Filtering by Tag: song

The Ruins Of The Tower Of Babel

First of all, I want you to know that yesterday I released my short film Introducing Lilith. It’s now on YouTube and, of course, on this website (on the ‘pictures’ section). It’s a film I really care about because of many reasons: if you’ve got 2 minutes (literally), I suggest you check it out. Also, the soundtrack of the film is available on iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon etc. Among all the pieces of music I composed, it’s probably my favourite one, so I would be particularly happy if you listened to it and left a feedback to give me your opinion.

Now, I’ll probably talk about these new releases next week. Today, I’d like to write about the last song of the album I’m recording, Songs Of Fear And Agony. I discussed the themes of all the others, so this will be the last post of the series.

The song is called The Ruins Of The Tower Of Babel:

 

When I’m alone, I’ll fall into

Antique Italian dreams, among

Thoughts made of marble, tears of paint

And ghosts mouthing rhymes.

 

In churches built of human blood,

I’ll listen to God’s harmony.

And when I return, I’ll tell

Everyone of my secret life.


Who would really comprehend my words?

Who would try to understand

Who I really am?


For now, I’d better hold my tongue

And work on some new cryptic lines,

While German songs and Indian chants

Try hard to overcome the noise.


We all belong to it now, and to

The unbridled Irish wind:

A frenzied oracle of hope that

Speaks in tongues and we can’t see.


Who would really comprehend his words?

Who would try to understand

Who he really is?


Who would really comprehend our words?

Who would try to understand

Who we really are?


A floating world would be enough

For me to face a sudden change,

Although my poor, chaotic talk

Would force me to lie ceaselessly.


Concealed behind the shadows

Of countless Japanese identities,

I’d greet the darkness, kneel

And, lastly, enjoy my solitude.

 

I think it’s fairly easy to understand that one of the main themes of the lyrics is ‘communication’ (or, better, the absence of it). The myth of the Tower of Babel has always been used extensively to discuss this particular topic, so this won’t come as a surprise. If we looked at the lyrics more carefully, though, we would find a deeper meaning concealed underneath the first one: loneliness.

It would be hard for me to deny that this song is particularly personal. To a certain extent, it’s even autobiographical, and the references to Italy and Ireland are there to prove it. At the same time, and this might probably sound strange to some people, Dublin has always made me feel less lonely, so the adjective ‘autobiographical’ wouldn’t be accurate.

Loneliness has been used many times to describe two different feelings. A person who’s got not friends or partners experiences loneliness, for example, and so does someone who can’t feel the presence of, let’s say, God. The two situations, although intrinsically connected, are different: interpersonal loneliness and existential loneliness are not the same.

When I was writing The Ruins Of The Tower Of Babel, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to write about interpersonal loneliness in order to talk about its counterpart. I pictured myself lost in a city full of people I could’t understand, a city built upon the ruins of the Tower of Babel, and I pictured many, many people like me.

There they are... Why can’t they understand each other? It’s because they (their fathers) built the Tower of Babel: it’s because they wanted to reach God.

Now, does interpersonal loneliness, absence of communication, or even absence of empathy, come directly from the absence of God, or his inaccessibility? Does it come from existential loneliness?

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

Building Of The Tower Of Babel, Hendrick van Cleve III, About 1525 - 1589

Building Of The Tower Of Babel, Hendrick van Cleve III, About 1525 - 1589

It Feels Like The Apocalypse

I usually start writing a song when I feel I have what I call ‘a good starting point’. It might be a sound, an image or even an entire line.

When I began to write It Feels Like The Apocalypse, I only had its title.

Among all the songs that are part of Songs Of Fear & Agony, It Feels Like The Apocalypse is probably the least personal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s less important than the others. 

 

We saw their flesh rotting,

Their bones turning to clay.

He said: ‘It’s the apocalypse.’

I said ‘Just a play.’


We walked on the rubble

Of the Tower of Babel

He said: ‘We’ll be history’

I said: ‘Just a fable.’


Yet I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.

 

I think of it as a series of memories related to a friendship that was not meant to last because of an apocalyptic social situation. I think it’s clear, in the verses above, that I’m talking about some sort of war. 

 

My friend was no idiot,

And to me, this was clear.

He just asked me in my dispassion

To comprehend his fear.


My friend transmuted hearts

Made of lead into gold

While I just conjured demons

For fear of getting old.


Now I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.


Why was the narrator’s friend so scared? Well, I wrote this song thinking of him as one of the targets of a violent discriminating government. What do you think will happen to him?

 

The last time I saw him,

He’d been tied up in chains.

They had shattered his head,

They had trodden on his brain.


The last time I heard of him,

I was wrapped up in shame.

I groaned, it was agony,

And I cried out his name.


So I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.

 

The narrator basically tells us that, in front of the reality of death, he finally realised what his friend meant when talking of fear.

Although this song might sound like a social (or even political) lament, the themes I had in mind when I was writing it were much more existential. As it happens, eventually, the song got a life of its own, and it would be difficult for me to say that it doesn’t contain any references to (historical or modern) society.

In a way, it’s funny: I’ve always tried to ignore any kinds of politics, but it seems I can’t do that anymore, not even in my art... Am I too scared?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Maus, Art Spiegelman, 1980 - 1991

Maus, Art Spiegelman, 1980 - 1991

The Voices Of The Sirens

Sunday is here again, and that means that it’s time for a new post.

It’s been a while since I wrote about the album I’m recording, Songs Of Fear & Agony. The last time I mentioned it, I was working on 11 songs...

Well, I recently decided to record only 10. Here’s the updated tracklist:

 

1. Pandora

2. The Books Of Hell

3. The Voice Of The Goddess

4.  Fear & Agony

5. Prometheus

6. The Concept Of Tragedy

7. It Feels Like The Apocalypse

8. Sisyphus

9. The Voices Of The Sirens

10. The Ruins Of The Tower Of Babel

 

The Dream Of Veronique, the missing song, will be added to another series of track, but I’ll talk about that later in the future. 

Now, there are only 3 songs I haven’t told you about: It Feels Like The Apocalypse, The Ruins Of The Tower Of Babel and the one I’m about to discuss: The Voices Of The Sirens.

 

First of all, the lyrics: 

 

A dull pain in your chest exhales

A thousand sighs you left unsung.

Remorse runs smoothly in your blood,

But it won’t soothe your torpid heart.


The sirens laugh and call you again.

You see them grin

Above the surface of the sea.


Now perfume violates your brain

With secrets you have always known.

Delight reveals his garden waits

Beyond the lies you haven’t told.


The sirens laugh and call you again:

You see them grin

Above the surface of the sea.


And you crave the imprudence of their skin.

But what’s the point in craving

What you don’t know?


And you crave the acceptance of their breath.

But what’s the point in craving

What you don’t need?


You close your eyes, you close your ears

And mouth five-hundred-year old words.

“Appease your troubled heart”, you sing,

While wondering when your heart will blow.


The sirens laugh and call you again:

You see them grin

Above the surface of the sea.


And you crave the imprudence of their skin.

But what’s the point in craving

What you don’t know?


And you crave the acceptance of their breath.

But what’s the point in craving

What you don’t need?


And you crave the virtue of their eyes.

But what’s the point in craving

What you can’t see?


And you crave the inflection of their hearts.

But what’s the point in craving

What you can’t hear?

 

If you have read my previous posts, you certainly know that I’m about to talk about one thing in particular: themes.

I’ve always thought of The Voices Of The Sirens as a very straightforward song, but maybe that’s because... Well, I wrote it! If the most superficial concept behind it is not clear enough, I’ll reveal it for you: sexual attraction. At least, that’s what I had in mind when I was writing it.

I probably chose to write about this particular topic because of a song I really love. It’s called ‘Le Passanti’, and it was written by one of the most important Italian Singer-Songwriters ever, Fabrizio De André. To be more precise, ‘Le Passanti’ is basically the Italian version of ‘Les Passants’ by George Brassens, which in turn was based on a poem by Antoine François Pol. Anyway, the song in question is about a man who remembers a series of women he happened to see in his life but never really approached (I’m oversimplifying, so check it out if you’re interested!). It’s a beautifully written song about memories and possibilities, and I thought it would be a good starting point for my own lyrics.

Although the concept is similar, The Voices Of The Sirens is something else. The attraction generated by the sirens doesn’t turn into a melancholically pleasent memory. On the contrary, it soon fades out leaving behind just a cold logical series of questions.

But how can that be? How can a sexual impulse be stopped so abruptly?

The answer and the real theme of the song is: depression.

I think it’s clear now that this is not only one of the most important themes of this song: It’s also one the most important themes of the entire album!

Here we go again...

 

Thanks for reading! 

  

The Siren Vase, Attributed to The Siren Painter, About 480 - 470 BC

The Siren Vase, Attributed to The Siren Painter, About 480 - 470 BC

© Black Art 2019