ZOZOBRA

by Chris Rainier

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about

Recorded by Adam Casey at The True Vine, Melbourne
Mixed by Adam Casey and Chris Rainier
Mastered by Adam Dempsey at Deluxe Mastering, Melbourne
Design by Tess E. McKenzie and Chris Rainier
Layout and typography by George Munn
Reproduction photography by Matthew Stanton

All words and music by Chris Rainier © 2018
Flavor Bud Living written by Don van Vliet / Captain Beefheart

Weissenborn style 1 and tenor ukulele built by Tony Francis
Harry Partch’s Adapted Guitar 1 replica by James Mumford and Chris Rainier
Tone bars by Ian McWee of Diamond Bottlenecks
No effects pedals were used on this album

Chris Rainier:
Vocals, Adapted Guitar 1, Weissenborn, tenor ukulele, preparations, pump organ, bowed waterphone, handclaps, foot stomp and gong

Nat Grant:
Adapted drum kit on Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?
Bulbul tarang and hackbrett on Three Went To Sea

Special thanks to Tess E. McKenzie for pointing me towards the historical background for Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?, as well as Melissa Agate for giving me the idea for the album's title.

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credits

released April 30, 2018

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The 1888 edition of the Primer Diccionario General Etimológico, defines 'zozobra' as “the opposition and contrast of winds that impede navigation and place the vessel in danger of being submerged”...Etymologically, the word originates in Catalán, from the word 'sotsobre' and its verb 'sotsobrar,' which means 'to overturn' [volcar], or to put upside down. 'Sostsobrar' has Latin roots: 'sots' from the Latin 'subtus', meaning below or under, and 'sobre' from the Latin 'super', above or on top.

[From Manuel R. Vargas' review of Contingency and Commitment: Mexican Existentialism and the Place of Philosophy, by Carlos Alberto Sánchez.]

"...the literal etymological root of the term 'zozobra' is most plausibly rendered in English as 'overturning.' And, a common context of its use in Spanish picks out the idea of capsizing. However, the operative sense here is something Sánchez rightly emphasizes, namely, a kind of emotional state: anxiety, disturbance, even anguish...an experience of disrupted calm [the anxiety of the threat - i.e., the fear of capsizing or being overturned. If that's right, 'zozobra' isn't itself the to-and-fro, or the oscillation...Instead, it is the result of the to-and-fro, i.e., the instability that arises from being pulled in different and competing directions."

[From: Uranga, Emilio. 2013. “Analísis del ser del mexicano.” Análisis del ser del mexicano y otros escritos sobre la filosofía de lo mexicano (1949-1952). Mexico: Bonilla Artigas Editores.]

"The call to forge our character as 'zozobra' is a call to the unexpected, it is an invocation or a provocation…Hearts in sadness or 'zozobra' lie in cavernous darkness, but from there they are vigilant...To submerge oneself in the originary, 'zozobra' seems like a movement that takes us toward darkness, toward the annulment of consciousness; however, at the extreme point of surrender to the darkness there shines our vigilance, and our fragile antennae lends itself to receiving the message."

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Chris Rainier London, UK

some kind of folk music. microtonal guitars, weissenborn [a hollowneck lap steel, often with preparations]. also singing, and other instrumental odds and ends.

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Track Name: Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?
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Who put Bella in the wych elm?
Who shook the hand of glory?
Who tore a hole in purpura?
Can four boys tell one story?

Now Jack he dreams of hair and teeth
A wedding ring, a skull in a tree
Did he? Dead he?

Who put Bella in the wych elm?
When war is a cloak for a killer
Who sinks a ship as a whisperer?
Was she a spy or a singer?

Now Joe he dreams of hair and teeth
A wedding ring, a skull in a tree
Did he? Dead he?
Who put Bella in the wych elm?

Black car, asleep in a wood
In a field where a ghost once stood

Who put Bella in the wych elm?
Is he beyond the jury?
Who put Bella in the wych elm?
Where is the court of the earthly?

Who put Bella in the wych elm?
Who died last in the Tower?
Who put Bella in the wych elm?
She fell from the sky like a flower

Now Tom he dreams of hair and teeth
A wedding ring, a skull in a tree
Did he? Dead he?

Black car, asleep in a wood
In a field where a ghost once stood
Who?
Track Name: Bye Bye Behçets
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Bye bye Behçets
A thread bound Hulusi to ‘gale cereal’
To nail signs that prove it

“Bye bye Behçets”, so said Hulusi
A road made of silk
The skin you don’t show me
Track Name: Royal Free Disease
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Asleep in the Royal Free Disease
My dreams seem infected
A fool took the heads off the sheep
This war for the trees, the birds and the bees
The dust clouds they blind you
The flies in the meat they find you
The moon shines on scavengers
The moon shines and scavenges
I realised too late it’s you, it’s me, it’s you, it’s me
We’re lucky we’re just a pinprick in time
The eye lost the needle when you changed your mind
Fold me like paper, in water, in wine
This ghost ship it’s floating ‘cross continents
This hell it’s a lonely sea
Till we slip off horizons, collapse and greet the Beast

How could you disguise this tale of two tired eyes?
This creature of habit, this beast of belief is just a museum piece
This joker’s a thief, your country’s asleep
Track Name: Three Went To Sea
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Where’d you go, Bas Jan Ader?
Seagulls circle like boxers in a poem that’s caught running backwards
‘Ocean Wave’ was a grave that can’t be caught

Where’d you go, Donald Crowhurst?
Hoping still that your boat might reach the edge of worlds
And the silence drifts away from the shame inside your head

Where’d you go, Arthur Cravan?
Lost at sea like a greyhound down a rabbit hole
Through a prism, disinterred like a god without a stone

While the world thought you missing
Caught in wars like a million ghosts
Before your wife’s premonitions, you alone off the coast of Mexico
Track Name: The Man With The Hole In His Thigh
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There was a time I could recite the places where I nearly died
But now those lies like lemmings’ suicide have lost their purpose

My grandfather thought he was Hemingway’s bride
But taken by a lion they called him:
“The Man With The Hole In His Thigh”
And they say: “Roll Up, Roll Up”

Upon the backs of men you’d soon despise
You meet no Doctor, and to the Nile
A thousand miles, the sky’s horizon, blood-blue eyes

But now you are momentum, you’re aerodynamite
You gathered speed, you talked to kings
Of open fields, of cradled genocide
You’re holed up in Akron, Ohio

And now your dreams they swing from beams
Collapse unseen, without a sigh
There must be better ways to die than in a twisted wreck of fire
Like maybe in a fight, a knife that flashed, or just some virus
Or caught in gunfire in the night, or maybe too much sunshine?
Track Name: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
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The heart is a lonely hunter
That leaves two holes in your mind
Then flees, unseen, to a desert
That no map can describe

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