Totems

by Max Davies

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about

On Totems:

Begin at the beginning...
O the dreams and feelings (that haunt and herald the corners) of our restless, shifting lives; how they often descend without rhyme or reason, making themselves unavoidable, scratching to achieve some sort of form, some crooked perfection in an imperfect world. These are the things that gently push us towards creation, spark the first swirlings, how difficult to trace their path it is. In other words: sometimes the edges of things aren't always salient and the path isn't necessarily always straight.

Formless (and often in dreams or reveries) the inklings that hatched these recordings originally came into being. What initially seemed a definite structure for this album went through many changes. Often arrangements and orders would deconstruct themselves back down to the germ, only to reassemble into a new collection of songs, chants, and dog-ears of experience.

Essentially, these songs are well-travelled. Some began as piano tinkerings in the cloudy, wet, chestnut fall of northern Italy, or as acoustic contemplations of curses left on the side of the darkling road in Los Angeles. Some came from staring into a starry abyss with the best of friends, others from contemplations of energy in the METRO. Still others came over the dream-transistor in fragments and feelings, auguring dimensions of the future (and of nowhere).

Many of these lyrics happened once-upon-a-time, (some have yet to possibly happen). Some grew undoubtedly from nursery rhymes and other voices. Some winded their way back from a sunrise on the Orient Express en route to Paris. Some descended through the years after contemplating the tops of clouds, others cut their teeth in New York, plotting their reformation whilst reflecting on one fashion or another.

This album is a magical act in a universe of possibility. These songs weren't necessarily written with the intention of having a spiritual significance, but, seem to have picked up the habit somewhere from the places they used to hide... Totems was made to be a complete picture, each song being chosen to help complete that picture, create a definite vibe, construct a certain aura.

These songs come into the world hoping they will help people make some sense of an often senseless world, make the whispers not as dark as they once were. Very often songs have a funny way of coming true, (like incantations on the brow)
making sense later on down-the-road. Some of these songs have already started to yield such auguries. Who knows? maybe if you listen carefully (get your ear close enough to the ground) you'll catch a glimpse of yourself , your future or something familiar in the reflection of these songs? Nevertheless they hope to pour some good vibrations into your ears and and help you to enjoy a moment or two outside of all the noise.

If nothing else, hopefully these songs will stand as a reminder that it's always okay to begin at the beginning.

credits

released February 14, 2010

All songs written by: Max Davies
All vocals and instruments: Max Davies
Except: Stand-up bass on "Everything is Permitted": Hagan Caldwell.
Juno 106 Synthesizer and vocals on "We": Toni Roxanne Oswald.
Recorded in: Boulder, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Nevada City in various bedrooms, basements, et al.
by M. Davies and Hagan Caldwell.
Mixed & Mastered at the Carriage House, Nevada City, California 2009-2010

Album cover by Cameron Blok-Andersen

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about

Max Davies

Musician, producer, songwriter Max Davies has worked with many artists, including Anne Waldman, Thurston Moore, Lydia Lunch, John Trudell,
LAPCAT, Clark Coolidge, Steven Taylor, Junior Burke, Gregory Alan Isakov, Meredith Monk & Amiri Baraka.
His music has been featured in several films, on numerous releases. A fashion show for Milla Jovovich and awarded by the American College Dance Festival.
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Track Name: Totems
Well you're breaking down again
and these masks are wearing thin
As without
so within
So reveal your secret skin

Yes you're breaking down again
and isn't solitude your friend?
Totems end
and begin
and never say where they've been

But when you're looking thru the stars
how I wonder what you are
From the stranger on the plain
to the dream transistor game

Of the diamonds in your mind
and that pale effusive sign
rising tempting
you to find
totems too worn to unwind

So you're breaking down again
and the colors that we'll rend
are even thicker
than the thin
will reveal your secret skin

But when you're looking thru the stars
how I wonder what you are
From the stranger on the plain
to the dream transistor game

Yes you're looking thru the stars
and how I wonder what you are
From the stranger on the plain
to the dream transistor game

the dream transistor game

the dream transistor game
Track Name: Nothing
Hey Jasmine
that's no disguise
and the wonder
whistling by
like some absent-minded
winter smile
doesn't it make you feel like a stranger?

O Jasmine
I'm spinning out
and these feelings
that we doubt
come on slow
but with sudden rise
and suddenly I'm a stranger

But there's nothing for you to hide
with the ground beneath your feet
and there's nothing
in your eyes right now
that won't always be

Hey Jasmine
begin again
because you came
and then you went
with your simple
sunday morning song
and suddenly you're a stranger

But there's nothing for you to hide
with the ground beneath your feet
and there's nothing
in your eyes right now
that won't always be

But there's nothing for you to hide
with the ground beneath your feet
and there's nothing
in your eyes right now
that won't always be

that won't always be

No that won't
always be
Track Name: Come Down
Hey
Hey
come on down
with your ruby lips
and your neon sound
and though the lilac dream
it seems to weep
so suddenly
your emerald toes
still leave the ground

Hey
Hey
life's a crowd
with it's broken eyes
and it's shining mouths
and though the streets
they seem
to grey and sigh
so subtly
why don't you
try and come around?

'cause the bells are ringing
thru my dreams
and I'm curious if it's the
same for you?

A sliver-screen dream
running thru my head
come on don't you feel
the same way too?

Hey
Hey
what you've found
in the Metro stations
and the clouds
and tangled up it seems
to fade to blue so easily
your augured dreams gently resound

So hey
Hey
come on down
with your ruby lips
and your neon sound
and though the lilac dream
it seems to weep
so suddenly
your emerald toes
still leave the ground

'cause the bells are ringing
thru my dreams
and I'm curious if it's the
same for you?

'cause the bells are ringing
thru my dreams
and I'm curious if it's the
same for you?

If your dancing
somewhere beyond the doubt
then you're shining
shining
shining out
Track Name: On Decline
These memories
they get the best of me
and I realize
I'm not here
right now

So you hit the road
with a different load
then it would reveal
itself to be
in the end

Still you're trying to get it right
Trying to make things
go the way that you thought
that they should when you
woke up alone with the
dream on your lips and the fear
on decline

Between you and me
all of what we see
isn't meant to save our lives
anymore

So we hit the skies
with our restless sighs
then I realize
I'm smaller then
I'd thought

Still you're trying to get it right
Trying to make things
go the way that you thought
that they should when you
woke up alone with the
dream on your lips and the fear
on decline

On decline

On decline

On decline...
Track Name: Begin Again
If there's nothing behind the seams
of what the come down used to be
and these whispers aren't as dark as
they once were.

But there's nothing in between the profane and this divinity and these inklings scribble truth
as if it were absurd

When all of those lies
are just curtains for pride
then it's really no shame
so there's nothing to blame

Well there's something coming clean
betwixt the highway and obscurity
and the language spoke has begun to slowly burn

Unabashed dancing queen connecting with infinity
realign what seems a million yards of hurt

When the dreams open wide
form the curtains that hide
and the mystery plain
brings it all home again

So begin again

Begin again

Well who's to say what's not a dream
with the fog obstructing what is seen
and anyway it's all just tangled and obscured

Evanescent emerald sea
the city's pulse the nightmare scene
transmit these feelings beyond the realm of words

When the dreams lick the sides
of the curtains that hide
and when it all goes up in flame
still this golden dream still remains...
Track Name: Everything is Permitted
Broken whispers and screams
walking backwards again
still pushing beyond
the curses on the side of the road
This city's obscene
but then again
I'm not sure what
that really means
Of these haunted halls
and hallowed electric dreams
or incantations on the brow

And so it goes
like a dove
on high
Or the skies
aflame and alive
What's your will?
and where does it lie?
And by the way
how do you fly?

O.....

Storied faces pass by
sidewalk canvas
at the foot of a queen
Approaching glorious lights
pulling memories
to forget later on
It's permitted that's right
still the return can't be denied
There's been a mist on your eyes
but gold is everywhere
it's just a matter of sight

O.....

And so it goes
like a dove
on high
Or the skies
aflame and alive
What's your will?
and where does it lie?
And by the way
how do you fly?

O.....
Track Name: Sphere
Well the word on the streets on your style
is that you picked it up on your way back
from the places you used to hide
And the myth on the lips of your smile
is that your E.S.P. is aimed at me
thru the lonely night

But if you're feeling kinda down
and you need me to try to disappear for awhile
Just look for me around
the places that you found your style

But then out of the black comes desire
and the pressure from the diamonds in your eyes
leads into the blue design
all carrying on inside this sphere of time

Ah the fingers of dawn do transpire
and this midnight train keeps driving me away
further from your side
And these pearls on the waves of desire
are just mirrors for this ever rising star
of gas and fire

But if you're feeling upside down
and you need me to try to cut you free
for awhile
But with your ear down to the ground
you will hear a lonely melody
from the places you used to hide

But then out of the black comes desire
and the pressure from the diamonds in your eyes
leads into the blue design
all carrying on inside this sphere of time

Yes out of the black comes desire
and the pressure from the diamonds in your eyes
leads into the blue design
all carrying on inside this sphere of time

All carrying on inside this sphere of time...
Track Name: We
Well you've got your dreams
and I've got mine
but there's no claim upon the emerald sea
outside of time

What a beautiful feeling
what a golden sign
and there's nothing
we can't do outside of time

This gypsy spirit's gonna vibrate far and wide
thru pain and pleasure onto the other side

The full moon's reflecting
energy and rhyme
and is there creation and light
outside of time?

So what were your dreams
have become mine
these unseen influences
keep these energies alive

This gypsy spirit's gonna vibrate far and wide
thru pain and pleasure onto the other side

This gypsy spirit's gonna vibrate far and wide
thru pain and pleasure onto the other side
Track Name: Hunger
This body and this need
this hunger and these howling eyes
they know nothing
will be the same again

These feelings and this fold
this dawning and these silent cries
they're just passing by
so mind what you say

Well the world isn't stopping
but you just might make it thru
the night
and this cycling signal hum
is just blood meal for insight

This golden moment
and the fallen bough
the instant and the precious sigh
are just blowing forward
so mind what you rend

Well the world isn't stopping
but you just might make it thru
the night
and this cycling signal hum
is just blood meal for insight

No the world isn't stopping
but you'll surely make it thru
the night
and this cycling signal hum
is just blood meal for insight
Track Name: Wild Strawberries
Yellow flowers at dusk
secrets out on display
On these telephone wires
over castle spires:
"say what you need to say"

But wild strawberries
and crumbled cavalries
bear silent tongues aloft
Ancient conceits
and veiled honesty's
murder thought

Liquid history moves on
but reason seems to fade
on these computer screens
and empty magazines
perpetually displayed

But wild strawberries
and crumbled cavalries
bear silent tongues aloft
Ancient conceits
and veiled honesty's
murder thought

So here's a kiss from a thousand leagues
and bullet from the heart
when there's nothing left to say or feel
well that's where we need to start

But wild strawberries
and crumbled cavalries
bear silent tongues aloft
Ancient conceits
and veiled honesty's
murder thought

murder thought

murder thought...