SONG: Migration Roads


“Migration Roads” [Download]
. (available as .ogg here)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on LiveScience, 3 May 2024, “1st Americans came over in 4 different waves from Siberia, linguist argues,” as used in the post Languages show four waves of migration into prehistoric North America.

ABSTRACT: I am not sure why this song took so long, but I think it was vastly improved – the recording at least – thanks to the time to tweak a little bit here and lower a little bit there. This (and the penitential cover for missing the deadline, to be posted very shortly) were both recorded on my “non-music” computer, an ASUS netbook running Windows. I have a sort of skeletal version of Reaper on it, with only one VST player and only one SoundFont (though that is the enormous “Timbres of Heaven” collection). Everything else on this is whatever came packaged with Reaper a couple of versions ago.

Meanwhile, I’m finding it easier to skip the actual daily (or a few times a week) science-feed posts on here. I think I’m getting tired, in part, but also I used to get a lot of those updates from social media and those feeds have dried up… and most respectable publications have moved subscription-only, alas.

At any rate, the music part of this song was basically written and recorded more than a month ago, as part of my recent experiments with open-G tuning. The words didn’t come so easily, although I knew I wanted it to be from the perspective of someone following a generations-old migration from Asia to North America, aware of being one wave among many. The bridge went through about four or five drafts, and was one of those things where actually just singing it through was the only way to write it. That process is also where those backing vocals (is it wrong to think of them as REM-ish?) came from; they emerged from the bridge and worked their way out.

I’d planned to move the guitars and flutey sine-wave synth from the netbook onto the “music laptop,” but never got around to it. That laptop still needs a battery, so it’s a little difficult to physically move around (unplugging and replugging, constant fear of accidental jostle to the cord resulting in loss of work). There is something going on with the way the interface or mic plugs into this netbook – I’m not sure if a cable is wearing out or if it’s just that I’m tending to play further away from the mic, but it’s getting a sort of gated, boxy sound with no sustain. I had to layer a lot of guitars in order to get around that. Something to look at before the next song.

I’m very happy with the words, although I suppose I should have made the “linguistics” part more of the song to really share the wisdom of this research. Just the fact that there have been waves of migrations for as long as there have been human beings… that’s the main thing. It is what we do. We move around. We go looking for the newer sunrise.


I pulled boots over blisters
As the frost gave way to mud
Dried salmon on campfires
The sun felt good and the sun feels good and…

I am following migration roads,
the migration roads. (x2)

The mastodon herds were thinning
I would serve you better steaks
So I walk toward the sunrise
As if horizons would not break

I was dreaming of your eyes again
And the skies the color of the waves
I would carve this in a clamshell
I would take this to my grave


Grandma said in Beringia we had walked this way before (we’re walking)
The ocean took the shore (we’re walking)
Where the land is being born (we’re walking)
These boots are worn (x3)


(we’re walking) (we’re walking)
The stars fall like embers
There are sparks in the smoke
There are signs in the morning clouds
And we keep walking
And we keep walking
And we keep walking …