If This Is the End

by Project Blackbird

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1.
here is the dark: a broken star / spiralling through the ground / your voice got left behind - how lost you are / none of the words you know come out / when the fear returns, don’t be afraid / if this is the end, begin. / and when you can start again, be wise, be brave / give what is yours, receive, be thankful / hold yourself close, and when you make mistakes / hold yourself close, just be. just be / constant as the sky that shelters you / steady as the stream that bears the sun / i hear your heart begin, your heart begin to sing / i hear your heart begin, your heart begin to sing / there’s meaning in the melody you breathe / there’s breathing in the melody you bring / i hear your heart begin, your heart begin to sing...
2.
Baby Giant 05:15
body – freedom – fertile – mountain – presence / painted – magic – exiled – pagan – essence / golden – nimbus – flightless – whimsy – risen / swollen – pinioned – sacred – body – prison / ambrosian beauty - femme fixation / frizzled omelette – liberation // B-A-B-Y G-I-A-N-T // broken – water – tender – barren – wisdom / seahorse – envy – lonely - body – prison / knowing voyeur – hesitation / tiny fingers – liberation // B-A-B-Y G-I-A-N-T // never chosen – her gestation / scarlet potion – liberation // B-A-B-Y G-I-A-N-T
3.
Murmuration 05:00
like the footprints in the hall /and the view beyond the window / like the sea upon the sand / as it borrows and it lends / like the countries that you knew / that i promised you i'd go to / like the miles between the friends / who loved you as their kin // you're still here / you're still here... // like the hill you couldn't climb / without someone by your side / like the starlings when they sense / how to move within the dance / like the absence of your voice / as it echoes through the noise / of the ringing of your name / in that impossible refrain // you're still here...
4.
these are the hard pieces of me: fragmented dualities/ make something whole / that’s how we know to see what we believe / tell me the secret of this emptiness / tell me the stories from the fire / come a little bit closer, help me clean up this mess / and scavenge the truths i desire // je suis pas la femme attendue / faisant ce que j’aurais dû / je suis pas ton inconnue / t’aimant comme je n’aurais pas pu / laissons cela entre nous / laissons cela entre nous* / (and you’re already a ghost / something else is haunting you) // these are the soft pieces of me / taxidermied into silent fantasy / i’ll hold the pose – you write the prose / dry out my tongue, push it down / tell me the secret of this emptiness / tell me the stories that you burned / come a little bit closer, help me clean up this mess / i’ve been waiting for you to return // je suis pas la femme attendue... * I am not the woman you expected / doing what I should have done / I am not your stranger / loving you as I couldn't do / leave this between us / leave this be between us
5.
here where cherry blossom snow / garnishes a wall of hawthorn / here where roses turn to swans / this is where i lay my love down / my tears are running like rain / grieving for the one i have been / the times i never made a sound / even when i opened my mouth // this is how it ends / by using my own hands / grip the handle of the spade / and sharpen up its blade / as it plunges into stone again / with the echo of broken bones // tired of the cycle of fear / the insults whispered into my ear / followed by belligerent rage / false kindness and manipulation / where the wind blows without artifice / in pursuit of hares already lost / my love will surely not be missed / as springtime yields to winter’s frost // this is how it ends / by using my own hands / grip the handle of the spade / and dig a deeper grave / as it plunges into stone again / with the echo of broken bones // this is how it ends / by using my own hands / i grip the spade and then / plunge it into stone again
6.
if there is aught that can release a better dawn / then let it shake these trees and sing / “action is eloquence” // sister, mother / father, brother / friend or stranger / we need each other /hands above your head where i can see / hands up, get down on your knees / hands above your head where i can see / hands up, get down on your knees // (shake these trees) / hey don’t touch me / i’m minding my own business / (shake these trees) / hey don’t touch me / hey don’t touch me / 'cause i’m down on my knees / got no weapon / just trying to get home / got no weapon on me // got my hands up and i’m on my knees / got my hands up, i can’t breathe / got my hands up and i’m underneath / got them up but i can’t breathe // (shake these trees) / hey don't touch me / stop resisting / (shake these trees) / we can end this / stop resisting // muscle, blood, spit, bone - ambition, guilt, breath, brain / imagination, vulnerability, hope – weakness, rage, trust, pain / hustle, hatred, love - silence – so much fear / what makes us human? / and what makes us unspeakable?
7.
Indecision 03:57
indecision - my patient and methodical friend / i guess you want to see me again / not sure if i should let you in / i envision you’ll seduce me with your hesitant charm / decelerate me ‘til i’m disarmed / give me time to reflect upon // i wrote this line a million times / don’t know why it hurts so much to make up my mind // a division cuts me straight along the here and the now - / you’ve paralysed my heart with doubt / relentlessly allegiant throughout this transition / from youthfulness and naiveté / to middle-aged anxiety (and the vacillations in between) // i rehearsed this life a million times / don’t know why i can’t commit to saying goodbye // talking to myself as I’m walking by the river / catch a glimpse of my reflection / as it shimmers, my mirror image shimmers within it / sunrays glimmer on my face and the waves distort my face in a way that makes me pray the sky ain’t the limit / happy feelings found me and surround me now I’m not living with it / used to drink rounds to drown sorrows / now I allow myself to buy what I like and sip it / a glass of ice with a double measure of any given spirit / drifting as fluidly as the newest beats / lip-synching as the music seems to speak to me more than the lyrics / incredibly it’s telling me that nothing’s finished / that bad attitude had to move, so I killed it / here’s to new beginnings: new starts, new suns, new stars / and how I’m gonna get used to living / and pray people get used to the difference // i wrote this line a million times / don’t know why i can’t commit and make up my mind / i rehearsed this life a million times / don’t know why it hurts so much to tell you goodbye
8.
[Instrumental]
9.
every year it’s the same performance when i sit before the holy trinity / they test my “insight” and my current conformance; i.e. my acquired ability / to kick the ball through shifting goalposts, smile politely when they patronise / because i know when they say “be honest”, they’re not inviting me to speak my mind // (it makes me want to) / take drugs, get mad, abscond, be bad, just sleep / be loved, not judged, self- sabotage, repeat // they discuss my latest diagnoses, prescribe another programme of recovery / when they provoke me with the keys to liberty, i’m expected to feel nothing / they refuse to acknowledge that the system is broken and how it contributes to people getting “stuck” / the elephant in the room, institutional r-word? everyone knows they don’t give a - // (it makes me want to) / take drugs, get mad, abscond, be bad, just sleep / be loved, not judged, self-sabotage, repeat // (it makes me want to) / take drugs, get mad, abscond, be bad, just sleep / raise hell, not tell when something’s bothering me / fight back, change tack, question reality / take notes on those who keep taking notes on me / kick doors, stay calm, gnaw off my arm and scream / be held, get space, get out of this place, repeat
10.
Ava my love 05:56
she has woken / thoughts got broken / she’s soiled herself / looking for home / her eyes see no one / her mouth is woven / in a quavering line / like it is every time / “do you remember when i was younger? / flirting with strangers / oh, how i was ageless!” // ava my love / come with me now, back to your room / see how it’s dark / the only light is from the new moon // a nurse calls over / shuts the folder / “give her a doll - something to calm her” /“do you remember when i was younger? / counting my fingers / one for each taken” / / ava my love / those babies won’t know you at all / they are all grown / and you’ve lived ever so long / ava my love / here’s something to hold in your arms / and solder the days / until they all melt into one
11.
every night after the war / he says goodnight and shuts the door / pulls the blinds and dims the light / quietly prepares for flight / takes the suit with loving hands / steps inside its pressured limbs / curls himself into the tin - / a chrysalis, begins again // breathe in deep... take it slow // one (ten thousand feet)... ten (ten thousand feet)... // he rises through the atmosphere / the earth retreats, a souvenir / of something else he vaguely knows / and is not afraid of letting go / when it’s time, he spreads his arms / and tilts into the space beyond / he wonders why he doesn’t fall / but when he looks, the ship is gone // breathe in deep... take it slow // ten (ten thousand feet)...one (ten thousand feet)
12.
Letter no. 5 07:12
my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words // my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words // we touch through screens / then clean our minds of it / no longer sure how to look into another person’s eyes // the spontaneous applause has long faded from our ears / there is a funeral / but the mourners stay at home / we all have our own little deaths to cradle // my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / they deflagrate on the page - / my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / my thoughts my words / they deflagrate on the page – // breathe / grip the feather / rebuild until the cool hand on your forehead / is just a fever dream – / where spores beget seeds / the verdant pastures begin to rejoice / and the sun still glitters on water / like a disco ball that no one sees
13.
Let love 04:51
the woman in my dream stands barefoot in the garden / her auburn hair as wild as horse-clouds racing overhead / she doesn’t see me there / she’s looking in the water / at the wings of dragonflies flashing blue against the light / and i can hear her laugh though she makes no sound / and i can feel her touch through air / i want to take her hand and make her proud / of who i will become / so she will stay a little longer // “let love,” she speaks – / “let love be your blood / let love fly free / let love heal” // the drops against the window start to blur my image of her / like the shimmering of runes on a timeless wall of sleep / or the flickering of wings as blue becomes a rainstorm / and i turn away to find the softest chord shapes in her name / and i can hear her laugh though she makes no sound / and i can feel her touch through pain / i want to take her hand and make her proud / of who i will become / so she will stay a little longer // “let love,” she speaks – / “let love be your blood / let love fly free / let love heal me”

credits

released March 11, 2021

PROJECT BLACKBIRD are:
Ming Nagel
Jon Read
Alan Roberts
Jamie Varley

Thanks to our special guests: Dave Tidmarsh (all tracks), Hari Trivedi (1, 2, 4, 9, 12), Luke Moore (1, 5), Russ Coleman (1, 5, 11, 13), Su Robinson (2, 13), Lynval Golding (6), Tim Smart (6), Harry Stannard (7), Lee Spreadbury (9), Daphne Tucker (10), and Benjamin Dady (11).

Recorded at Four Winds, Burrough on the Hill, England; and at Zephyr Studios, Leicester, England.

Lynval Golding’s vocals on (6) recorded by Mark Adams in Coventry, England. Luke Moore, Tim Smart , Benjamin Dady, and Lee Spreadbury’s parts recorded remotely in Liverpool, Tring, Barrow upon Soar, and Leicester, respectively.

Engineered by Dave Tidmarsh.

Produced and mixed by Dave Tidmarsh, Jon Read, and Project Blackbird.

Mastered by Henkka Niemistö in Helsinki, Finland.

Hard copies replicated/pressed and packaged by SixtySix Productions.

Album design by Matt Young of myohmy Design.
Photographs taken at Denver Botanic Gardens, USA, by Ming Nagel.

This album was recorded in loving memory of Richard Read and Cathy Roberts, and with love and gratitude to our friends and families for your support. To our listeners, known and unknown – thank you.

If This Is The End © 2021 Project Blackbird.

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Project Blackbird England, UK

The "extraordinary" Project Blackbird, as BBC's Tom Robinson has called them, offer an atmospheric and genre-fluid listening experience that draws equally upon intellect and emotion. "Imagine a party at Ronnie Scott’s," one fan suggests, "where Sade, Björk, Jeff Beck, and David Byrne meet Portishead and then go for a late night curry to exchange ideas…sublime”. ... more

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