Complicated Matters

by Kamerin

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    Original artwork designed by Katherine McDonald.

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03:01
3.
04:07
4.
05:43
5.
03:42
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02:37
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about

Complicated Matters is divided into two parts.

Part I

The first six songs were written independently of one another. With the exception of Out on the Lawn (see track credits), all parts were performed by Katherine McDonald.

Instrumentation: vocals, acoustic piano, acoustic guitar, percussion, Leslie Organ, and Korg M50 Workstation.

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Part II

Complicated Matters was conceived, written and performed as a single piece for the Signal Flow Music & Sound Art Festival at Mills College in 2014; it comprised the musical portion of Katherine's thesis for the Graduate Composition program.

Complicated Matters is a conceptual narrative piece inspired by the idea that, in a deeply emotional exchange with another person, the words we use are only able to convey a fraction of what we communicate.

Each section of Complicated Matters represents a different stage of a single, emotional conversation between two people attempting to reconcile painful differences of opinion.

The lyrics represent the verbal exchange of this conversation; their sparse, repetitive, and relatively mundane nature is intended to illustrate the limited power of words.

The instrumentals (string quartet, percussion, acoustic and electric guitar) that precede, follow support, and at times, envelop the vocals throughout the piece are meant to represent the more visceral, nonverbal experience of the conversation. In sections A & B, these instrumentals precede (and perhaps, they are what inspires) the conversation; they begin delicately, as an inkling of a feeling, before unfolding into a richer, more complex and multi-layered sound that builds, as the emotions develop, as so to nearly overwhelm the listener before the conversation begins.

Throughout the piece, the intensity, presence, and relationship of the instrumentals to the vocals fluctuates, suggesting the very human struggle to remain articulate in an emotional conversation.

credits

released October 15, 2016

Recorded at Bird & Egg Studio in El Cerrito, CA and Pique Recording in Oakland, CA.

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James Meder | album engineer, mixing
Garrett Bevins | mastering

Chris Bastian | bass
Gabby Fluke-Mogul | violin
Tim Kim | violin, vocals
Mateo Lugo | electric guitar
Andrew Maguire | percussion
Helen Newby | cello
Crystal Pascucci | cello

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Kamerin Oakland, California

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Track Name: Out on the Lawn
how are your knees, old woman?
can they tell of the oncoming rain?
or are you like me; are you lost in the dark
'til the first drop on your windowpane?

old friend, have I done you wrong?
won't you look in my eyes when you speak?
'the doctor says I have too many memories,
so I'm trying to let go of green'

I don't understand; if it's broken then why can't we fix it?
the answers in your hand dissolve at the sight of a witness
so why would you go and trade your flippers for feet
when the moonlight is so thick, you could drown in your sleep?

old man, with your panes on the lawn,
can I trouble you please to explain?
'the living is cheap with no windows, no heat
but you can't sell the sound of the rain'

I don't understand: if it's broken then why can't we fix it?
the answers in your hand dissolve at the sight of a witness
so why would you go and trade your flippers for feet
when the moonlight is so thick, you could drown in your sleep?

oh, oh, oh - don't you know?
Track Name: The Island
go down to the riverside; your brother is calling out your name
go out to the island; your mother is calling out your name
Track Name: Alibi
climbed out of my window and into your life
both of us knew we'd be fine
'cause if you swallow the sunlight
then you don't need the blinds

lately you've been saying how I laugh in my sleep
lock every door while I search for the key
well my mind sees a mountain, but my heart sees a field

and it's easy to cry in the kitchen;
where the wallpaper swallows the sound
but we ran out of onions on Saturday;
so drive your alibi into the ground

climbed back on board with the memory
of the way this ship went down
like trying to rewind a movie
where the actors have already drowned

and it's easy to cry in the kitchen;
where the wallpaper swallows the sound
but we ran out of onions on Saturday;
so drive your alibi into the ground

I don't know why you're leaving, why you're leaving
you're going, you're going away
the quiet is already creeping, it is seeping
into the rooms where your voice used to play

I don't know why you're leaving, why you're leaving
you're going, you're going away
a man made of clay won't be bleeding,
no all he needs is some water to erase the mistake

I don't know why you're leaving, why you're leaving,
you're leaving when I asked you to stay
Track Name: Being Alone
being alone reminds me of when I was little
I never thought that I would feel so sorry about it

a house built on silence is no kind of home
the only sound we hear is the cracking of the dominoes
quiet at the table; quiet on the phone
you got a belly full of secrets and a body full of bones
Track Name: Night Lies
I woke my mama, in the middle of the night, said
you gotta come quick, cause something isn't right
there are monsters, up in my head, monsters
calling out the songs of the dead, it's like

oh, child
go and spit that lie out on the ground
sometimes I get to wishing, when the winds are blowing sour
that you weren't

I turned the lights out and crawled into bed,
but they were pounding on the floor of my head
unlocked my jaw now, and opened my mouth
when they were ready, they could let themselves out

I lay there quiet, while the parade rumbled on
was uninvited, so I waited for the dawn
'til the morning, when the bluest of skies made me forget
that they'd stay as long as I'm alive

oh, child
go and spit that lie out on the ground
sometimes I get to wishing, when the winds are blowing sour
that you weren't
so wild
Track Name: Wet Paint
oh, is there some way that I can go home?
I'm a social person but I prefer to be alone

wet paint, in impossible places
I heard they made you cry on your first day
wet paint, in impossible places
I heard you wanted to die on your first

this is a metaphor for the things I am not
used to understand what that meant
then one day I forgot
Track Name: Complicated Matters Section C
oh, did you have to? why did you have to?
why did you have to go, and say that again?

you know I love you; I know that you do
you know I love you to the bone,
but I’m not coming home this time
Track Name: Complicated Matters Section D
run away, but not so fast
run astray, but not that path

I’ll call your name, and you’ll come back
knew it’d be hard, but not this bad

but not so bad
Track Name: Complicated Matters Section E
I don’t remember saying that
but I think I know just what you mean
I don’t see any problems here
this house is entirely clean
oh, I don’t remember saying that
let’s chalk this all down to a dream, can’t we?
I’m sorry that you are upset
but I hope you know just what you mean to me
Track Name: Complicated Matters Section F
oh, I want you to be free
but not if that means being away from me

so run away, but not fast
savor the light, ‘cause it won’t last
hold your breath, now, here comes the train;
it’s been headed in this direction for days
Track Name: Complicated Matters Section G
complicating matters
we can’t seem to agree on color patterns
complicating matters
we are facing certain disaster