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megalomania

 

rushing for the fast train
stuck in the fast lane
always in a hurry
are they calling your last name?
loose the laces
step out of your boots

hungry for the headlines
making the deadlines
nobody remembers where we
buried the land mines
cruel, they're all covered up
with feathers and glue

the more, the more
you're feeding this illusion
we need a revolution

a pigeon in the basket
a nail in the casket
go to Copenhagen baby
try to relax
it's true you know
the bruise is getting
bigger than you

the lovers on the sidewalk
talk with the nighthawks
seven politicians
that are walking a dead dog
choose to call for elections and loose

and the more, the more
we're feeding this illusion

whatever you feel when you look in the mirror
you're building up a house of cards
there is a strong wind blowing on the street outside
and napoleon is looking for a place to hide
wherever i go there's a crack in the pavement
faces with chameleon smiles
we're big, big stars in a one man show
can't you feel the cold

heavy hearted bastards
look at your passport
they forgot that Dylan will be
striking the last chord soon
there must be 700 ways to get through

choking on a swordfish
make a up a last wish
every one is waiting
to fall over your side dish
on and on and on
they're gonna take everything
when you're gone

whatever you feel when you look in the mirror
you're building up a house of cards
there is a strong wind blowing on the street outside
and napoleon is looking for a place to hide
wherever i go there's a crack in the pavement
faces with chameleon smiles
we're big, big stars in a one man show
can't you feel the cold

a big slice of the pie
a big slice of a big, big pie
a big slice of the pie

whatever you feel when you look in the mirror
you're building up a house of cards
there is a strong wind blowing on the street outside
and napoleon is looking for a place to hide
wherever i go there's a crack in the pavement
faces with chameleon smiles
we're big, big stars in a one man show
can't you feel the cold

 



spirals


You waited a long long time
hiding the thorns inside
acting strong
feeling like a stranger

lately those eyes have changed
pictures in broken frames
heavy bones
roaming on your own

tired of making sense
tired of shaking hands
take it slow
try to move along

I know your heart is on fire
don't let the black dogs follow you down

been spinning the world upon your back
you circle round and round
when the feeling is gone
the hours are long
the beauty of the yearning makes you sad
follow the dark moon

follow the northern lights
into the violet night
hazy soul
covered up in snow

learning to see things break
learning to make mistakes
open scars
sparkle in the dark

I know your heart is on fire
don't let the black dogs follow you down

been spinning the world upon your back
you circle round and round
when the feeling is gone
and the hours are long
the beauty of the yearning makes you sad
follow the dark moon

burn with a frozen flame
watching the morning trains
if gravity makes no sense
call me and call your friends

I know your heart is on fire
don't let the black dogs follow you down

been spinning the world upon your back
you circle round and round
if the feeling is gone
the hours are long
spinning the world upon your back
you circle round and round
the feeling is gone
the hours are long
the beauty of the yearning makes you sad
follow the dark moon

 

 


magnolia (girl with camera)

 

i'd love to see the black and white
picture that you shot last night
a painting through the painters mind
of small town girls in paradise

we gather rain in paper cups
and spill them on the bedroom floor
we're perfect friends and its alright
if present tense is everything you need from me

fool me again
you wont fool me again
fool me again
you wont fool me again


I see you through a telescope
please don't move , don't move
you kiss me like in self defence
its a been while
lord, i missed you so

fool me again
please don't fool me again
fool me again
you wont fool me again

frame by frame
loosing ground
frame by frame
fading out

i chase you through the subway trains
through blurred up nights and heavy rain
we're perfect friends, the perfect crime
but I won't be your alibi

 


the incredible airplane party

 

you brought your cousins and
your sisters too
the bird is ready,
enter two by two
and your father and your mother
are getting drunk cause they hate
each other
were gonna rave inside a dc-10
we'll start the engines with
a bottle of gin
were departing to the party
forget your home,
home is where your card is

there is a tiger in the corridor
a mature lady giving head on the floor
she's so fancy while i'm dancing
with megan fox, everybody is glancing
i see the pilot with a parachute
he lost his glasses and
he lost his youth
and he's flying he's flying
don't think he'll make it but
at least he's trying

at 40.000 feet above the ground
i'm feeling dizzy and i wonder about
our story, i feel sorry
but everyone here enjoys the glory
is this a toilet or a readymade?
they say that good things come
for those who wait
and i'm crying, i'm crying
in a tiny little bath with a
bottle of gin


 


olivia

 

you seemed so serious while reading the news
sweet olvia you look confused
i know you, know you
the morning cereal and a glass without juice
girl i love your tiny shoes
you know me, you know me

and maybe you're an island
you're sitting there in silence
it's raining in japan
i see you when my eyes are closed
you're the one i love the most

the lake ontario is bigger than rome
you and me will die alone
you said so, you said so
we spent the evening making amends
we made love and i kissed your hands
i need you, i need you

and maybe i'm an island
sitting here in silence
it's raining in my hands
i see you when my eyes are closed
you're the one i love the most
driving me insane

 


pandora express


we took a bath in the wishing well
its the kind of morning when you cannot tell
if its cold outside
though the sun is rising

I sing a song on the unmade bed
make a promise to the days ahead
I want to get old with her
see her shining
in the morning light

trading fruit for skin
i wanna be by her side
when the day begins
in Berlin

coffee and lilacs
her freckles and dialogues
oh how i wished i would
never leave town again

the weekend is over
she leans on my shoulder
its late and tomorrow i'll take
the pandora express

I found a girl not afraid of lions
laughing at my rocket science
it melts my heart of stone
when she proves me wrong

dark bread on the breakfast table
sour is her favourite flavour
she makes my days complete
we're gazing at stars at the top of the ferris wheel

crazy how we spin
i wanna be by her side
when the night arrives
in Berlin

coffee and lilacs
the queen of the sidewlak
oh how i wished i would
never leave town again

the weekend is over
she leans on my shoulder
its late and i know i must take
the pandora express

oh how i wished i would
never leave town again
oh how i wished i would
never leave town again

coffee and lilacs
her freckles and dialogues
oh how i wished i would
never leave town again

the weekend is over
she leans on my shoulder
its late and tomorrow i'll take
the pandora express

 

 


jacques cousteau

 

i believe in you
in everything you do
love the way you run away
forget the highs and lows
both standing on our toes
you hit me where it hurts the most

nothing is what is seems
nothing is what is seems

the accidents you planned
like moved by sleight of hand
the ayers rock a grain of sand
both sleeping in the fire
while someone cut the wire
we're falling down, falling down

nothing is what is seems
nothing is what is seems

i guess we're doing fine
you got reasons i got rhymes
i'd love to feel your hair tonight

nothing is what is seems
nothing is what is seems

 

 

 

six years

 

i just came to say hello
it's been so long
six years i'm travelling on my own
i've heard that you've been doing great
i know it's getting late
i should have called before

you know i had a dream last night
saw the house and saw your picture on the bench
with elvis on the radio
thought of you and knew
we're gonna be alright

sooner or later we're gone
with the eyes and the mask of a clown
if you're lonely call me when the day is done
i'm waiting on the other side of town

remember when she crashed the car
on christmas eve
and waited patiently all night
and finally when you when outside
kissed your neck
and told you you could have her bike

sooner or later we're gone
with the eyes and the mask of a clown
if you're lonely call me when the day is done
i'm waiting on the other side of town

 

 


the doctor's wife


before the apples were gone
in your holy garden
you found me standing alone
at the doctor's party

said wait a minute, wait a minute
let's go outside
you gotta do what it takes to feel alive
please meet me at the poolside
you came back with a parrot upon your shoulder
he was saying that the devil is getting old
when you handed me your car keys

your precious mouth
the naked moon
from my room

do you believe in true love my friend
don't put your head inside the lions mouth again

when we drove back to the house
where the night had started
i could hear the applause
of the broken hearted

said wait a minute, when I jumped the picked fence
you didn't say that the doctor pays your rent
so be careful with your karma
She said look, if you sing, don't forget the second verse
I didn't tell you the doctor loves his nurse
we're all dummies in this car crash

clench your teeth
go lick your wounds
with someone else

do you believe in true love my friend
don't put your head inside the lions mouth again
do you believe in true love she said
don't put your head inside the lions mouth again

 

 

 

valediction

 

sleepwalk in a daydream
full of things that should have happened
with a raincoat and a smoke machine
calling ghosts you had forgotten
maybe you're trying much to hard
to forgive yourself for changing
girl if you'd go back to the start
would it really change the ending?

let it go
let it go
yesterday lies a million years ago

if birds are all flying south
and you feel the need to follow
but your heart is filled up with doubts
and the shadows of tomorrow
that voice you've been trying to hide
is gonna help you see things clearer
girl you've been blinded by lights
inside your rearviewmirror

let it go
let it go
yesterday lies a million years ago

 

 

 

river man (nick drake)


betty came by on her way
said she had a word to say
about things today
and fallen leaves

said she hadn't heard the news
hadn't had the time to choose
a way to lose
but she believes

gonna see the river man
gonna tell him all I can
about the plan
for lilac time

if he tells me all he knows
about the way his river flows
and all night shows
in summertime

betty said she prayed today
for the sky to blow away
or maybe stay
she wasn't sure

for when she thought of summer rain
calling for her mind again
she lost the pain
and stayed for more

gonna to see the river man
gonna to tell him all I can
about the ban
on feeling free

if he tells me all he knows
about the way his river flows
i don't suppose
it's meant for me

oh, how they come and go

 

 

 

in your own sweet way


so you were born on the other side
across the great divide
sadness in your mothers eyes
tears she never cries

fools all around
do you see how they run
soon all their trouble will be gone
fools all around
do you see how they run
soon all their trouble will be gone

you walk with a cane
in your own sweet way
waiting for snow
on a holiday
these pages have turned for us

take me down to the riverside
and wash my pride with a stone
sing me sweet lullabies
leave the healer all alone

fools all around
do you see how they run
soon all their trouble will be gone
fools all around
do you see how they run
soon all their trouble will be gone

you walk with a cane
in your own sweet way
waiting for snow
on a holiday
these pages have turned for us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"As musicians, we have to travel a lot," David Lemaitre sighs calmly. "Goodbye is a word we are forced to use on a daily basis. My younger brother just got a tattoo that says, 'The idea is to be in a state of constant departure while always arriving', and I really don't feel I actually belong somewhere. But I like that. Take the best from all the places and people you mingle with. I don't define myself through where I'm from anymore. It's more important where you're going."

 

This restless sense of adventure is quietly but seductively evident on Lemaitre's debut album, Latitude. If there is a central theme to the record, Lemaitre says, it lies in his attempt "to play with distance the way it plays with us". As a man born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, and now living some 6,500 miles away in Berlin, Germany, he knows what he's talking about. Latitude, however, is far from unfocussed, even if its influences are unusually incongruous. Buried within its soul are echoes of contemporary songwriters like Sufjan Stevens and Jose Gonzales – as well as older, more established names like Tim Buckley and Serge Gainsbourg – but the likes of Nicholas Jaar and Four Tet have also played a significant role. "They inspired me a lot to work with textures as a compositional tool," Lemaitre states admiringly. "I like to think of every instrument and element in a song as a percussive element and to let them roll and roll against each other. Rhythm is the most innate of all the musical elements for me. This probably comes not only from my Bolivian background, but also from my love of electronic music. That's why I love sampling coins and corn flake boxes, like in 'Jacques Cousteau' or the suitcase drums in 'Pandora Express'."

 

Since leaving his homeland upon finishing college, Lemaitre travelled around Europe, following in the footsteps of his parents – a painter and an engineer – who spent time there as a young couple. Having attended a German school as a child, he ended up in Germany, where he slowly worked his way up from the south of the country, living in four cities before, two years ago, settling down – for now, at least – in the capital. "The word home in the traditional sense has changed its meaning for me," he says, "but I really feel at home in Berlin. It has a lot to do with my close friends and doing what I love."


Deceptively simple, Latitude is full of tiny details that hint at a colourful, international background that traverses continents just as Lemaitre has. There was, he recalls, always music in his family, and he was brought up on a diet of his father's psychedelic rock and pop records – a collection that leant heavily on classics from Pink Floyd to Cat Stevens – as well as, simultaneously, his mother's own interpretations of melancholic South American protest songs by the likes of Violeta Parra and Mercedes Sosa. These she performed in a rich, deep voice, and it was also she that taught him his first guitar chords.

 

Discouraged from pursuing music by an unsupportive teacher, Lemaitre nevertheless soon started a band for which he began writing songs. Over time, he began to crave the simplicity of solo performance, and, once in Europe, he slowly headed towards the intimate stages of small cafes, inspired by Jeff Buckley's Live At Sin-e. His youthful investigations of a variety of styles, combined with a desire to experiment with different forms – he's also tried his hand at jazz and electronica – ensured that his music developed a character all of its own, something that was, as he says, "nourished by distance and the contrast between cultures and countries. I think everything you really loved stays with you and pops out somewhere. I loved those records having so many different musical colours and going from a hippie jam to a ballad and back to a blues song. I've never been very conscious about styles and movements, and I really enjoy a record being all over the place."

 

Nonetheless, he remains bewitched by what he calls "naked and simple music. I like to think of songs as independent beings and to try to dress them the way it suits the song best, without thinking too much about finding a continuous line." This aesthetic is a defining feature of Latitude, much of which was recorded alone in his home studio, though he also worked in East Berlin's legendary DDR Funkhaus and at the studio of producer Alex Sprave, who helped with additional recording and mixing. The album consequently shifts with ease from the ambiguously joyful 'Megalomania' to the elegant intimacy of 'Magnolia (Girl With A Camera)', from the wild psychedelia of 'The Incredible Airplane Party' to the sprightly, percussive 'Pandora Express', via the otherworldly, almost hallucinatory qualities of 'Jacques Cousteau', the South American swing of the quietly thrilling 'The Doctor's Wife' and, finally, an understated, elegiac cover of Nick Drake's 'River Man'.

 

The latter was, Lemaitre knows, a risky endeavour, but it's an appropriate and honest choice that also nods to one of the ghosts that inhabit the record, especially in the string arrangements, which recall those of Robert Kirby, though Nico Muhly and the work on Sea Change of Beck's father, David Campbell, also played a role. "I wouldn't have touched Nick Drake's songs," the half Bolivian, half Chilean musician admits, "except one day, when we were touring two weeks before finishing the record, a very old friend of mine played it to me after ages of not hearing it. We started to sing it backstage before concerts. I know many people will not be comfortable with me recording that song, but all the Latitude record was inspired so much by Sylvia Plath's writing, and Nick Drake's lyrics just closed the circle. It really means a lot to me."

 

As this might suggest, lyrically Latitude is not always – despite its often upbeat musical tone – entirely celebratory. "Berlin can be a very lonely place," he concedes. "Plath's sensibility towards an unfulfilled life contrasted with this hectic city, where everyone is searching to find his very own dream. What if we fail? We probably will anyhow. Sylvia and Drake both gave up their life early. I still wonder if searching for beauty does that to you, you know? So basically I believe that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, and you will never, ever make it alone. Berlin showed me that."

 

This conviction lies at the heart of Lemaitre's meditations on the nature of love and its contradictions. 'Spirals', for instance, is about maintaining pride while admitting that one is failing, yet 'Olivia', a gentle serenade accompanied by a distant orchestra of broken violins, is about how one can feel concurrently close to someone, and yet shut out entirely. The unabashed romance of 'The Pandora Express', on the other hand, looks at the manner in which separation can heighten our sentiments, and 'Magnolia (Girl With Camera)' – which sounds like it was recorded inside a piano covered in snow – is about two friends struggling not to fall for each other, confronting the choice between freedom and passion. But there are plenty of lighter touches discernible in songs like 'The Doctor's Wife', with its painfully ironic final twist, and 'The Incredible Airplane Party' – inspired by a dream he had while crossing the Atlantic – while the album's arguable masterpiece, 'Megalomania', hides a subtle fury at contemporary values amidst its breezy, unforgettable melody. Like Lemaitre himself, Latitude is unafraid of crossing borders of all sorts.

 

Intriguingly, the musicians with whom he now performs live – in what he says is his favourite constellation to date, since it allows him to shift from delicate intimacy to symphonic intensity effortlessly – reflect his cosmopolitan approach to life. One, Joda Foerster, plays an array of instruments, from vibraphone and synthesiser to percussive suitcases, while Sebastian Schlecht (violin, cello and synthesiser) is half German, half Japanese. Adopting "an orchestral approach of looping ourselves and building big soundscapes", they perfectly capture the manner in which Lemaitre's songs find just the right balance between melancholy and optimism. After all, as he himself says, "finding beauty will always make you sad in a way. Change is the only promise given to us, and yet still we are so afraid of letting go. There's nothing worst than being blinded by the lights in your rear view mirror. Yesterday lies a million years ago, so we need to let go."

 

And that's exactly what Latitude is: the sound of a man letting go, albeit in an unhurried, easy-going fashion. It is, Lemaitre hopes, "patient pop music", and that's as close to a perfect definition of its contents as anyone is likely to come. After all, this is a man who's come a long way, but knows there's always further to go…