The Existential Opera

by Mana Machines

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about

:: The Story ::
Originally, this EP was a demo I made for shopping around my ideas to potential collaborators. And.. it worked! I found drummer Trent Davis who joined Mana Machines in 2014. In my year-long stint with Trent, we rerecord some, but not all of the material from this EP, so I decided to polish up and release these demos.

This is the last set of Mana Machines material produced as a solo. These songs were also part of the Mana Machines live set-list from 2014-2015.

:: The Recording ::
These songs were written and recorded between late 2013 and early 2014 at beach houses, in borrowed spaces, and in my spare-room studio. I setup portable studios as needed and used what I had.

The beat/synth programming involved a lot of time at my favorite coffee shop in SE Portland. 3 hour stints with a coffee and a bagel.

:: Inspiration ::
The name "The Existential Opera" bounced around in my head for a while. I recognized that the songs I was writing were rather melodramatic for me. Additionally I'd been reading a lot of Philip K. Dick who is considered an existentialist by some. It seemed like a natural conclusion.

Many of these songs had specific inspirations:

"Closer to the Edge" was inspired by the Yes Album "Close to the Edge" and many of the lyrics are reinterpretations from that album.

"Ella" was inspired by the characters Glen and Ella Runciter from the Philip K. Dick book "UBIK"

"The City on the Edge of Forever" was inspired by the Star Trek episode by the same name. Perhaps the most romantic and tragic episode of the original Star Trek series.

"Trajectory" is a not-so veiled allusion to Homer's "Odyssey"

"Your Heart" was inspired by the Philip K. Dick books "UBIK", "We Can Remember It for you wholesale", and "Flow my Tears the Policeman Said".

credits

released February 2, 2014

Erik Dewhurst - Guitar, Vocals, Backing Vocals, Drum Programming, Synth Sequencing, Mixing

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about

Mana Machines Portland, Oregon

Portland progressive pop project established in 2009.

Sci-fi inspired lyrics, Pop inspired music, strong vocals and unique rhythmic interactions.

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Track Name: Closer to the Edge
Good morning sunshine as you glitter in my eyes
I'd love to stay here in your bed all day long
I'm sorry that I have to leave your room
so many things take me away from you

I'll be just around the corner
I'll be down by a river
I'll be close to the edge
moving closer to the edge

all the darker thoughts you've had will blow away
when I touch you and take you
somewhere just around the corner
we'll be down by a river
we'll move closer to the edge
we'll be close to the edge
Track Name: Ella
I Love you and I always will
Even when you died I came to see you every day
and I trust you for advice, when things go wrong
and I ask you, my dear, why do things always go wrong

It's been so long since I've seen your eyes
There's a sadness spinning around my heart when I see your..
face behind the panes of glass that keep you safe
But I question why. I question why every day

All of these workings in my chest keep my broken heart beating on
even though you've been gone
They keep my heart moving on
and every day since your light's been gone
I keep this world beating on

This time it's worse than we've ever seen
If I could only know What's on your mind. I know somehow.
You'd know just what to say. To calm me down
But I can't get through no I can't through No i can't get through...

And I thought I heard your voice Somewhere among the static
talking about a dream from a lifetime ago from a lifetime ago

all of these workings in my chest keep my broken heart beating on
even though you've been gone
They keep my heart moving on
and every day since your light's been gone
I keep this world beating on

and on and on and on
all of these workings in my chest keep my broken heart beating on (FIN)
Track Name: Believe
You know I care for you no matter what my words says
and I'm only trying to help you do your best
but so.few.of my motions can move you to an action
And none of these rituals can lead you to a light

I know that I could never really have compelled you
to go to anywhere aside from where you've planned
So It seems so clear to me you've grown on your own.
It seems so clear to me you've grown on your own.

I believe that you've changed on me
and I know it's for the best
I believe in you and all of these changes

because I know you're making something new
from all the pieces that were once a part of you

The shifting portraits of your ebbing emotions
Sometimes confuse me and put me on my guard
But.I.know.I can trust you with all the things I've given you
and the deep red diamond from the center of my heart

I believe that you've changed on me
and I know it's for the best
I believe in you and all of these changes

because I know you're making something new
from all the pieces that were once a part of you

well.I.hope.you forgive me for the promise that I broke
when I said I'd never change on you
cause I know I've changed on you so much
yes I know I've changed on you
And everything is changing every day
and I can't stop it, no
I can't stop it
I can't stop it

I believe that I've changed on you
and I know it's for the best
I believe in us and all of these changes

because I know you're making something new
from all the pieces that were once a part of you
And.I.know.I'm making something new too
from the parts of me that touched a part of you
Track Name: There to Hear
The clock ticks at the top of it's lungs
Trying to tell us our time together is done done

but we're not there to hear
no we're not there to hear the clock tick
no we're not there to hear

a light glows on my pocket phone
another message sent from my own sub conscious
it blinks a rythm in morse code
saying the love that we have is growing old

but I'm not there to hear
no I'm not there to hear my cell phone
no I'm not there to hear

the news blares on a TV screen
in an empty rooms where we used to be
The anchor woman she says it's all a loss
the two lovers have fallen a-part

but we're not there to hear
no we're not there to hear the TV
we're not there to hear

We're not distracted by the claims she makes
Or the text that scrolls underneth her head

we live oblivious and happy cause nothing's wrong at all
No one can hide all their deepest fears forever on their own
so I'm glad I have you to help me


but we're not there to hear
no we're not there to hear Anything
we're not there to hear
no we're not there to hear Anything
Track Name: Trajectory
When she sang for me the sound was so sweet
like synthetic powdered sugar a hypnotizing hum
Any chance I thought I had was illusion or delusion

a gravity so deep I couldn't see the light
and now I'm far away from the love I need to get back to

plug my ears and steer and swing this ships around
I change tra-jectories to the home I should have never left
get me out of here and far away from her
I didn't know that something beautiful could be so destructive

When a friend I knew got tangled in the siren song
all I knew that I could do was advise him from afar

I watched him disappear through event horizons
to a darkened place where she would be his only companion

a gravity so deep he couldn't see the light
and from outside it seemed like time had stopped progressing
Track Name: Your Heart
----- Part i
When I was 19 I never would have thought that I would be here
So successful
a Mansion, a beach house a beautiful girlfriend
a city full of people who know me by name
and a lifetime of the love of my wife
yea a lifetime of my best-friend's love

----- Part ii
I give you my heart you give me your heart
and everything works out perfectly

No one gets hurt and nobody cries
and everyone laughs in the sunshine

This is a dream that everyone's working for It's just like a dream I had as a child
WHoa...

A crack in the sky a Look in the eye
from someone I thought I noticed

a girl from a dream that never was real
why is she winking at me?

This is a dream I had as a child, so why's it happening now?
Cause life's not a dream unless it's illusionary, Made up for me.

A trick of the light or a trick of the mind
maybe god himself is playing a trick on me

the buildings and cars the sun and the stars
how could this all be an illusion?

All of the love I've known for a lifetime
why would I question something so beautiful

----- Part iii
The girl from my dream takes my hand
tries to tell me that we were one-time lovers

but I don't even know her name
But what can one do when it's warm inside

----- Part iv
I give you my heart you give me your heart
and everything works out perfectly

No one gets hurt and nobody cries
and everyone laughs in the sunshine

This is a dream I've had for a lifetime whether it's real or not doesn't matter much (at least not much to me)
WHoa...