Brothers of the Head

by Tim Sinclair / Ben Winch

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  • 2004 CD
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    MUSIC : SPOKEN WORD : TEXT

    Part concept album, part verse novel, 100% sonic exploration, Brothers of the Head is the story of a social misfit and his unborn brother, a foetus trapped and living inside his skull.

    A 24-page colour zine/booklet details the External Twin’s adventures in the outside world while the Internal Twin suffers to a musical accompaniment in stereo.

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

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1.
00:45
Friday 26th March 2004: Tired of life - so tired I now return to the childish habit of journal writing in search of solace. Dear diary, I am different… Twenty-seven years old and never had a woman - never loved (if such a thing as ‘love’ is possible). Though outwardly I strive to be the picture of normality, they do not trust me, these sirens; they sense the difference in me. And if I am honest, haven’t I sensed it myself? Welcomed it even, at times, this manifestation of a god in me. Late at night, when sleep escapes me: A voice! A presence! I am different! No! Stop! I am tired, so tired of this life. And there is nothing – how could there be?
2.
03:49
Saturday 27th March: Always watching the highway. From my front porch I see all manner of travelers, crossing the valley towards the low hills which mark my horizon. But not once have I travelled myself, have I left this crushing life I so despise yet lack the energy or confidence to change. Why must my life be a prison? Why this constant fear of losing control? It has been there since childhood, this phobia. ‘The voice in my head!’ I would cry when the adults scolded me. Can they really not have known that experience – to be goaded into transgression by some inner force beyond comprehending? It goads me tonight: ‘Out, out – into the world, into life!’ But I cannot – I must not give in to it.
3.
01:53
Saturday (later): Lord help me! Am I such a coward that I cannot ‘go out’ on a Saturday night for fear of misbehaving? This self-imposed exile must end! To fear a ‘voice’, a ‘presence’ – how absurd, how juvenile! I need colour! I need warmth! Oh God, say it: I need a woman! There must be someone out there who will not despise or ignore me. Please! I give in! Just let me in to what other people call life! In the city, surely, there must be someone.
4.
01:25
Sunday 28th March: No. No-one. Nothing at all. Stupid even to have expected otherwise. Always a trial for me, the weekend. Outside, only metres away across the flimsy sagging fence, children laugh and shout in the sunshine. AARGH! Can I get no peace? Have I ever been alone, ever, despite my utter isolation? Of course I realise I am what is known as ‘hungover’. For a man like me, unaquainted with liquor or the intoxication of crowds and revelry, last night’s escapade was an example of rare foolishness. Best to go back to sleep – but how, with that racket nextdoor? Blast this sunshine!
5.
01:33
Monday 29th March: Agony! Humiliation! A hideous day at the office – worse than ever. What is it, this babbling presence, which turns so quickly to searing pain when I try to suppress it? ‘Hard night drinking?’ the office comedian asked me at one point – it seemed he had spotted me ‘cruising’ (as he so tastelessly put it) on Saturday – and at this there was laughter among the others. Teeth gritted, I ignored them, but for the rest of the day they leered at me, like wolves wanting to initiate me to the pack. To make matters worse, somebody had muddled the staples shipment… AARGH! Demon – leave me in peace! What more do you want from me?
6.
03:59
Monday (later:) Sudden calm. Why do I feel so uneasy? As I write this, a freight train passes somewhere in the distance, and the dogs all up and down the street fall to yapping. Strange, but tonight I feel for them – tonight there is something plaintive in their calls to this alien monster which barrels past several times every evening, unseen and yet familiar, to its far-distant destination. Tonight I am going out again, but in search of nothing this time. What point in resisting? What point in anything?
7.
02:52
Tuesday March 30th: Something miraculous occurred last night. Light! Light broke into my life through darkness! It all appears as a dream now, that suicidal trance which overtook me as I staggered out along the train-tracks in search of oblivion. I would have done it, I think – it would have been so easy, to fall, to surrender - but at the crucial moment something pulled me back, and as the train’s screeching died away I staggered down through the scrub to the bank of a stream and sat calmly. Clouds parted. Beyond the tall trees the moon shone silver. Across the water a light went on in a bedroom and my angel stood before me. She had saved me – I knew it immediately.
8.
Tuesday night: Walked again along the train tracks to the house of the woman. Again the moon shone in the treetops and the light from her window fell across the water like a golden drawbridge. If there is a god (whether he be within or without me) he and I are in total accord. Wednesday night: Same again. The moon brighter, the night warmer, my angel still more aglow with light and life. My saviour, I am certain now. Thursday night: Oh angel! Angel! Woman of light! But a creature of this earth nonetheless, and of habit, for you have chanced to stand by your window at the same time every night so far. Unless… Unless you have sensed me, as I sensed you, and you now welcome me, perform for me, only feigning the sweet naivety that so enthrals me.
9.
01:46
Saturday 3rd April: But were she really an angel could I want her so? Would I drive myself to distraction with – oh God, say it! – with these revolting films I have been watching, all heaving bodies and groaning and spurting orgasms? Oh, horrible! What am I becoming? What has she made me? And all the while something squirms within me, as though it saw this transformation, and abhorred it. Perhaps she is in angel, and the God-thing in me communes with her, while I, poor human, am left to wallow in the flesh. NO! Devils! Demons, they be, not gods or angels. To have tempted me so, to have ruined me! And the thing squirms with glee, not abhorrence, for its only wish is to consume me.
10.
02:04
Sunday 4th April: It’s not BAD. She’s got the curtains OPEN. She wants it. She wants ME to look in her WINDOW.
11.
01:04
Monday 5th April (full moon): Woman of light (angel angel) DEVIL! I will go to her! No, I won’t – it is just what you want me to do. Or is it? You FEAR ME! Fear my trespassing on the flesh of your ANGEL! Or do you want it as much as I do? Do I NOT want it – want it only because you flood me with your vile longing? NO! I will smother you, drown you in flesh! This body is MINE, do you hear? MINE! MINE! GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
12.
02:46
Wednesday 7th April: Nothing to say. What should I say? Why should I write here at all? I am average, normal – my only mistake was in thinking otherwise. A trifle shy perhaps, old-fashioned, but perfectly normal. Blameless, before God and conscience and whatever else torments me. Blameless! I will shout it to the heavens – to the empty night! Nothing to confess. Nothing.
13.
Thursday 8th April: Late now. Everything silent. I lie awake, sit up occasionally, cannot sleep; but for once this insomnia is not unpleasant. A strange mood has come over me. I am transfixed by a flow of memories – such physical memories: of warmth, of pain, of my breath and pulse and the clumsy movements of my body reaching back over years. And yes, of the ‘presence’, which tonight I feel as perhaps a pregnant mother might feel her unborn child. Strange to say, but tonight this thought does not appall me; rather, it comforts me, to know I am not alone after all. And to know that ‘it’ is growing – growing stronger. Can it simply be my own fate, swelling and about to be born? And that I love this fate. That tonight, at least, I welcome it.
14.
15.
Friday 9th April: Something haunts me. That night on the train-tracks, what was it that saved me? At the time I wanted to believe anything but the truth: ‘it’ saved me. Now, ‘it’ is unhappy – I feel it, this sadness, as if it were my own. So open to these feelings now, after years of squashing them. We are in this together, ‘it’ and I, and ‘it’ has saved me, and I must repay the debt. Perhaps it is madness, all of this. Perhaps I have dreamed an excuse to surrender to the void. So be it. I don’t care. So alone… … and yet not alone, for I have my fate, my ‘it’, this seed inside me. Let it flourish now, let it take me. I will do what it wants of me.
16.
02:49
17.
03:47
18.
00:58

about

TIM SINCLAIR plays the Internal Twin via SPOKEN WORD.

BEN WINCH plays the External Twin via TEXT.

(Please click on the ‘lyrics’ links or on the individual track titles to read the text. A free PDF of the original 24-page booklet/zine accompanies the download.)

FROM THE PRODUCER:

‘Brothers of the Head’ (we called it ‘Twins’ back then) was first pitched to me as a concept by Tim in late 2002; by the end of that year we had a grant to do it; and by about February ’03 I had set up a rudimentary studio in the spare room of mine and my wife’s house, centred around a Tascam 788 portable digital 8-track and a Rode NT3 condensor microphone. Rudimentary, perhaps, but to Tim and me these two items were utter luxuries, and luckily, inspired us to coax the best possible sounds from our junkshop menagerie of instruments.

In terms of any sound aesthetic, ‘Twins’ evolved with little forethought, its eventual sonic texture being, for the most part, a product of chance and necessity. In an effort to avoid the traditions of rock songwriting – verses/choruses/melody in particular – which we felt would overpower the words and narrative, our performances were almost all improvised, and many of them first-takes. Of 18 tracks, only 4 evolved from any pre-conceived riff or chord-structure (‘Suicide 1 & 2’, ‘I Want it Back’ and the ‘Outro’) and these we originally improvised to mini-disc around a campfire.

This is not to say that work progressed quickly. Perhaps it was for the best that I was inexperienced in production (a few sessions on borrowed analogue 4-tracks aside), otherwise would I really have put so much time into re-shaping and scrubbing up pieces which we had, in many cases, spat out in as much time as it took to play them? New to digital editing, I became fascinated with looping, cutting, pasting – all processes which can transform the humble, inspired but often directionless jam into something more focussed, more coherent, more palatable. High-resolution loops of crappy-sounding old instruments – whoa baby!

I’ll have to admit, at first I didn’t know if it could be done – I mean, a musical about a foetus trapped in a head?! But here it is, we did it! Lucky we killed ‘em though, or you’d all be clamouring for a sequel.

(Ben Winch, March 2004)

CREDITS:

Music by Ben Winch and Tim Sinclair, except cello and piano parts on Suicide Pts 1 & 2 and I Want it Back by Allye Sinclair.

Spoken word by Tim.

Text by Ben.

Design and layout by Tim.

Music produced by Ben.

THANKS TO:

Justine Shih Pearson for her outside eye; Kylie Walsh for artist photo; Allye Sinclair for musicianship and generosity; Dave Sinclair, Donovan Winch, Reed Cathcart and Andrew Noble for equipment lendage; R & R Sinclair for use of house and assorted instruments.

“... we are needless to say in a skull.”

(Samuel Beckett)

CIP001, Cottage Industry Press

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released April 4, 2004

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