It is right to be up at 4am

I started this website because I wanted to know if I had it in me. I was up late one night (like I am tonight) and I had an idea out of nowhere to post a new song every week. The idea seemed simple, then it seemed scary. I thought that maybe I’d let the idea pass, and then I’d go back to doing absolutely nothing with all of the music that I write. That thought was even scarier.

I’m only two weeks into this project and I have no idea how difficult it may become. I don’t know if a week will come when I’m simply dry. I don’t know how that might feel. But right now I’m up at four in the morning working on lyrics. I just had this thought that this might be what every Thursday morning might look like for me, from now until doomsday, and that thought was very comforting. It is right to up at four in the morning on a Thursday putting my pencil to my paper with my headphones on. It is right to make art because I’ve made a public contract with myself that I will. It is right to scare myself into creation. Whether or not anybody listens, this is right.

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Week 2: Made In Man’s Image/Hurtling Past the Kuiper Belt at 10 Miles Per Second

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Mount Everest - Made In Man's Image/Kuiper Belt Featured Performers:
Nick Mastors
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
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Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And in the evening
There’s a car parked in the yard
And I am waiting for the lights to flicker on
And I am waiting for the fall of Babylon

And on the broadcast
They said they all were gone
There was a madman with a spark and a trigger arm
An explanation: he had no heart left at all

Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And in the morning
I leave at the break of dawn
And I am hoping that the papers got it wrong
And I am breathing in the car with the radio on

And it’s a pity
You know the one’s who speak for God
From the capital city, to the fort, to the new jihad
An explanation: we got no hope left for God

Yes, God is angry
And God is on our side
And he is mighty

And God is angry
Yes, God is taking sides
And she is mighty


Notes:
Mans ImageThis week we’re giving you a twofer. This is actually two songs that were written more or less simultaneously by Nick Mastors and me. Nick approached me with the second half, which is is an instrumental that he titled Hurtling Past the Kuiper Belt at 10 Miles Per Second (a beautiful description of the Voyager space craft’s journey out of our solar system) for which I provided a piano melody and drum programs. From there I wrote a song in the same key and called it Made in Man’s Image. It was initially inspired by last year’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.  Ultimately it became an indictment of any person or institution that claims to speak for, and act on behalf of the express will of God (how could you ever know!?). It is a personal reflection on the weight of situations where lives change, or even end, based on somebody else’s interpretation of the almighty.

We sat on a recording of Made in Man’s Image for quite some time until Nick quite literally tore it a new one. He left my bass part, a guitar part or two, and my vocal, and he stripped away nearly everything else to rebuild it from the ground up. What started as very clangy and piano-heavy, became much more textural and nuanced. I have to give Nick his due credit on this song. He transformed it in a truly fundamental way. He fearlessly deconstructed it and approached it from a totally new angle. All I had to do once he returned the tracks to me was reconfigure the ending, for which I brought back some of the original piano.

The reason that we are presenting these two songs as one is that they grew up as siblings. It is only right to hear them together. You might ask: “But what does an indictment of those who claim to speak for, and act on behalf of God, have to do with the Voyager space craft hurtling out of our solar system?” In a recent email exchange between Nick and myself under the subject heading of Hangin’ with Mr. Kuiper, Nick so eloquently remarked: “You have the ugliest, most egocentric, megalomaniacal thing about this otherwise wonderful human race, which fades to a remote blip in the vastness of space.” So there you have it. You will know that you have transitioned from one song to the next when the drums drop out for a prolonged period of time and the tempo slows down.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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Everest is…

Of all the things in the entire world Mount Everest is the tallest. It is in Tibet where they call it Chomolungma which means Mother Goddess of the Universe, and from the top you can see the mall, Michael Jordan’s house, the Louvre, the Charles River, and Disneyland. From the top of Mount Everest you can look in a telescope and see what everyone is having for breakfast in China, what kind of sex is fashionable in Berlin, and what color socks your third grade teacher is wearing. You can communicate with alien astronauts who fly dangerously close to its pointy ice-covered peaks, and ghosts who wound up there trying to climb to heaven. You can go sledding but it sucks because climbing back up for the second run takes forever. It is big as hell — compared to it everything else is tiny… even your Mom and Dad who used to be the biggest thing you could think of until you got a little older and found out about Mount Everest. Please listen and enjoy this music.

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Week 1: First Impression

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Mount Everest - First Impression Featured Performers:
Jesse Mitchell Lindsey
View Lyrics

You thank your god
That you’re not kidding yourself

That it’s a beautiful time to be alive

You wonder why
Sometimes, Kid you gotta lie
Like the truth don’t seem right

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

It’s good you’ve had this thought
That the autumn was crying
Like the sun got caught

You said to me
One day we’d all be awake
And remember this war
Like a hollywood remake

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

My first impression throwing daggers in the dark
That there’s a con which means of course that I’m the mark
And everybody knows except for me
‘Cuz it’s a silent earth

You’ve got 29 lives
I’ve been living in the dark
Your impression: I’ve been careless with my heart

You’ve been looking for my bones
I’ve been buried in the yard
My impression: You were reckless from the start

I’ve told 99 lies
And it’s a lesson for my heart
Good intentions they’ve been tearing me apart

I’ve been cursing at the moon
And I’ve been buried in my art
My impression I’ve been reckless from the start


Notes:
My favorite thing about this song is that before last Tuesday it didn’t exist at all. I’ve had several songs on the burner in anticipation of the launch of this site. It would have been relatively simple for me to pick one out and finish it up to get this site going, but instead I decided to get into the spirit of this project by creating something totally new. I was eager to learn about my strengths and limitations when faced with a ticking clock, and I suppose that’s the point of this whole endeavor.

This song had it’s guts ripped out a few times in the process of reaching this website, which I consider a good thing. Of course there are still things that I would change, but that’s life. I’m not going to mention what they are. I’ll just let it speak for itself.

First Impression is pretty synthed out which I’m not totally used to doing by my self. Usually Nick Mastors rips the synth lines with me, so I had a lot of fun trying that role on for size. I hope you like it, and I hope that whether or not you do, you’ll come back to see what’s coming down the pipe for next week.

Before I go, I’d like to extend a warm thank you for all of the messages of encouragement that I’ve received over the past couple of days. It’s amazingly wonderful to see the level of enthusiasm that so many people have conveyed about this concept. It is also amazingly wonderful to see that so many of my friends care that this thing gets off the ground. Thank you in particular to Marissa Block who forwarded a link to this site to a good many of her friends, and to anyone else spreading the word that I might not yet know about.

Here’s hoping your Monday doesn’t totally suck.

~Jesse

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The tallest damn thing in the world…

In my bedroom I have a computer, and plugged into my computer are all sorts of wires and instruments and microphones and speakers. They light up and I command them to make sounds. I am a member of a growing class of home recordists and songwriters who all have one thing in common: nobody is listening. Tonight that changes.

I’m still a young man and perhaps that’s why despite many setbacks I still believe in my ability to be a famous musician. Each band I start does slightly better than the last and then implodes. This time I thought I’d start a blog instead — a blog that is a band.

I will blog a new song at 12 noon (e.s.t.) every Monday. The point of this is to make songwriting and recording into a practice and to transform listening into a forum. I write music all of the time, but implementing this structure will force me to make choices and to take chances with ideas and sounds. I will enlist the help of other musicians and artists wherever and whenever I can (most notably Nick Mastors who will be a cornerstone of this initiative whenever he can be). I will create a space where music is a dialogue and creation is constant.

The music will be fast and dirty. It will be a reflection of the immediacy of ideas. Or perhaps it will be fully fleshed out, thoughtful, and meticulous. Whatever it will be, we are soon to find out. To quote a master philosopher, musician, friend, and frequent collaborator,”I don’t really know, because I don’t know.”

In my bedroom I play in a rock blog and I’m hoping that many of you will collaborate, participate, listen, criticize, and contribute. It’s called Mount Everest because that’s the tallest damn thing in the world.

New music launches Monday, November 22nd at high noon.

~Jesse

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