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Wambierzyce is a small town in Kłodzko Land, whose only role is basically to surround a huge basilica among the hills. What is curious, the edifice does not at all disturb the pastoral landscape, and the sanctuary serves a solid spiritual backing to elusive matters around Duszniki, my ever Shire. I wrote the lyric when I was about to entrust an important decision to the Lord, slightly and sweetly inhibited by disquieting remnants of older times. To relieve the tension probably, I stumbled across a quote from Help! the film: my goodness gosh/withdraw, withdraw!, the call obviously not to be heeded.
Unexpectedly creative during the August sessions, Paweł wrote an extremely lovely Thomas Hardy-like melody for the verse, which brought a more universal perspective to the proceedings, I mean now it could be any hills and any remnants. Paf also led us two through the mellotron-laden climax, where we surprised ourselves by finding the backwards “łużdi łużdi” punch-line, which in turn segues to an old and odd guitar lick from secondary school. A meditation with a smile it all turned out, depicting more serene aspects of hard choices and involuntary stagnation. In this fairy-land it somehow can’t get any heavier anyway.
Steer out there, pilgrim, and in there too!
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With the noble exception of Searching For The Echoes, all my songs at that point had dealt with love (possibly unrequited). That is of course an overstatement because right then, when secondary school was sadly turning into university, it had just dawned on me that feelings did not even equal love. Thus all my songs written to date suddenly proved irrelevant, and indeed I had no other choice but begin the humbling process of re-writing.
This one apparently had to do with a different kind of love. The four of us, called ‘undividable’ by Mam, had just ended our two-week sojourn in Triberg, Schwarzwald, where the friend of our family had got married to a lovely German guy called Herbert, who I owe many of my music highs, the highest being early-Move derived. Having spent 10+ years in a one-room flat we were still strong as family – obviously each of us had developed vast inner spaces to secure relative sanity in these claustrophobic conditions. Anyway, the prospect of 10 hours in a car heading back home was not at all unpleasant for me, given that I had someone to come back to in Poland at last. At the beginning of the summer I had nearly made it with the lovely new cellist in the band and I was looking forward to full paradise now.
Perhaps this unusually serene state of my heart provided room for being sidetracked on the way. What a side track it was. We had left the friendly house on the side of a gentle hill very early in the morning, virtually at dawn, and the sun was still about to rise when Dad the Ojo was relinquishing the safeties of Schwarzwald-Baar-Kries and entering the 81 Motorway north. The traffic was equal to none and the concrete artefacts seemed just an innocent part of the landscape. A Schwarzwald evergreen forest was looming still like a mellotron wall far left and morning mists were dancing like ghosts against the trees. In this blessed second with the promise of all the eternity I was hanging still in the air between the fulfillment of a good holiday and the expectation of the imminent bliss.
The next day we went to our grandma’s house with a garden. I grabbed my electric guitar I had used to record my newest demo (a happy one for the cello girl) and sat in the garden unplugged, full sun blasting. The melody came effortlessly, a good one I could see, and the lyrics naturally reflected the motorway flash the tune was somehow a part of.
Incredibly oddly, up to then I had hardly ever been alone in a forest or in the mountains. I had wasted the best years of my life obsessively listening to music, desperately socialising or crying over the spilt blood of my broken heart and treating nature as furniture. A Breath of Eternity was a 100+th song in my songbook but the very second of a long series of meditations in green (Searching for the Echoes being a non-personal story anyway). The path had been unlocked for me through Robert Frost poems and my childhood hiking trips with Ojo. Now I was finally called to the wonders of creation never reaching the end.
…wonders of a lifetime right there before your eyes…
See you there,
I thought it up (“composed” still sounds too big) when I was chyba 13 on a lovely day at the beginning of July. I was dallying with a hehe psychedelic masterpiece of my imaginary band called The Bagers. I had written three Bagers albums to that point (consisting of melodies in my head, which were set to gibberish lyrics) but this time it felt somewhat real. I was instantly lifted by what had just appeared out of nowhere (or rather out of the above, as we say in Poland). My voice hadn’t even started breaking, so I was singing the song to myself in a very high and mellow pitch, as in the more remote ELO tracks, oblivious to the dangers of the world inevitably coming with the bloody September.
When the first real band I was in had been created, I started writing real lyrics to some of the Bagers songs. This one, along with Stay Beside, was obviously the first one to jump to mind. This was mid 1992, when The Round Triangle were finishing the first form of secondary school. So it was almost July again, and I seemed to be aptly inspired but there were just two snags: my guitar skills were hardly even rudimentary and so was my songwriting in English. The songs was perhaps too hastily set in the key of D and it began like this: hey, look at this pretty day/ then, look for some pretty face… The rest was no better, though perhaps ringing of some pristine blessed naivety. Anyway, this monster midget, called Glory of a Day [sic] then, was a staple for The Round Triangle, and nobody seemed to mind the lyrics.
When I started studying English in 1995 I had no other option but to deem all the Triangle lyrics inadequate, to say the least. I had written about 100 songs to that point, and none of them passed the quality (and er grammar) test untouched. With Glory of a Day there was no point in any editing, so I basically wrote the lyrics from scratch, luckily under the influence of the metaphysical poets I was then covering in my English Literature, with an obligatory reference to The Moody Blues. The need to change the key back to perhaps falsetto somehow didn’t occur to me at that point, so when I was recording it as a Soundrops track – in 2007 and again – I let things stay in D.
Perhaps there will be a radical rewrite sometime, but that’s where it’s at now: a somewhat folkish angle of British Invasion? Intriguing enough, I hope.
The writing of this song took more than its brevity would indicate. Deep Autumn is the most palpable remnant of 2003 evenings I spent at then girlfriend’s, at the district of Górczyn. She had a nylon-string guitar she or I would pick – the opening theme came like that and it sounded lovely on it. Even more so with the lyrics, based on the excerpts of her diary I was exceptionally allowed to read. The whole image of the golden tent I took from the very there, and it was pretty evocative of my way to her tenement house from the tram (no.5) stop, under those magnificent chestnut trees.
The ‘You’ in the second vocal part refers to the Lord. I had basically long stopped writing overtly Christian lyrics by then, but if the Heavens echoed between the lines now and again, it somehow sounded more valid now. And more truthful anyway, certainly this time the vanity I had really experienced, not only read about. So my call was inevitable.
The opening theme flows again under the words and comes back at the end in its own right. The very melody, though, is pretty linear. I had tried to write a linear song before (I no), but this one came out less forced and less self-conscious. All the notes seem subject to the overall Autumn aura, and in this I find this song very accomplished. I’m proud it has been tagged ‘soulsong’ at last.fm
This might be the most accomplished Soundrops lyric. I found the line beyond these hills there is Kingdom Come somewhere at the turn of the millenium and the first verse came to me in 2003. I sensed something important was to come, and perhaps that was why I seemed unable to move on, captured within the image of myself dancing on a hill in Duszniki Zdrój (Bad Reinerz) under altocumulus clouds, in the middle of the summer back there in the eighties, somehow without any threatening shadow of the imminent school year. These holiday trips had our family at the most loving, and this memory-to-be was to remain vivid despite the passing years.
The rest was fittingly written in this very kingdom of the Kłodzko Basin (with the surrounding ranges), along the blue track from Karłów to Duszniki, when I was gathering ideas for the Friends album and my head opened anew for a while. It managed to comprise both the pastures in the Bystrzyckie Hills (the slopes of Mount Mouflon) and the aerial in Krasne Potockie where friend Witek (of Witek & Gero and the PC project) lived, as well as of course the Psalm 23 reference. The song (no longer past) is obviously ahead of the real me (as I believe is the case with most artists, after all they herald the things which are slightly above them, [did I say slightly?]), but I hope to reach the hills not too late.
And obviously it’s only a prelude to the Real Thing anyway.
Our most popular song, so far, takes things back to 2006, when Mrll and I went for a two -week trip to the UK (Scotland + England) with friends from our Armia forum. Our eightsome were led by Kacper, who is thus namechecked in the song, and had a string of kaleidoscopic experiences ranging from the serene (a picnic at Glen Coe) through the breath(and life)-taking (the Crazy Pinnacles) to the heart-tearing (a visit at then newly departed Syd Barrett’s house).
The most memorable day for me was, though, a Sunday on the Isle of Skye where I had to hitch-hike from our Flodigarry hostel to the only Catholic Church on the island (Portree) and back. Miraculously I made it just in time for the Holy Mass (hence Portree’s bread in the lyrics), and then had a dessert of a somewhat lay epiphany on the way back under the uncharacteristic clear skies and amidst the pastures and cattle grids. Then I did catch a lift and the driver was a German lady long settled on Skye – we discussed the subtleties of Polish and German Christianity with the raw Scottish landscape surrounding our blessed conversation ominously. Good hitch-hike talk.
Back there at the hostel I learned that my friends had gone treading the lovely flat hills looming at the back. I heard some undistinctive shouting form behind – Kacper singing fragments of The Wall to the audience of sheep, apparently. I had nothing else to do but get overwhelmed by the sweet hills beyond the bay, standing blurred and proud under the Northern sky. I tried to sing softly bits and pieces of earlier Soundrops material to see how it relates to the landscape. It was a rare moment of no worrying and conscious tasting the happiness oozing from all around. A perfect balance of here/now and them/there, both in the near rear perspective of the flat hills and the more remote of Poland.
And then the internal links among the eight of us grew less tight, as you can hear about in the coda. But that’s not irreversible and we might as well grow stronger again. The Sunday means much more than any Friday later.