The Beating Ground (Emily Takes A Trip)

April 1, 2010 3:56 PM

Music: Dundee. Words: Emily Dickinson. Penultimate track from Shelf Life. So far as I can ascertain, Ms Dickinson didn't title her poems. So I had to synthesise one. She wouldn't have liked it. Or the song. The aural equivalent of being rudely touched up by a semi-drunk, priapic ruffian. NB This is as rough as a badger's arse (particularly the vocal) - deliberately so.....

My old Strat takes centre stage in this one - and does the business (I'm a Strat man to the core when the chips are down). For those of a technical bent - bridge pickup, everything on "10" (or "11"...), Fender Superchamp, Shure SM57, Focusrite ISA1 preamp, bit of reverb, bit of compression - no pedals, boxes or other crap.

I've taken some liberties with the poem by adding obvious references to the late, great Syd Barrett's "See Emily Play". Intuitavely (and probably wrongly!), I feel that Syd would have been relaxed about that.

Here's Ms Dickinson's poem:

It was not death, for I stood up,
And all the dead lie down;
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues, for noon.
It was not frost, for on my flesh
I felt siroccos crawl,
Nor fire, for just my marble feet
Could keep a chancel cool.

And yet it tasted like them all;
The figures I have seen
Set orderly, for burial,
Reminded me of mine,

As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key;
And I was like midnight, some,

When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns,
Repeal the beating ground.

But most like chaos,--stopless, cool,
Without a chance or spar,--
Or even a report of land
To justify despair

posted by MajorDundee (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Love that little wowwwoww synth that pops into the mix. I think you should've put more of that in, but, I'm a sucker for that kinda thing. And your rough as a badger's arse vocals sound good to me. Maybe I'm a badger's arse fan.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:18 PM on April 1, 2010

Thanks Flapjax - the vocals are passable up to the solo, and from there they are unacceptable. Glissando notes are fumbled and there's a bit of uncertain pitching. Some of the words are actually quite difficult to sing though and I'm not a singer anyway - so I'm not beating myself up. Listening now (i.e. sober), the track's perhaps a bit on the slow side. I'm never completely happy with anything I do anyway - so, easy come easy go, on to the next one!
posted by MajorDundee at 6:58 AM on April 2, 2010

Priapic Ruffian? That's the funniest line I've heard in a long time! Hahahahaha!!!@#$

Regarding Emily: I imagine that after she got over the shock of the futuristic sounds, she would really dig this. I imagine too that she would LOVE how lyrically beautiful her own words are when expressed this way.

On the other hand, she may have just given you a swift kick in the crotch.

I wouldn't though, this is pretty rockin' and my favorite in this series of yours.

(Also, I don't even want to imagine an album cover for a band called Priapic Ruffians...)
posted by snsranch at 3:40 PM on April 2, 2010

Thansk sns - the Priapic Ruffians album would, naturally, be released on Stiff Records. I was going to put on the main blurb for this that I thought La Dickinson might secretly have liked a bit of rough - my impression of her is that she just needed a damned good shagging..... Before anyone gets all prim and PC - Joke! Honestly!!
posted by MajorDundee at 3:10 AM on April 3, 2010

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