Arms and Hands

June 21, 2009 3:14 AM

We're trying to decipher notes taken down on arms and hands.

I guess maybe this is for the end of the academic year, but only metaphorically. (I am not involved in college any more, but my wife teaches, so I sort of exist in that rhythm.)

No autoharps here. Plenty of keyboards, including the Kawai X40 and the MicroKorg, as well as my pretty red accordion, brought to America from Malmköping, Sweden, by my grandfather, whom I never met.

The drums are the Alesis SR16, sent through a Dean Markley amp -- one of those tiny ones that has a clip to put on your belt. There are also some ballpoint pens.

Vocals are recorded with the ShinyBox ribbon mic. I continue to sing more and more softly.

posted by Karlos the Jackal (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Words. Listen to the song first, though, okay?

We’re trying to decipher notes taken down on arms and hands, but I cannot tell the difference between letter Es and ampersands. It’s boring to remember all the history we had before -- we dropped those crumbs of knowledge in the hopes we’d find our way back home once more. I need a cheat sheet with connect-the-dots to spell my name; I have no advice to give you, and even if I did it would all sound the same: arms and hands, arms and hands, all I can offer you are arms and hands.

We’re trying to decipher notes taken down on arms and hands; all our mnemonics proven worthless, now just loops of string and rubber bands. We draw such thin lines between what’s true and what we believe, answers we’re sure we had somewhere now smears of ink and sweat between skin and sleeve. And all the lines are blurred now, and I’m dry -- pass me another pen. I have nothing else to give you, just the simple old solutions that embraced you and await you once again: arms and hands, arms and hands, all I can offer you are arms and hands.

posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:18 AM on June 21, 2009

The lyrics and vocals are awesome and there is something about the tempo and arrangement that also bring me back to school days. This is beautiful, man.

My wife's a teacher too, and it almost feels pagan to me. It's testing times instead of full moons and kids getting busting for writing love notes instead of spring harvest.

Thanks for sharing this, I dig it a lot!
posted by snsranch at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2009

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posted by micayetoca at 3:12 PM on June 25, 2009

Oh, damn, not "document", I meant to say comment.

Well, now that I ruined my own joke I might as well stop everything and leave the actual comment.

First, I really, really like your lyrics. I think it is very evident that you take the time to develop ideas until they are quite round and then post them (as opposed to people like me, who are constantly posting works in progress). Your lyrics tend to be very good ideas, very well executed.

As for the music. The first time I listened to this one, the more "bubbly" keyboard kept getting in my way. I think I didn't quite like the song the first time around because of that keyboard. Then I played it again and I liked it more. Then it occurred to me that the reason the keyboard bothered me was because it sounded like something that would be used in a "dance" song (as in "electronic dance music"), and then I realized there are other touches of that. Like the break at 01:16, and then at 02:55, where you leave the voice almost by itself and the reverb is more evident.

So now, after a few listens, I like the song more and I think that you could perhaps enhance the "dancey" elements (putting a little more reverb in the voice, perhaps, to get a PetShopBoyesque sound) and that might give a more immediate "statement" of the song from the beginning.

I might be wrong, of course, and you might be thinking "well, the song is finished, micayetoca, you can go back to Uruguay with your electronicdancemusic comments", but that's what came to my mind.

I like the song, though, don't get the wrong impression.
posted by micayetoca at 3:22 PM on June 25, 2009

Like it - got potential this one. But I can hear it done with a couple of electric guitars chopping out the rhythm at a faster know - sort of Blink 182 style quasi punk. Hope you're not offended by the suggestion Karlos - it's nice as it is.
posted by MajorDundee at 2:31 PM on June 29, 2009

Thanks, gang!

mica -- I've been playing around with dancier stuff lately, actually, but it comes out much less so once it's been passed through the twin filters of ignorance and incompetence.

Dundee -- not offended, of course -- but I can't play guitar so I'll leave that one to someone else.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:15 PM on June 29, 2009

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