SONG: Nine Dangshen Flowers


“Nine Dangshen Flowers” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:China’s quantum satellite achieves ‘spooky action’ at record distance,” Science, 15 Jun 2017, as used in the post “Here’s your sub-space radio: China gets quantum entanglement to work from orbit.

Spooky action at a distance, as it’s been explained to me, is a thing where you can’t really know if you’re the one making the difference in your half of the photon pair, or if your partner observed their half first and you’re just seeing the after-effects of that.

But still, weird connection. Quantum teleportation.

And, of course, this research is being done in mountaintop sites in Tibet (!) using crystals (!!).

So, rather than go for the full psychedelic New Age vibe, I thought I’d try to make this mysterious interaction personal. (Influenced a great deal by how well that ultra-minimal Only Ones cover turned out.)

Dangshen flowers are also known as bellflowers or poor-man’s-ginseng, and grow in meadows and on mountainsides in Tibet. Grey shrikes are little hunting birds with black masks that hang their prey on thorns and twigs. Willows are one of few leafy trees native to Tibet, too.

So, I wanted to have a scientist seeing one thing that could be normal but seemed significant… and that was one color… which somehow seemed related to the other scientist seeing some other phenomenon that was the opposite color. (I’m kind of sorry that both the white flower and the black-faced bird kind of faded into grey together… and kind of not.)

Recorded with one ukulele track, pitch-shifted down from the second verse on for a bass, a vocal track, and two tracks of tapping on the ukulele back with a little tempo-synch delay on it. And, for the solo part, a SoundFont of a wine glass being tapped that’s been run through an effect called “Spaceman” that makes everything sound like an astronaut’s radio, complete with beeps.

Action at a distance. Something that connects us that we can’t exactly know at first, but that eventually becomes clear.


There were nine dangshen flowers
like old women in the morning
dew on their silver hair
by the laboratory stairs…
And I knew
They bloomed for you
And I knew
They bloomed for you

There were nine grey shrikes
In the willows by your window
Resting in the sun
Their morning hunting done
And you’d see
They flew for me
And you’d see
They flew for me

The satellites and stars
Entangle photon pairs
The crystal’s shine
Is yours and mine
No one else could ever steal
What their light reveals
No one else could ever steal
What their light reveals