Micronations

by Andrew Howie

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Fergus McNeill
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Fergus McNeill This is a beautiful and intriguing record. The contrast between deeply nostalgic and reflective lyrics and almost futuristic digital sonic effects and arrangements is powerfully affective. The layered lyrics and vocal effects — sometimes involving the same melody sung across octaves — seem to imply different identities, ages or stages: The child and the man, the past and the present in unison. Maybe the message is that we can’t go back and we don’t know the future, but we can bring both into the present. Here and now; this is home, this is me, this is us.
Daniel Borsos
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Daniel Borsos This is a stunning album. Thematically it feels like a follow up to 2015’s The Great Divide with the writer still wrestling with his demons, wistful but more comfortable in his own skin as he watches his children grow. And it closes with a love song (that had me in tears) that only Andrew Howie could write. Favorite track: Fragile.
Steve Lawson
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Steve Lawson Wow. This is totally new territory but at once deeply familiar. Such beautiful music, lyrics and sounds. Outstanding! Favorite track: Predators.
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1.
04:26
Zero seven hundred hours wake up call Preceded by the hair-dryer through the wall Cat out the kitchen, dog out the door Sweeping up kitty litter off the floor Hang on Sculpting sideburns, cleaning teeth Band T, checked shirt, faded jeans Thirty minutes in, kick-start the troops Dishwasher duty on a weekly loop Hang on Hang on Here's a trick to make your life flash by Like a bullet train behind your eyes Treat every day like it's a curse Then repeat by rote like a memory verse Hang On School drop off and then round the block Couple hours prep then a longer walk Soup, bread, fruit then a TV show Brew a strong coffee, bring the lights down low Hang on Hang on When did the sediment of grateful tears Unwept throughout the last twelve years Become the overwhelming taste Turning every good thing into waste Here's a trick to make your life flash by Like a bullet train behind your eyes Treat every day like it's a curse Then repeat by rote like a memory verse
2.
04:24
Tell me how you're gonna get Through another afternoon With whispered voices baying for your blood For once please turn the TV off Our battered brains have had enough Of being wired for predators and flood Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Hummingbirds and sinking ships Can't justify the things you did You need more from this life than I can give I used to think that I could be The one to wake you from your sleep But now I only seem to be your worst and closest enemy Your nemesis, your necessary foe Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye With my head safe on your shoulder As you hummed don't dream it's over I thought this love was bulletproof But now you're sleeping on the camp bed And my chest is full of lead I'm sinking slowly out of view / you Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye Don't say goodbye
3.
04:34
I hold my arms high The nettles are weighed down by yesterday's rain Looking up through the leaves I glimpse the sun This world is too beautiful Too fragile and beautiful She waits for the dutiful / dew to fall This world This world I tread my own path Listening carefully I hear the burn This world is too beautiful Too fragile and beautiful She waits for the dutiful / dew to fall This world This world I slip on the bank I hit the ground hard on my shoulder I climb to my feet I am paid no mind This world is too beautiful Too fragile and beautiful This world is too beautiful Too fragile and beautiful She waits for the dutiful / dew to fall This world This world
4.
Shiny new black shoes Pinched at the toes Hair up in pigtails Just look at her go My pride is like a time-bomb Set to explode The way he holds it together Is a secret untold I make them laugh as I'm leaving Daddy do that again I don't know who is more scared Is it us or is it them So fill us with courage And leave a line we can trace Keep us from all kinds of harm And slowen our pace
5.
I can hear you talking at the table through the wall Exchanging heated opinions from the cradle to the fall I twist my body round I put my hand over my ear I dream of being the hero in the hope you disappear It's not an honourable love I've kept the baby but the bathwater's running down the hole But no-one's picking up the child, it just lies there growing cold Getting bluer by the moment, getting clammy to the touch I dream of simpler times and definitions of a crutch It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) I keep getting told that this chapter is coming to an end But I'll be good-god-damned if I have start all this again There's got to be another exit, a signpost I've not seen You're not making progress if you keep going back to where you've been It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love (I don't want to be alone anymore) It's not an honourable love
6.
04:54
Do you remember when you were young? Do you remember when you were young? When the light in your eyes was like the glare of the morning sun? Do you remember, remember when you were young? I hid a secret in the harbour wall I hid a secret in the harbour wall Behind a brick near my favourite port of call I hid a secret deep, deep in the harbour wall My mind is like a stereoscope With faded discs in a yellowing envelope With just one flick of my finger I can travel through time My mind plays like a broken down stereoscope I played piano in a dance hall band I played piano in a Saturday night dance hall band The click of her heels echoes like the tick of my second hand I played piano, piano in a dance hall band Do you remember when you were young? Do you remember when you were young? Now the look in my eyes is like the blaze of the setting sun Do you remember, remember when you were young? When you were young Remember when you were young Remember when you were young Remember when you were young Remember when you were young
7.
01:41
All I ever wanted was to love you more To hold you steady as you staggered through that door So close your eyes and dream of us walking with you Just try to breathe and know we'll be right beside you Understand that know one could have loved you more That I'm not ready to believe there's nothing more So count to ten and hold your hand in mine You'll wake up soon and we can leave this behind All I ever wanted was to love you more
8.
05:46
When she was just 16, she loved Keith Green And she cried at the news he was dead She watched Brother Sun and Sister Moon Then took a pick-axe to her bed She dismantled all her comforts, surrendered up her soul Until the blood that filled her veins Was demon-free, as pure as the snow Itinerant evangelist She travelled far and wide From Bosnia to Birmingham With the Spirit as her guide Until she landed in the sleepy, south-side town of Waterfoot Where she strode across my path In her knee-high leather boots It took 3 long years to allay the fears I'd been trying not to face My laziness and cowardice Were tempered by her grace Until I set that phone to ring at 5am, not a moment too soon And I whisked her off, blindfolded To that wooden bench in Troon Then we hit the road to No Man's Land Where we hunkered down inside Our family of two increased Exponentially to five Our disappointments, disillusions at the certainties we'd felt Made us take our life into our hands And retreat to the Central Belt If it were up to the worst part of me This house would be a keep Locking out the undesirables The losers and the freaks But her extrovert compassion rips the hinges off the walls And I remember Who's the biggest freak of all She sometimes thinks the girl Who chopped her bed up is long gone That the radical nature of her belief Has been watered down But her progress isn't measured by her prayers, books or songs But by the space she makes inside her heart For love and lives gone wrong

about

"... intriguing and beautiful... an album that is both fragile, gentle and beguiling yet robust and striking in its beauty" - Dancing About Architecture

"Recorded entirely on an Alesis Micron synthesizer – a compact instrument, whose range of futuristic sounds seems to be the perfect companion for Howie’s distinctive vocal." - The Scotsman

"The simple electronica and treated vocals bring to mind classic acts like OMD and Ultravox, yet the subject matter is up-to-date, considering family life in the 21st century." - Scottish Daily Express

One of the best albums of 2018 - Jockrock

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micronation

/ˈmaɪkrəuˌneɪʃən/

noun
1. an entity, typically existing only on the internet or within the private property of its members, that lays claim to sovereign status as an independent nation, but which is unrecognized by real nations

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This mini-album is a collection of 8 songs (written between 2014 and 2018) about family, domesticity, failing memory, and the indifference of nature. Originally written on acoustic guitar and piano, Andrew's predilection for self-imposed limitations led him to record the album using just one musical instrument: the compact and colourful Alesis Micron synthesizer. Combining nostalgic, reflective lyrics with futuristic sonic sounds and heavily-processed vocals, this album is the perfect soundtrack for the everyday stresses and strains of 21st-century family life.


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credits

released June 26, 2018

Written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at home by Andrew Howie.

'Fragile' contains a sample of 'Tree Song' by Calamateur.

Cover photo & design by Andrew Howie.

Released on Autoclave Records. CLAVE023.

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Andrew Howie Stirling, UK

Andrew Howie (ex-Calamateur) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer & prison/community group music tutor. He combines confessional & empathetic lyricism with acoustic instruments, noisy electronics & ambient textures to create introspective, hook-laden songs about uncertainty, doubt & love. You'll find him either holed up in his home studio or playing in your living room. ... more

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