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"This project began in a single recording session with Justin when I invited him over to lay down drums for the next seahorses album. We had never played together, and only recently became acquainted, so this was somewhat a leap of faith on Justin’s part that I would be able to turn this into an album. I also had never heard him play drums before. As it turns out he is a monster on the kit, so I was pumped when we began jamming. Justin expected me to have songs to play to, but that’s not how I roll. So, this entire project really began with spontaneous and unplanned jams. From that I cobbled together six pieces. As a result, this record has a free flowing, spontaneous feel because we didn’t play to a click, and because I had no interest in quantizing or editing his drum performance. As a result tempos vary wildly as does the dynamics and sometimes even the time signature. This process really brought me back to what I love about older post rock bands- that feeling that you are listening to people playing off each other, inhabiting a moment, and letting themselves get carried away rather than meticulously planning everything before hand.

The title of this project came from my binge watching West World this summer. Although the line, in the context of the show, has more to do with anticipating an emancipated generation of androids, it immediately struck me as personally fitting since Justin and his wife had a baby girl this spring, and I myself have a young daughter. And of course, robots in movies are always really just metaphors for children…and children are just as often mistaken for androids of a sort, in the sense that we can become enamored with thinking about our kids as if they are the programmable products of our intents, which they aren’t of course, but we can get sucked into believing that we can control what they become.

The line “your mind is a walled garden” immediately resonated with me. In the context of the show Ford is really being quite literal in describing how a robot’s mind is a controlled and secure entity, protected by carefully coded safeguards and failsafes. Of course, this quote is itself a variation of a famous line “your mind is a garden” from a Wordsworth poem in which the poet likens our imaginative endeavors to flowers and fruits springing into life. It’s a cheerful, wholesome image that has made the quote ripe fodder for many a Hallmark card and the kind of thing you’d see adorning an “inspirational” poster in a school’s guidance room. But the variation introduced here tweaks Wordsworth’s line in a way that immediately struck me. Walls of course are defensive structures- they keep things out, and they protect what is inside. As a super introverted person, I relate to this idea. In reality, most of my life is experienced internally. I don’t share these experiences with other people, so even those close to me really have no idea what is going on inside my mind. I assume that this is how most people are. Given how terrible the world can be- how thoughtless, bloody, tragic, and unconcerned it all seems- I would argue that this “walled garden” is not just a quirk of the introspective, but a much needed survival skill. Living in this garden- cultivating what grows there while maintaining the walls themselves- is what our lives truly consist of. We will never enter the gardens of others (unless mind reading someday becomes possible) but we can experience the fruits of these gardens.

released August 6, 2017

Drums - Justin Emile Shapiro. Everything else - JY"
Seahorses' Bandcamp

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