From the recording Skyhouse & Scarlet - 2001
Ahhhh.... muted trumpets on top of muted trumpets. Heaven.
This was written after a trip to Helsinki during the extremely frigid winter of 2000. The deep freeze was positively surreal at that latitude, and everything around me was like a hazy, Arctic dream.
Love the vibes, piano, and percussion on this. There is NO guitar on this song. None. It's all done with multi-tracked bass.
My younger daughter, Violet Mae, helped me on this one - at age seven! If you listen closely, you can hear her say "Well, let's listen to what we did" at the end of the song. Super cute. Always makes me smile hearing that...
Did I mention that when I went to Helsinki it was January? The Baltic
deep freeze I experienced there, coupled with the strange Russo-Ugric culture and architecture made for an utterly surreal experience. I wrote the words on the plane home, somewhere over the Gulf
of Botnia. A word of explanation:
The austere soundscape at the end is an experiment in ambient minimalism, inspired by England's Mark Hollis (who was inspired by Miles Davis). Clarinets by Aaron Brennan. Trumpets by Bill Stutzman.
Strange beauty, for those still enough to listen.
'Surreal to be here' - I spoke to the air
Slipping down the cobbled lane
There's a cold, orange disk, punched in the night
Chipping at the neon and the flashing lights
There's a rainbow out my window
Though the sun's not even up
The color's form an arc, appearing just above
The Baltic Sea, which looks like lapis
Under a gun-metal sky
And Stockholm looks like a forest fire
Russian beauty glides by, in high-heeled legs
Jeweled eyes set in skin of carved snow
She's wrapped like a gift, in velvet and ice
Shimmering and silent as Aurora's lights
Which I've seen twice before
As a star-struck child
One who saw the beauty
But did not recognize
The flawless brush of God
As it swept the canvas sky