SONG: Campfires


“Campfires” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on Science Daily, 16 July 2020, “Solar Orbiter’s first images reveal ‘campfires’ on the Sun”, as used in the post “There are campfires on the Sun”.

ABSTRACT: This song took a while to come together. Let me start with the “about” part: It’s a song about dead people. It’s about the afterlife, or a version of the afterlife. One of the trite little ideas that floats around our culture is that when someone dies they become a new star. Well, the closest star to us is that big blazing circle that lights up our days. There’s a bit in Ecclesiastes which talks about the land of the dead as being not under the sun, as being a place where the sun never shines and is thus outside our knowledge, and possibly outside God’s influence. The idea behind this song is kind of the opposite of that – more like the stars being the campfires of our nomadic ancestors, shining across the darkness of the plains of the dead. Only the closest star is our star, is where our dead are lighting their campfires.

So, yeah. Ultra-new scientific discoveries and very old pagan cosmology.

The sun is made of campfires.

That’s the image I started with.

Then I recorded a bass line, drum part, and an organ solo. By themselves, those parts sounded super new wave, and a little like the notional genre I’ve had in my head for about a decade now, if not more. (Referenced in the abstract to this 2009 song.) That wasn’t quite the right aesthetic. But then I decided to try finding guitar chords that sort of cut the progression in half – as in, half the chords, two chords per measure instead of four. Slow the feel down. Musically, the rest fell into place around that. A little more ghostly, but not exactly dark.

The words took a little longer – I had them written two days after this song was due in, but my recording spaces are getting trickier. This was the first song I recorded in our back room, that was a sewing room once and was originally supposed to be a bathroom when we moved in, but then realized that none of the plumbing existed (it was a room with an unfinished floor, a bathtub, a toilet and about two feet of trash in it… but no pipes under any of the trash). We use it as a storeroom now, since we don’t have a closet. It’s a small space, but one unexpected side effect of recording in a room with a door is that I could hook up a couple of old computer speakers to my laptop and actually do something like “real” monitoring, rather than listening to playback in my headphones. I think it made a difference in the way the mix turned out.

Now, for a couple of covers and an August song.


It’s hotter than asphalt
On an unfamiliar street
Somewhere in this city
Someone’s cooking meat

The directions confused me
I can’t find my phone
In a crowd of strangers
Every one of us alone

But we stop walking
On the surface of the sun
And we light campfires

It’s nowhere familiar
From when we were alive
We rose into the stars
Left our bodies behind

You are so far away
The night, so long
You could see these flames
If you stay up until dawn

We’re not sleeping
On the surface of the sun
You see our campfires

You see our campfires
You see our campfires
You see our campfires
They’re only campfires
They’re only campfires
They’re only campfires