Radiate, Satellite

by Makeunder

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about

Radiate, Satellite was written and recorded over five early mornings on a laptop's internal microphone as frontman Hamilton Ulmer cleaned out his childhood home. During its brief runtime the album recounts scenes from the the life and death of a rural Californian family, told from the perspective of its peaceful patriarch. Using only an alto saxophone, an old violin, a small hand drum, and layers of vocals, Radiate Satellite flits through shades of classic soul, Stravinskian arrangements, and 40's big band flourishes. It is a love letter to a long-forgotten era and style of music.

The title track is a modernist cowboy song, with our aging, nearly blind protagonist musing at the flicker of a satellite crossing into the sun's glaring rays. The song unfolds from a simple soulful melody into stark angular stabs of creaky violins as the narrator shifts his focus from the mundane events occuring in his tranquil backyard to his own impending mortality.

"Important Statues" depicts the abandonment of a small city by its inhabitants. The narrator croons his frustration toward the lost town as reckless, interlocking sax figures threaten to overwhelm the patient, pattering percussion and plucked strings.

Since the EP's completion, Makeunder has expanded into a sextet, with members culled from the fringes of San Francisco's experimental music scene. The ensemble is currently recording an EP, "Dirt Flooding the Streets", and a full-length LP, "Ord", both of which are due in late 2013.

credits

released July 24, 2012

Written, Recorded, and Produced by Hamilton Ulmer
Justin Sachs - Mixing Engineer
Jeremy Rosenblum - Mastering Engineer
Gabriel Schama - Album Art

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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.

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Track Name: Radiate, Satellite
As the morn awakes the flowerbed
I stare into the sky
not quite at the sun
And see the satellite radiate

As the midday soaks the concrete porch
I stare at the hummingbird wondering how fast his heart pumps
But I can’t help but feel the weight
of my own flesh
as it fades away

But I still see the satellite
And it radiates

As the twilight glows like ember
I stare into your eyes
And feel such warmth
But I can’t see you like I used to.

As I approach my midnight
I stare into the sky
Not quite at the sun
And see the satellite radiate
But my own flesh -
it fades
away
Track Name: The Purple On These Hills
I smell the demilune
These farms used to dance in its fane
Out of the hills the lupines smiled
As the carburator sang to the swain

And I see the sunrise
we have nothing to our name
And oh how the tank fell empty
But oh how the sky was aflame

It seems like the best thing to do is wait it out
But as we drove across this state my heart intoned
"I can't believe we found this place
And could make this home to raise our own" -
That is, if you love the purple on these hills as I do

What if we bought a little hovel
And I'll work on cars all day?
Follow the geese out to the valley
As the cotton mill sang to the swain

I hear the sunset
The wise old man told us of nil
Improvise this quartet
Like a dicot your mind stood still

It seems like the best thing to do is wait it out
But as we drove across this state my heart intoned
"I can't believe we found this place
And could make this home to raise our own" -
That is, if you love the purple on these hills as I do

As I lay here in my bed
I have no regrets to face
Bring no ceremony with you
As I leave you with some grace
Track Name: Important Statues
This town has become a place where no one lives
That won’t last past the year

We should pack our bags
Because I hold nothing
So I fold my arms

When I go please - just spread my ashes
Don’t bring any ceremonial lights or important statues

We should pack our bags
Because I hold nothing
And so I fold my arms
Track Name: To The Ladder
I have a theory
That I could fix anything
If I had the time

I built my own recreational van
With these two hands
And other cars of mine

I have an air compressor
That I wheel out to the ladder
So we can get the house cool again

Though I cannot get on the roof
I am far from the aloof
And I’ll let my son do the job
Track Name: I'll Never Play The Trumpet Again
Was it a dream? ‘cause I fell asleep at my wedding
Here we are with our gifts on par with the house

Now that I’m yours to keep
I’ll never play trumpet again

Then she plugged in every electric gift from a friend, I had to get my generator
But it overloaded and the generator explode and knocked my teeth out

Now that I have no teeth
I’ll never play trumpet again

Never again

The long night -
What do I bring to our knot,
When all that I have is my intention?
I am an orphan, at least I feel that way
But it is hard for me to explain

But oh, I’ll never play the trumpet again

The long night
Long after the mystery is spent
And all I have is the fragment of my youth
And all of my innards cry for the solitude I yearn
Well it is hard for me to explain

Oh no - I’ll never play the trumpet again