is that what you do if you lose control?

And tell me what you’ll do if you get what you want
If everything you ever needed came your way
Would you forget what you learned
Feeling nonchalant
About your restless mind and your limited heart
Now tell me what you’ll do if you get what you want

I suggest you find another way
I do believe there is another way

Notes
I’d like to begin by saying how happy I am that it is September. Summer’s got all the flash and glamor, but Autumn has the substance. This I have always felt to be true. So bring it on, Autumn. I’m counting every colored leaf starting now.

This week’s song is all about layered vocals. So as not to distract from them, the only instrumentation is a bass-guitar and some simple drum programming. The tune is about being stuck in your ways. Getting stuck in a pattern is partially about getting too comfortable, and partially about fear of losing control. When that happens to me, I get restless, yet hesitant at the same time. The mind itches for new things, but the heart shields itself for fear of its vulnerability. The idea here is that there is always a new way to go about things that you haven’t thought of yet.

I have been told that Bandcamp now has an app for the iOS and Android! For all I know, this has existed for a long time. I tend to be behind on this sort of thing. The reason this is cause for celebration is that now there is yet another way for you to enjoy Mount Everest! So if you’re on your tablet or mobile device, got to the App store and get it because it is cool!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 93 // A Degree of Belief

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I lied when I said to you
You’d go and I would feel okay
And now wondering what you’d do
And how friendship is so strange

And that’s when I know
You’re here
You’ve said goodbye
It’s time you should go

And I’d fall away
Catch myself on a late summer day
Autumn concepts, all coursing
And suddenly burning their way through my veins

The Earth, suddenly so vast
And we, tiny and complete
The long shadows that we cast
Believe, one degree at least

And that’s when I know
You’re here
You’ve said goodbye
It’s time you should go

Notes
This song is for Marissa and Nick who came to my house this weekend to say goodbye before a long long journey. Friendship is so wonderful, but it can be so very hard. It is never harder than when you are saying goodbye. The vast emotional context of certain friendships can overwhelm you in a moment and leave you with little idea of what to say. I didn’t feel that I truly expressed to these friends what I felt when they drove away for parts unknown, so I tried to put it in a song. The song, while pretty enough, doesn’t seem adequate either. These people are monolithic to me, casting such long shadows over my concept of my life, perhaps long enough to reach across the country. I hope so. In any case, I already miss them sorely, and suspect I will continue to do so always. Bon voyage my friends!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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Week 88 // When You Love You Most? (When you Love Them Most)

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You used to know that
You were the serious one

When you were younger
Plotting the course you’re on

But you feel what you want
And you chose to feel this
‘Cause it’s better than nothing at all

Once in a while
Wondering what it’s about

Head filled with music
Clawing to get it out

You could be anything
And you chose to be this
Just remember that next time
It goes amiss

Give me a sign
Maybe there’s no future brighter than mine
Maybe I’m fixed on it
Isn’t it time to be on top of it all?

Thoughts like this:
A light has gone away

Thoughts like that one:
Only in the way

And the earth comes alive
With an overdue symphony of light

Listen to someone
Listen to your own voice

What does it tell you?
What does it say about choice?

That you make all your own
Yeah you made them alright
“Ain’t that something?” You think
And it’s all you know

Give me a sign
Maybe there’s no future brighter than mine
Maybe I’m fixed on it
Isn’t it time you’re not afraid of it all?

When you love you most?
When you love them most
When you love you most
Just for the love of it
Just for the love of it

Give me a sign
Maybe there’s no future brighter than mine
Maybe I’m fixed on it
Isn’t it time to be in love with it all?

Notes
This week I wrote something schmaltzy. I wanted to make it honestly schmaltzy, and un-self-consciously sentimental. The point of view of the song is that of somebody who is a little self centered, wondering about the future, and wondering about how to make things as good as he’d always hoped. The majority of the song exists in this single milieu, but at the last second he asks himself when it is that he loves himself the most. The answer is when he’s loving others; he loves himself when he’s thinking about other people. The key to his future is friends and loved ones. Simple as that: love is unapologetically the answer.

This is one of the tracks where I’ve most missed having a live drummer. There are lots of little opportunities for fills and flourishes that I was unprepared to take advantage of as a novice drum-loop programmer. Instead I opted to keep it pretty straightforward so as not to spoil the potential in my mind. Perhaps someday… Nonetheless, I feel good about this one. It has a feel that is unique when compared to my other songs. Good for it!

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.
~M.E.

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