Detholz! demo – “Yearning for Zion”

DETHOLZ!
BABY TEETH
DANNY BLACK
RAFTER

@ LENA YOHEY FEST ’08!
THIS SATURDAY @ HIDEOUT
www.hideoutchicago.com

Join Detholz!, Baby Teeth, our pal, Danny Black and the Maplewood family to send Lena Yohey, former Detholz! bookie and sweetheart extraordinaire, to Nepal this Fall to work with orphans! This will be a family night you won’t want to miss — a great cause replete with bake sale and MAX POWER!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXVIII!

Apologies for the late posting this week — this one is hot off the press. Literally finished it five minutes ago:

YEARNING FOR ZION

1. SONG CONCEPT

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably read in the news about the “Yearning for Zion” ranch outside of El Dorado, Texas where Child Welfare Services, in conjunction with local law enforcement, acted on a judicial order to remove 462 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound on suspicions that they were being sexually abused.

Of course, now it’s turned into a war between State Officials and leaders of the FLDS, with the children caught in the middle. As a result of the massive raid, these kids were held in state custody until an appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to detain them. Child Protective Services has appealed that decision.

This song is not about the YFZ debacle per se, but I used it as a jumping-off point.

I have known a few people that have come from fairly extreme religious backgrounds, such that the religion itself becomes an invisible predator of sorts. In the case of these poor kids — and God knows what they’re experiencing on this ranch — it’s possible that they’re being subjected to literal white slavery imparted by the particularly legalistic denomination into which they were born.

In my own experience wrestling with faith, I’ve never had to deal with that kind of extreme behavior, but I understand a little bit of what’s it like to feel smothered as a kid by lofty religious ideals beyond my understanding.

I guess this song is a lament for these children and, by extension, for a collective inner child oppressed by family and by religion.

I call upon “Mother Texas” — a particularly bloody state throughout its history, especially now — to shriek on behalf of these innocents.

The “Giants” referenced are the so-called Nephilim of Genesis 6:

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

According to the Genesis account, the Nephelim were “sons of God” (Old Testament-ese for “angels”) who desired human women and took them for their own — “whomever they chose.” Sounds like the women didn’t have much say in the matter — the angels simply saw what they wanted and took it.

An appropriate image in this case, I think.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This song happened almost completely by accident.

To start I was just screwing around on my bass to a click and voila! The song was started.

I ran across this fantastic tacky piano sound in Kontakt 3 that served my purposes swimmingly. I love dulcimer-esque piano sounds– they always remind me of the soundtrack to the movie, “Kafka,” one of my favorite sci-fi films as a high school kid.

This was one was a little different in that the melody came before the harmonic changes. I suppose that’s the “correct” way to do things, but for me it usually happens the other way around.

I used a more nasal bass tone on this track than I usually do. Also, I mixed every track down to mono and basically trashed the hell of them to dirty things up (except for the tack piano sound). After finishing a few songs, I’m getting better at doing this in Nuendo. Originally, I missed Logic — it seemed much easier for me to thrash the beejeezus out of my tracks. As I’m discovering, Nuendo has similar — and much better — functionality on the PC.

The last section of the song seemed necessary given the song’s subject matter — couldn’t really end on a high note, could it? I was definitely pulling from the bridge to “Psychotherapy” (from “Cast Out Devils, DH! 2nd record) when conceiving this part. Sometimes cut/paste between song sections works well, and this song screamed for it, in my opinion.

Tune in next week for another episode of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

Side note: I start a new job next week, so the update day will likely change. I’ll keep you posted.

3. LYRICS

YEARNING FOR ZION

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Lead an innocent child
To the Mystery Mountain

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Remember Abraham’s son
On the Holy Mountain?

Everything’s going be all right
Sacrifice is forever
Everything is locked up tight
You will be here forever

Listen to the words of Light
From the Books that I read you
Listen to the cries at night
Feel the gaze of the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on me now
Evil Hands will force and feel me
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect her from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother on the River of Blood
Oh, Mother of Ten Thousand Suns
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Giants, Giants
In the mouths of Giants
Whiff of innocent blood
From the veins of the children

Giants, Giants
In the arms of giants
Between heaven and hell
Neither angel nor devil

Everything’s going to be all right
Sacrifice is not forever
Everything is locked up tight
But you will not live here forever

Listen to the songs of Light
From the lips of the children
Listen in the Texas night
Far away from the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on you now
Evil Hands will force and feel you
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect you from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

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9 Responses to “Detholz! demo – “Yearning for Zion””

  1. JoeBlu Says:

    Impression, stream-of-consciouness:

    Organ sound rocks. Also, intro melody is bitchin’.
    Chorus creeps me out – I suppose that’s what’s intended.
    Overall, one of my favorite new ones.

    Good luck in the land of fixed schedules and Big Store Money.

  2. bp Says:

    Not too many songs out there that reference Nephilim, so this one’s unique on that count alone. My first impression is that this one’s trying to do a little too much, arrangement-wise. Is there some instrument that you could remove for some or all of the piece that would make it less busy? Lyrically, it fits well with the creep-fest of misused religion that I suppose is becoming typical Jim Cooper fare.

  3. jim Says:

    Oh man! This one rocks! Of course you could have probably guessed what I would have said by first reading BP’s “trying to do too much” comment. Ha! Sure, this demo might seem a little stuffed, but if worked out with the band, this stuff is just gonna sound full and awesome. Love it. And the ending is fantastic. Perfect for the creep factor.
    I’ve dug the songs that have somewhat of a latin rhythm going on (DTTT, Minnesota, Millionairess, this one..). They all would make great additions to the live set and would also sound cool on record.

    I haven’t kept up so much with the blogging, so I’ll just quickly mention that Hand and Brain has really been growing on me and deserves more of a chance, Suburbanite is catchy has hell, and I don’t so much see the appeal for Lost Weekend. I’d even say it’s the weakest of the above three. But I’m usually the odd man out here when it comes to opinion.

  4. jim Says:

    Sorry. When I say weakest, I mean compositionally. I’ve ignorantly been reverting to not hearing lyrics a lot again lately. Lost is a good song still.

  5. detholz Says:

    Blu: Nice to see a new face around here. Y’all come again!

    Fixed schedules, shmixed shedules. Part-time all the way, baby. PT! PT! Good for you! Good for me!

    bp: Ha, I hope the Nephilim reference wasn’t overly pretentious. I’ve always been drawn to that strange Genesis passage. Nobody preaches about giants any more.

    Funny you should mention the busy arrangement. Jonny’s initial reaction was the same — whoa, a lot going on! I actually tried to limit myself instrument-wise, so aside from the drums, there are only 5 other sounds in play — the bass, the organ, the tack piano, the lo-fi choir pad, and a clavinet.

    Initially, I had the same reaction and opted out of the clav. It just didn’t “pop” as much without it, though. Also, I couldn’t resist the bgv’s in the chorus, which definitely clutter the arrangement quite a bit. A song like this is a little different than an average pop song, tho — I was definitely drawing from Fela Kuti here, lots of improvisatory elements working together in a large Rube Goldberg-esque organism. Music like Fela’s washes over me — you have to get lost in it. Don’t know if I was successful here or not.

    If we were to attempt it live, chances are one or two elements would have to go. My guess is the bgv’s would get the cut. When we play “Stasiland” live, for example, there are a lot of missing bgv’s, simply because there’s so much other stuff going on, they don’t seem necessary.

    That brings up a good point: live renditions of songs can take pretty much whatever shape or form one wishes. I learned that lesson on tour with Bobby Conn. His albums tend to be extremely arranged (literally!), but last year, we went out as a trio. I thought the songs sounded great in a completely stripped down form, once we got used to it.

    I know I’m re-treading with the subject matter (which I’ve been trying to steer away from, believe it or not), but, hey, I needed to blow off some steam this week.

    Jim: I had a feeling you might dig this one. It has some tried-and-true DH! moments — esp. the “Invisible Man” ending.

    Glad Hand and Brain seems to be getting some spin in the blogosphere. I thought that one might catch on somewhere, somehow… It’s sort of “easy listening” in a way. Not much going on melodically, which makes for good driving music, or music to dust to, maybe.

    I disagree on “Lost Weekend,” however. While some sections could bear extending, I feel like it’s compositionally stronger than any of the others you mentioned. Whether or not that makes it a good song, of course, is up to the listener. Just b/c it’s compositionally sound doesn’t mean it will catch on — a hard lesson I learned years ago, when I was a “youth.”

    Glad you like this one, though. I know it’s a little over the top, but… what the hell? Don’t people need a joy ride every once in awhile?

  6. kebabdylan Says:

    initial reactions is that there is a lot of interesting stuff going on. lots of potential. I would love to see the band take it on but really reinterpret it. Not sure how, but i’d be curious to hear it.

  7. kebabdylan Says:

    after listening a couple of time…

    — vocal melody and delivery is the strongest element. Zion! zion! has been in my head more than once.
    — at first nothing about the music really stuck with me. I couldn’t even remember what it sounded like. Although I have changed my mind a bit on that. I do think the one primary keyboard melody line at the beginning seems a little unnecessary.
    — the bass line, especially in the first verse (where it’s all by itself) seems a little non-descript. It could just be left out and I don’t think the song would be missing anything. It actually reminds me a bit of the piggly man pig noises. It may just be the mixing/effects on it.
    — I like how it launches into the dissonant/creepy sounds at the end. That is really effective. I naturally start thinking “sonic youth guitar noise” with stuff like that, And i don’t get a “sonic youth” vibe from you. I’d be interested how the full band would handle it. I could hear the rhythm section keeping the structure while you and carl worked some dissonant gutiar noise/feedback.
    — and to beat the talking head horse to death, the keyboard sounds at the beginning shout talking heads as does the vocal interplay of the chorus with the long drawn out lines over the almost chant like parts

    This track is one i will definitely go back to a lot. good work

  8. Jim Says:

    Mr. Cooper, excellent show you and the other Holz put on this weekend. I’m glad I now know that the name of my latest live favorite is Future Wife. As well as hearing a new one to me (it was dedicated to Lena.) Please tell me those two are candidates for the album. Really, really excellent music. Seriously blew me away.

  9. kebabdylan Says:

    this is easily becoming one of my favorites. This and last weeks as well

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