SONG: Cluster Anatomy


“Cluster Anatomy” [Download]
. (I made an .ogg version, too.)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Science News, 2 June 2020, “A new 3-D map illuminates the ‘little brain’ within the heart,” as used in the post “Mapping the heart’s little brain.

At first, I thought I might do a song about two entries – because the mapping the little brain one wound up getting posted right next to a mapping of a Roman city by ground-penetrating radar. I was going to try to interpolate a verse from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and everything. But the song didn’t write itself until I was sitting in my parents’ house (social distancing!) for a Father’s Day brunch and playing a very old, small guitar tuned down to I think a C. And a chord progression suggested itself, and while other folks were talking in the next room, I stuck my phone on my knee and recorded the guitar on voice memo to remember it.

Then, I wound up just… stretching that file to fit, with the chatter and everything, because I like that loose-stringed sound. I also liked the way the chords sounded half like Wall of Voodoo and some fraction like the Thermals. An old-fashioned, lo-fi New Wave Western about having a second brain with its own ideas controlling your heart.

The last thing I did, just now, tonight, was record the vocals. Immediately prior, I managed to dunk my phone in a pot full of water next to the sink in the dark kitchen as the family slept. I hope it recovers. Probably some of the frustration from that lapse worked its way into the performance. One can only hope. It’s a frustrating situation.

Hearts are weird. They have minds of their own. We’re not exactly captives of them, but there’s some kind of struggle going on all the time.


I’m not alone in here
Been thinking other thoughts
Between my meeting minds
Before my heart … stops
Before my heart … stops
Before my heart … stops

I get these strange ideas
Somewhere inside my chest
I think he’s keeping time
A mind from somewhere else

I can’t say his name
Or he skips a beat
Cluster anatomy

…Cluster anatomy
Give me a 3D map
To guide me past this trap

…Cluster anatomy
It’s intracardiac
Show me a better path

Before my heart breaks up
Before my heart wakes up
Before my heart wakes