Begin Again

by Sjur Lyseid

 

I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to write music again. And if you asked me six years ago, I think I would be pretty adamant I would never do another Little Hands of Asphalt album. I didn’t officially break the project up, rather I’d just let it fade out, cause that’s what I do. So much had changed in my life, I was fed up with my musical self, and felt like there wasn’t really anything else to add to what had already been said.

 

Then, something happened. There were all these inspiring and encouraging people I’d met, I had written songs for other projects, and slowly realized that I still had a good few songs in me, that this is something I’m actually good at. That it doesn’t necessarily have to be that difficult. And, most importantly, though there isn't really a ton of people listening, for those that do, they kept telling me it means something to them. So, I start anew. 

 

A little ironic, then, that the first song is about the impossibility of starting over. You can never go back to being stupid, you are not young enough to know everything, though you’ve left your bags at the counter and seen them disappear into a hole with their ribbons and name tags, you’re still painfully aware of what’s inside, and that you at some point have to pick them up at some baggage carousel.

 

So I know, I’m not really beginning again. To me, this song is about the same two people as in the song “Pioneers” off of Floors. “Pioneers” is a split second song, with everything that happens between when a door shuts and a lock clicks. This is about the 52 minutes preceding that. They’re in an apartment (and I know which one, but it might look different to you) and they’re listening to Blood on the Tracks. That’s pretty much it. 

 

To go with the lyrical content, I wanted “Begin Again” to  express both continuity and departure. To feel like a classic LHoA-song; a spiderweb of plucked acoustics and a simple chord progression, something that felt like it had always been there, something simple and pure. But at a point, break away from that formula, do something else, something different, with a bit more grandeur, to well, begin again.

Oh, and it’s hardly a secret I had a Brian Wilson-obsession when I wrote and arranged that middle eight. 

 

Lyrics:

A few tiny movements, and it begins. 

The needle drops, the record spins. 

Lately I've been giving in 

to these primitive machines. 

 

Back when I barely knew who you were, 

we were both precious and obscure. 

Sat together in a park. 

You tossed a coin out into the old pond and snarked 

at the young man and his courage, 

and the ghosts in every hotel room. 

They keep claiming they could begin again. 

 

Then you got up just to change the sides.

There, on the fourth chord came a lie.

Once I could tell them apart; 

a twist of fate or a change of heart. 

Blood on the tracks, it skips a beat. 

As he sings a solemn eulogy 

for the old man in the courtroom

and the stray dogs in the parking lot. 

They're all thinking they would begin again. 

 

We'll begin again.

 

With lies still stuck between our teeth

we'll taste the bitter irony 

of the stranger in a subway station 

unsure of her destination. 

Only knows she will begin again.

 

Recorded & produced at Six Feet Over Studio by Sjur Lyseid.

Additional recording by Nils Martin Larsen. Mixed by Sjur Lyseid.

Mastered by Espen Høydalsvik at Tinnitus Mastering.

 

Sjur Lyseid: Vocals, Guitars, keys, drums, bass, percussion, trumpet.

Nils Martin Larsen: Clarinet, saxophone, strings, backing vocals, keys, percussion.

Morten Kvam: Bass

Foreverest

By Sjur Lyseid

Foreverest is the spark that started this whole album. Written, and largely recorded, back in 2014/15, this song was originally meant for another project. But at least it also meant I was able to write again. At the time of its conception, I had been listening to a lot of music that was different from what I usually gravitate towards, things like krautrock or techno: Repetitive patterns and hypnotic lengths, stuff that requires patience and attention to sonic detail, where the sum of the parts make up the whole. Where every new simple element is key in propelling the song forward. So, I tried to write like that. The result? The longest song I’ve ever written, for one. But also the realization I can’t really escape my own disposition for pop formalism, melodies or earnestness. 

 

Writing about songs about death are almost as hard as writing songs about death. I wrote this after my father died. He lived on a small farm by a beautiful mountain. Foreverest is about him, in a sense, but mostly about me (and that makes it different than most of the songs on Half Empty).

 

Lyrics:

A dry stone, no sound of water

I’m coming home through the wasteland

And I am searching for that memory

Among the trams and the dusty trees

 

There it is: My first memory

When you were young, as young as I am now

Were you humming on some melody?

That you then planted deep in me?

 

Pigeons circling the mall

Forever rest the months you never called

Soon this fog will turn to night

But i’ll try to trust the stubborn daylight

 

With all their loss enunciated

They’re holding on to whatever they can

While I’m holding on to your memory

It’s somehow planted deep in me

 

All those words I could use

Forever rest the life you didn’t choose

And when all these towers fall

Forever rest your work in the drywall

 

Now I walk out into the night

Forever with your name next to mine

Oh, what do I do now, 

what will I do now?

 

Snowy crests, the trees are tall

Forever rest the paths your feet walked

And when all these towers fall

Forever rest your work in the drywall

Forever rest the shaking in your legs

Forever rest your bones in the muskeg 

Forever rest the stubborn daylight

Forever rest the fog in the dark night

Forever rest the words I could have used

Forever rest the life you didn’t choose

Forever rest the hoarfrost on the trees

Forever rest your memory in me 

Recorded & produced at Six Feet Over studio by Sjur Lyseid.

Guitar, percussion & vibraphone recorded by Kenneth Ishak at Observatoriet.

Additional recording by Nils Martin Larsen. Mixed by Sjur Lyseid.

Mastered by Espen Høydalsvik at Tinnitus Mastering.

 

Sjur Lyseid: Vocals, guitars, keys, drums, percussion, bass.

Nils Martin Larsen: Keys, backing vocals, percussion.

Eivind Almhjell: Guitar, Vibraphone, percussion, backing vocals.

Morten Myklebust: Backing vocals

Rudi Simmons: Backing vocals

Eivind Bøe: Shaker

 
 

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