To Be an Angel Blind, the Crippled Soul Divide

THE TEAR GARDEN

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Cover ImageRelease date and tracklist

Oct 1, 1996
CA CD Nettwerk W2-30107

  1. Ascension Day – [MP3]
  2. We The People – [MP3]
  3. In Search Of My Rose – [MP3]
  4. Crying From Outside – [MP3]
  5. Psycho 9 – [MP3]
  6. With Wings – [MP3]
  7. Judgment Hour – [MP3]
  8. New Eden – [MP3]
  9. Tasteless – [MP3]
  10. Cyberspider – [MP3]
  11. Malice Through The Looking Glass – [MP3]
  12. Phoenix – [MP3]
  13. The Habit – [MP3]

 


Credits

  • Edward Ka-Spel
  • Cevin Key
  • The Silver Man (Phil Knight)
  • Ryan Moore
  • Martijn de Kleer
  • De Green Guy
  • Niels Van Hoornblower
  • Anthony Valcic – production

Notes

The word CRIPPLED in the title was supposed to be CRIPPLE (i.e. no “D” on the end), but it was added by mistake somewhere in the production of the release.


Press Release

The roots of The Tear Garden extend back to 1983 when Cevin Key, on the verge of forming Skinny Puppy, struck up a trans-Atlantic correspondence with Edward Ka-Spel, the lead vocalist and driving force behind The Legendary Pink Dots. Three years later, Ka-Spel visited Vancouver for a series of three live performances with Key as sound technician, and during his visit, they recorded The Tear Garden’s self-titled debut EP.

In 1987, Ka-Spel returned to open for Skinny Puppy on their North American tour, after which the duo retreated to the studio for two weeks to produce the now classic electronic-psychedelic album, Tired Eyes Slowly Burning. It was during these sessions that the project’s ranks began to expand, with guest appearances by Key’s fellow Puppies Dwayne Goettel and Nivek Ogre.

Four years later, the Garden bloomed again, this time growing well beyond the Key/Ka-Spel partnership to include not only Goettel, but a wide assortment of friends, including most of the Pink Dots. This fruitful month-long collaboration spawned two releases: an album called The Last Man To Fly, and a (very long) EP called Sheila Liked The Rodeo.

Another four years passed. Four years that saw literal and figurative deaths (the departure of both Skinny Puppy and LPD from their long-time labels; the subsequent break-up of SP; the tragic passing of Dwayne Goettel) and births (Edward’s son, Calyxx; Download; Key’s return to Nettwerk).

In late December, 1995, in the midst of this turbulence, The Tear Garden gathered once more, perhaps to attempt to trigger the dawn of a tranquil new era. The result was To Be An Angel Blind, The Crippled Soul Divide, an album of fragile and powerful beauty that digs even deeper into the psychedelic underground than its predecessors, adding a range of influences from dub bass to country slide guitar, all the while retaining the dark electronic melancholy that has become the project’s signature.


Reviews

Over the past 13 years, the Tear Garden has served as a kind of inspirational distraction for Skinny Puppy’s cEvin Key and the Legendary Pink Dots’ Edward Ka-Spel, indulging their interests in melding dark psychedelia, folk and industrial electronics in an open-ended, loosely experimental setting.

To Be An Angel Blind, the first Tear Garden recording since Skinny Puppy’s turbulent demise, initially seems more interested in quieter, reflective songscapes than anything remotely industrial, Ka-Spel’s thickly English vocals coming off as a kind of gothic Syd Barrett when paired with some delicately picked acoustic guitar and flute (the leadoff `Ascension Day”). As the album progresses, however, this spooky minimalism gives way to slight, jarring bits of synth and drum effects, layering Ka-Spel’s moody vocals with electronic strokes of melancholy. By the 10th track, “Cyberspider,” things have gotten much heavier and even more interesting, navigating thudding live drum rhythms, gnarled fragments of white noise and light, eerie synth melodies.

Taken in its 70-minute whole, To Be An Angel Blind boasts the kind of progressive album-making pioneered by `70s outfits like Pink Floyd or King Crimson, its grand scope of instrumentation and smaller, more tranquil moments begging for a larger conceptual theme (and there probably is one here). Individual song recommendations include the above-mentioned leadoff track, plus “Judgement Hour” and “Malice Through The Looking Glass.” – Colin Helms, CMJ


Lyrics

ASCENSION DAY

I tried to find some silence in this shallow space
I pushed pillows in my ears
I concealed my face
No, don’t you even try to catch my eye
It sits frozen in its place
Here it’s invitation only
I’m lonely
But I’m forced to say
That I cannot see you now

Yet everywhere I walk I’m crushing something
Because I cannot see the stairs
I’d share my sores with you over coffee
But the queue’s 1000 years
And someone stole my badge
And now I’ve lost the right to be here
Breathe the air
It’s not fair
But that’s just the way things are
And I cannot see you now

But through it all my princess holds my hand
And assures me that there’s an island
Yet untouched by human hand
We must simply keep believing
And simply keep our eyes fixed on the morning
I threw my pillows to the wind
And I waited for my wings
And you cannot see me now

WE THE PEOPLE

The revolution came and they blew it
They made a hole three centuries deep
And filled it
They swept in all the streets
All the freaks and all the finest
Now we’re wading
We’re knee-deep
And I can’t tell you what the time is
Because the clock is ten miles up
And I’m too short-sighted
But that’s life
Now there’s four of us down here
But I don’t like the other three
Except for you, dear
Let’s have a coup, dear

IN SEARCH OF MY ROSE

I found you crying outside
On the wall of Devil’s Well
A hangman’s knot around your feet
And praying for the spell
To be shattered
May I be the one
To rip those shackles clean away
And lead you to a place
Where lonliness is tackled
With a kiss

A kiss that has no ropes
No strings
No obligations
I don’t owe you
Be quite sure
You don’t owe me

CRYING FROM OUTSIDE

This beating heart is yours to break
I’m lying on your altar
Take your sacrifical knife and cut
This lamb was born to slaughter
Still I stare at you
With big brown sheepy eyes

I’d like to blow a kiss goodbye
Can you help me?
But you pulled away

So I kicked away my chains
And threw a line out to the crowd
Shouting “Pull me in, please take me in…”
I’ll try to understand
I’ll keep my questions in a can
And my hands inside my pocket
If you like you can lock it
I won’t look you in the eye

Will you help me?

But they pulled away

And now I’m floating in a box
Without a window
So I try leaning on the wall
But it crumbles
So I stumble to the floor
But it liquifies
Transforms itself into nothing
I want nothing
Is that so very much to ask?

But she pulls away

PSYCHO 9

I took my customary stroll
In the mid-day sun
Got my devil diviner
Hand on my gun
Now the game’s for you
We do it for fun
Look out!

Got this itch inside my skull
Got a clip on my wings
Now I’m seeing you peripheral
Or what’s under your skin

Got a basket full of puppets
A hatful of pins
Look out!

Some folks set up a posse
In the local estate now to cripple me
Crisp at the stake
You forgot a few believers
You made a mistake
Look out!

Now they hide inside their boxes
Not a soul on the street
Except for pizzaman
Strangers
Little old me
Look out!

WITH WINGS

The crippled soul divides
And the scars of years fly away
Like confetti on the desert wind
Phoenix rises
Proud young wings reflecting amber
Solitary
Untouchable

Excited
And ready to search for his rose
But the flight lasted so long
And those powerful wings grew weary
As he padded through blind alleys
Swooped open-eyed into blind curves
And wasted night
After lonely night
Trying to drink from a mirage

But no distraction could decimate
The totality of belief
And his number came up
Just when the weight of his despair
Had him pinned to a rock
When the feathers of his wings
Had been shed
And he stood naked
Before a disapassionate ocean of grey faces

His precious twin
His rose
Isolde dancing alone
Then multiplying
Inviting
So many many levels

And the crippled soul unites and prepares
For the long journey home

JUDGMENT HOUR

I’ve got my eyes fixed on your picture
This finger’s pressing mute
Would you shut up for a moment
I need to see the future
Seems it’s looking dim
I tried to shake you off
But still you cling
I never wear your ring
The green stain’s creeping down my finger

Wasn’t there a thing that I did
That gave you pleasure?
Wasn’t there a thing that I did
That made you laugh?

And the hangman shakes his head
Turns the hour glass and counts former wives
Former lives
Line up
Then denounce me

People it’s my party
People it’s my house
It’s me who makes the rules

If you cannot stand the heat
Leave your grudges in the hall
It’s me who makes the rules

I’m head of this table
All of you are mere projections
If I gave you false impressions
Then that’s just the way I am
What I say what I think
Are two entirely diferent things
That’s just the way I am

We should never say forever
Even when it’s what we feel
It’s what I feel, it’s what I fear
It’s what you hear
And time stands still
Until tomorrow when I’m gone
But you keep clinging on
Could that be forever?

We meet again my princess
Let’s get it right this time
Let’s make a toast
We could exorcise the ghosts

NEW EDEN

My splintered stoned Medusa
Lies in places by the mirror
Snakes alive
But I die laughing on a chair
I’m juggling apples
I feel the grass grow ’round my feet
A perfumed candle plays the breeze
That sweeps from West to East
From me to you
Out here…in New Eden

We’ve learned from our mistakes
This time around we’ll make things better
I won’t throw that stone
I’d rather send a letter
If it seems we’re being asked to leave
Then I’ll ask you for your hand
We’ll expand from West to East
From me
From you
Out here in our New Eden

TASTELESS

CYBER SPIDER

Now the ceremony’s started
And the prosecution rests
We’re lying naked on the table
I try to get you on my chest

We’re rated X
We’re live and steamy
Our performance is on line coast to coast
The tongues are hanging
Viewer discretion is advised!

But there’s something I should tell you
Cause it lurks beneath my skin
I got this creepy crawly virus
And I feel it kicking in

If I mutate into a spider
Turn away your pretty head
I’ll be polite when I’m inside you
I shall weave this brave new web

I’m in your heart now, in your fingers
Am I getting on your nerves?
Let’s give them hell
When I yell “timber”
They shall get what they deserve!

MALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Snowblind
I can’t find my way back
Because my tracks move in spirals to me
Now I’m up to my knees
And it’s freezing
I’m sinking
I’m thinking of you
And you wave
As you fade away
Float away

Blue as December
Dismembered
These fragments are glued
To my sails
I’m impaled on a rock
Where we carved our our names

And I blew you a kiss
But I missed
And you left me like this
I fade away
Float away

PHOENIX

Hit “rewind”
You sit surrounded by a frame
Your laugh infectious
Hair in flames
Your star was lonely
But it lives
And we don’t have the time for tears

A step beyond
Deep in the corner of my eye
I swear I saw a curtain rise
I can’t be certain
It could be
That I’m just seeing what I want to see

But just who guides these hands
When they’re shaking with frustration?
When scraping in the sand
Who provides the inspiration?
And who whispers from outside
When all seems desperation
“Seize the future…”

THE HABIT

 

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