SONG: “Colonies”


“Colonies.” [Download]
(To download: double right-click & “Save As”)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on “Bees build mental maps to get home”, Nature, 2 Jun 2014, as used in the post “Bees know their way. As in they *know*. They remember.”

ABSTRACT: Bees. I’d been keeping them for the past few months (like my parents did when I was a kid) until a couple of weeks ago, when some truck sprayed some chemical along my back yard and zip, bees all died. (Thought it was mosquito control; turns out it might have been *weed killer* sprayed to get the invasives out of the canal.) There’s something really analogous to keeping a beehive and maintaining a website or an online community – lots of checking things, watching systems at work, keeping an eye on things that build up or try to intrude on the proper functioning. With the right attention, the system kind of takes care of itself.

The hive has a kind of intelligence; that’s nothing new. But now they’re telling us the insects themselves have a kind of intelligence. Or at least a personal memory.

The first line here, “white machines,” is an image basically stolen from Sylvia Plath, a beekeeper who wrote:

Here is my honey-machine,
It will work without thinking,
Opening, in spring, like an industrious virgin

The chords were kind of stolen from Guided By Voices (who kind of stole them from The Police ((nice bow tie, Gordon))) and kind of not. And I’d like to thank members of “the ASMR community” for their involuntary assistance in counting down. Like helpful little bees.

There was a lot going on sonically here – for one thing, all the guitars were done with a nylon-string classical with lots of amping and overdriving going on. I had to do some weird stuff with phase-reversing to make the vocals sit properly in the mix, basically subtracting waves to make the vocal sounds stand out. The drums were a lot of fun.


White machines (D/Bb/C/G)
Sending out agents to (D/Bb)
Fill out the summers and (C/A)

Miles between (D/Bb/C/G)
Clocking coordinates in (Bb/C)
Fields of flowers from (Bb/C)

Sights I’ve seen
Mental mapping in
houses of memory, it

Might have been
No room for accidents
Insect intelligences

=CH= (G/D/Eb/Eb)
flying back to me
flying back to me
Lines that reach
Outside the cities
We make decisions with

Lightning speed
As sweet as honey with
protein from pollination

My strategies
Rely on recognition
Conclusions, suppositions

Fly the queen
All this so organized, and yet

flying back to me
swarming back to me
flying back to me
White machines
Fly the queen