Distortion

by At Sea

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credits

released November 27, 2011

As Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “I am interested in making up a good case for distortion, as I am coming to believe it is the only way to make people see.”

Distortion.

A common theme on the 4th Album released by At Sea, it makes its appearance in full prominence in various forms. Be it on a vocal, guitar, piano, accordion, pipe organ, violin, drum, idea, lyric, theme, image or mindset it leans towards the abstract and extreme. While the feedback or overdrive sound produced from an instrument is one thing, the idea of Distortion is something entirely separate. It serves not as merely an alteration of sound, but as an alteration or contortion of the underlying theme, blowing it out of proportion from the mundane into the realm of the fantastic and abnormal.

As the Distortion settles in, nesting among the lyrics and orchestral beings, it is contrasted with brief reprises and rests founded by Minimalism. The polar opposites however are merely compliments and mirrors of each other, progressing and furthering each other to new heights and depths. Where Minimalism abounds, it allows for the furthering and elongation of Distortion. Affectionate moments blending soft harps and hushed vocals are blindsided by raucous flashes of whimsical ardency, featuring layered voice choirs mixed over electronica and accordion solos.

However, Distortion (and even Minimalism) is founded upon themes. Themes. Ideas. Motifs. Whether it be a simple melody line, such as presented in Allegretto Movement II, Symphony No. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven, or a larger universal theme such as love, death, or infinity, all Distortion must be projected from such. The idea of Death and the serenity or terror that comes along is fascinating alone. But once Distorted, the possibilities are interminable. The eccentric looms ahead, contorted in a way that we have never imagined possible.

Love, death, anger, infinity, loneliness, truthfulness and beauty are recurring throughout the album. Symbolized through Distortion and musical symbolism, they tribute and shape each other, twisting and entwining patterns amongst themselves. Be it a slight twinge of resentment or a raging hunger for infinitude and isolation, the ideas resound and appear in both the Nominal and the Bizarre.

It is in the moments of grandeur, the ecstatic and eccentric that the music comes together to become complete. Pipe Organs and improvised Synth Solos are merely the beginning of a greater ensemble. In this album the composer has distanced himself from the instrument, viewing himself instead as a Grand Conductor of an Orchestra (New York Philharmonic is preferred) while leaving the Instruments to play themselves through improvisational techniques.
Once again, the musician has Distorted himself into a grander and far more versatile creature. Distortion encompasses the theme of the album, warping and beautifying it into a far larger creation.

Through the sufferings and laments, Distortion is the one that leads; twisting a reality open providing a trail of escape. The direction of the Distortion all depends upon the listener, however. Be it God, Christ, society, or the selfish throbbing of the heart, the way in which the Distortion of action is projected controls the mindset, the loves, the fears of the individual.

Remember, everyone has an agenda.

Except for me.

After all, Distortion is the only way to make people see.

Synths, Drums, Pianos, Guitars, Electric Guitars, Accordions, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Violins, Organs, Wurlitzer Organs, Pipe Organs, Chimes, Marimbas, Glockenspiels, Flutes, Melodicas, Laptops, Harps, Samples by Curran McQuade (At Sea)
Drums on "Guitar Jam for the Lonely" played by Wesley Nichols.

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Track Name: Battery
I don't know where we are
Sit up and watch the stars
My heart is an Island
My heart is an Island, long gone

I think we've gone too far
Find myself inside of your car
My heart is a Battery
My heart is a Battery, too full

My mind will know the way
Glow in the night anyway
My heart is full of violence
My heart is full of violence
Track Name: Loaded Die
Play with each other's lives
But life is a Loaded Die
You found Salvation in a computer
Jesus in a Hard-Drive

All this Beauty nearly kills me
Breaks me down I don't belong
I might jump off a building
To see the looks on their faces

All this tension is killing me
I wish that I know it all
Hop-scotch your way into Heaven
If the freaks don't catch you first

I don't care about Happiness
I just want the Truth

I would leave
But they could learn from my mistakes
I could change, I could change
Oh, I wish I could change
It could never happen
I expect too much
Love is not something I can earn
Track Name: Bells
I'm so tired of this stupid Love
I'm so tired of this stupid Love
I'm going to move to the city of the Damned
Where I can hold the world in the palm of my hand

I guess they'll just be mad at God for a day
I guess they'll just be mad at God for a day
Then in the morning they'll pretend to be fine
And they'll open the windows to hear the bells chime

I'm trying to understand and grow in the Love of Christ
I'm trying to understand and grow in the Love of Christ
I'll always have the heart of a wicked man
But I'll try to have the hands of a righteous man
Track Name: Landfills
I know a place at the end of the road
Where people give away their gold
But their streets are slick with bubbling blood
Their only hills are landfills

I had it all, I had it all
But I threw it away
Track Name: I Don't Want To Know
Oh, my friend I will be kind
At first, but it's not the last time

Oh, my King, it's been a long time
Since Sacrifice, or worse, forgive my mind

Oh, my friend what could be worse?
Your good, or my monster of sin?

I don't know
I don't want to know
Track Name: Pavement
It’s not my time
I’m ripped at birth
This Hotel mind
Look right through me
I will listen, I will listen
Tear up the pavement
Angry sidewalks
Dream of it
But don’t listen
Scream about it
They can’t hear you, They can’t hear you
I’ll drown my fears
An ocean’s performance
It’s contagious, It’s contagious
Track Name: Alone
Coal Mine
Coal Mine

What did I ever owe to you?
I'd give it back to be alone
At last he sees who you are and drowns
And realizes his respectable faults

I'd tell you a Lie to be alone

What did I ever owe to you?
I'd give it back to be alone
You can not drown the already dead
He realizes your unspeakable faults

I'd tell you a Lie to be alone

Oh, can't you see
The Beauty of it all,
The Beauty of it all?

(inaudible whispers)
La la la la la la la la

Oh I had a friend
Who burned himself
He started a fire
Inside of his chest

Oh I was Afraid of it
Oh I was Afraid of it

I know it's a Lie
It's what you live
You'd throw me away
First chance you'd get

Oh I ran away from it
Oh I ran away from it