SONG: Like Lava Made of Water


“Like Lava Made of Water” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Science 17 Apr 2022, “Icy Volcanos on Pluto Could Be Sign of Underground Ocean,” as used in the post Pluto might have an underground ocean, if those icy volcanoes are any indication.

This is yet another song where I started with a chord progression, oh, about four weeks ago, and then wrote all the lyrics last night.

What I started with was a musical idea, or a limitation, I’d used once before ages and ages ago, in this sentimental song. It’s based on making a song out of open strings on a normally tuned guitar – two chords, one made by plucking the first and sixth strings together (two Es, two octaves apart), and the other made by plucking the second and fifth strings together (an A with a B – I think that makes it an A9 chord). It’s, like, a verse you could play with one hand. The chorus adds a third chord – it’s just the same as the first chord, but up two frets, making an F#.

Everything else is just ornamentation – just tweedling along on top of that.

If I had an acoustic double bass, I’d play that instead of the piano part for the bass, but I didn’t want that to sound too synthesized in such a spare arrangement, especially with a sine-wave synth (actually the ReaSynth VST with an echo) as the third instrument.

Until I’d put the synth down, I wasn’t sure I was going to write this about the ice volcanoes of Pluto. Martian soundwaves and ayahuasca human sacrifices were both contenders. But I kind of wanted to make a song that had an undercurrent of Yuggoth to it, of pulp imaginings about Pluto as a fearful and alien planet, a place where things we take for granted on Earth are inverted, where you can only swim far underground, the surface is all black and white, and volcanoes send up plumes of snow.

It came out a little meditative, but that’s OK. I dig minimalism, and the feeling of looking up at night into the gulf of space.


Like lava made of water – that’s freezing into black ice
A white planet in the night-black sky – where black mountains rise

Dig more than 60 miles – night swimming, subterranean flow
Ammonia for antifreeze – and instead of ash, it’s snow

Overhead, Charon fractures rock

Like lava made of water – flows harden into ice
A white horizon on a jet-black plain – frozen volcanos rise

Dig down beneath the domes – the molten ocean never shows
Ammonia for antifreeze – and what would would fall as ash is snow

Underground, a silent sea erupts

Like lava made of water – that’s freezing into black ice
Like lava made of water – freezing into black ice