No Reception

by Sjur Lyseid

 

Two summers ago, I was going to play my first Little Hands of Asphalt concert in years. I’d been asked to play at this festival called Indiefjord several times, and at this point I had already written a couple of the new songs, so I finally said yes. It's a strange, yet beautiful and facinating festival, purely dedicated to indiepop, with a mix of international and (very) local audiences, in a remote location in the depth of a Norwegian fjord.

 

Budgets were almost nonexistent, so I would travel and play by myself. Me and my friend Kenneth, who was traveling as a regular festival-goer, had to go west over the mountains to the immensely scenic festival location. So the festival had arranged for us to get a ride from some stranger. In an old hatchback with no aircon (it was a hot summer day), the driver chain smoking and blasting obscure indiepop songs I’d never heard of through the tiny speakers in the car doors. 

After that trip I was so sick of indiepop. Still, when I got back I wrote No Reception, arguably the most indiepop-sounding song of my songwriting career. Go figure. 

 

When you've got an indiepop song, whom other do you ask to contribute than indie darling (sic) Elizabeth Morris? Recorded in her basement in her now native Moss, with a crying toddler (or two) upstairs, her performance is really what turned this song from a good - but admittedly a bit bland pop song - to something quite magical.

 

This song, though being based on a real experience, is also full of lies half-truths, as usual. I wasn’t even there when the Burning Hell played (spot the reference?). But like I seem to always do, at least I managed to cram in a song about driving, or touring, or the two combined. But ultimately about life and love, I guess.

Lyrics:

All of a sudden it was overcast. Descending from the final mountain pass, 

I am only about a third into this year’s novel. And I only read when I travel.

We arrived, it's summer/somewhere in Norway. There's the fjord, there's the freeway. 

You lit another one, the world is your ashtray. And so did I. 

 

I rode in here in the backseat of some car, 

with the windows down, and the music loud, but we don’t really make a sound. 

‘Cause I'm still trying to pretend I'm tender. You claimed your hazy days have now ended. 

I said “it's all love”, and you rolled your eyes. So here's to new and better lies.

 

Guess I approached you under false pretenses. 

An amalgamation of several people answered: 

“Something tells me you have dropped your defenses, well so have I”. 

 

I pictured you riding shotgun in that car. 

It’s a sight to see, but the thing you need is far from where we are.

‘Cause I don’t want to pretend I’m tender, or chained to the last few things I remember. 

Here all is love, but those words weren’t mine. So here’s to hope and better lies. 

 

Danced to “I Love You, Fuck the Government”. Or was it the other way around? 

We spent another half an hour trying to answer that question. 

‘Cause out here there's no reception.

Got up, tripped over a tent. I smelled like single malt mosquito repellent.

Someone told me you had lost your senses. Well, so had I.

 

You ended up in the backseat of some car. 

It’s a sight to see, but it’s not with me. I’m only a passing star.

The fog was low, now it glows like ember. And there in the slow sunrise I remembered 

how love is all, and I still do. So my lies are old, but my hope is new. 

 

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

Elizabeth’s vocals recorded in her basement in Moss.

Mixed by Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen. Mastered by Espen Høydalsvik at Tinnitus Mastering.

Sjur Lyseid: Vocals, Guitars, bass, keys, percussion

Elizabeth Morris: Vocals

Eirik Kirkemyr: Drums

Drinking Song

by Sjur Lyseid

 

 

I'm going to take a minute and talk about collaboration. So much on this record has been of my own doing, I've played, produced, recorded and mixed most of it on my own. However, it would not have been half (!) of what it is without its collaborators, both in a musical and inspirational sense. Music making, in many ways, is at its best as a tribal, communal experience. I've been so lucky as to have all these great people help me out on this, and their contribution is invaluable. I mentioned Elizabeth. Tonje Tafjord sings and plays the flute on this one, and she also sings on a couple of other songs. The amazing Nils Martin Larsen is responsible for a lot of the almost orchestral passages on this album, playing every instrument I told him too, and has maybe been the one person most instrumental (heh) to realizing the sounds in my head. 

 

One of my favorite songwriters Morten Myklebust helped me with filtering lyrics and song structures, he also sang and played a lot. Pål Angelskår was perhaps my main motivator, both in beginning to write and as someone I would run songs and lyrics by throughout the process. Eivind Almhjell, my long time friend and band mate, of course contributed his guitar playing and musical genius to this as well. My neighbor Morten Kvam turned out to be one of Norway's best bass players. When Morten was away for one of the studio dates, we met the incredible Rudi Simmons at a party, and he joined as a bass player and backing vocalist on one day's notice. Jørgen Nordby and Eirik Kirkemyr lent their beautiful, individual drumming styles selflessly to the songs where they sound their best. Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen mixed the song I couldn't make work. And Espen Høydalsvik mastered the whole thing effortlessly. 

I borrowed some old microphones from Rune Berg, he also gave great feedback on a few of my mixes. My old producer Kenneth Ishak recorded the guitar and some percussion on Foreverest, he also lent me some mic's. 

 

Consider this a giant thank you to all of you. And all of you; the people who continued to listen and encouraged me to do more through all these years.

Thanks, friends! 

Drinking Song is a small song about friendships gone sour, for whatever reason.

Lyrics:

“We're a wave and this is a crescent”. 

That's how you describe the present. 

Of course I want to feel fluorescent.

Live only for tonight.

 

His obsession with being alone,

only he knows where it came from. 

Though I just wanted to go home, 

you pinned me down, I let them loose. 

 

But we're more than the drinks we choose.

We are bordering on too obsessive, oh,

looking for truth in the smallest decimals.

Like the pesky weather. Or that things will get better. 

You've read all my letters. 

And you always check them twice. 

Well, so do I. 

 

Between the pompous and the boring I dwell. 

While you keep exploring the center of the universe. 

I'll catch the last bus to the suburbs.

 

Are we more than the lives we choose? 

Are we something bigger and better? 

I think I'll spring for the latter. 

Your choose the former, and you'll get what you ordered. 

5% less water for the kid in the corner. 

There, I said it. Seconds to minutes, and I'll wait it out. 

I’ll wait.

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

Mixed by Sjur Lyseid. Mastered by Espen Høydalsvik at Tinnitus Mastering.

Sjur Lyseid: Vocals, guitar, keys

Tonje Tafjord: Backing vocals & Flute

 

© 2020 TheLHoA