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subsongs.

by Steven Ball

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Professionally dupicated CD in distinctive flexible case and wrap-around cover.

    Includes unlimited streaming of subsongs. via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    Includes pdf lyrics booklet.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 18 Steven Ball releases available on Bandcamp and save 35%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of In the Dark, Standard Definition, HOMECONOMICS, All Living Can Anyone Be Here, Abstract Vectoral Landscapes, Sketches for a Decaying Island, Bastard Island, subsongs., and 10 more. , and , .

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1.
Inside 06:35
I am here inside. Here am I inside... my head, the sound inside. Here I am inside... I am warm lobal, frontal and hippocampus, inside... I am synaptic hear the snap and crackle encased bloody flesh inside... I, in me from inside aware inside... I hear that high pitched sound more than a sense inside.
2.
Off Off On 04:25
What with this, and that; what with when, and how; what with chaos, and form; what with how, and where... Off, off off on. Off, off off on. Where with why, and whom; this which when, and where; what with shape, and substance; why, with what, and when... Off, off off on. Off, off off on. What with warp, and woof; with what weft, and weave; what with all, and nothing; who, and when, would think... Off, off off on. Off, off off on. When with where, and tear; when with thus, and thou; what with truth, and justice; what with this, and that... Off, off off on. Off, off off on.
3.
subsong 03:51
Where will it go such song sung low? Beyond right now, where will it go? Ever, nearly, subsong sung long. Next verse, blank verse, verse in reverse. It fades, dissolves, forms, and resolves, from verb to noun, amplifier. Cyber corpus, hallucinate, inner body, experience. Visceral, embowelled, corporeal. Somebody, song body, conscious being. Volume, song mass, chorus corpus. Sung into being, a life of its own. To play, to sing subsong so slow. Where will it go such song sung long?
4.
in this month at this hour the sun reaches over into the yard and draws up cool shadows the remnants of night in this month at this hour the sun reaches over and draws up slakes its thirst in the cool dark shadow at this hour at this time of year the yard is an oven when the sun has slaked its thirst in the long shadow remnant of night this hour this time of year the yard is an oven when sun’s unquenchable thirst swings the angled shadows against the wall draws up shades this time of year this hour the sun reaches into the yard slakes its thirst at in deep cool shadows remnants of night embedded in the ornate carvings over the door and windows at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven the sun reaches its tongue of fire draws up slakes its thirst in the remnants of night as if darkness could be drunk from where it hung against the ornate facade the yard becomes an oven at this time of year this hour the sun reaches over slakes its thirst in the long cool shadows those remnants of night that hung seem to soften our early hammering the yard is an oven this time of year at this hour the sun reaches over slaking in one gulp devours deep cool shadows those remnants of night that hung muffling the rhythmic ring of our hammering of chisels the yard is an oven at this time of year at this hour the sun reaches over to devour the long cool shadows those remnants of night that hung muffling the rhythmic ring of our hammering chisels against stone at this time of year at this hour the yard is an oven the sun has reached over to devour the long cool shadows those remnants of night that hung muffling the rhythmic ring of our hammers working the stone at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven the sun reaches over to devour the long cool shadows to abruptly drag them up leaving a few rags here and there at this time of year in this hour the yard becomes an oven as the sun reaches over to devour long cool shadows to abruptly drag up its gift leaving patches snagged in bisschen mouldings at this time of year this hour the sun reaches over into the deep cool shadows that hang in the yard drags them up leaving only scraps here and there this time of year this hour the sun reaches over and slakes its thirst sharply drags up to devour the deepest shadows that hang in the yard at this time of year this hour the sun reaches over to slake its thirst to devour deep cool shadows it hung in the yard at this time of year at this hour the sun reaches over into the yard to devour the deep shadows that hung there giving us succour to slake a constant thirst and those remnants of night leaving only scraps snagged in broken mouldings this hour the yard becomes an oven the sun reaches over to devour long cool shadows that hung slaking a thirst in the remnants of night this hour this time of year the yard is an oven the sun reaches over to devour to withdraw those remnants of night that hung here at this time year the yard becomes an oven each of us working here cutting stone contrive a shield against the glare this hour this time of year the yard is an oven the sun reaches over to devour those cool remnants of night at this time of year the yard becomes an oven each of us here working with stone contrive a shield against the glare this hour when the sun arches over to devour cool remnants of night that hung here abruptly dragged up all shade at this time of year at this hour the yard is an oven the sun reaches down into the yard to slake a thirst when darkness draws the remnants of night at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven no sea laps here the sun reaching down drags up cool shadows that hung here leaving only remnants of night’s dark air at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven no sea laps near the sun reaches down drags cool shadows away leaving only remnants of night darkened air at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven no sea laps near the sun reaches down drags up the long cool shadows leaving only remnants of night in hollow cut vines scrolling over windows at this hour the yard is an oven no cool river laps near the sun drains all shade that hung here leaving only rags snagged under hollow cut vines hung over the windows at this time of year this hour the yard is an oven no cool river runs near no sea laps the sun at this hour draws away those remnants of night that hung here leaving only rags snagged in broken mouldings of this time of year of this hour (when the) sun abruptly takes back its gift of shadow and within it darker remnant of night that nourished the early hours at this time of year in this hour the yard becomes an oven as the sun draws cool air folded in the last remnants of night that hung here at this time of year the yard is an oven in this hour the sun burns away in the remnants of night’s moist air that nourished only rags left behind snagged in hollow cut of vines scrolling in spirals of acanthus leaves at this time of year at this hour the sun abruptly withdraws its gift of shadow and with it the last remnants of night’s moist air that nourished the early hours leaving behind only dark rags in this hour at this time of year the yard is an oven the sun moves over drains away those moist folds in the remnants of night that hung here leaving only rags snagged in hollow moulded vines that snake over windows the yard here is an oven at this hour at this time of year when the sun’s insatiable thirst drains away dark moist air from the remnant of night that was our succour at this time of year in this hour the yard is an oven the sun’s thirst seems insatiable drains moist folds the remnants of night that hung here only rags are left the yard here is an oven at this hour at this time of year the sun’s insatiable thirst drains dark moist air from those folds in the remnants of night that hung here gave us succour no River Bebida runs no Sea of Caesarea laps the stones the yard is an oven at this time of year in this hour the insatiable sun drains the cool dark air from the last remnants of night
5.
Subsongs 09:08
Situated somewhere almost in the middle, like a progress report in a formless lyric. If it can’t be described, it doesn’t exist; if it doesn’t exist it can’t be described. Off, on, for the record, the songs write the scene, the view, the information, written into place, sung into being. The deposits and relationships, which comprise words before they’re recruited into action of human agency. Creation of knowledge destruction of subjectivity. Not at the same time, restoration of the subject, landscape, myth, material, the present situation, other times, other places, other persons beyond the sixth extinction. If it can’t be described... subsongs on the page... it doesn’t exist... subsongs in the voice... ineffable, irreducible... subsongs in the air... imposter syndrome... subsongs on the page... if it doesn’t exist... subsongs in the voice... it can’t be described... subsongs in the air... ineffable, irreducible... subsongs on the page... imposter syndrome... subsongs in the voice... if it doesn’t exist... subsongs in the air... it can’t be described... subsongs on the page... ineffable, irreducible... subsongs in the voice... imposter syndrome... subsongs in the air... if it doesn’t exist...
6.
Passing place of the seat, fold axial planes dip steeply. A coat of rattling shells, sheep graze, rough open hill land. One leg, one arm, one eye, recumbent nappe folds north west. Bismuth, mercury, quartz, food denied, the traveller. Densely planted conifers, wealth and beauty denied the sidhe. Hog’s Back Ridge, and knobbly ground, synsedimentary fault-bound basin. Stabs the thatch with willow stick. Arsenic, antimony, copper, lead, zinc, barium, gold, silver. Downward forms, synformal anticline, the metamorphic rocks, the turbidite assemblage, assumes the shape of horse, water bird, water devil. The shallow water shelf, shallow marine deposits. Passing place of the seat, fold axial planes dip steeply.
7.
Garage/Band 08:34
We were never really free, we never really had control, we wanted to destroy it all, we wanted it to self-implode. We never really had control, we were working in a factory, we wanted it to self-implode, we were pretending to be poor. We were working in a factory, just some dole queue nostalgia, we were pretending to be poor, in the bollock freezing cold. Just some dole queue nostalgia, with the teeth grinding boredom, in the bollock freezing cold, of dry mouth rock ‘n’ roll. With the teeth grinding boredom, hammering the clothes, of dry mouth rock ‘n’ roll, on the garage floor. Hammering the clothes, playing fast guitar, on the garage floor, pretending to be bored. Playing fast guitar, we wanted to destroy it all, pretending to be bored, we were never really free. We were never really free, pretending to be bored, we wanted to destroy it all, playing fast guitar. Pretending to be bored, on the garage floor, playing fast guitar, hammering the clothes. On the garage floor, of dry mouth rock ‘n’ roll, hammering the clothes, with the teeth grinding boredom. Of dry mouth rock ‘n’ roll, in the bollock freezing cold, with the teeth grinding boredom, just some dole queue nostalgia. In the bollock freezing cold, we were pretending to be poor, just some dole queue nostalgia, we were working in a factory. We were pretending to be poor, we wanted it to self-implode, we were working in a factory, we never really had control. We wanted it to self-implode, we wanted to destroy it all, we never really had control, we were never really free.
8.
The Sixth 08:22
From Wordsworth on a Kindle turned his eyes towards the sea, seated in a rocky cave, kindlings like the morning. High privilege of lasting life, exempt from all injury. Living presence still persists, stamp wind’s image, send abroad. Existential risks like those threaten this humanity. The axiological argument is familiar, misanthropic argument, obviously never been. Is it wrong to reproduce, procreation, future child? Most humans produce children on mere impulse, reproduce. Reasonable estimates tending to be subjective. Dinosaurs and dark matter, invisible gravity; colliding tectonic plates, molten magma near the core; galactic coma clusters; luminous objects elsewhere. Lensing measurements are used, lines of sight to galaxies. Asteroids and volcanoes, gamma-ray bursts, and earthquakes. Human intervention in ecology. Magnitude of loss expected in catastrophe. Such modelling assessing serious risk, then permanent stagnation, realisation, ruin. Future technological breakthroughs in biotechnology, self-modifying the post Homo sapiens human qualities: whole brain emulations, super artificial intelligence... Earth originated life’s sentience is a billion years.
9.
Periscopic 05:38
Through a full half circle. A scientific job, or geographical. Maps and charts were drawn, lighthouses, light markers against the horizon, three months of water, and west of Australia. The finger in the wind calculates rate of drift, everyday after that I went to the beach. And now a land locked mast, a western setting sun, half imagined circles describe another line. “Main induction open... no proof of human life... nuclear powered of course... ...during the last winter” Went north for six months to the northern hemisphere, everyday after that I went to the beach.

about

subsongs. is a collection of songs written and recorded between 2016 and 2017. The lyrics are plucked from a miscellany of themes and sources, employing diverse, sometimes reflexive, often experimental approaches to writing. These are 'almost songs', never rhyming, and rarely forming a conventional structure, such melody as there is often relies upon repetition and reiteration, all set to a musical palette of guitars, software instruments, samples, and occasionally field recordings.

"This Mr S Ball is a long-time man. Spending decades in Storm Bugs this is the first solo album that I’m aware of and certainly his first full album for the wonderful Linear Obsessional group.

Classy from the uncluttered front cover art to the spare arrangements for instruments and voice – this is a disc as bracing as an arctic northerly blast.

This collection of real songs is unfussy and focused. Steven’s voice never raises much above a conversational hum, a sing/speak that’s both comforting and hypnotic. The very normality of his vocal approach makes this an arresting enough listen – but couple this with the barely-there arrangements and you are on to a winner.

Like the Wu-Tang on their 36 Chambers best Steven practices the secret art of sticking to one distinct, lopsided sample/loop and letting it breathe. There’s no smothering hiss on this finely recorded disc and spare bass, guitar or piano (but rarely playing at the same time) create a soft scaffold. ‘Inside’ showcases this approach wonderfully with a handful of descending bass tones capturing a whole suitcase full of moods.

An emphasis on structure and organically developing themes makes the 15 min ‘Of the Yard (after Terry Ball)’ an exercise in deeper listening and repetition. Sort of like a kitchen sink version of ‘There was an old lady that swallowed a fly’ cribbed from unpublished poetry notebooks (which the notes suggest it was).

Less esoteric matters are discussed on ‘Garage/Band’. What could be a withering snark at underground poseurs ‘pretending to be bored’ Steven delivers with a kindly wink, and avuncular sigh – we’ve all been there eh?

The missing link between reductionist improv and the intimate breathy song cycles of a Robert Wyatt."
Radio Free Midwich
radiofreemidwich.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/dense-as-blood-rfm-on-maalem-mahmoud-gania-baccamchayer-and-broken-shoulder-ij-grey-guides-and-steven-ball/

credits

released September 19, 2017

Written, performed and recorded by Steven Ball with the exception of:

Off the Yard (after Terry Ball) lyric is transcribed verbatim from the poetry notebooks of Terry Ball

subsong includes a recording of an anonymous cellist under Blackfriars Bridge,London.

Garage/Band includes a recording of an anonymous pianist at Saint Pancras International Station, London

Periscopic includes samples of original soundtrack music by Ernest Gold from the film "On The Beach" (Stanley Kramer, 1959)

Recorded 2016 - 2017
New Cross, South East London, and on location.

originally released by Linear Obsessional LOR 095

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Steven Ball London, UK

Steven Ball has been working as an artist since the early 1980s, in film, video, sound, installation, and performance, and has been a member of the post-punk DIY group Storm Bugs. In 2014 he started writing and recording songs as a solo project, being particularly concerned with experimenting with which kinds of texts might constitute a song lyric. ... more

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