The World is Bound by Secret Knots

by Noe Venable

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1.
River Wide 01:37
the mirror must be broken or else how do you explain the scattered light? the mirror must be broken and the day dissolving into night they think I am sleeping but I woke up on the edge of the river wide of all the broken pieces of all the pieces I can find of all the diamond splinters there is one keeps sticking in my mind? hurry past the border everyone is waiting for you on the other side of where you hide, love, by the riverWide
2.
Juniper 04:32
mama oh mama I don’t wanna come down not if it’s all like it was on the ground hiding my feet ‘cause I’m too shy to dance hiding my face behind both of my hands mama oh mama don’t make me come down ‘cause I don’t know what will come out of my mouth people will hear they won’t know who I am people will hear and they won’t understand mama I’ve seen them the others like me once I could see it was all I could see the silent procession that crosses the snow in which skeleton ladies like skeletons go mama oh mama up here where I’m free I have seen beauty you wouldn’t believe Juniper’s ledges and Juniper’s birds where Juniper’s edges and mine become blurred mama oh mama if you only heard the reasons for living the freedom of words the blooming balloon of a thought being born safe in the branches of Juniper’s arms mama oh mama I’m not like you think some harrowing walker down narrowing streets if I had my way I would bring the whole world every sleepwalker and each hungry girl mama oh mama and old uncle tom my father the thinker my daughter the song tell every bell to just wake up and ring tell this whole choir to just shut up and sing mama oh mama I’m holding your hand in these glorious dreams in which you understand mama oh mama we’re spinning around mama oh mama don’t make me come down
3.
Tower 03:53
there is an ocean I have been holding in my hands there is an ocean I have been holding back for years where I was standing now I am rocking to and fro will you still love me after you see this tower come down? we used to play at light as a feather stiff as a board we used to play at listening in to the darker world oh how strangely applicable those games seem now will you still know me after you see this tower come down? girl I’ve forgotten how to be brave could you show me how? girl I’d forgotten, where did you go? I’m lonely now? that’s when it struck me and I rang out just like a bell she’ll be there laughing in the place where the tower fell bricks and mortar raining down on the little ones heads bricks and mortar raining down on the little ones little ones you will awaken your sensuality you will awaken it’s an eventuality here comes an ocean I’ve been holding in my hands here comes and ocean I’ve been holding back for years
4.
Black Madonna will come down for you with open arms and a veil to hide her face and Black Madonna will come down for you and there is no sickness and there is no suffering and there is no anguish and no anger that she cannot erase you might see Black Madonna walking between the sheets of an angry day or you might see her smile a strange-sad smile as she steps out of your way or you might not see her at all but she might be coming down for you with her arms spread wide and her head on fire ’cause she sees you been down so long >> there isn’t a sin that you could make that she will not forgive but oh, Black Madonna, I did not believe her beauty I thought I did not need her mercy I thought I did not need traded my belongings and my body my memory and my mind my center of gravity and my sense of direction ’til I woke up half an hour from the city and realized I had lost all sense of the passage of time so I don’t know if it’s been a day or a week or a year all I know is I’m still here and I always thought you’d lift me up and you never did what the fuck? >>there isn’t a sin that you could make that she will not forgive no there isn’t a sin that you could make in the ways that a stray must live so what I wanna know is this if you believe in everything fitting into a kind of place if you believe that everything and everybody has a certain space they fit into babies entering into a welcoming world in jubilant curls of star gazing wonder and the sick yes even the sick just a shuffling into sleep’s dark brother and the sleepers in the sleet the heaps in the street nestled under trestles for to get a little heat and if the trestles watch over the sleepers and if life ushers her lucky winners through fleshy gates to four star dinners and if sleep ushers his population to plug into the dream life radio station and if thin souls whose bodies haven’t wrecked them walk smoky streets that know and expect them then what I want to know is this what of strays who have turned their backs on the god of strays? >>what of strays who’ve turned their backs on the god of strays, yeah, what of them? oh Black Madonna I was thinking about the days that I spent with you ’cause now I doze and daze and drown and cling to the wreckage of a sinking town and I walk your dire streets in search of anything that?s still pure ’cause I once thought you watched over me but now I’m not so sure
5.
Garden 03:27
I lay my head upon your chest bones of iron bones of lead and death is rattling the cage like a bird that would escape but there’s no room for thoughts like these in the garden where we sleep and I am on a burning ship clothes all flying in the wind but I am beautiful like this when you hold me in your hands but there?s no room for thoughts like these in the garden where we sleep always searching for those breasts pumping morphine always searching for– don’t you fly to them don’t you fly to them you can fly to me I’ll take the moment in my hands pull it open ’til it sings before the motion of this place where nothing stops to have a name will leave us hanging like a tear?
6.
you’re tuning out like a snowy television you’re turning into something you don’t understand caught amongst the hungry ghosts fluttering in windows caught amongst the hungry ghosts that take you by the hand you used to dream that you would meet a stranger you used to dream that one day you would catch a whale but now you walk alone it is not a walk through pansies where did it go? is the spirit here? No broken bottles broken bones she had a man who used to beat her don’t let anybody know heavy hands, hair of cedar and they come and use you up and then leave you where they found you ’til you sigh and let it go is the spirit here? definitely no swollen bellies hungry souls swollen cities hungry nation their opinions are a crutch for a dead imagination empty eyes and broken homes and I wonder, have I joined them? well at least I’m not alone is the spirit here? definitely no like a flatline, without pain like a doctor who keeps talking catch a bottle full of rain like a robot I went walking then the roof came flying off like a border open wide like a flower where you died like a sinister banister slide into the minds of the houses you’ve abandoned through a sea of shattered lives like a swan without my pride like a monster in a dress near forgotten left a mess like the only one you can’t impress is the spirit here? YES
7.
Aslan and the Silver Queen couldn’t stop time although they tried now just look at me seventeen and seventy turn it around follow me down midsummer night’s dream the bite of wind the taste of rain getting called names comets of pain and other bright things my favorite things and favorite places covered in kisses when all of this is memories what kind of creature shall I be? >> hOw’d yOU get in hERe? — shh! it’s a secRet >> tell me! — on flYing hEEls and wAGon wHEels? (rest is unintelligible) so I run out but not away shooting off sparks into the dark out in the street ’cause one day I am going to bloom patient and proud with fish in my mouth and eyes in my wings what kind of creature shall I be? Aslan and the Silver Queen turn it around follow me down midsummer night’s dream
8.
Feral 03:34
I wanna run ’til my feet start bleeding I wanna make it all the way to the ocean I wanna live for life and no other cause I don’t ever wanna be like my mother I wanna learn to walk on the water cause I don’t wanna be like my father I have a sister and I got a little brother and I don’t ever wanna be like them either uh uH Uh feral I had a place I’d go in the garden where I’d pretend that nobody made me, watch the sun going down on the day like a gentleman going down on a lady and I had friends who would come and meet me and we would stay ’til early evening singing, “we’re not gonna die away so easy we’re not gonna die away die away, no?” uH uh UH! I’m not scared to walk like a lady and I’m not scared to cry like a baby I’m not scared I’m not scared I’m not I’m not scared I’m not?
9.
Simple Song 04:20
10.
Wings Again 03:20
I have wings again can you see them? I can’t but I know they’re there my wings again now you’re gone there’s nothing left to keep me here and you can tell my friends they won’t believe when I broke down like a plastic heart that I had them then but for some reason I would rather fall apart than notice them nights I spent puzzling over where they went caught like an act on your high wire plummeting like a bird on fire tumbling over believe it or not I nearly forgot the stumps where my wings were cut off oh cut off oh you’re standing on the ledge you watch the empty sky fade out and there’s no one to pull you back from the edge I raise my arms above my head and I close my eyes and I hold my breath I wonder why would you rather fall apart than notice them? nights I spent puzzling over where they went nights I spent puzzling over where where where where they went puzzling over the stumps where my wings were cut off oh cut off oh
11.
Lilies 04:39
I lay me down like a truth amongst the dares I lay me down and someone cut my hair I lay me down I cannot remember where I think about it less than you’d think the thing that happened when I was asleep I think about it more than you’d know the things that waking I myself chose I dreamed a woman where the night sky met my eyes I dreamed a woman she had lilies in her eyes I feel that something inside me wants to rise I think about it less than you’d think the thing that happened when I was asleep sometimes it weighs heavy on me the things I did when I was awake sometimes it weighs heavy on me
12.
canopy of light and sound moving freely rising up from falling down can you see me? find yourself another doll to pin your dreams upon find yourself another doll cause this one’s leaving
13.
In the Dark 05:03
ask this girl you for me in the dark what did you see? first I stopped listening ’til I couldn’t hear then I stopped living out of books and mirrors then I stopped looking ’til I couldn’t see when I say darkness this is what I mean ask this girl eye to mind in the dark what did you find? and in the dark I touch with all my toes and in the dark I taste with all my teeth and in the dark I kiss and dance and scream I’m not afraid of being anything and I remember when I was a kid feeling about unicorns the way I did first I poked through to it like a stitch in time now I am reuniting horn and mind I will buck up against the city lights when it goes blurry and I am afraid ’til I can feel you uncompromised ’til I can feel you

about

The World is Bound by Secret Knots is haunted. What are its ghosts? A lion, a queen, a girl in a tree. The Black Madonna, “Goddess of strays.” A child turned wild. Throughout runs the theme of incantation– calling on forces stronger than one’s self to help one meet the challenge of the moment, hovering between daring and regret.

The sonic landscape of this album was masterminded by Todd Sickafoose, and features the guitar wizardry of Nels Cline (Wilco), among others.

This album includes many of the songs Noe played while out on the road during her second tour opening for Ani DiFranco.


What they said:

As I keep trying to tell people, San Francisco’s award-winning singer-songwriter Noe Venable has a ton of talent packed into her tiny frame. That’s likely why Ani DiFranco keeps inviting her out on tour … that, and, like DiFranco, she’s got a wonderfully wacky sense of humor. Venable’s latest album is also her most ambitious, seductive and engaging. With just an electric piano backing her up… on the opening “riverWide,” (Venable) is just playing a trick, starting off with an odd little distraction so that when she unleashes her powers and allure, aiming them at that special spot between your throat and heart, they’ll hit with maximum impact. Swirling and smoky, “Juniper” meticulously melts the mind and haunts the heart. Like most of Venable’s songs, it sounds like it comes from another time and place, a spot in the past that held more beauty and magic than we can presently imagine. With whispered word-speak singing, Venable casts a creepy and curious little spell of a story-song during “Black Madonna,’ throwing in harp swipes as if to remind us that she’s playing a bit. That voice gets smooth and put into a house of mirrors for the following “garden,” and then introspective and subdued on the gentle and soothing “midsummer night’s dream.” Venable has a knack for singing phases so that they immediately and permanently stick to the brain and on “feral,” when she gently shouts, “I got a sister and I got a little brother, and I don’t ever wanna be like them either,” well, I can’t help but repeat the line aloud over and over. In fact, a great amount of The World is Bound by Secret Knots has taken up a comfortable, lasting residence in my mind and this album deserves many more happy homes. Noe Venable may be small, but she should be huge.

-In Music We Trust

The World Is Bound by Secret Knots is Noe Venable’s most accessible and compelling album to date… The new collection of songs sounds as if it could have been inspired by a fever dream… Venable says this record is her most personal collection of songs to date, but her work isn’t that of your typical confessional folksinger. For one thing, it’s not really folk music. Though she does often play open chords strummed on acoustic guitar, it’s where the words and ideas take the songs that makes them distinctive. Venable’s unique point of view emerges in lyrics that can sometimes come across more like allegories than first-person stories. Even when she’s tackling personal or familial issues, as in “Juniper” and “In the Dark,” the metaphors she chooses and the way she twists language remove the subject matter a few steps from personal experience. In addition, the eerie guitar effects and hypnotic loops that haunt the corners of songs such as “Feral” distance Venable even further from the conventional singer-songwriter genre, giving her more in common with Tom Waits and Radiohead than with Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan.

-Acoustic Guitar Magazine

credits

released July 19, 2018

Produced by Todd Sickafoose
Mixed by Todd Sickafoose
Mastered by John Greenham

Noe Venable – voices, guitars, mandolin, wurlitzer
Todd Sickafoose – piano, keyboards, basses, guitars, programming
Alan Lin – violin & effects
Dan Morris – percussion
Nels Cline – electric guitars
Justin Morrell – additional acoustic guitar on Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Noe Venable San Francisco, California

Ethereal Folk Music for Seekers. In the words of Noe's fans: Elven, dreamlike, and entirely original.

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