Days Of Heaven

by Steven Lambke

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about

Dear Steve,

Having very little idea of the sort of thing you're expecting or desiring, but acting on the gut sense that I was better to move ahead in that obscurity than to seek clarification that might shut down possible directions, I have written three small pieces for you to choose amongst or chuck out entirely. (See attached.) I don't know what you'll make of them. The first is a bit of prose -- fairly abstract, but referring directly to your work on this album. The second is a bit of poetry. Here the reference to your album is still fairly direct but the mode has shifted. The final piece, which is my favourite -- but also the most unconventional, qua album text -- is a poem called "Endymion" (I don't think you need to print the title). It is inspired both by your songs and by Shary's art, though it also comes out of my own thinking about mythology. I like it best: but it is far away from anything like a conventional album "bio."

If none of this serves your turn, I am happy to go back to the drawing board -- but wanted to send these along, as my first tries.

With love, and in gratitude for Days of Heaven.

Amanda

P.S. Two brief footnotes:

"What one can't speak, that one must pass over in silence ('schweigen')" is a famously untranslatable bit of Wittgenstein. You probably know this better than I do, but just in case. I don't think anyone needs to know that it's Wittgenstein, though: the songs provide their own gloss on this (or, rather, are the texts to which this is gloss).

And:

Endymion: "In Greek mythology, a beautiful youth, sometimes said to be a king and sometimes a shepherd, who, as he slept on Mount Latmus, so moved the cold heart of Selene, the Moon goddess, that she came down and kissed him and lay at his side. He woke to find her gone, but the dreams which she gave him were such that he begged Zeus to give him immortality and allow him to sleep perpetually on Mount Latmus. Other accounts say that Selene herself bound him by enchantment so that she might come and kiss him whenever she liked." (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, rev. ed., 1963)



Three possible texts for Steven Lambke’s Days of Heaven, by Amanda Jernigan, August 2015.

*

Memory is the daughter of heaven and earth, and the muse is a daughter of memory and everything. It is traditional for an artist to call on the muse at the beginning of an endeavour. This suggests that the great works of art begin, not in the presence of the muse, but in her absence.

Sometimes an artist decides that the true impression of the universe on the cosmographic negative of the human soul is silence; sometimes he decides that the true impression of the universe on the cosmographic negative of the human soul is the human body: the human body with its strings and stops and chord structures.

My husband, who is a photographer, tells me that the light of the moon is strong enough to expose a photographic negative; given time, so is the light of the stars.

*

What one can’t speak, that one must
schweigen, which beggars translation.
Sometimes listening to the silence
one catches oneself humming
along. Sometimes listening
to the humming, one catches
oneself speaking: what one
can’t speak, that one must.

*

Endymion slept on Latmus like
the dead: the silver moon awoke
to find him gone. And in that state
she gave to him such visions that
he woke to find her gone. Awaking
he prayed to immortal god to make
him immortal so he could sleep forever
on Latmus like the dead — but he
awoke to find himself, waking
on Latmus, and the moon, waning,
in the first light of the dawn.

credits

released October 30, 2015

Songs by Steven Lambke
© 2015 (SOCAN)

Recorded and Mixed by Jeff McMurrich at 6 Nassau St, Toronto
Additional recording by Steven Lambke, Ian Kehoe, and Tamara Lindeman
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal

Cover Art: Shary Boyle. La Lune, 2012. Porcelain, glazes
Photograph © Rafael Goldchain, 2012

Layout and Design by Paul Henderson

Thank you: Doug Macgregor, Loel Campbell, Shotgun Jimmie, Vish Khanna, Christine Fellows, John K Samson, Matt Charlton, Colin Medley, Nick Ferrio, Daniel Romano, Spencer Burton, Olenka Krakus, Andrew Stratis, Will Kidman, Adrian Teacher, Bucky Buckler, Robin Walker, David Trenaman, Colleen Collins, Paul Henderson, Ian Romano, Kay Berkel. Thanks to Danny and Elise for the Hummingbird. Thank you Ross, Darcy, Richard, Mika, and Jeff for bringing your talents to the songs. Thank you Ian and Tamara for production, conceptual, and musical assistance. Thank you Shary for the art and the song and La Lune.

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Track Name: Days Of Heaven
Low blazing sun of winter,
like an oncoming headlight;
interrogative lamp of God:
asks nothing. Says nothing,
but the prophecy is clear:
another day passing of the year
under the gaze of heaven.

A woman with a family,
she calls me sweet potato.
I enter as a guest into her home.
She lights a candle on the table,
drops the match into the coffee.
She says she’s seen the future and read its mind:
“Don’t be alarmed, darling.
It looks like any other time
under the gaze of heaven.

But it takes a strong mind
not to turn away
from the gaze of heaven,
under the gaze of heaven.”
Track Name: Hummingbird
We are creatures of quick need,
stunned by beauty
to the quickening beat
of a hummingbird.

We are seeds blooming
in the scrabble,
blooming to be seen
by the hummingbird.

I’m kneeling in the rut of flowers
and the hummingbird is gone.

I’ve forgotten how to speak.
The colours bloom silently.
Dull earth, the rut of flowers,
until the hummingbird returns.
Track Name: Sunflower Mind
There’s more in common nature
than the human mind can bend to reason;
bend low with a sunflower mind
full of sky and earthly seed.

All things will over-reach, then bow
with the weight of the season.
My mind is too much
full of sky and earthly need.

I bend close to you
in the evening, listening.
My love, be brave.
Speak with tenderness.
Speak plain.
Raise your voice uncommon.
Track Name: Memory Forever
I was scared. I was scared
that time had wounded me
with age, and that loss,
once suffered, would repeat
in my memory forever.

But the echo comes according
to the surface that it meets,
and I met you, echoed in your body,
and your mind, and my body echoed too:
strong enough to love,
strong enough to be loved,
to listen close to love,
and hear love.
Track Name: Silence/Love
My love,
I do not want to talk of love.
Love has made me silent,
and silence breaks the room.

Silence, Love.

My love,
why do we weep so quietly?
So silently in love?
Is it love that makes us weep?

Silence, Love.
It’s silence makes us weep
our silent love.

What is love to say of beauty,
so unspoken, so unspeaking
as a silent love?

My love,
I heard the water breaking
and the moon, beloved, above,
silently watching.
Track Name: Dead Stones
I’m like every man before me:
standing high above the ocean
I need to try my distance
from the shore.

Throwing stones into the void,
throwing short and landing dry,
I’ve heard hymns and horrors in the wind
and felt alone without measure.

But O, befuddled judges!
A man is slight of strength and short of days,
but in love his life has measure
and peaceful hours.

And the stones will turn to swallows.
And bloom like flowers in the water.
And then I say I love you like no other.
Track Name: A Good Light And Tired Feeling
A man knows no peace
in his body until it’s broken.
Like the world’s common curses,
it’s better broken on a common deed.

We drank together in the evening:
broken glass and screaming swallows.
I cut my finger on the pieces
and saw my blood was filled with blooming flowers.

And it’s a good light and tired feeling
with the sunset bleeding at the wound.
Peace rising in an empty body
like a stony, starry moon.

You called me to companion
your surrender to your fate.
You said, “If I have strength and health to mother let me mother,
or let me be mother to my own making.”

We were tired in the morning,
with the curtain swaying at the window
slowly rising on a good light.
Track Name: You Know Me Well
You know me well, my love.
You know my many natures.
The mule headed wonder
lording in your bed,
sometimes brave, and sometimes lazy,
and handsome in my way.
You know me well.

My step is long like someone running.
It’s one measure of a man, I guess.
A little lost at every footstep.
My mind is full of water.
It’s easily rippled, naked swimmer.
Split the surface, slide me under
into the breach.

You know me well.
You know me well,
as I am,
and as I wish to be.
Track Name: Moonshine Brother
Lately I’ve been living day to day,
by the wisdom of the ages:
take my pleasure in hand,
leave my troubles where they lay,
make hay when the sun shines,
make moonshine in the moonshine.
Brother, no sun or moon opposed us.

With winter cold, life retreats
to the root but it does not whither.
So bless the woman in the garden.
Bless the chickens where they lay.
Make hay when the sun shines.
Make moonshine in the moonshine.
Brother, no sun or moon opposed us.

There’s love in our work together,
and love in the return.
Let another warm day embrace us.
No sun or moon opposed.
Track Name: Under A Dumb Moon
Alone beneath the dumb light
of the full moon,
with the dim stars, far apart,
growing dimmer, and further away.

It’s a hard space cast by one light.
If not this full moon unreckoned,
than blazing sun will still the tongue:
there is no speaking in it.

Still, there’s a clatter in the shadows,
a black raven in a burnt black sea.
The lilac blooms at the bloody root of the dumb moon,
and the static holds a song.
Track Name: Days Of Rough Grace
How will I ever know
how close I came to loving you
the way you would be loved:
in the morning, with the coffee,
and in the evening

with the swallows
falling through the tilt and sway,
home to nest?

How will I ever know
how close I came
to what I tried to be:
a man who learned to speak
of beauty?

With the swallows
falling through the tilt and sway,
and the evening falling low,
alive, and sweetly swaying,
unknowing.