IF POWER ASKS WHY

Format: CD/LP
Released: October 2012
Label: Panoptikon
Catalogue: OPTIK 25

Artist: Andrea Pellegrini, Tanja Zapolski, Martin Hall
Written and produced by Martin Hall
Design: Kenneth Schultz
Photo: Robin Skjoldborg

INDEX

1. Dead Horses on a Beach 5:32
2. Rather Quotable than Honest 3:36
3. MILFs, Cum and Schopenhauer 4:07
4. A Garboesque Leaning 4:21
5. Feeling like a God 4:11
6. The Stench of Your Pity 5:00
7. Hope Is a Lack of Information 5:29
8. Notes on Self-Destruction 4:26
9. If Power Asks Why 5:40


LYRICS
Dead Horses on a Beach

Dead horses on a beach
Red starfish at my feet
This used to be the place
Where we would hide away

The mirrors of the streets
The cafes where we’d meet
All places in the past
Where we would hide away

I used to believe
That there would be a way
I used to believe
That I would find a way
To cure this pain

Dead letters make up words
Scar tissue seals the hurt
This used to be the place
Where we would hide away

I keep running to the shore
I keep calling out for more
Blood-driven to the sand
To see it wash away

Keep running to the shore
To try to see your face
Keep running to the shore
Still trying to find a way
To cure this pain

Life doesn’t cease to amuse just because people die or get crippled
Neither it stops being sad just because someone laughs
Someone sing me a song
Somebody tell me a joke
Make me cry, make me bleed
Make me wake up and see that this dream ain’t for real

All these suicidal wrecks
These aristocrats of death
Keep running to the shore with me
The bodies at my feet
The horses in my dreams
Somebody take them away

Dead horses on a beach
Red starfish at my feet
This used to be the place
Where we would hide away

Keep running to the shore
Keep calling out for more
Blood-driven to the sand
To see it wash away

Rather Quotable than Honest

Like a beacon in the gutter
Simulation’s your ideal
Rather quotable than honest
Seems to be the way you live

You tell me women fake their orgasms
Men entire relations
Well, I couldn’t really give a damn ‘bout your moral indignation
It’s a sign of constipation
Some Darwinian frustration

You apply divine intention
To your spontaneity
Even add a little reason
To the lack of sanity

You tell me women base their promises
Entirely on emotions
Well, you’re such a great authority
In all your self-indulgence
You’re so stupid it’s insulting
Even your clothing is revolting

Pardon my French
But you’re too lazy to be a nihilist
At best you’ll make a travesty
A tragedy that needs to be unzipped
You’re a male, but you’re a cunt
Second only to no one
Yea right, well take advice
The only thing that alcohol does not preserve for long is the state of dignity

I raise my hand
To swear a sacred oath, to make a toast
For wasted times, for blinded eyes
For tragedies and suicides
Yet the ride was my delight
It’s the story of my life
Oh God, I need advice
Yet, Freedom! yet thy banner, torn, but flying streams like a thunderstorm against the wind

MILFs, Cum and Schopenhauer

What a wonderful mixture of glamour and pain
In a room with the rich and the famous, the useless and vain
People reading each other like price tags, oh what a game
First the artist’s a painter that drinks, then a wino that paints

Give me MILFs and cum and Schopenhauer any day of the week
Give me white bread and dark beer to avoid more of this

Luciferian figures and shemales wherever you go
Plastic spoons on a table that’s covered with traces of snow
Someone lights up a swaggering reefer, look at him choke
Hear the sound of your brain cells go “pop” by the smell of the smoke

Better check the urban dictionary, the guy is out of hand
His excitement and vocabulary need coordinated plans

Remember that song
They used to play everywhere we went
At airports, in homes
From Zurich to Munich
Girls pulling off their panties
Yet they don’t
They leave you all on your own
Begging for mercy at the throne of the poster stand

From barbarity to decadence at incredible speed
Skip the whole state of civilization to suit current needs
Such a marvellous scientific study, it’s such a relief
‘Cause it proves what I’ve known all along:
That everyone – else – is a hypocrite

A Garboesque Leaning

What a Garboesque leaning towards seclusion
What a glorious way to believe in yourself
What an elegant way to uphold your composure
Such erratic behaviour all veiled in a mist

Sliding down rainbows
Pale moons keep rising
Tongue-tired conversing
In Saturn draped autumns

No more kitchen sink dramas or sweet temptations
No more coloured belief in the way that you liked
All this Vaseline might get it on, but it’s filthy
It’s the caricature of a heart made of gold

Sliding down rainbows
Pale moons keep rising
Tongue-tired conversing
In Saturn draped autumns

Good-looking boys on runaway trains
Hiding their hard-ons with the same old phrase
Still cracking cheeks with wildfire smiles
Suggested behaviour in lingerie styles

There were bags and mags and crazy stuff
We drank some wine and we laughed a lot
We talked about all the glamour and pain
First Lana Turner and then Cheryl Crane

What a Garboesque leaning towards seclusion
What a glorious way to believe in yourself
What an elegant way to uphold your composure
Such erratic behaviour all veiled in a mist

Sliding down rainbows
Pale moons keep rising

Feeling like a God

What is not worth saying is what you sing about
What is not worth believing is what you rant about
A failed suicide, you can’t get much lower than that
What is revenge but love caught with its trousers down

Can’t say that you love someone
Then rape them all ferociously
Yet that’s what people do all the time
Forgiveness might appear a little too extravagant
Behaving like a pig while feeling like a god
Feeling like a god

Better to be hated for all of the things you are
Than appreciated for what you are not
Oh vanity, it’s the uncertainty of arrogance
All very cultural, ’cause really nothing’s going on

Can’t say that you love someone
Then rape them all ferociously
Yet that’s what people do all the time
Forgiveness might appear a little too extravagant
Behaving like a pig while feeling like a god
Feeling like a god

What is the perfect pleasure?
Exquisite in its nature
Yet it never satisfies you

Scratch in the surface, you’ll only find a little more
Is there a difference – artist, criminal or whore?
A sympathetic worn-out understanding of living
Won’t get you anywhere, not anywhere at all

Yet you’re feeling like a god

The Stench of Your Pity

Don’t make me suffer the stench of your pity
Don’t make me suffer the sound of your voice
Don’t make me embarrassed on behalf of your conscience
Don’t make me offer you any way out

You made me feel so obsolete
You made me feel so incomplete
Half socialite, half necrophile
You only desire what you despise

So absent-minded it seems contemplative
So absent-minded it seems all profound
Convincing the public of your noble nature
Taking advantage of naïve rebounds

Dove of delight, pigeon of peace
Relieving yourself on all you meet
All high and dry, up in the sky
The smell of your piss all over me

Hope Is a Lack of Information

Hope is a lack of information
A spirit of temptation
A flicker inside of each heart
Even though you don’t believe it
Still you’re goaded on to seek it
Revolted by all of its claims

Hope is the absence of summation
Disregarded calculations
A whimper inside of your heart
Though you might want to believe it
It will fail you when you need it

Someone is said to have died for the sake of your lies
Well, be my guest – what a feast, what an armoured belief
Bring out your credos and songs, your perverted mischief

All these excessive delights make you cry like a child
I need to see nothing else than the look in your eyes
It’s so pathetic, my God, it makes me puke at the sight

What does it do to you?
Making a fool of you!
Look what it does to you

Where is the love – and the beauty, the truth we all seek?
But in the mind of the stupid, the feeble and weak

It makes me sick to my stomach, my bones and my core
To see you drool in delusion while begging for more
To see you high as a kite on sedated beliefs
Just a sick little junkie in search of relief

Don’t lay your hands on me!
Hope is leprosy!
Stay away from me
Filthy leprosy

Hope is a lack of information
A mere interpretation
A flicker inside of your heart

Notes on Self-Destruction

Self-destruction remains
The quickest way to regain
Control over your destiny
It’s so blatantly clear

Give me a rule and I’ll break it
Show me a fool and I’ll shake ’im
Erratic censorship rules
An angry ass ridicules
Time to burn off some fuel

Do-re-mi-pla-ce-bo
Baby, mama, girl, ho
Could you please make up your mind?
Your metaphorical ass kicking is going nowhere
It’s surely not as in Santa comes to town

It’s all men imitating women
Women imitating men
People are imitating other people’s lives
Without the caricature of yourself where would you hide?
I’m gonna tear your playhouse down

So whenever in pain
Self-destruction’s the game
You’ll fake your way into history
Though you’re only a parody

It’s all a matter of spleen
Of downright dirt, be obscene
There ain’t no easy way out
You rave and twist and you shout
Gonna go down real loud

Do-re-mi-pla-ce-bo
Baby, mama, girl, ho
Could you please make up your mind?
Your metaphorical ass kicking is going nowhere
It’s surely not as in Santa comes to town

It’s all men imitating women
Women imitating men
People are imitating other people’s lives
Without the caricature of yourself where would you hide?
I’m gonna tear your playhouse down

Let’s turn the light off now
Let’s pass the night on now
In just a little while
We’ll reach the midnight hour

If Power Asks Why

If power asks why
Then power is weakness
If silence is shy
Then silence is cheap

For so long
I’ve seemed to manage this role
Consider
How do you short-circuit control?

High status women
And narcissistic men
Articulated
They do it all again
Salon des Refusés
Depressingly out of date

If power asks why
Then power is weakness
If power abides
Then power is lost

To conquer
You need to silence the prey
Relentless
There’s nothing left here to betray

A lover’s rental
Don’t get too serious
If sentimental
You’ll get delirious
Salon des Amateurs
Such a despicable waste

A vague embarrassment at play
Profound desires came too late
Cosmetic changes all the way
The comfort zone of silent hate

A female victim once again
Innocence caught by the male gaze
Such an ambiguous display
Enacted by a renegade

She’s nodding tentatively towards you
Recalling how she once adored you
She’s running out of social graces
She’s running out of fitting phrases

A figure carved out by uncertainty
It’s the veneer of jaded hostility
Just an illumined hunger admiring itself
She’s out of breath

VIDEO
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Musicians

Andrea Pellegrini: mezzo-soprano
Tanja Zapolski: piano
Alexander Zapolski: 1st violin
Anja Zelianodjevo: 2nd violin
Grigoriy Khodos: viola
Mette Spang-Hanssen: cello
Ida Bach Jensen: double-bass and strings
Thea Vesti Pedersen: acoustic guitar
Eskild Skovbakke Winding: percussion, harmonium and percussive piano
Johnny Stage: electric guitar, mandolin, autoharp and sitar
Ketil Duckert: trumpet and flugelhorn
Hans Nybo: bassoon
Martin Hall : music box, tapes and details

Recorded at Park Film Copenhagen and Water Tower Recordings in May and June 2012. Engineered by Jørgen Bo Behrensdorff and Johnny Stage. Mixed and mastered by Johnny Stage.

Info

If Power Asks Why features a line of (at the time newly written) Martin Hall songs performed by the mezzo-soprano Andrea Pellegrini and the classical pianist Tanja Zapolski. The Danish avant-garde ensemble Lydenskab also appears on the recordings. The album is produced by Martin Hall and the greater part of the songs is arranged by the internationally acclaimed violinist Alexander Zapolski.

The production is based on a series of piano-based “hybrid lieder”, songs all characterized by a high degree of sombre drama – titles such as ”MILFs, Cum and Schopenhauer”, ”Rather Quotable than Honest” and ”Hope is a Lack of Information” might serve to illustrate the lyrical nature of the project. In terms of content the listener is presented to a collection of passionate objections against the cultural imperatives of our times (in particular any kind of standardised parameter of desire) and the album probably contains some of Martin Hall’s most exuberant lyrical work ever.

Andrea Pellegrini is one of Denmark’s most praised and awarded younger mezzo-sopranos. Tanja Zapolski has likewise gained great positive attention as a concert pianist performing with most Danish symphony orchestras. Hall and Pellegrini have earlier collaborated on albums such as Camille (2002), Das Mechanische Klavier (2004) and Hospital Cafeterias (2009), whereas it is the first time Hall works with Zapolski.

If Power Asks Why was released as vinyl-lp, cd and download and received production grants from Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfonds Tonekunstudvalg), Danish Actors’ Association (Dansk Skuespillerforbund) and Danish Musicians’ Union (Dansk Musikerforbund).

The album was nominated for the Danish National Radio’s P2 Award 2013.

Written about the release:

“Excellent melodic material and brilliant arrangements … a great success from start to finish.”
( * * * * * )
Gaffa (Denmark’s biggest music magazine)

”Martin Hall brilliantly stages mezzo-soprano Andrea Pellegrini and pianist Tanja Zapolski in a masquerade of classical lieder and perverted pop.”
Information (the Danish equivalent to The Independent)

“A masterly performed principal work!”
P6 Beat (Danish National Radio)

”Fantastic! An incredibly good record.”
DR2’s Smagsdommerne (the weekly cultural recommendations on Danish National Television)

”A deliciously decadent universe.”
Berlingske Media

”Pellegrini’s warm and enchanting voice has the capacity to melt icebergs.”
Politiken (the Danish equivalent to The Guardian)

”Give yourself the opportunity to be amazed and get this release.”
Tempelores

”Genuinely thrilling … Give it a chance, it’s definitely worth it.”
Santa Sangre Magazine

“Unique.”
Heathen Harvest

“Gorgeous … This is not something you want to miss.”
Brutal Resonance

NOMINATED FOR THE DANISH NATIONAL RADIO’S P2 AWARD 2013