Living In A World That Is A Shadow Of Itself

“Living In A World That Is A Shadow Of Itself” is from my EP The Apocalypse Lullaby, which was recorded in January 2018 and released a few months later. The song itself was the last one written for the album. It was composed very quickly; as the recording session loomed I felt I needed another song to expand on the central theme of impending social and ecological disaster that ran through the EP. A cheery sounding project indeed!

With time short I fell back into my cod reggae default setting (see also Points of Light), jazzed up a touch by the inclusion of a major 7th chord. Still, I think this simplicity made the song more accessible; it has proved to be one of the most popular songs on the album.

This acoustic take was inspired by the skyline that lies behind it – the cluttered horizon of Cairo as seen from my balcony. An acquaintance used to refer to the satellite dishes that crowd the rooftops as ‘concrete circle flowers’, an idea I snatched for the first verse. Each verse was themed along a different sense, or at least the two most immediate senses for the topic at hand – sight and sound. Going through the other three (or four?) might have been an interesting songwriting exercise, but no doubt a long and laborious song.

I took a certain relish in giving it an overlong title. I was reminded of Fairport Convention’s “Sir B. McKenzie’s Daughter’s Lament For The 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat From The Straits Of Loch Knombe, In The Year Of Our Lord 1727, On The Occasion Of The Announcement Of Her Marriage To The Laird Of Kinleakie”, at the time listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the longest ever song title. By that margin, my song titles brim with restraint . . .

The yearning for a wilder world as expressed in the song was a strong theme of 2018, and has some ramifications for this year and where I’ll hope to find myself. Watch this wider space!

To hear the album version of this song, head here: https://farflownfalcon.bandcamp.com/track/living-in-a-world-that-is-a-shadow-of-itself

And the full lyrics are below:

How I wish that horizon was not such a clutter 
Full of hoardings of height, extravagant strobe lights 
Swinging construction cranes, smoke, banking aeroplanes 
Satellite flowers, cables, radio towers . . . 
And more and more … 
Oh I wish the stars would again wheel over my head 
Across the great wild skies on which the cosmos is spread 
But we’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
We’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
We’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
It’s a shadow that we’re living in 

Even the silence just bickers and mutters 
Some chugging machine, coughing, convulsing between 
Distant thumps of the bass, lewd screams interlaced 
Midnight motorbikes, those howling street fights 
And more and more … 
Oh if only the silence was touched with just the slightest of sounds 
The tiniest beasts, the rain on moist ground 
But we’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
We’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
We’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
It’s a shadow that we’re living in 

Once in our history the world was not seven billion strong 
And the roads between settlements ran emptier and long 
Once mighty animals roamed thick on the plains 
And the trees grew to heights no man could attain 
Once we were humble, wolves haunted our nights 
Summer fruit and sweetwater served sufficient delight 
Once maps were sketched on hearsay and hope 
It took less than a day to reach rovings remote 
Once the birds wheeled close in the skies 
From each conceivable corner, the flowers would arise 
But we’re living in a world that’s a shadow of itself 
Living in a world that’s a shadow of itself 
But we’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
It’s a shadow that we’re living in 

Now I spend my days indolent, comfortable, snug 
Well sated, placated, on streams of digital drugs 
No view to speak of, no discomfort to bear 
But for all these indulgences I remain well aware 
I’m living in a world that is a shadow of itself. 
I’m living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
We’re living in a world that is a shadow of itself 
It’s a shadow that we’re living in

Video

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