Unclouded Sky

by Xiu Xiu

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1.
(Demerara) 00:11
2.
“Blood of the Lamb” (2013 Jamie Cyrus Stewart) the blood of the lamb runs a flood over our losing town a serpent has spoiled itself among our hopes and licks at the blood of the lamb our calls mocked in the face of heaven the moon as red as the blood of our prayer a devil hunched itself upon our crying child and toys with the blood of the lamb the desert has revealed us our true dust a doubt in faith is choked down in blood the desert You created, the desert free from comforts desires wrested from lamb's blood blood of the lamb colored as black and not as red three drops of peace colored as black and not as red forgive these wails of ungraciousness, ungraciousness for our own debts the blood of the lamb is sweeter than our own
3.
(Berbice) 00:34
4.
“I’ll Fly Away” (1929 A.E.Brumley) Some glad morning when this life is o'er,  I'll fly away;  To a home on God's celestial shore,  I'll fly away I'll fly away, Oh Glory  I'll fly away When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,  I'll fly away When the shadows of this life have gone,  I'll fly away;  Like a bird from prison bars has flown,  I'll fly away Just a few more weary days and then,  I'll fly away;  To a land where joy shall never end,  I'll fly away
5.
(Kaieteur) 00:17
6.
“Lonesome Valley” (First recorded 1927, likely much older. Unknown author) You’re going to walk that lonesome valley You are going to go there by yourself They’ll be none to walk there with you You are going to go there by yourself My mother said when she was dying just before her breath was gone That you must trust your path to Jesus Or you will be left alone Someone said John was a Baptist others say he was a Jew but my holy Bible plainly tells us That he was, that he was a preacher too You’re going to lie in the lonesome graveyard You’re going to lie there by yourself They’ll be no one to lie there with you You’re going to lie there by yourself
7.
(Essequibo) 00:52
8.
“Wreck on the Highway” (1937 Dorsey Dixon) Who did you say it was brother? Who was it fell by the way? When whiskey and blood run together Did you hear anyone pray? I didn't hear anyone pray, dear brother I didn't hear anyone pray I heard the crash on the highway But, I didn't hear anyone pray. When I heard the crash on the highway I knew what it was from the start I went to the scene of destruction And a picture was stamped on my heart. There was whiskey and blood all together Mixed with glass where they lay Death played her hand in destruction But I didn't hear anyone pray. . Their soul has been called by the Master They died in a crash on the way And I heard the groans of the dying But, I didn't hear anyone pray. I didn't hear anyone pray, dear brother I didn't hear anyone pray I heard the crash on the highway But, I didn't hear anyone pray.
9.
(Rupununi) 00:50
10.
“Church in the Wildwood” (1857 Willam S. Pitts) O! COME COME COME COME Come to the church by the wildwood Oh, come to the church in the vale No spot is so dear to my childhood As the little brown church in the vale There close by the side of that loved one Neath the tree where the wild flowers bloom Hymnal so sweetly are calling Your first daughter rests in the tomb How sweet on a clear Sabbath morning To listen to the clear ringing bells It's tones so sweetly are calling Oh, come to the church in the vale
11.
(Cuyuni) 00:45
12.
“Unclouded Sky” (1879 Josiah Kelley Alwood) Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies Oh, they tell me of a home far away Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day Oh, the land of cloudless days Oh, the land of an unclouded sky Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day Oh, they tell me that He smiles on His children there And His smile drives their sorrows all away And they tell me that no tears ever come again In that lovely land of unclouded day
13.
(Kanuku) 03:29
14.
All Fo' You 03:12
“All fo’ You Baby All Fo’ You” (no information available. Caribbean folk spiritual recorded in the 1930s) All for you baby all for you You too me out to the basoiyel You took the hammer you knocked my head You took the razor you cut my throat All for you All for you baby all for you You too me out to the basoiyel You took the hammer you smashed my head You took the razor you cut my throat All for you I love you baby I love you I will cook and send you to the usa I’ll give you all the fine things you need I’ll give my precious life up for you All for you You took the hammer you bopped my head You took the razor you cut my throat You too me out to the basoiyel All for you
15.
(Guiana) 00:39
16.
“Let the Lower Light be Burning” (1871 Phillp Paul Bliss) Brightly beams our Father's mercy from his lighthouse evermore But to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore Let the lower lights be burning, send a gleam across the wave Some poor fainting struggling seaman, you may rescue you may save Dark the night of sin has settled loud the angry billows roar Eager eyes are watching longing for the lights along the shore Trim your feeble lamp my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed Trying now to make the harbor in the darkness may be lost
17.
(Pomeroon) 01:08
18.
Just As I Am 08:19
“Just as I Am” (1835 Charlotte Elliot) Just as I am, without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee O Lamb of God, I come! I come Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot O Lamb of God, I come, I come Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt Fightings within and fears without O Lamb of God, I come, I come Just as I am, Thou wilt receive Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve Because Thy promise I believe O Lamb of God, I come, I come Just as I am, of that free love The breadth, length, depth, the height to prove Here for a season and then above O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

about

UNCLOUDED SKY NOTES

I have an entwined relationship with North American religious folk music. My father and uncle were both musicians and part of the Folk Revival movement of the early 1960s. The songs on this tape would have been songs that influenced them and their peers, some of which were songs they themselves sung. My parents raised me to be a religious person but luckily did not do so in a way that was punitive nor used as a means of control. It was presented as a refuge that was open, flexible and a path of love and forgiveness. They were both literally insane and this was their way of trying to give me some stability as a young person. Because I had a good experience with religion in its loosest forms it is something that has continued to part of my life, although a very private one aside from these notes I suppose? It is not for everyone of course and thankfully there are as many ways to be a person as there are people.

Through my father and uncle and through my own spiritual background I began to listen to these traditional songs. I was greatly moved by their connection to my family’s early exploration of music but also by how simple and direct they were in the expression of pain, hope, hopelessness, loss, sadness, longing, faith, death and confusion. They are INCREDIBLY goth. Their subject matter and my personal history with and of them made it impossible for me not to attempt to pursue this world more fully.

The opportunity to do so came with being asked to tour with Swans in 2013. Presenting simple, fairly quiet songs before their complex earth shatteringly loud ones seemed like it could be an interesting pairing. I played a 1953 Silvertone hollow body guitar that my dad bought for me when I was 20. It felt right to play music he exposed me to on a guitar he gave me. I still have it and probably always will. As a bed beneath the songs are field recordings I made on a bird watching trip to Guyana in 2011 and sub bass pedal drones. Werner Herzog talks about juxtapositions that do not necessarily correlate but regardless of that resonate emotionally. Adding those sounds for reasons I could not avoid but could not explain was an attempt at following his idea.

During a show on this tour in London Swans curated a festival which included themselves, Ben Frost, Grouper and myself. Musician Shahzad Ismaily was playing percussion for Ben Frost’s group and asked that night if I would be interested in his producing a recording of this set. Obviously I said yes as he is one this earth’s all time greats. He then said we would do it in Iceland at the Sigur Ros studio. Never having been there and it was now even more excited to work with him.

I arrived and he set me up in a friend’s guesthouse and after a day to get over jet lag, we got to work. Because Shahzad made it incredibly comfortable, easy and beautiful sounding we got the songs all down in one or two takes. Afterwards he took me on a spectacular drive through the countryside. It was beyond dreamy and I will always appreciate his generosity and talent.

All Tomorrows Party Iceland was happening while we were there and I saw Steve Albini at the airport on the way home. I gave him a thumbs up. He looked down at this Lungfish shirt and gave it a thumbs up.

credits

released November 6, 2020

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Stoned To Death Czech Republic

STONED TO DEATH records

Est. 2012 in Pardubice, Czech Republic

Owned and currated by half dozen of dirty weed smoking beer drinking krautrockin bears!

Focus: Czech underground / experimental / avantguarde scene. With quite frequent detours into worldwide ug.

Comtact: seekharbor@gmail.com
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