It’s A Process

As a prelude to my next album, which is only a few weeks away, I want to take a few moments to break down the evolution of a song that will be reappearing on the new disc after being on The Lights I See You In Shadow. The Mountain began life as a variation on a true story.  I was walking along the top of the escarpment in Hamilton one summer day and thinking about my life at that point. When I sat down to reflect on that experience the words came very naturally.  The lyrics are:

I walked along the mountain
On glass and fog and gold
I could see where you were
Underneath the stars

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

I crawled down from the mountain
Into the ancient wood
Where time did not move
Not a second to lose

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

You built a castle there
From trees and solid rocks
Though your sight was lost to me
I could reach out

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

I had to take some artistic licence in the description of that day, but much of it is true.  I was actually looking over the city to a place full of trees where someone I cared about (at the time) was more or less hiding from me.  Certainly that was how I felt.  Although the song seems dark, and is mostly about hopeless longing, I think it maintains a positive spin.   I know that I should leave, I never thought I could, but on and on and on and on and I’m still waiting. Yes the overall theme of the chorus is how the situation is inescapable, by acknowledging that the situation is unhealthy, the protagonist has taken an important first step.  In reality, I did get out of the troubling spiral I had fallen into.  The song doesn’t betray the ending, because it hadn’t happened when the new version of ths song was prepared about a month later.

The music was inspired by the work of Peter Gabriel, and began as a bass line and synth string song.  It was very free form and lacked most of the parts that became the current piece.  I remember that it was basically the same two minute part repeated twice to make a full song.  The melody was quite random and the guitar was the only bit that really overlapped.  When I sent it out to some of my musical collaborators they said,”it needs more variety.”  The complete overhaul meant creating a chorus and bridge.  The piano became the foundational portion of the song and the other layers built on top of it.  I managed to maintain the bass line from the original, but abandoned most of everything else.  I found the ideal guitar tone to create the type of atmosphere I was looking for.  The new album is all about atmosphere.

The Mountain was the first song to be completed for TLISYIS, and was in fact the impetus for completing that album.  I have chosen to resurrect it because it will fit in quite well with the new project, and I think there is a bit of room to improve it.  Although the song is fairly simple in its arrangement, there are some little spaces I’d like to play with before putting it back out in the world.

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