SONG: In the Ring


“In the Ring” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Scientific American, 4 May 2020, “A Shiny Snack Bag’s Reflections Can Reconstruct the Room around It,” as used in the post “How your snack bags can give you away.

I really like the music to this song, especially the way the two electric guitars talk to each other during the solo/outro. This is actually the third (maybe fourth) piece of music I tried for this month’s song. At one point, it was going to be spoken word about bat research, but that whole thing is still not where I want it to be. Then, I just recorded this simple, alt-country chord progression and thought, yeah, alright. Added a band. This is nice. The two solos. Right on!

Of course, I was thinking at that point about writing lyrics about Antarctica turning green, but nah. That “story” didn’t fit the shape of the music I’d recorded. And then I thought about the privacy-stealing potato-chip bags. The weird unseeable detail that potentially unravels a secret, once the visual-mapping computer makes its RGBD sequence. OK, so what secret is worth writing an alt-country song about? Someone stepping out on someone else.

Which of course leads right to the reflective object being a wedding ring. She’s still wearing it while Facetiming with her husband, then slipping it off to two-time him with that guy who’s just off the screen. So much for the business trips.

In part, I was trying to play a similar game to one of the first songs I’d ever written for this site, Flip the Switch – the direct address to the researchers, the computer revealing something the narrator didn’t realize, the unraveling of a relationship based on a small clue. Maybe this is what our technology is doing to our society: the relentless pressure of revelation. “In the Ring” is a little more mournful than “Flip the Switch,” and it doesn’t have any weird digital noises, but I’m not sure it’s any more accepting of the technology. (I mean, other than the fact that the experiments behind both songs are both really cool projects … they just have some scary potential applications.)


This is my wife
That’s my ring on her finger, how

Take this reflection
For closer inspection, now

Nights on the road
Our circle of gold
Now I’m feeling low

In the ring
Synthesizing the view
And right next to you, there…

In the ring
Just outside of the frame
Revealing my shame, there

… in the ring.

VS 2:
Render your maps
From grabs of our chats, here

Modeling light fields
Tell me what’s real
I trusted my eyes, but why

Neural nets
No need to fight
It’s written in light, yet

In the ring
Once the shadows were cleared
We all saw him there

In the ring
Reconstructed the space
We all saw his face, there…

… in the ring
… in the ring.

… in the ring
… in the ring.