Choose to Find | Songs Without Words

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Rock: Instrumental Rock Rock: Post-Rock/Experimental Moods: Instrumental
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Songs Without Words

by Choose to Find

Cinematic instrumental post-rock
Genre: Rock: Instrumental Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Introduction and Farewell
0:55 $0.99
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2. Choose to Find
4:02 $0.99
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3. Winter
6:34 $0.99
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4. Stillness in Motion
7:48 $0.99
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5. Above Water
6:41 $0.99
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6. One Place
4:29 $0.99
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7. Joanna
6:30 $0.99
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8. Peripheral Vision
5:14 $0.99
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9. Find Yourself Awake
9:01 $0.99
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10. Same Boat
7:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
About Songs Without Words

Somewhat parallel to modern art, the Boston-based band Choose to Find leaves it up to the listener to decide what tale their music is telling. "That's part of the beauty of instrumental music," says Todd Marston, the leader of this powerhouse quartet. "The narrative is not dictated by words." The group’s latest release, Songs Without Words brings their abstract storytelling to listeners’ ears through ten cinematic sounding tracks.

The first track is a brief prelude that serves to build a bridge to connect their first album to the new one, quoting “Farewell Song” while foreshadowing the time signature, harmony and melody to the eighth track on Songs Without Words, “Peripheral Vision”. Says Marston, “It felt fitting to start the album with a ‘farewell’ and a nod towards our earlier work.”

The self-titled second track “Choose to Find” begins with frenzied 32nd notes on the drums. The main theme is an odd-meter melody that Marston wrote before forming Choose to Find, but didn’t introduce it to the group until much later. “The title Choose to Find slowly evolved from the realization that we manifest our world,” Marston says. “Whatever we need to manifest our dreams, we have it inside of us already.”

“Winter” starts off with a bang and immediately settles into a heavy, mid-tempo, back-beat groove with distorted power chords on the guitar. This aggressive sound eventually yields to a much more atmospheric, melodic section that opens the song up spatially and philosophically. Being from Boston, the group has had plenty of firsthand experience with the notoriously brutal Northeast winters. “It taxes our energy while also providing a space for introspection and a type of hermitage,” Marston elaborates. “I wrote this song during a time period when I first learned to see the benefit of that hermitage.” While winter can be a frustrating time, it can also be a beautiful one, and both of these facets are present in this song.

“Stillness in Motion” is a very moody piece that has three very different sections: the first being a realization, the second is the push to move forward, and the third is achieving the goal. The first is a very dark, slow section that feels ominous and haunting. This gives way to a more rhythmically active section that creates a push forward. The final section feels like a redemption section, where, metaphorically speaking, the earlier parts were worth going through to get here. Marston’s own experience reflects this, “My good friend Cynthia and I used to meditate together at her house in Watertown. I wrote this song around that time. In the same key as Introduction/Farewell and Peripheral Vision, this is a further investigation of the holding of paradox. By sitting together, doing nothing, Cynthia and I worked through inner demons and learned how to move forward with our lives.”

The melody and harmony of the beginning of track 5, “Above Water”, take influence from Keith Jarrett’s Vienna Concert, one of Marston’s all-time favorite recordings. The song has deep humanistic implications as well. “I think Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth had been released the year before I had written this piece,” Marston explains. “That combined with meditating on mortality made me see how everyone is just treading above water, ready to sink at any moment. And although this seems like a dramatically morbid thought, we’re still left with this moment, which is a miracle to begin with.”

Inspired by Philip Glass’s music, the main theme of “One Place” alternates between two chords. What might sound like a I-IV progression is colored slightly by the fact that the I-chord is really a VI-minor over it’s third. Accordingly to Marston, “One Place” is a further meditation on the human condition and exploration into major/minor harmony. “After watching Naqoyqatsi, directed by Godfrey Reggio, and featuring the music of Philip Glass, I immediately went upstairs to my piano and wrote this song. The title comes from that feeling of having a total overview of the world that you get from watching a film like that. We are all living in one place.”

“Joanna” is a song that Marston wrote at a time when he was listening to a lot of the singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom’s music. The first part of the piece is uplifting and hopeful, eventually breaking down and leading to a more introspective period. “I wrote the middle melody the day after having a major emotional breakdown,” recalls Marston. “I remember driving in my car on Mass. Ave. towards a church gig that I had that morning. The sun was rising in my face. I felt empty but peaceful, and this melody came out in its pure form. I had let go of a lot of baggage the night before, and this melody was a description of that state of release and surrender that I felt.”

The chord progression of “Peripheral Vision” takes place over a pulsing groove in 7. The melody is created by the harmonic rhythm which repeats over and over, like a mantra. This song conveys uncertainty while at the same time creating forward momentum. Marston puts it this way, “It’s as if you are driving forward towards a goal, with many things threatening to distract you in your peripheral vision. Maybe you even discover some life beauty in that distraction, and realize that it’s all part of the ride.”

“Find Yourself Awake” is a very dramatic piece that continues the meditative qualities found in “Peripheral Vision” as well as the relationship between major and minor harmony found in “One Place”. The inspiration for this piece came from a relationship Marston had that he says made him feel awake, which can be heard in the first main section of the song. But after the relationship ended, he was left empty-handed and feeling lonely but with a resolve to grow on his own. The second section of this piece starts with that feeling of solitude and resolve. The stirring and building of this section is one of the most powerful aspects of this album. It seems as if this could be the end of the record, until three optimistic notes emerge and lead us into “Same Boat”.

“Same Boat” is another song inspired by a relationship, Marston says. “The title comes from the understanding that we are all trying to figure our stuff out, and therefore we’re in the ‘same boat’.” The introduction to the piece describes the relationship as both beautiful and dynamic, but not without shifts in color and mood. The second section involves an increase in tempo and shows the relationship going through an unsettled period of questioning, like a boat that is suddenly pulled by a strong current towards an unknown end. As the song progresses, the boat continues to move towards further challenge. The 5-over-7 polyrhythm featured in the next section is the thickest of the struggle, like rapids that are leading towards a waterfall. Attempting to hold on to the concept of love or potential love, a stubborn decision is made to see the vessel through to the end. The waterfall is then depicted in the final section as an escape from the heavy holding pattern of being carried by unseen forces. Harmonically, “Same Boat” is quite dense, and this final section, though primarily major (a giant rockin’ E major), contains major/minor interplay all the way to the end.

While these attempts to describe this collection of music with words may give some insight to the construction of them, the listener will undoubtedly find their own meaning within each piece. After all, these are songs without words.

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