Sunday, February 28, 2010

This Time... Can Blow Your Mind

I'd forgotten how beautiful this song was: In Here feat. Nia Long from the never-released Ishmael Since 1999 LP. I know there are some promo copies around so if anyone knows how I could obtain or at least hear it please let me know... reading the press release on the old Red Ant Records site was as far as we got. I recall it was co-produced by a Marcel Sanders, and that Ish "wanted the songs to sound like the beginning of the world." A suitable feel for what was to be his rebirth as a solo artist, and perfectly describes the vibe of the few tracks I have heard.

Ish's ability to paint a picture with so many details while keeping an overall harmony is bewildering. Listen to this song: the disillusionment with 'the world' in the first few verses, the mystical/paradisal aspect as "something frozen slides in place", the emotions build up as she listens to his bitter reflections on life before trying to finally reassure him "I'm not going anywhere", at which point the guitar kicks in and man and woman come together as they've always done. No words, just vibrating electric strings making waves. This time can blow your mind, but we've also been given a sanctuary from all that. Coming back down to earth, the last verse can only be one of promise, of fidelity, which is another word for faith. We can't control much of what's outside but our hearts remain our private garden, to either neglect or nurture. There are so many other things about this song that amaze me but which I lack the eloquence to articulate. A true love song.

In Here lyrics:

A thousand plans, a million dreams
The slow crash of everything
The babies know all the words to sing
Spotlight burning down the kings
Out there

Twisting up the shiny wheels
Love kills, fake is real
Can't forget you dollar bill
Everyone'll cut a deal
Out there

It's wild in the rats race
We trying to win and beat the case
Famous(?) leave without a trace
Something frozen slides in place
Out there

It all happens razor fast
Waiting for your chance to blast
Trade love for fun and dough for trust
Ash to cash and dust to dust
Out there

This time
Can blow your mind

But you won't lie and I won't flee
We rich, we broke, we trapped, we free
And I won't lie and you won't freeze
We rich, we broke, we trapped, we free
And we can solve this mystery
Then me is you and you'll be me
In here


  1. Have you ever been able to find a copy of this album? I remember waiting for it to be released for what seemed like years.

  2. alas, no. i have 4 songs off it though. in 1999 red ant records sent me a sampler with 3 tracks on it: "what you got", "heartbreak", and "16th minute". i had that digable planets website at the time. then the whole lp got shelved. but in 2003 i was in DCide records's offices in dc and jeff wanted to let me hear the upcoming "bright black" release. he left me in the listening room to absorb the lp and i was looking around and there were all the promo cds for the label's different artists and one shoebox was full of cherrywine stuff, mostly samplers of bright black but also a few copies of "since 1999". i was so tempted to slip a copy into my backpack but didn't. after the music ended i went out and asked jeff if i could have a copy of "since 1999" but he replied in the negative, although he played me some songs off it. one was an early version of "dazzlement" as i recall. any way, "16th minute" and "in here" were released o vinyl under the cherrywine moniker. as for the two other songs, "heartbreak" is one of my favourite ever ish tracks and "what you got" sounds like the first sunrise on planet earth. unless i get ish's permission i'll have to continue to keep those two to myself as i've been doing for twelve years.

    as for the entire album, i know for a fact that some dudes got promo copies sent out to them. one guy called jordan from a baltimore band called vertical8 or something had a copy he was emailing me saying how he loved it but i never managed to get a copy. hopefully as the shabazz palaces star rises someone will put it out there for us!!!!

    1. know this is random......but ish said in an interview he didn't have the songs himself......did you ever get his permission to release the others?

    2. well i have never asked him about putting out "heartbreak" and "what you got" but the next time i see him, which should be the next uk tour, i will ask him.

  3. Man, I can still remember trolling the Red Ant website looking for updates...waiting...nothing. Then Bright Black shows up one day almost out of nowhere. Same sort of thing with Shabazz: I just up and heard about it. I like that unexpectedness about the releases - sort of makes them feel like they just are, that they weren't a process, but something that just exists - but it also tweaks my weird need to know what's in the pipeline. I suppose, if Brian Wilson can release SMiLE 40 years later than expected, maybe there's still hope for Ishmael Since 1999.

    Anyway, thanks for the response. Love the blog.