Great Headless Blank

by Makeunder

/
  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of Great Headless Blank via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 7 days

      $15 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $7 USD  or more

     

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

about

"One of the most outstanding and challenging new bits of music I've heard this year [...] I was simply fascinated by a sound filled with choral harmonies and influences that could include Béla Bartók or Ornette Coleman or Talking Heads." - Bob Boilen, NPR Music



Great Headless Blank recounts the troubled years after frontman Hamilton Ulmer’s father died of lung cancer, leaving a wake of tragedy and instability. Each song encapsulates a ghost acquired during the period - people, homes, memories lost, youth wrested. The EP is full of confusing joy, unabashed grandiosity, and abrupt seismic shifts, as Ulmer patches together swarms of guitars, horns, strings, voices, synthesizers, and a plethora of found percussion to build a sonically rich landscape upon which he depicts a family suffocated by its verdant grief.

credits

released July 17, 2015

HAMILTON ULMER - vox, guitars, synths, samples, bass, percussion, clarinets
DANIELLE REUTTER-HARRAH - backing vox
AMY FOOTE - backing vox
VAN JACKSON-WEAVER - backing vox, guitars, bass
TRAVIS ANDREWS - guitars
MATT LINDER - guitars
MARIO GODOY - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones
CAROLYN WALTER - baritone saxophones, bassoons, bass clarinets
ANDREW MEYERSON - kit & percussion
DOUG MACHIZ - cellos
KEVIN ROGERS - violins
SASHA LAUNER - flutes

PRODUCTION - Hamilton Ulmer & Justin Sachs
MIXING - Hamilton Ulmer & Justin Sachs
MASTERING - Piper Payne
RECORDED AT - Studio SQ & Hamilton's project studio
ALBUM ART - Gabriel Schama

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Makeunder Oakland, California

Led by songwriter Hamilton Ulmer, Makeunder wrestles diverse tastes - from Renaissance motet, to art rock, to 90's R&B, synth pop, soul, & modern orchestral music - into powerful songs about death, survival, migration, & loss.

contact / help

Contact Makeunder

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Great Headless Blank
I’m waiting for an escape to unfold in my favor while I’m sound asleep
I’m waiting for a rarer luck to sow its seed
I am the great headless blank, slowly losing shape, erased and all alone
I’m waiting for another soul to hear my plea

I’m waiting for an escape to unfold while I dream
While I am asleep
I’m waiting for the hole to mend me
And make it all better

Impossible hold - in my struggle - electric unknowing only eight hours away
But you don’t see me struggle in my present state
Here I wait in the darkness of day, when the night lingers well past the dawn
With time running blank, well the waiting will make you crazy

I’m waiting for an escape to unfold while I dream
While I am asleep
I’m waiting for the hole to mend me
And make it all better
Well, you can try

I’m waiting for an escape to unfold, but escape’s not the remedy I need
But it’s too late, the light is dim, and I am weary
There’s no elation, no great sigh of relief, but a quiet nod, and a casual walk away
For all the wild wanting, was it worth the waiting?

I’m waiting for an escape to unfold while I dream
While I am asleep
I’m waiting for the hole to mend me
And make it all better

But I was wrong -
Blank for so long
That you could never see
That I am struggling
Track Name: Far From The Sober West
Now here we are - the van canters down an uneven road
Connects to ten, the rear view crying out to the sea
My daddy was made from these mountains, all lilac and scree
Sacked out in the back, he earthbound and thrown

We drive in shifts, no splendor, all cut-through and grass
Out through that pass all interstate dust and sun
We stop for gas - hypnotic flatness - brother lights up a smoke
He sits outside the station with his head in his hand
But it makes no difference

Now I begin to speak faintly
Hands grasping in the air for feeling
Now my grip wears over the highway
And I begin to speak faintly
Hands empty under the resting moon and stars
Far from the sober west

Before we left, utterly desperate, we ask the sage
“Drive east for treatment if you want to be saved”
Now I wake up from distant stillness - all direction the same
I will haul ass, cross a thousand miles hence
But it makes no difference

Now I begin to speak faintly
Hands grasping in the air for feeling
Now my grip wears over the highway
And I begin to speak faintly
Hands empty under the resting moon and stars
Far from the sober west

Let me tell you one thing that is true
But its no use - I’m broken down like a wind-blown wire woven fence
Makes no difference, move in once place, break loose, but no escape
It’s no use

One day I will be earthbound too
All filled with dust, all existential
I’ll be the picture of a truncated end

It makes no difference what I say or what I do
It’s no use

But let me tell you one thing that is true
Now we are lost, we are helpless
My hands empty
But I’m still breathing

The stellar’s jay, the mountain quail
They call from the edge of the earth
Broken down
He, earthbound and thrown.
Track Name: Window-Mounted Frigidaire
Well, these walls turn gray
Paint each room and every hall
The oven clock repeats itself

Now, this frozen midday
Fixing the home that I grew up in
Sing to a pile of boxes

I am beside myself
Stuck in the home that I grew up in
I can’t stand a lonely room
All my songs are frozen in time

So what would you have me do?

Well, she sings so softly
Window-mounted frigidaire
Keeps my company, but the filter’s dead

I wish that I could describe the place where I lived
And O how I wish you could know
Wooden family, painted in color

I am beside myself
Orange and red is the home that I grew up in
Now all the walls are gray
There’s no trunk, there’s only roots

So what would you have me do?

I sing alone
If midday floats away from this home
Will my songs be unfrozen?

Well, I will turn gray
I will keep my mellow heart
With error in my engine

I am beside myself
Gone is the home that I grew up in
I brought back a few simple songs
And I can’t wait to show them to you

So what would you have me do?
Track Name: Inevitable Conclusion
If you follow me
I will show you the place where in my memory where I want to be
The rest of me is there
Where the sorrel spreads
On the hems of your streets

If you follow me
You will see all the reasons never mattered
The wandering year
Woven into and out of the image
Like a climbing plant
That reaches back toward a single end

You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
Now that I am awake and my head is filled
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I know what I need, and I hope you need it too
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I’ve been waiting for so long for a truth I knew but wouldn’t say
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I can’t escape this inevitable conclusion

If you follow me
I will take you in my arms, lift your worry from the presence of your skin
The rest of you is gone
Your eyes say it all
And the reasons linger on

Well I never felt I belonged
Out of sync and out of place with existence
But I don’t want to stay
Asleep on the back of a distance that I never made
Leads me back to the conclusion that you are what I need

You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
Now that I am awake and my head is filled
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I know what I need, and I hope you need it too
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I’ve been waiting for so long for what I knew and wouldn’t say
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I can’t escape the truth

That I am coming home to you
Yes I see it clearly
You don’t have to wait any longer for the end of my sorrow

Yes I am coming home
It’s too much to bear
My head carried by my feet
But the rest of me is already there

Where the rain hits your yard
The sorrel grows on your street
Deeper than memory
I’m coming home to you

You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I know what I need, and I know you need it too
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I’ve been waiting for so long for what I knew but wouldn’t say
You can’t escape this inevitable conclusion
I can’t escape this inevitable conclusion

But you tell me I repeat the same song
That I can’t recover what is lost
Or thrown to the sea

You tell me this won’t be my home
That it’s been a troubled year
I belong to nowhere and nothing
But you could follow me
Track Name: Plain Tendency
When I first met him
He looked me straight in the eye
He was all grinning teeth

He let himself in where my grandfather napped
On that faded sofa in the tv room
Course, we expected him to go soon

O Plain Tendency!
We meet again -
I’ve met you too often
I don’t know what to do
When I see your grin
You hollow me out from within

When I next met him
Only three months more
When he took my daddy too

My halfshut eyelids withdrew to the floor
As they moved his body to an unmarked van
The silence hung upon the walls of the den
Until it roared

O Plain Tendency!
We meet again -
I’ve met you too often
I don’t know what to do
When I see your grin
You hollow me out from within

So now I sit still
I will wait ‘till nightfall
When my head turns blank

I am at ease with his swiftness with my kin
But I can’t forget the face I invented and placed in my recollection -
Yeah, I regret the day I met him
I sit and wait for this

Plain Tendency -
My heart is full
With a grief so elemental
It can be split no further
By distraction or whim
So I ask you as a friend -
When will I see you again, again, again?
Track Name: What A Lovely Bandsaw!
Hold your breath a little longer
Close the garage door and wait as the sawdust
Settles on the ground

The morning brings an estate sale
Everything from wooden rafter to concrete floor has to go
Pay the liens on our mother’s home so she can move out

Whatever it takes to sell this house
Get rid of it all - the books, the furniture, the cabinets
If that’s the price to pay
Whatever it takes to sell this house
Get rid of it all - the memories, the ghosts, the feeling of home

Now breath until tomorrow
‘Cause you’re gonna sell all these things
These things that you know
Nothing about

A well-dressed old man smells the asters
Your mother arranged. He asks her
About the lovely bandsaw
“Yeah, your father was a good man
And I’m sorry he passed … “

Whatever it takes to sell this house
Get rid of it all - the books, the furniture, the cabinets
If that’s the price to pay
Whatever it takes to sell this house
Get rid of it all - the memories, the ghosts, the feeling of home

Thank you strangers for your sincere sympathy
Watch as the pick through our family history
Time present sways in the wind
Your breath becomes ephemeral

Your last breath will bring you close to the soil
Your last breath reveals the smallness
Your last breath before you fade reveals that nothing remains
A last breath to pray in vain
For a flood to wash away
Tears, debt, and all
We have to sell this house -
Whatever it takes

If you like Makeunder, you may also like: