A Pebble of the Brook

by The Duke of Norfolk

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    releases July 17, 2020

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1.
16th / Electric Reed Organ / Do We Really See
2.
I spent the evening in reading poems from old lovers. Emily, again, paints the world in rare-used color. I dip my glass beneath the spring of this ancient fountain And sip thy jessamines. Hidden garden / forbidden mountain. If I leave, with the ringing bell, this is all I know of heaven and all I need of hell Calm the raging storm. If you can, I’ll give you everything. Gentle diligence, burning off my unseen offering. But would I leave if the seas don’t swell? I'll tell you what I can of heaven and what I must of hell Now my numb left forearm! Now the blood in my cheeks! Causes silent wonder, growing silent need. Oh the hope of heaven! Is this hope I feel? Still I hear the thunder, and the whimpering. 
I spent the evening in. And I dip my glass again. 
Hidden garden / forbidden mountain.
3.
December / Willow in the Sun
4.
23rd / Give Thanks / In Bed Until Two
5.
I have heard the song of the bird in my breast saying, ‘lover be strong, though this world is a mess, "Thou my best thought, by day or by night"’ Will I fade when I lose you? Oh lover be kind. Seraphim angels attend to my doubts, in your living room Thursday, I cast it all out. 'Thou and thou only, first in my heart’, you were carved from the mountains, oh lover of art The breaking of dawn, like the fraying of thread, we were carried along with the breaking of bread. 'Heart of my own heart, whatever befall’, though the darkness may hide thee, still harken my call. Love of my summer and love of my fall, I may miss you in winter, if I must miss you at all. ‘Riches I heed not,’ nor arrogance cheer. That I may love thee in springtime, oh lover be near.
6.
October / The Breaker & Repairer
7.
20th / DEN / Miss You Dearly Friend
8.
September / The Pain of the Process
9.
August / Orchid Blue
10.
00 / AVR Fast Playback / Radio Prophet

about

“The zealots may call me a prophet” the unknown voice proclaimed to my friend’s Seattle kitchen the first weekend of September. Finally having bought batteries to revive the handheld recorder I had found at an estate sale several months prior, we were sitting after breakfast listening to the 12 minutes of audio left by its previous owner. The first eight of these minutes had been a rather dull audio diary with thoughts on traffic jams and other gravely ordinary events, but it suddenly had transcended the ordinary to touch on prophecy.

The remainder of the tape was a smattering of preamble to some, apparently life-changing, experience. The audio clicking on with insistences of importance then off with recognitions of doubt. Dancing around a story but never presenting it, almost like a movie trailer hinting at themes but giving nothing away. Instead the recording ends unceremoniously with a question: “do we really see with our eyes or is it our minds that see through our eyes?”.

Though the question–like much of the recording before it–had an almost comically important air to, it was haunting. As if this old man–recently survived by this small plastic diary–never reached a conclusion about his own story. Caught between conviction and doubt, his final act was to question the integrity of his perception; etching the doubt, half-speed, on a strip of oxidized plastic film.

A Pebble of the Brook, named for William Blake’s poem “The Clod and the Pebble”, is about perception. The songs attempt to look at the same things with different lenses. In many ways it is the second part to my last album, Attendre et Espérer, as it is also centered around grief. The album follows the thread of it as it leaves its sanctioned place at funerals and anniversaries to hide itself in travel photos, shifting relationships, and bicycle injuries.

A Pebble of the Brook begins with the voice of the dead questioning our perspective and ends with his admission of uncertainty.

credits

releases July 17, 2020

Written by Adam Howard

Recorded & Performed by Adam Howard with the help of:
Eve Goldman - Vocals (tracks 2, 6, 8)
Julia Michel - Clarinet (2)
Zach Gerzon - Additional engineering (2)
Margaret Wehr - Vocals (5, 9)
Chloé Serkissian - Vocals (6)
Molly Evered - Vocals (6)
Daniel Hutchinson - Trumpet (6)
Jason Bowyer - Field recording (7)
Márk Fédronic - Trombone (9)
Theo Fédronic - Trumpet (9)

Chorus (track 5):
Daniel Hutchinson, Hanna Hutchinson, Claire Laurenson, Rory Millar, Caroline Overy, Morgan Rinehart, Chloé Serkissian, Rebecca Wagner, James Whyte, Gaby Yánez

Additional thanks to Ali Burress, Molly Evered, Bethany Shorey Fennell, Zach Gerzon, Eve Goldman, Peter Myers, Caroline Overy, Cameron Reed, Chloé Serkissian, Eric Stalker for listening as the album took shape and for being a part of the shaping.

Sample of Zabelle Panosian’s Groung used on Track 5 with permission of Canary Records.

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The Duke of Norfolk Portland, Oregon

The Duke of Norfolk is a peripatetic singer/songwriter from Oklahoma.

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