Forty-Four Divide



LYRICS:  Forty-four divide, another year gone by, but rarely satisfied, & in my life the range is wide, the joys & pains, both different sides of the same thing, from what it seems, to live this process patiently.  Forty-four divide, another year gone by, but rarely satisfied.

INTERPRETATION:  There’s an intense irony in experiencing the passing of time, all without comprehending what time is in & of itself, objectively.  Within a Kantian philosophical framework, time is an inherent intuition, a construct of the mind which is contextualized in congruence with other intrinsic inferences such as space & synthetic mathematics.  In presupposing time & space as forms of experience rather than forms known from experience, a foundation is established from which all further notions of sensory perception can be understood.  Given that time & space are essentially sensorial spectacles through which all experience is filtered, it’s seemingly impossible to know if time & space exist independently, objectively, or transcendentally apart from the mind.  Sifting through the vast implications of Kant’s pure reason critique is enough to humble even the most ardent of certitudes, acknowledging our limited frame of reference regarding the ultimate nature of reality.  Proust best expresses this daunting dissatisfaction in an excerpt from Swann’s Way:

Quartering the topmost branches of one of the tall trees, an invisible bird was striving to make the day seem shorter, exploring with a long-drawn note the solitude that pressed it on every side, but it received at once so unanimous an answer, so powerful a repercussion of silence & of immobility, that one felt it had arrested for all eternity the moment which it had been trying to make pass more quickly.

INSPIRATION:  Throughout all of my twenties, I wrote a poem for each passing year, two of which ended up in song form on ShadowlandsForty-Four Divide was penned for my 22nd birthday, & attempts to vaguely reference the frustration of enduring time’s effect on nature (aging), without apprehending time’s ultimate nature (?!).

INSIGHT:  Given the physical & philosophical magnitude of concepts such as time & space in comparison to our limited comprehension of them, I wanted the songwriting & production to mirror a limited aesthetic.  Lyrically, the song barely spans a few sentences.  As for duration, the song originally was only 90 seconds long, intended to imitate the brevity of a passing thought, one too lofty to dwell on for any length of time.  Matt eventually suggested that we extend the song structure, adhering to its minimal arrangements while expanding on its sonic depth.  The result evolved Forty-Four Divide from a passing thought to a lazy daydream, featuring sparse acoustics, meandering lead guitar, deep synthetic bass tones, aerial reverbs, filtered wave frequencies, & auxiliary track nicknames like Sub Nasty & Sky Rail.





LYRICS:  Our old mattress lies in the backyard, behind the shed where I keep our things, old cardboard boxes filled with photographs, letters, & memories.  Makes for good firewood if you ask me, if we all did what we could, just might be understood, but I don’t think I ever should.  Now another season’s passing, & I feel like I’ve been pissing my whole life away, all my dreams & aspirations fade, & die out with the days.  Makes for good excuses to drink the blues away, & if we all did what we should, we just might be happy, but I don’t think I ever could.  In the aftermath of ancient love & all its faded glory, cries the heart of every man to tell his sad, sad story.  Makes for good confession to finally face the truth, if we all did what we would, things would stay the same, so find someone else to blame.

INTERPRETATION:  Aftermath is my attempt at expressing an emptiness that can emanate from love, or a lack thereof.  The narrative follows a man who is rummaging through the aphoristic ruins of lost love.

INSPIRATION:  Aftermath was influenced by the minor tonality of Gone, Pearl Jam’s 3rd single from their 2006 self-titled album.  Lyrically, Aftermath was inspired by the despondent sentiments found in Red Dragon Wishes, the 5th track off Rocky Votolato’s 2007 release, The Brag & CussBoth of these songs revolve around a character that is wading through the entanglement of moving past his history.  Aftermath borrows from Gone’s melancholic mood & Red Dragon Wishes’ southwestern Americana aesthetic.  With that said, despite its mildly dour twang, the final version of Aftermath turned out to be far darker, more mechanical, & excessively layered in contrast to my initial influences.  Matt & I certainly didn’t suppress any of our prog rock inclinations regarding this particular production.

INSIGHT:  Without exception, Aftermath is the most meticulously involved Shadowlands construction.  From the outset, Matt & I wanted to heavily incorporate synthetic & mechanized elements to the production with intentions to parallel the emotional process of abdication with textures cold, clunky, & atonal.  Harsh modulating timbres, distorted drums, dense guitar effects, & walls of feedback are all used to juxtapose a composition otherwise sullen & calmly paced.  Aside from minimal acoustic guitar bedding, virtually none of Aftermath’s original folk voicings are present, instead exchanged for layers of electric guitar, syrupy synthesizers, mellotron swells, & stratified string arrangements.  Hell, we even included some wind chimes & thunder tube for good measure!  & to top it all off, my good friend & splendiferous guitarist Justin Jackson provided auxiliary guitar dressings which ultimately send Aftermath’s aesthetic into the stratosphere!  Furthermore, Justin was kind enough to pen a few words regarding his most gracious involvement:

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Fiorenza for several years now, & I can honestly he is one of the most talented young musicians I’ve ever met.  We used to play in an alternative outfit called Ad Victoriam several years ago, & have played together in a few other outlets.

When he first told me he was going to start recording for his solo record Shadowlands, he expressed early on that he wanted me to guest on one track, to which I emphatically obliged.

Before going in to record, he sent me a rough demo of Aftermath so I could start getting ideas & riffs down.  I really wanted to just add a hint of additional ambience & melody to the song.  I stuck with a fairly simple tremolo-picked single note for the verses to add some atmosphere.  For the choruses, staccato-delayed root notes added some extra push, & a delicate counter-melody speckled in a nice touch.

The craziest, weirdest, & most fun part was the bridge.  Set in 5/4 it opened up for some experimentation.  There’s some pedal looping & noodling, providing some digital silliness.  & then there was the Thunder Tube; a hollow cardboard tube with a thick metal coil on the other end which makes a thunderously metallic noise when shook – way cool.”  ~Justin Jackson

Thunder Tube tracking!

Thunder Tube tracking!