#231 – Becoming Dust

Type: Song / September 2016

I’d been trying to write this song (i.e. finish it) for about 9 months. The session deadline made me bring it all come together. It’s one where I don’t think I was ever totally happy with the recording, in the way that it might be impossible to ever finish. It was so intangible as to what I wanted it to be.

It was demo’d really early as “Malcolm Attack”, a mix of Malcolm Middleton’s Human Don’t Be Angry and Massive Attack. So, basically a looping minor key acoustic over a big beat. A simple riff with the root note changing from F# / A / E was most of the song until I came to the studio, as whenever I tried to change it somewhere, it lost it’s power. I assumed we’d sort it in the studio, which we did.

I worked on the lyrics for ages. They usually either just come, or they are long process chopped up things that I keep working and working and drafting until I feel they make some kind if internal sense.

As it’s title might suggest, it follows much of the album’s themes of disappearing, the memories, the places, ourselves all becoming dust, whether literally or just through the impact and influence we have. The first two lines came and helped form some element of structure and repeated patterns, which I rarely employed at this time. The museum / Colosseum rhyme was taken from Jay Z (somewhere on Watch The Throne) and “We deform the ornate” is paraphrasing Deftones (we perform the ornate).

The first full verse is about the current state of things (within the song), the reflection that things aren’t as they once were, that outside forces are emerging and taking over. The constant sense of being a minority for having the beliefs you do. “Drilling holes into lifeboats” was a nice line, an always present urge to self destruct and destroy positives. The second verse is more about actions – the teaching section just saying that any progress, any learning, even that passed between generations and peers will be overwritten due to the encroaching sense of despair, the malevolent outside forces it felt were growing in our lives. In 2016, those forces felt veiled, possibly illusionary but in the following years it became these things in the shadows were real.

Musically it was interesting to see the final thing come together – the central riff I’d built everything around was actually cut in the end, which was partly the reason it became difficult to imagine playing live. Perhaps this came closest to my long held hope to emulate the beat of The Clearing by Arab Strap in song; something that was not overly driven by melody. It all sits together well and is one of those recordings I like because I cant’ really recall or even explain how it happened. After 8 hours in the studio, this thing had emerged, and that felt good.

In tone, Becoming Dust is perhaps a shrug of a song, a shrug of despondency to the fate that awaits us, but with some anarchic defiance that we’ll go down fighting. It pointed a way forward in terms of vocal delivery and writing style for the next record, as some times the more deep cuts on an album can.

Between the frontline and the cenotaph
Between the memory and the photograph
Between the coalface and the museum
Between the scrapheap and the Colosseum

The magic aura, the chemical wave
The holy order, I took more than I gave
I shrink to bones, the bones to dust
The dust will crush the two of us
Didn’t we once dance among the soundwaves?
I dream the ivy creeps across the city districts as they sleep
Outside the outside, clawing the inside
Killing ghosts, drilling holes into lifeboats
The words fail of course

What I was taught will be untaught
What I teach will be untaught too
I think they’d call us insects in the future looking back
We have seen the dustbowl and the ash
In the town of dust, the town of proud dust
Crushed to a fine pulp of what I once was
But there is only so long I can say you are not my culture you are not my kind
Remind me why I’m still here
Head to wall, head to wall, head to…
Shadow boxing, swallow toxins, a hangover without end
Becoming Dust

Between Shrodinger’s choice the weight of a prayer
Between Oswald’s bullet and the breadth of a hair
Between the frontline and the cenotaph
Between the memory and the photograph
Between the coalface and the museum
Between the scrapheap and the colliseum
Between Shrodinger’s choice the weight of a prayer
Between Oswald’s bullet and the breadth of a hair
Between the green-belt border and the city state
We deform the ornate.

 

back to The Book

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories

    Meta