"All Sense of Time" from Knock Knock Get Up

Photo by Steve DePino

Photo by Steve DePino

Song of the Week: "All Sense of Time" from Knock Knock Get Up

This song started with the riff, a walk down the neck of the jarana that I seen Ramon Gutierrez (Son de Madera) play as an adornment on another song. Once I got the figure in my hands, I found I could repeat it ad infinitum and never tire of it. That's usually a good sign that it's a riff worth exploring for a song.

The lyrics are loosely based on the traditional son jarocho song "El Celoso." In 2010, I was still very much finding my way with how best to let the Mexican influence inspire the songs I was writing. I always felt like this was a successful merging of Mexican and American styles in that regard because the Mexican folk song was clearly the jumping off point, but the song took on its own life and was allowed to become its own strange hybrid of a song. "El Celoso" is one of these beautiful but obscure folk songs that sounds -- to my ears -- rooted in an old indigenous tradition of exploring our relationship to the natural world. I've often used that approach -- of turning towards nature as a North Star -- when writing, especially if I'm stuck on a direction for the next verse.

The traditional verses already provided a template for me:

Bonita la palma ‘e coco
Ay cuando el viento la mueve
Dan las ocho, dan las nueve
Y yo volviéndome loco

I always found myself drawn to the "dan las ocho, dan las nueve" refrain of the verses. I thought it was the perfect jumping off point for a meditation on time.

I started writing the song in September of 2010 when we were down in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Similar to other productive periods, I also drafted "Leopard Girl," "Refuge," "Big Heart of Yours," and the lyrics to "Watching the Nighttime Come" during this same week. I remember finishing the lyrics after we'd moved into an apartment in downtown Sunderland, Massachusetts, when our backyard overlooked big open fields and we had a back deck with the perfect view for watching the evening's transition into night. I think you can always use the power of imagination to write any song, but I remember waiting for a dark, rainy night to finish this one so that I could really channel the window of time I was trying to capture.

When I listen to the recording now, I love hearing the world of percussion that Quinn built underneath the track, the tone on Michael Robert's guitar (Wooden Dinosaur), and Jordan Wax's (Lone Piñon) expressive piano playing! I love the thick delay that Sam Kassirer (Great North Sound Society) put on my voice and how the delay increases as the song progresses. And then, of course, the stirring transition to the string section at the end of the song with the knitting needles bouncing off the violin strings to create a shimmering hammered dulcimer effect. We captured this last moment on film in this documentary about the making of "Knock Knock Get Up". Sam had a vision for how this song would unfold and blossom, and he mixed those transitions it in such a brilliant way. So much packed into three minutes!

Follow along on Spotify as we dig back into our catalog and get ready to release our new album Line of Light this summer. Thanks for listening.

David Wax