Song-of-the-Week #6: “trophies”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “trophies”:

Atlas Trophies beside the Pulaski Bridge in Brooklyn, NY 2011. photo by Diane

the first stanza of “trophies” has been with me for a few years.  it came while i was riding the B62 bus from Greenpoint to Long Island City, as we passed by an extinct trophy shop at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge.  i began thinking about those kinds of places–there seemed to be a few around while i was growing up.  their window displays felt mysterious and valuable.  trophies i encountered were fairly chintzy, though many were a mix of both marble and metal-covered plastic.

 

Meddlesome Lab in Rochester, NY, 2012.  photo by Diane

i’d been wanting to develop the theme of this song, and with my current feeling being ‘divest of the old’ it felt like a good time to do so. i began thinking about what my personal collection of trophies includes. what junky things do i carry around that are weighing me down ? i’m considering trophies as any award, reward, or point of pride which may be getting in the way of personal growth–roles outgrown, titles, status, attributes or possessions that one over-identifies with. clutter that wants to clear for a renewed sense of adventure about oneself and the world / in the world !

“trophies” was recorded at Serious Business Music in NYC.  i had the pleasure of working with Travis Harrison, who engineered the session, and Isabel Castellvi, who improvised and then honed her accompaniment on cello.  vocals + guitar by me, D.C.  i wrote, arranged, and helped mix the song.

Update: We rerecorded this song at Trout Recording for my new album, Boneset, but liked this version enough to keep it for the album. ((( Pre-order Boneset here )))

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
they scratch off the names and they buff up the plates
and then put the blank bodies back up in the window
awaiting engravings of winners & dates

it’s so nice to see you !  hey…hey, don’t i know you ?
tender green shoots of you grow through the yard
medals hung heavy, my neck wouldn’t let me
so i gave them up good though the giving was hard

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
trumpets and ribbons
my trove and its trimmings

and it’s so nice to see you
hey…hey, don’t i know you…

how good it feels here in this place
pass up the goal for the view now
something opens up
i take in space
yeah

fine example of a trophy shop with invisible bling, in Syracuse NY, 2009. film photo by Diane, thanks to Mike & Jerry

Ideas ?  Questions ?  Thoughts to share ?  Willkommen ! →

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Song-of-the-Week #5: “red August”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “red August”:

i wrote “red August” while driving home from Bellair Farm the other day.  every week or so a new color of wildflower emblazons the roadside.

photo: red, antlering up in the form of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). eat him! lemony.

we’re into white now, too, with lots of Queen Anne’s Lace (aka, wild carrot or Daucus carota.  one of my faves.  those who don’t know her might be interested in her long history of usage as a contraceptive.)  in many places right now both blossoms and seed heads are in season.  eat her!  in a tea, or salad, or battered & fried.  carrot-y.

( please note: this flower is similar in appearance to poison hemlock.  make sure you or someone you trust can positively identify Queen Anne’s Lace before ingesting ! )

photo: queen of carrot flowers…the largest i’ve seen…from Stone Mountain, GA

i recorded vocals, drums and keyboard for “red August”.  Ken gave mastering help.

we pick & pack a knapsack
full of staghorn sumac
silver underbellies show
as leaves in the wind blow

so we make a little picnic stop
in the red clover cover crop
as sun beat our bones down
buzzard drones wing around

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
its hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

how does she walk on the side of this road
where there’s no shoulder there to hold her ?
it’s so hot and dry on this road
find your water, zombie daughter
drivers flying blind on this road
head for the ditches, scare up some witches
green as it’s gonna get
summer isn’t over yet

we make a little gang of three
as she tumbles in our cup of tea
we leave behind the fallow field
for berries that the brambles yield

middle summer in the south
these berries ripen every mouth
so kissin’ leaves a bloody stain
burnin’ August in the brain

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
its hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

Share some thoughts ?  yesssss →

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Song-of-the-Week #4: ( four poems ): Preview & Discussion

Diane says: the poems in these recordings date from 2001-2003, the time when i was making “macy’s day bird”, “black with green leaves” and “Oh Vanille / ova nil”.  if you know these albums you may hear some crossover.  people have referred to “macy’s day bird” as ‘literary’, and now i’m making the connection to how i was still very much a writer at the time.  i gradually transitioned away from written poetry as an expressive form the more i sang.

the recordings, as sent to Song-of-the-Week subscribers, are all brand new.  it was interesting for me to notice how my voice sounded and felt on different days, depending on my mood or energy level.  on some days it was really dry and the mic picked up lots of weird mouth sounds.  i kept drinking lemonade.

these poems were all previously unpublished, with the exception of “ride your trophy high…”, which was read by André Herman Dune (Stanley Brinks), or perhaps an alias, on one of his albums…’not sure which, as he’s legendarily prolific…

( click titles to read )

i was a widow
before i met my first husband
i’d seen our nine children grow and die
witnessed weeds push up the floorboards
to grip their empty houses
and i knew next time i would be a lover
but this time i was born a widow
with widow’s eyes

in languor she raises her cup
gold splashes over her face
delighting her skin already delighted
no spill is wrong
no collapse unwelcome
birds involve in dance overhead
let fall petals
let fall twigs they gathered to nest
all will sacrifice need to her
her womb is a goldmine
her dress, homespunsunshine

( gentle attendants in pale blue suits
drift like clouds through the afternoon )

sun spilling out of her cup
sun spilling out of her hands
i love to watch her
covered over by the mouth of a man
suckling her sunshine
drawing her out

tree fruits wish to rapture her
sunhot cherries bleed from the boughs
and capture her shoulders
painting her fiery
painting her martyred
sexless attendants swing round and past
she holds their thrall in effortless court
her needs never peak
they are met in their greenery
she is the focal explosion of scenery
she has created this fresh world
her laughter buoys the birds
and tips them over in flight
les oiseaus roll over and over in the sky
and fall to her hair, laughing
deliriously nesting
forgetting their work
dedicating chirpy songs to her ears

grass leans flat
under press of her feet
springs and prickles erect at her leave
straightening taller its blades in their green
all feels blessed to sing in this key

ride your trophy high
or troll your netting low
this is my capture and escape
this is my dumb-show

i am imitating what is good
but i am not good
i am acting what is bad
but i don’t feel it

ease the lucid prick
a jape in the thigh, real slow
a trick with a bull and a cape
sunspots and afterglow

i am imitating what is good
but i am not good
i am acting what is bad
but i don’t feel it

seated by the window, unplucked
a dark juice promise he gazes, unburst
a full, black berry to turn in the mouth
a trickling out that grazes the thirst

and what if i pick him like the king ?
who takes the chambermaid at night
as croppers share their cherished crop
with locust swarm and early blight

and what if i roll him like the queen ?
who pulls her fruit from underneath
and brings it round, displayed in white
to dynamite between her teeth

and what if i raze him like the prince ?
in tilling over peasant soil
conquering the space between
the mud and seed to make it royal

but then he tricks me like the knave
who hides away the fruit he’s shown
by stealing back the look he gave
the head and heart together groan

ah boy, you are so quiet
so lovely where you sit
boy, you are so quiet
so lovely where you sit

Thoughts to share ? / discuss →

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Song-of-the-Week #3: “soft little reach-out”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “soft little reach-out”:

as well as some sketch audio of the original idea:

artwork by Denis Kravets of Kiev, Ukraine. (i-am-favn.com)

Diane says: i’m enjoying playing piano again.

“soft little reach-out” was recorded on an old upright piano in a barn in France, and an old baby grand in an Episcopal church in Virginia.  (thank you, Sierra & Sam, for making these available.) i recorded and mixed, and Ken mastered.

the birds liked it; it’s a love/wonder song.  about the smallest gesture of invitation manifesting true things.  my first time adhering to a drum machine, the fun was pulling phrasing all around its squareness.  i kept imagining this playing at a Sunday afternoon tea dance, with everyone feeling woozy, friendly and connected from the night before.  what you think ?

a soft little reach-out from me, that’s all
ha nih nai yeh yo ai
snake thrashing muscle through the wild wild grasses
hey, her music keeps me up all night

she shimmers down, she weighs down
on rays of embered moonlight
an arm around her waist i row
row to the other side

a soft little reach-out from me…

Join the discussion ! queries, musings, opinions WELCOME →

update: some remixes happened !

“soft little reach-out” remix by XARNDA:

“soft little reach-out” remix by the bail of saint mark:

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Song-of-the-Week #2: “Sara”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Sara”:

Diane says: in early May, a beloved friend brought me to the Camargue region of southern France.  we arrived by train at night and then drove, working our way out of city streets until eventual release into the wetlands.  a little song emerged in me as we traveled, starting with “pull the wishbone wide”, and something about a red and black spirit.  i honed in on it, but it wasn’t a song that wanted to finish in one go.

the following day we visited the seaside town of Stes.-Maries-de-la-Mer and entered the church of Saint Sara.  her portrait in the sanctuary thrilled me.  hanging high by the ceiling, her leveling gaze and swarthy face brought to my mind the Hindu goddess, Kali (the Destroyer).  i fell in love, or rather, under her love, realizing it was she who’d visited in the previous night’s song.

“Sara” developed over the next few days, coming to include the idea of Ereshkigal.  i’d recently been told the story of Ereshkigal, who inhabits the underworld and is visited by her sister, Inanna, whom she kills and hangs on a meat-hook to rot.  i find the story in its full telling (through to Inanna’s revival) to be a rich allegory for what happens when too much activity or outward drive results in a need to go ‘underground’.  this can look like lethargy, illness or depression even as it conveys necessary healing, transformation, and return to a more intuitive state.  (If you’d like to check in with these ideas, i highly recommend “The Heroine’s Journey” by Maureen Murdock.)

for the recording of the song i made use of the copper pipe instrument i just finished putting together.  i’m happy with the actual recorded tracks though i may ask around for help with effects processing.  what i’ve presented is my best mix for now.  Ken helped with mastering.

my thanks to Christina, S & B for providing inspirational circumstances around the making of this song.

last month, a subscriber requested that lyrics be posted for each song; i’ll start including these at the end of each new song post:

broad spirit comes back along the way
comes to me red, black, with a lot to say
she sit my tail down, pull the wishbone wide
she ream my head out along the way

she dig my hole, then, she toss me in
her dirt rain / reign dark down my falling / fallen skin
stripped so lonely i can’t even cry
i lay my head down along the way

Sara-Kali-Ereshkigal-Sara
Sara-Kali-Ereshkigal-Sara

broad spirit comes back
she lay me out flat
she pin my tail down
pull the wishbone wide
she ream my head out
her dirt rain dark down
‘can’t even cry…
‘can’t even cry…

Join the discussion ! →

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Song-of-the-Week #1: “Heartloose”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Heartloose”:

Diane says: i woke up in the morning and wrote the whole song down.  this doesn’t happen often; i feel lucky when it does.  i’ve started sleeping with pen & paper again recently as the project’s been stirring up all sorts of ideas.

i sang / played, recorded and mixed this one on my own.  Ken mastered it.  before this, it’d been a long while since i’d done any home recording.  there’s a lot I look forward to exploring.  thank you for joining me.

Join the discussion ! →

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Note to Subscribers

kitchen colamecoAn initial welcome/update was sent to all subscribers & gift recipients on February 29th. If you haven’t received this email, check your spam folder for a message from song-of-the-week(at)dianecluck(point)info. If you find it there, please mark the message ‘not spam’ and make sure you’re able to receive future mailings from this address.

If you’re a suscriber/gift recipient and you haven’t received the message, please contact us to confirm we have the correct email address on file for you. Song-of-the-Week begins verrrrrrrrry soon.

Ye Shipmates Most Heart-y !

ova newIt’s near midnight…January 30th…and I thank you–all 199 of you–for helping me fund this project ! In celebration, I will be making many songs for us in the months that lie ahead. I want everyone to know that none of this would be happening quite so elegantly without the inspired generosity of Ken, who built this site and its pages involved with hosting Song-of-the-Week…I will have more to say about the hows & whys of this later, but for now…I want you to know who’s aboard this tender raft so far !

Drew, Tony, Anne, Michael, Laura, Anne, Thomas, Deborah, joanna, Sherie, Jennifer, Nancy, Matthew, Andy, Francesca, Alan, Alexander, David, Wim, Brandon, Derrick, Ross, Decklin, Sebastian, Luke, Peter, Simon, paul, Marie-Pascale, John, angela, Drude, Nathan, Brenton, Linda, James, thomas, Sara, Yuichi, Suzanne, Keith, Stacie, alison, Douglas, Jan, Christopher, Eva, William, Robert, Tom, Alec, Sarah, Christopher, anthony, Stephen, Nils, Emmalee, tim, Robert, Lindsay, Paul, 蓮澤, Michelle, Liam, Jasmine, boris, Zoe, Chris, Alanna, Scott, Clifford, James, Takaaki, Benjamin, Chivas, Maciej, 中西, Rachel, Dominique, Pascal, Mark, Shannon, Marc, charlotte, Kate, David, Viviane, Vanessa, Simon, Hunter, kelsey, Alexander, Thijs, Tom, pauline, Antoine, Sally, Laurent, Clare, Ben, Christina, Eric, Jack, Daiju, Jeffrey, Paul, Midori, Alexandrina, Dominique, Joshua, Karen, Gretchen, Kris, Jacob, Linda, Kelsey, Isabel, Katherine, kenneth, Nicholas, David, Nathaniel, Ben, Olive, anthony, Dave, Jeffrey, Dina, Nancy, Tytus, Christopher, John, Jenny, jean-marc, Dain, gabrielle, Timothy, Zulaika, James, Clifford, Thomas, Rachel, Amorous, Steven, Meaghan, Deirdre, Aurora, grant, Alexis, Alex, James, Barbara, Martin, christopher, Emma, Wilma, Elizabeth, richard, Kevin, Koak, Kravets, Toby, Martha, Shannon, Joshua, Lukas, Tom, Maggie, Susan, stefan, Scott, Melissa, Nicholas, Hoon, David, Heather, Leslie, Tasha, Emelie, Anne, Laetitia, Tobias, Björn, Rachel, Lauren, Owen, Jennie, Jonathan, kimya, Jaclyn, Maurice, Mark, Corinna, Richard, Sean, Callum, Nathan, Rodrigo

Ahoy ! Everyone will be hearing more from me soon. Love and thanks. -Diane