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Perry Emge http://www.perryemge.com Perry Emge Musician Mon, 19 Dec 2011 13:48:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 Making Curse of Mercury http://www.perryemge.com/?p=471 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=471#respond Thu, 14 May 2009 17:44:24 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=471 [Continue Reading]]]> Icon Studio West

At the simplest level Curse of Mercury is about boy girl stuff. The songs are collaged together from myriad stories of my near-50 years—some real, some professed, some pure fantasy.

I began the making of Curse of Mercury in earnest in the summer of 2008. My entire studio had been mothballed for nearly three years since my move from St. Louis to Seattle. There was even a period when I wasn’t sure there was any merit to unpacking my boxes of equipment; my studio in Seattle would never match the glory of Icon Studio that I’d left behind in St. Louis. But I succumbed to the charms of my new Seattle home, and eventually matched cables to ports, and settled in again with ProTools HD and the rest of my toys.

One afternoon, I sat surrounded by re-plugged-in equipment and several 3-ring binders of “unfinished” material; I was struck with the novel notion that it might be about time to get something presentable together. So, I began sifting through hundreds of pages of song ideas dating back as far as 1975.

As an album took shape in my mind, two principles emerged which shaped and guided this project:
1. To the best of my ability I would do everything myself: write, record, sing, and play all the instruments.
2. I would make a “concept” album.

As to Principle One, I achieved this—with the exception of enlisting the help of two of my long-time collaborators to be my rhythm section for the last two songs, Milk and Colors of the Sky. I needed the specific dimension that I knew Rob Medcalf’s drumming would bring to those songs. And being in the studio in St. Louis to do this meant that I could engage Michael “Doc” Murphy to contribute his sublime bass playing.

Doc & Jeff in the studio

Doc & Jeff in the studio

Fortuitously, Doc was teaching Electronic Music at Webster University, giving us an “in” to book their studio during spring break, and luckily for me this studio is equipped with Pro Tools HD—the only recording medium I use these days. Their SSL Duality console was icing on the cake.

Rob tracking Milk

Rob tracking Milk

I arrived with scratch tracks on my hard drive for Rob and Doc to play to, and within six hours of me darting back and forth between the control room and studio, I had coaxed the takes from Doc and Rob that I’d come mining for. Chief engineer Jeff Allen did an aces job of cutting the tracks.

The other notable and interesting contributions to the record are some bits that came with me to Seattle from my days in Icon Studio back in St Louis. One bit is Doc’s whackity-whack guitar part on track seven, Transformation. Even more important are Doc’s guitar and bass parts on track nine, Aggravations. These we recorded in 2004. I had an a cappella demo of the lyrics and melody but couldn’t quite get the changes right. Doc and his keen ear fleshed them out. I kept his parts and built the rest of the song around those.

Other than these bits, Principle One holds—a long winter of me left to my own devices in the studio, crafting Curse of Mercury.

me being producer dude

me being producer dude

As to Principle Two “a concept album”—I have always been drawn to the lifestyle and culture of making records. My serious involvement with music began of course in my teens, in the 1970s—the heyday of the concept album. These inspired me, and expanded my vision of music and its possibilities. In the making of Curse of Mercury my intent was to harken back to these days of naïve discovery, and to use the storyline or thematic nature of a concept album to give depth and structure to my work at hand.

The underlying theme of this record is a string of stories about affairs of the heart, running the gamut from naive to divine. The title “Curse of Mercury” was originally the working title for what later became the song Aggravations. One might propose that Cupid or Psyche are more accurate harbingers for the theme of this record—relationships and transformation—but in keeping with the greater arc of the story I find “The Trickster” Mercury more apropos.

On another level Curse of Mercury is about aspects of the old Greek god himself. In this respect I particularly mean the bit about Mercury being charged the duty of escorting souls through the Underworld—a realm of transformation—and coming out relatively unscathed himself.

For me, a good concept album extends beyond being a collection of good three-minute songs. I strove for that with “Curse of Mercury”.

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Pagan Soul http://www.perryemge.com/?p=75 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=75#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 13:05:27 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=75 [Continue Reading]]]> Track one from the CD Curse Of Mercury – [Play Pagan Soul]

My intention behind this one was to write an over-the-top proclamation of desire for the beloved (Imagined or Real?) in the spirit of a tune like Johnny Cash’s ‘Cause I Love You. It’s about being in that unreality when you think you would say or do anything–at any cost–to get what you imagine you want.

Meditator_Perry Emge ©2004

Pagan Soul  3:56

Every time I think about you
I wanna jump in my car
I know what I’m going to do
When I come home to you

There’s something about the way you look
That just makes me feel right
You know I’d give up all I have
For just one more night

One more night give me one more night
Hold on tight we’ll never look back
One more night give me one more night
Hold on tight we’ll never look back

Every time I see your face
I can’t forget that look you make
When I hold you close to me
I can forget everything

Every time I feel your touch
I know just why I need you so much
The way you kiss the way you smell
I’m captive under your spell

I’ve got a Pagan soul
You know that I’ll never let go
I don’t care about the price I’ll pay
To be with you one more day
I’ve got a Pagan heart
It won’t stop once it starts
When I hold you close to me
I can forget everything

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
photo-collage image Meditator by Perry Emge ©2002

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Pan’s Pipes http://www.perryemge.com/?p=77 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=77#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:52:48 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=77 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 2 from Curse of Mercury [Play Pan’s Pipes]

This tune began as a system test. En route to my new home in Seattle I stopped in San Diego to visit Rob Medcalf, my long time musical cohort. I was installing a Pro Tools system on his laptop and came up with the basic parts on a whim just trying to test all his plugins and virtual instruments; as I remember I was trying to make Sample Tank work. My original demo was called “On the Beach” and was about getting one’s self together On the Beach as it were. Then I entirely reworked it inspired by the perspective of my amazing Seattle backyard and the things I imagined going on out there in the forest.

http://www.flickr.com/people/croweb/

Pan’s Pipes  3:16

Why don’t you get yourself in order
Why don’t you get yourself together

It’s a simple thing to do
When the Full Moon comes in view
First you’ll have to build a fire
Then you’ll have to breathe the smoke

When you stand before that fire
You start to feel your Spirit rise higher higher

Up in the air where the clouds roll by
Up in the air where the Spirits fly
Deep in the woods where Forest Nymphs live
The Muse delights in hearing Pan’s Pipes
The Muse delights in hearing Pan’s Pipes

Such a simple thing to do
Align your points be sure that you’re in tune
From your circle under the Moon
Align yourself the time will be here soon

You better get yourself in order
Don’t just grasp you better reach
You better get yourself together
Don’t hold back don’t be weak
You better get yourself in order
‘cause here ain’t no one else

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
Image ©Ben Crowe

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Human http://www.perryemge.com/?p=79 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=79#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:46:24 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=79 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 3 from Curse of Mercury [Play Human]

The basic keyboard part this tune is built around is one of those little bits I have been working with off and on for 20 years but never completed until now. The vocal part was inspired by playing with the Access Virus vocorder. I was attracted to the idea of juxtaposing the unnatural mechanical sound against the imagery in the lyric, mimicking how our humanity is so often veiled. The crowning stroke of song form completion for me was the adaptation of the Hafiz poem as a bridge. It fit just right.

03human

Human 2:25

All the time we spend together
Is all the life we know
All the time we spend together
Help each other grow
All the life we have together
Saves us from alone

Even though we’re human warming other hearts
I wish we didn’t have to live so far apart

All the light we have within
We have to let it show
All the light we have to give
To let each other know
All the light we have within
It shines and makes us grow

Even though we’re human warming other hearts
I wish we didn’t have to live so far apart

“Not once after all this time
Has the Sun said to the Earth, you owe me.
Look what a love like that does
It lights the entire sky”*

All at once we come together
And all at once we go
All at once we feel the answer
And yet we never know
All at once we come together
And all at once we go

Even though we’re human warming other hearts
I wish we didn’t have to live so far apart

* © Hafiz 15c Persia
Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
image Cyborgs Perry Emge ©1975

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She Came http://www.perryemge.com/?p=81 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=81#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:36:16 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=81 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 4 from Curse of Mercury [Play She Came]

This tune is an oldie for me, but again one that I never was happy about the execution of until now. The previous best version was one I recorded with Greg Lawrence in the mid 90’s, perhaps I’ll post a remix of that version in the future. The version on Curse of Mercury is a good distillation of the previous versions. I always liked playing guitar on this tune. The song lyric is a “fantasy” story I came up with in a dialog with Bill “Billy Hope” Tonn after a night out club-hopping and watching young women ogle boys on stage in cover bands.

04she-came

She Came  3:14

This young girl sweet and sexy
She takes herself to the dance
Sees her favorite boyfriend
Playin’ in the band

She watched him play
She watched him move
Listens to him sing
She knows what she wants to do

He knew he wanted her
He knew it all the time
And when they got together
They didn’t waste a dime

All in one night, all in one night

She came to love him it was clear
She’d show him everything
Before she’d disappear
She came to love him it was clear
She’d show him everything
Before she’d disappear

Oh the girl was hot
Mmm, she could rock

It broke the young girl’s heart
To let the young man go
It broke the young girl’s heart
But she’s in control

She came to love him it was clear
She’d show him everything
And then she’d disappear

All in one night, all in one night

She came to love him it was clear
She’d show him everything
And then she’d disappear

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
photo-collage Starry Night Perry Emge ©2002

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Shivering Fits http://www.perryemge.com/?p=83 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=83#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:26:38 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=83 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 5 on Curse of Mercury [Play Shivering Fits]
This is a tune about sex, drugs, and rock & roll, pretty much in that order, because sometimes too much is never enough.

05shivering

Shivering Fits  3:53

It’ll give you shivering fits
But you won’t call it quits
It’ll take you to your knees
And rob you of all your dreams
If supply meets demand
You’ll take all that you can
You know you should resist
But you love the way it fits

Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits

You’ve tried them all on for size
To find the one that fits
You’ve taken all you want
But it’s still not enough
After all the books you’ve read
And all that’s left unsaid
You know you should resist
But you love the way it fits

Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits
Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits
You love the fit

It’ll chew you up and swallow you whole
Spit you out and still you beg for more
A wild man in a cage
Full of passion full of rage
You know you should resist
But you love the way it fits

Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits

If supply meets demand
You’ll take all that you can
You know you should resist
But you love the way it fits

Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits
Gives you fits shivering fits the way it fits
You love the fit

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
photo-collage Have Some More Perry Emge ©2001

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I’m With You http://www.perryemge.com/?p=85 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=85#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:23:14 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=85 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 6 from Curse of Mercury [Play I’m With You]

Yet another remake of an oldie. This is impressionism plain and simple. I almost left this one out of the final cut but was glad I didn’t when someone I respect later told me how much they liked it; you never know.

06im-w-you

I’m With You 3:15

I bite my lip I pull my hair
I look for you but you’re not there
I send you flowers in the night
‘Cause you should know the pure delight
When I’m with you, I’m with you

I bite my lip I pull my hair
I look for you but you’re not there
Come into view I need you

Sailing on the deep blue sea
A desert sky the Sun sets green
When I’m with you
Come into view I need you
Open up my heart and see
Just how real this life can be
I’ll open up my heart and see
Just how real this life can be
When I’m with you, I’m with you

The photographs I took of you
Are not enough they’re nothing new
Like when I’m with you

The magic of the afternoon
Is followed by a rising moon
When I’m with you

Awake again and rising now
The Sun returns and we will too
When I’m with you. I’m with you

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
pen drawing One In The Hand Perry Emge ©2001

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Transformation http://www.perryemge.com/?p=89 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=89#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 12:12:52 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=89 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 7 from Curse of Mercury [Play Transformation]

I think of this tune as Song 1 on Side 2–if you remember the days of LP’s, where when you’ve gotten through the obvious cuts on Side 1 and now that you’ve flipped it over you expect to hear what “they” really wanted to put on the record. This tune is a pretty literal statement, about letting go of, holding on, clinging and possessiveness that thwarts growth. I also had a poem I needed to put somewhere and this looked like a good place to use it.

07transformation

Transformation 4:14

I don’t know why I can’t let go
Let go of you
I know I should, but it’s no good
I don’t know why I can’t let go
Let go of you

I’m lookin’ for the absolution of my soul
I’m lookin’ for some integration of the opposite poles
I’m workin’ on the transformation that’ll make me whole

Whole, make me whole, make me …
Make me whole, make me whole again, make me whole

Everyone is asleep and the Full Moon wanders
The same dusty books lie against themselves on the shelves
Like we lie against one another
As we lie against one another

Contact transform calling out for
Contact transform holding on now
Contact transform calling out for
Contact transform holding on now

While you wander I’ll be waiting here
While you wander on and on

I am awake now and sense your Full Moon power
Like the tide I pull up against your shore
But you and your Moon wane
And I too retreat into my own depths
The depths of which we can not fathom
Or why your Full Moon wanders

While you wander I’ll be waiting here
While you wonder on and on

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
photo-collage Economic Nemonic Perry Emge ©2002

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Another Circle http://www.perryemge.com/?p=91 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=91#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 11:58:30 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=91 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 8 from Curse of Mercury [Play Another Circle]

This is one of my current favorites. It is meant to be something of a Zen-like poem. Interestingly the music is nothing like what I had in mind at the out set, and I almost forgot to record it. Luckily I found my “note to self” about it and went back and recorded it last, pretty much in one afternoon.

08another-circle-11Another Circle 3:26

You float like a kite you fly in the night
And dream of the sky all of your life

It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
You can’t escape the wisdom of it all
It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
You can’t erase the wisdom from it all

You float like a kite you fly in the night
And dream of the sky all of your life

It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
There won’t be time to answer for it all
It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
You can’t go back and find it
It’s too small

I smell success in danger
This could be major
Become the stranger
And bare the pain without anger
Don’t round the answers
And average your chances
Don’t skip the middle
Just to read the last chapter

It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
You can’t escape the wisdom of it all

You float like a kite you fly in the night
And dream of the sky all of your life

It’s just another circle in your life
That’s all
There won’t be time to answer for it all
It’s just another circle after all
What’s involved
All you have to do is wait and it resolves

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
digital image Another Circle Perry Emge ©2004

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Aggravations http://www.perryemge.com/?p=93 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=93#respond Fri, 08 May 2009 11:49:50 +0000 http://www.perryemge.com/?p=93 [Continue Reading]]]> Track 9 from Curse of Mercury [Play Aggravations]

One of my all-time favorite songs is Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy”. I spent some time in voice class working on it and one of the side effects was my desire to create a tune in a similar spirit. This is a big departure from my usual mode of writing, but it’s good to reach. I had to enlist “Doc” on this one for the chord changes. I sang the melody to him and he worked it up on guitar, now if I can just get Tony Bennet to cover it.

09aggravations

Aggravations 3:12

All the conversation, all the hesitation
All the aggravations of love

Always close but not quite
Often good but not right
Oh the permutations of love

You keep yourself together
Enough to hold each other
Clinging tight then letting go
All at once
Agreed upon conclusions
Only lead to more confusion
What we resolve is still a mystery
What was clear is getting misty
But when the tears and laughter blend
It all starts up again

All the conversations, all the hesitation
All the aggravations of love

When boys and girls get busy
It’ll make your head go dizzy
From all the variations of love

You keep yourself together
Enough to hold each other
Clinging tight then letting go
All at once
Agreed upon conclusions
Only lead to more confusion
What we resolve is still a mystery
What was clear is getting misty
But when the tears and laughter blend
It all starts up again

All the conversation, all the hesitation
All the aggravations of love
All the invitations, all the complications
All the variation, all the aggravations
Of Love

Lyrics/Music © 2009 Perry Emge
Lyrics Page for Curse of Mercury
pen drawing In The Stars Perry Emge ©2002

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