The Word is….

by HuDost & Steve Kilbey

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about

All of Us - When I heard this piece from Steve I knew we had something good on our hands. This track sort of reminded me of something off of ‘Remindlessness’ in terms of its longing honest emotional content. Upon playing Steve’s demo, Moksha and I instantly started hearing other melodies and harmonies contained within. The music started taking on the vibration of the infinite beautiful ache, so what better instrument to add than Melissa Hyman’s amazing cello playing. Even though it’s mellow for an opening track I feel it incapsulates the best of what both We and SK do in terms of communicating human sadness & beauty. According to how you take the piece, you hear Moksha sing either ‘we’re gone… All of Us” or “We’re God… All of Us’. In real life we seem to balance delicately between both.

OK (OmniPresent) - This is a personal favorite of mine. Kilbey basically sent a demo of him playing bass along to a mutated recording of Pacabel’s Canon and singing a plethora of “I tell you baby…that’s Ok’ verses. I instantly heard another melody over the same progression (ala Two Places at Once) which basically answered Steve’s somewhat questioning lyrics. A good bro of mine named George Tortorelli once told me a story about an old librarian looking up the word ‘OK’ and finding it’s oldest etymology to mean ‘Omnipresent Knowledge’. While I’ve never heard that again since nor have I found anything via Google, it always stuck with me. So the song needs a chorus and onward comes a totally new part & hook that I hear and insert of Moksha and I gloriously chanting ‘OOMMNIIII!’. Quite fun… and almost pop! I decided this piece needed some 80’s ‘Neverending Storyesque’ synth pulse along with the heavily fuzzed out synth bass blending with Steve’s signature throb and I added a myriad of psychedelic guitars which sometimes somehow remind me of a Heyday era.

Love Everything - To me this is one of the most solid ‘song songs’ Steve has written in a long time with a full on sing-along chorus and all. It’s blatantly shamelessly spiritual and beautifully naive bordering on vulnerable and innocent. What could be more beautiful?!? Moksha wrote some amazing verses including adding a simple ‘You are simple Love’ bridge and message, which fits perfectly into the overall album theme. To round out the song, Joe Garcia added lush layers of atmospheric pedal-steel guitar while Melissa graced us with more cello. Bring on the Light!

Austin Knocking - Once I fuzzed out Kilbey’s bass I knew we had a rocker on our hands. Moksha came up with a lot of interesting catchy hooks and lyrics to swirl around Steve’s repeating groove mandala. The track finally came together when Sofia added REAL drum kit (as opposed to the layers upon layers of programmed drums on this record!) and locked & rocked it! There’s a ton of guitars screaming in a somewhat feedback stricken Brian May-esque melodic wail.

Temple Mocking Bird - This piece of music was already pretty ‘realized’ from Steve. Moksha pulled the lyrics right out of the sky and straight onto ‘tape’. Once we had those dialed in, it was prime for the ambient guitar orchestra of Joe Garcia & I to begin the subtle layerings. The Magickal Cybele also laid down some mysterious Sarangi as well.

The Muse (Objective Art) - This piece originally appeared as a spoken word Kilbey download via his TheTimeBeing site a few years ago. He sent it to us with the same instruction as everything piece of music we received from him…”Do whatever you want with it.” So we did. Moksha’s voice & lyrics dance & lilt and pull the listener deeper and deeper into the core of the soundscape. She came up with these parts fast; the mics were on and we captured the Muse. Essential bits of Steve’s spoken word were left in but much was shortened, rearranged, taken out, added to and mutated while keeping the feeling of his original musical score at it’s core. After much tweaking (including Frank constantly saying “CUT MORE!”), a series of ‘movements’ started to form with the vocal & guitar ideas. I feel it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album especially in it’s more ‘compact’ form. The ending especially touches upon ‘the Kilbey heart”; it’s that longing aching yearn to Be Open even if it’s fleeting. It somehow reminds me of his “Elephant God’ song. Moksha and I really poured on the vocals and harmonies to this end section of the song to hopefully ‘pull out’ that essence of SK’s heart that we ever so often get the chance to see hear and feel in the music. ‘Resonate in Sympathy’ indeed!

Sunday Morning - On the Sunday morning Lou Reed passed, I instantly played this song and had the hit that we should record it. I figured out the chords and laid down a few acoustic tracks and Moksha did a lead vocal. At that point I realized that it would make an incredible duet with Steve in honoring of Lou. I sent him the track and he did a beautiful signature vocal. We wanted it to be even MORE achingly beautiful; the song seemed so much more vital than ever with Lou having passed over. Joe Garcia added some amazing pedal steel, Melissa Hyman invoked further longing with her masterful cello & the always mysterious & attuned Cybele added a ghostly Sarangi as if calling out from the other side. It turned out really beautiful.

Omega (featuring Jon Anderson) - So all of these liner notes really just lead up to explaining how this odd one-off happened. Steve had this long piece that he called ‘Song with Weird Bits’ He had a basic intro and outro and this reoccurring ascending bass line with a drum loop. It was very bare. His idea and ‘assignment’ to us was to create ‘hooky catchy weird song bits’ that only lasted long enough to sink the earworm in and then to never return again. These were basically blank spaces in between the repeating ascending bass bits. So we set upon the task of writing and finding song fragments and musical ideas that we’d been working on. Some of them were iPhone recordings of little riffs or lyrical verse ideas that we often get while driving. After sifting through a lot of these we figured out which ones would work and where they fit well within the piece.The scaffolding was done and we had all the weird song bits inserted. I also souped up the intro and outro musically as ‘bookends’. At first we thought the ascending bass parts would just be these interesting non-lyrical instrumental sections, so we had Joe lay down pedal steel tracks, Melissa add cellos and I started layering tons of guitars, organs, synths and atmospheres. At one point we had the thought of adding horns so we contacted our buddy Kai Welch (Abigail Washburn’s song-writing partner and brilliant multi-instrumentalist solo artist as well) and he recorded an entire horn section on the track! WHEW! This thing is BIG! There was ‘weird bit’ section toward the end that I wrote that still didn’t have any words and I felt it sounded a lot like YES. Moksha had recently added some backing vocals and harmonium to a couple of tracks for a Jon Anderson solo project and he had told us “just send me music from time to time” as we’d been speaking of collaborating more. We had already sent him 2-3 pieces with no response but I had the hit that he should hear this music. We sent it to Jon one morning and he wrote back that evening saying “Wow this is Wild! Let me sit with this for a bit and I’ll get back to you.” The next morning we had an email from him with a Dropbox link with 7 stacked vocal tracks with a waft of cosmic lyrics that could only come from him. It felt like Christmas! We were blown away. His only instruction at the time was “Sing along with me! This needs to sound like a big group of voices singing!” So we did. We sent the track back to Steve who added vocals too and then began the deeper process of really arranging and editing and turning this into the epic it is. This is undoubtably the most ambitious track I’ve ever produced. Oz worked miracles in mixing it as well. It took days to really bring it into shape making each section it’s own universe yet keeping it sounding like one solid flowing movement. After days of mix tweaking we sent it to Jon and he had MORE ideas both mix wise and arrangement wise, so we added MORE and went back in and mixed it even deeper respecting deeply his creative input. Jon put a lot of love and attention into this track with us. It is truly a miraculous magical cocreation, and we are honored to work with him.

Mellotron Song - This is the first track we worked on for the record. The core of the piece was this short repeating piece of music from Steve that reminded me of something off of EARTHED. It’s a classic Kilbey musical offering where the elements layer upon each other one at a time so masterfully. Moksha and I were on retreat at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland Colorado and had all of the recording gear set up. She came up with her stacked melodic vocal idea and after we had those dialed in to perfection I asked her to do a ‘dare to suck’ take which turned into her soaring lead vocal! I then took it upon my self to soar along with her as a guitar & voice duet. There are a lot of guitars on this track! It’s fitting the first thing we worked on turns out to be the final piece. Oz added some great ambience from his travels at the end feedback section along with Kilbey’s Mellotrons still pulsing & undulating melodically echoing the finale of ‘Aura’ as if in an alternate universe. I really love this piece. It really feels like a collaboration.

Something That Means Something - a bonus track? Yes we decided to record one of my favorite Kilbey songs originally off his ‘Slow Crack’ album. I have related to this song in so many ways over the years and we decided to ‘cover it’ for the final piece of this collaboration. As with many songs of Steve’s, I have also found and sung harmony vocal parts that aren’t actually recorded. This was our opportunity to really pull out the harmonic content of the melody of the song! I recorded all of the instruments first and then Moksha learned the song and laid down a series of potent vocal offerings. Then we proceeded to harmonize with ourselves. I feel and hope we brought out the essence of this, one of my favorite songs. As with all good songs, the lyrics and ideas continue to be relevant and change as time moves forward. Thank you for listening. Thank you for writing it.

Jemal Wade (02/23/15)

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released March 17, 2015

All songs Sommer/Kilbey/Hines

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Steve Kilbey Australia

Steve Kilbey - musician, painter, writer, poet, sage, dispenser of arcane wisdom, and much loved national treasure. A songwriter of many musical tongues, from the sprawling guitar thunderstorms of The Church, to the opiated dronescapes and psychedelic vision of his solo recordings and paintings. ... more

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