by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.



José González - "Open Book". Ke'mar's grandfather used to tell him stories about the days before Bollo was a desert. Once, long ago, before even they had been born, Bollo was an island in the midst of a wide sea. Kwii's southern face was like the rest of the summer planet: sapphire water dotted with tiny islets, with darting finbacks and spiderweeds. Back then, Bollo wasn't a desert capital - it was known for its pearl-divers, for its sailboat engineers. And yet, over time, sand accumulates. There is a Bollonese proverb: Sand comes. It appears in the corners of rooms, at the bottoms of cliffs - bit by bit the islet of Bollo became an island, the island became a larger island, and the island became a small, complete continent. A landmass with its own dunes and oases, insects and mammals, scavenging birds. No one living remembered when Bollo was an island but they had all heard stories of it, passed down folktales of flying fish and shipwrecks.

Bollo's sand gave it a special status on Kwii. Most of the planet was suffused with balmy saltwater, tropical groves; desolation was rare, and it attracted a special class of tourist. For two generations, Ke'mar's family had managed a guesthouse for these wilderness-seekers. They provided clean beds, fresh breakfasts, sonic showers to wash the sand from clothes and skin. They played quiet music during the evening meal, as all the visitors sat on carpets and ate. They provided long bouts of silence - their guests almost always preferred silence - as the house filled and emptied with wanderers, dreamers, lonely-hearts. Some mornings, when Ke'mar was toasting the cakebreads, he would stare out into the atrium and wonder if any of these travellers had ever met his sister.

All of this is because of me. This was one of the songs Ke'mar sang with his family, at dinner, as they sat in a circle before the visitors. It was an old song, maybe a prayer, but whenever Ke'mar sang these words he thought of Ki'ax. He imagined her singing this line, back when he was barely old enough to read. Did she hear it as reproach? As regret? Was she singing this line, one day, when she decided to leave Bollo?

She was out there somewhere, in the rainforests of Lama or Su, or off-planet, a trader on the autumn world. She was out there somewhere, miles or light-years from the desert, and she still hid this hot song in her heart. [buy Vestiges & Claws / it's just wonderful]


In case you didn't hear: I have begun writing a weekly music column for the Globe & Mail. Read the first one here (and see if you can find my mortifying typo :( ).

(Image is Robert Frank's Untitled (Children with Sparklers in Provincetown), from 1958. Thank you Alex.)

Posted by Sean at February 23, 2015 11:06 AM

"Lama or Su?" Are we on Kamino circa Attack of the Clones?

I'm thoroughly enjoying this alien tale.

Posted by Zoë at February 23, 2015 12:57 PM

I like this song, and I hope there will be more stories from this universe.

Posted by Lindsey at February 24, 2015 2:10 AM

What Lindsey said (except that I don't just like this song, I instantly love it).

Posted by Michelle at February 25, 2015 2:43 PM

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(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny