Ashes & Tangerines

by Clara Engel

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about

"A distinctly northern take on southern gothic fairytales."


"Some music seems too big for itself. Like an ancient encyclopedia with entries on folk, blues, post-punk, opera, and chamber music that sits on a shelf next to a pretty little wilting plant on one side and lonely fish in a bowl on the other — and you wonder how that tome doesn’t bring the whole bookcase crashing down. So big are the sounds here, so crackling with emotion that the perfect place to see it live would be somewhere old and wooden: a huge hall usually saved for ceremonies, lit by hundreds of candles, flickering and warm. Or, if not live, then as a soundtrack to a movie that takes place in a very old, grey city, where two lovers lose each other and have to spend a cold night wandering the wet streets searching for the other. It would be autumn, and most of the citizens of this city would also be cold, but some kind souls would extend their hands in help. In the end the lovers would find one another, but not after losing something else that they could never get back."
- James Lindsay of Weird Canada
weirdcanada.com/tag/clara-engel-ashes-and-tangerines

credits

released April 28, 2014

All songs written and performed by Clara Engel

"Sea Lions" features an excerpt from Fran Landesman's poem "Twilight."

Clara Engel: Voice, Guitar
Paul Kolinski: Drums, Piano
Nicolas Buligan: Horn,
Zoe Nicole Guigueno: Bass,
James Anderson: Bass
Will Dirickx-Jones: Guitar
Tomas Daly Chandler: Voice, Clarinet, Saxophone.

Choir: Maria Kasstan, Myke Mazzei, David Gluck, Joel Dalton.

Recorded by James Anderson at 6 Nassau, Toronto.
Mixed by Mitchell Girio, at Slaughterhouse 754, Toronto.

This album was recorded live off the floor in a day and a half at the very end of 2011. Minimal overdubs were added on a later date in 2012.

Cover art features an esquisse by Yuki Komura, design by Clara Engel.

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about

Clara Engel Toronto, Ontario

Guitarist, songwriter, singer, visual artist.

Based in TO.

Portrait of Clara by Yuki Komura

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Track Name: Raven
Said the raven to the king,
“What do you want from me? I can’t sing.”
Said the raven to the king,
“What do you want from me? I can’t sing”

Said the raven to the boy,
“I want your pretty little heart destroyed.
Of all the birds that I could be
Look at the goddamned bird that the lord made me.
I don’t sing for love, for the boys and girls,
I sing for the wretched of this world
And when this world goes up in fire
I’ll be an ash spewed into the light.”
Track Name: Harvest
I want to feel the thunder
I want to taste the harvest
In your mouth
In your mouth

Seeds spit out of darkness
I want to taste the harvest
In your mouth
In your mouth

Though I know you’re ruthless
Though I know you’re heartless
I won’t fly south
I won’t fly south

Yes, I will stay the winter
I’ll watch the world grow dimmer
I won’t fly south
I won’t fly south
Track Name: Heaven and Hell
Heaven and hell have both arrived
There’s no room for an afterlife
The sunset feasts in her own dying eyes
There’s no room for ghosts in this crowded sky
But to get through this night
I made myself believe in an afterlife
When morning came, and goddamn, I was still alive
What a dreadful fire kindled my insides

I am caught between night and morning here
The branch where I hang my fear
Is lightning scorched
Is crashing down

I’m afraid of everything
These walls of stone
I’ve seen them bleed and weep
Heaven and hell
Hold nothing for me
When the kingdom comes
You can let me sleep

I am caught between night and morning here
The branch where I hang my fear
Is lightning scorched
Is crashing down

You have seen the bird of paradise
You will never be the same again
Wrap my coat around the child
Keep her from the howling wind

Heaven and hell have both arrived
There’s no room for an afterlife
The sunset feasts in her own dying eyes
There’s no room for ghosts in this crowded sky
But to get through this night
I made myself believe in an afterlife
When morning came, and goddamn, I was still alive
What a splendid fire kindled my insides
Track Name: King Temperance
There is indeed
Something infernal beneath
King Temperance beats a drum
And it's all soaked in blood

Who are you now
Turning in the light of the axe
Into someone I love
Into the hit of light I long for

The executioner dreams
Behind the garden wall
Weaving halos from daisy wreaths
For all of Blind Joe Death’s babies

Baby’s on fire
And there’s no water around
She screams like a wild wounded sparrow
And rolls on the dusty ground

You’re my thrill
You do something wicked to me
You take away the blue
From the sky and the sea

Red sun billows and breathes
Freshly severed wings
Fly away into the storm
I’m left standing in anemic fields

Scythe down the last flame of my tongue
The taste of this fire is sweet

There is indeed
Something infernal beneath
King Temperance beats a drum
And it's all soaked in blood
Track Name: Tangerines
O hell is a rosy-coloured land
under the sea
and if we take a bad turn
you and me
we’ll go there together and plant tangerines
fiery fruit for the devil to eat

Come and dream with me
in a little row boat
we’ll sail until we sink

Rock-a-bye
in a bubble of light
I love all your fingers and toes
love the gristle and grind
of your bones

And if you can’t catch the gingerbread man
come with me
we’ll find him under the sugarplum moon
fast asleep
I’ll eat his fingers
you can devour his feet
no sugar, no honey, no nectar has tasted this sweet

Come and dream with me
in a little row boat
we’ll sail until we sink

Rock-a-bye
in a bubble of light
I love all your fingers and toes
love the gristle and grind
of your bones

O hell is a rosy-coloured land under the sea
Track Name: X-Ray
An X-ray
of your heart
a phosphorescent rose
eaten by worms
buried in a forest of nerves and blood
To hold it in my fist
I would claw right through you,
My Love.
Track Name: Marrow Bone
Beg beg beg for a marrow bone
maybe I’ll give you
and maybe I won’t
Beg beg beg for a marrow bone
maybe I’ll give you
and maybe I won’t

Beg beg beg for a body that feeds
trembling wings
and weakening knees
Spasm of light and a golden disease
I know how to bait you
I know how to tease
Track Name: Decomposition
With crushed petals stuff my grief
For each lung a cabbage leaf
For my spine a dry, spiraling vine
Thoughts travel slow as my nerves unwind
If shooting stars could mate with snails
Streaks of luminescent slime
Crawling at a deathly pace
Across the charcoal sky

I would lay me down in a field
Rest there for a thousand years
And drink them softly with my eyes
Track Name: Hope is Heavy
Without hope
We’d be feather-boned
Weightless, blown
Out of this world

Without flaws
I wouldn’t fall in love
It’s your jagged edge
I am hanging from

By a spider’s thread
These arms are bound
Under a sunrise stretched
Over a bloodless ground

Hope is heavy
Out of this world
A scalding kiss
Night’s endless return

Sparrows fall
At the speed of sound
Eyes and fingers
Drift to the ground

If it’s what you want
To make my heart pound
Lay your body down
On this shivering ground

Hope is heavy
Out of this world
A scalding kiss
Night’s endless return
Track Name: Rivers on the Moon
You can’t blame anyone for leaving you too soon
Cold as a river on the moon

These breadcrumb trails
These iron lungs
These tired children
Kept awake too long

You can’t blame anyone for leaving you too soon
Cold as a river on the moon

Once I was
Your station in the stars
But now I close my window
So early, love

You can’t blame anyone for leaving you too soon
Cold as a river on the moon

Give me one more chance
Give me an afternoon
I’ll barter with an angry god
Take me instead of you

You can’t blame anyone for leaving you too soon
Cold as a river on the moon
Track Name: Sea Lions
"If you get through the twilight
You'll live through the night
If you keep off the memories
You'll make it all right...

If there's somebody near you
Then just hang on tight
And perhaps you won't fall through
That hole in the night"
- Fran Landesman


Like sea lions
On a distant shore
Bark their praises to a great sea god
I sing my song
I sing my song