Dagmar 41 Backtracks – and yes, she does. After telling everybody for the best part of five years that I couldn't finish these songs ever, I've given in and done it. If that isn't backtracking, I don't know what is… first I had no voice, then no thyroid, no access to my files, no time, no sound card, and finally no excuse… so here they are. Back tracks for the most part five to six years old but only recently finished.

No band, next to no guest musicians. This felt, in many ways, like going back to the early days of four-track tapes and locking myself in my student room to record songs. These are not quite of the studio quality that graced Unsailable… but they are perfect demos of why these old songs stayed in my head for this long. And if you feel like doing a cover version to show me how you think they should have been done, please feel free to do so – I'd be interested to hear.

Speaking of free, yes these are utterly free and legal mp3s – so grab 'em while they're hot. If you feel like leaving a donation, there is a PayPal button at the bottom of this page, but this is by no means necessary, and I'd much rather get a review than a donation.

Speaking of which, here's the maily link to do so – just snip off the asterisks to prove that you're in fact a human being and not a spambot :)

And for those of you who like albums in CD format, here is a .pdf of the cover for printing, snipping and stuffing into a standard-size jewelcase.

And here, without further ado, are the songs.

Jaques Said - Since this one has been my ringtone for several years now, it was high time it got recorded! The unorthodox spelling of 'Jaques', by the way, is Shakespeare's fault, as is much of the imagery within, and it still amuses me that my refusal to use a metronome has resulted in the final chorus being almost twice as fast as the first one. There, you wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't told you, would you?  Words   MP3

Milonga There - This one has really grown on me and is now one of my favourites of this bunch, possibly as a result of the beauteous chorus. The words of that chorus, by the way, are a prime example of the memory aid I use to remember tunes, namely setting nonsense words to them. Except these refused to go away, and to this day I have no idea how Nietzsche came into it. This is also one of a couple of songs on here recorded on the grand piano in Mainz' university church, so the extreme reverb is all natural.  Words   MP3

Scène d'Enfance I - An instrumental piece that grew out of some random improvisation at the end of the above-mentioned piano recording session, this one comes with words that are nowhere to be heard but are inseparable from the piece nevertheless. A haiku inspired by watching my then girlfriend asleep on a plane, the whole piece breathes the gentleness and slight disorientation of sleep.  Words   MP3

Preparing An Abduction - Dedicated to all those out there who've always wanted to grab a celebrity of their choice and drag them away to a quiet attic, there to have their wicked way with him. Yes, him. I had altogether too much fun with the perspective of the female rapist and the surreal obsession she has with the object of her adoration. Needless to say this isn't aimed at anyone I know, because God knows all the fangirls I hang out with are far too sensible to ever entertain thoughts of abducting their chosen boys ;)  Words   MP3

Iconograph - No, that is not me singing there *wink*. That is in fact my long-time collaboration partner Rob Gózon, who also wrote the music. Watching this song coming together was a hoot actually: he had written and arranged and even recorded the complete backing track, but still lacked words, so he sent me the MIDI file and I happily added lyrics. Which he then proceeded to record to a completely different tune than I had imagined. The result is a chorus that consists of both his and my versions of how we thought the thing should be sung, stacked on top of each other. We are so uncannily well-matched I am certain we'll only stop co-writing when we stop writing altogether.  Words   MP3

Niloufar - My first lesbian love song, which is kind of amusing since it was written a good half year before my coming-out. The Niloufar of the title is a petite dark-skinned Egyptian girl who appeared to me in a dream and turned out to be a hands-and-lips magnet. *shrugs* In addition to having the clunkiest piano accompaniment ever in the chorus, this one also saw me dusting off my trusty acoustic guitar (who, amusingly enough, now shares a rather rare first name with my systems administrator – and yes, they're both brilliant.) to play a one-string solo that owes as much to elegant restraint as to the fact that I really can't play guitar.  Words   MP3

The King's Privy Council - Originally written by Rob Gózon with lyrics by Sascha Seiler, this was the song that would regularly split our then band, DeLuge, down the middle since half of us loved it and the other half thought it was a ridiculous little tune. Predictably, I was firmly in the first half – although I was shocked to find that when the idea of a cover version popped into my head, I couldn't remember all of the words, for all that there were only eight lines. With Sascha's permission, I made up some of my own and gave the song the now-legendary Dagmar-41-too-many-vocals treatment. The result is one minute of evil folk that could have been conceived of by Guy Fawkes, V, or Ra's al Ghul. The fact that it shifts key from C# major to C# minor halfway through is Rob's fault, but the fact that it's in C# in the first place is mine, because silly me started with the vocals and then had a hard time playing the recorder bits on a recorder tuned to F. *facepalms*  Words   MP3

Tense Battleships - The title actually stems from the days I used to teach a bunch of IT guys English – "Tense Battleships" was what we used to play at the end of the lesson, and it was exactly what it said on the tin: a game of Battleships with I, you, he, she, it etc. written down one side and a bunch of different tenses across the other. I would throw a verb into the ring and an eager seal IT guy would catch it and make a move.
The song actually has nothing at all to do with this, but I thought I'd share the story anyway.
Oh, and the chorus is a prime example of ridiculous timing on my part. If anything, I'd love to hear an R'n'B version of this song, with a languid groove and some serious bite. Just keep the Theremin intact please :)  
Words   MP3

Scène d'Enfance II - Another bit of improvisation, this one comes with words that I vaguely remember were a transcript of a dream I e-mailed to someone at the time. Needless to say both the e-mail and the sense behind it (if ever there was any) are lost, so you know as much as I do about this one. Well, no. I know that the fairground organ was a bitch to record, and I won't be able to reproduce that ever, but hey. And I also know that the bits of random spoken word that probably made you go 'huh?' in Tense Battleships are in fact snippets from this one. So there. :)  Words   MP3

Blowflower - Somewhere between Massive Attack and the short-lived avant-garde music/theatre project known as Wir Grubenkinder I was part of in 2000 or thereabouts, this one existed for a long time with just a backing track and a title, before I added the three lines of vocal it has and proceeded to chop them up all over the place.
Incidentally, a blowflower, in my book, is the bruise around your eye that you get from a particularly passionate argument.  
Words   MP3

All The Yellow Stars - The oldest of these songs, this one is a slice of life. As in, the bit about being surprised by seeing myself on TV actually happened. It was a re-run of some silly name-that-tune show I went on when I was a student, and yes, I still have the outfit in question. The inspiration for the song hit when I, as the 23-time champion, got invited for the next season of another obscure quiz show called Lucky Letters… and ended up in an empty studio because they'd forgotten to tell me the show had been discontinued over the summer.
And before you ask, "a tingo la lissene" is not some arcane language (though, knowing me, that is not entirely unlikely), but another leftover bit of memorisation lyric, as well as testament to the fact that I can't read my own handwriting. What it (it being part of the notes for
Shouting Down the Passage of Time) actually said was "a tinge of the insane", which made perfect sense with respect to the poem it was about.  Words   MP3

Fiction! - Memory fails me on what exactly I was planning to do with this one, though it involved Rob somewhere along the line. I'm pretty sure I wrote it on my own though. Of course the chorus is an utter travesty of my real outlook on life, and the bass lines are the best I've ever recorded, and will remain so since the bass guitar, Montresor, is no longer with me.  Words   MP3

Kais Song - Yes yes yes, too many voices again. Bear with me, it's the only instrument I'm halfway good at arranging *grin*! Actually, even the electric guitars in the final chorus are distorted voices, since my electric guitar is currently on loan to a colleague. What this chorus needs is an all-girl Britpop band to play it. What it doesn't need is to come in two different keys, but that's my messy songwriting for you. The Kais of the title, by the way, is taken from Layna's inspiring Buying Trouble, and he fitted the song perfectly, holding it in his notoriously large and gentle hands.  Words   MP3

Scène d'Enfance III - Random factoid about this one: when I wrote this one, I imagined it as being sung to a middle-aged Obi-Wan Kenobi. There, you wouldn't have thought so, would you?  Words   MP3

La Canción de Ermengildo Quijón - Still with the odd characters, this one actually comes with a full 1910s Argentinean pub band. May I introduce: the seriously banged-up piano is played by Ana, surname-less kid daughter to Federiga who works as a flower-seller in summer and a whore in winter. The bandoneon is one Antonieto, nicknamed Nieto, and the singing is shared between Tobiah Juan Peray and Llisa Neeson y Derecho, who in addition to being Irish, red-headed, ridiculously named, happily near-divorced and ruthless also doesn't know the difference between "mi" and "me" and generally sings bad Spanish. The again, she spells her own name wrong, so what can you expect? Ermengildo Quijón, by the way, is Tobiah Juan Peray's lover and dislikes his own name, which is why he isn't too fond of this song and would much rather Tobiah Juan stop singing embarrassing love songs in pubs and come to bed, thank you very much.  Words   MP3



Write me a chair to sit on
Write me a crown to put on – make me a king
Write me a soliloquy
Denying all divinity – there's no such thing

See how we ignore the schemes of the writer
Watch as we fashion our own happy end
Watch as we make the limelight shine brighter
Take our lives in our hands
Until they limply fall
Down at the curtain call

Write me a bed to die in
Write me a grave to lie in – if all else fails
Write me what I am not
Write me a parting shot for this tail of tales

See how we ignore the plans of the writer
Watch as we fashion our own bitter ends
Watch as we force the spotlight to shine brighter
Take our lives in our hands
Until they limply fall
Down at the curtain call

I've spoken to a marionette
Lonely on the stage
Her life was hanging by a thread
She would not disengage

See how we ignore the schemes of the writer
Watch as we fashion our own happy ends
See how we make the limelight shine brighter
Take our lives in our hands
See how we ignore the screaming of the writer
Watch as we fashion our own bitter ends
See how we make the limelight shine brighter
Take our lives in our hands
Until they limply fall
Down at the curtain call

I've spoken to a character
Leaping off the page
Told the truth in simple words:
All the world's a stage.

Sept 15th 2001
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It's that blinking of hesitation
After all your explanation:
I say exactly nothing

To see you quiet, see you doubting
To see your first thoughts form without him
He was worth exactly nothing

And the song remains the same
Tried all my past lives
Hello Nietzsche, do you think I can score?

Wouldn't have thought so
Easier not to, easier not to
The man I need
Would know how to bleed
Like a woman

And the song remains the same...

There, there, there.

July 2nd 2000
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Level with the clouds
Your face as you lie sleeping
Three small upward curves.

Undated & unsung
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Preparing an abduction
A most intimate production
Starring you and me and blindfold makes three
My handsome one-eyed boy

In the quiet of my attic
I am nursing a fanatic
Sorting through the treasures, the imagined untold pleasures
I promise you'll enjoy

Is it my fault that you keep insisting
That you keep existing
Naughty boy?

No I really can't come out tonight –
I got shat on by a clay pigeon and absolutely had to wash my hair
(not fair I know)

No I really can't come down tonight –
the doors are broken and the stairs out of order and they promised to fix them last Tuesday but you know what they're like
(yeah right you know)

Is it my fault that you keep insisting
That you keep existing
Naughty boy?

Er, and what do you mean who are these handcuffs for?
If you put your hands in the right places
We won't need them – darling...

Dec 10th 2000
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and covered in punctuation
Itches where there should be words
Skin growing speechless, blurred with perspiration
Letters scrape along the inside, language hurts

Your grimace as they scrape
Isn't worth the paper
In the iconograph

Page break
and a mound of words behind you
Em dash
Hilarious nothings have grown claws
Return in twisted shapes, looping back to find you
Closing in on both sides, comma, pause –

Your expression as you faint
Isn't worth the paint
In the iconograph

Face: It's so easy to be hard
Verso: and so hard to be easy
Toss the coin to be your guide
Watch it fall on its third side
"It's hardly easy to be"

And your laughter feels so right
Is it worth the light
In the iconograph?
It is all the light
In the iconograph.

November 4th 2001
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I like you for all your savage smiles
For the way your tiger eyes see through me
So unaware of how much I'm in your hands
Those delicate hands that could so easily undo me
And from the depths of me
A tender cry from the sweetest of captivity

Niloufar – I know you're a star
I know you are far too good for me
But Niloufar, for now you suck me in
Incinerate my skin, make me no-one, make me free
I want to be your bread and wine, for the moment you are mine

I like you for all your tender flesh
For the way your darkened innocence veils you
So graciously untouchable, deliciously remote
From this red-lipped pilgrim that assails you
And from the depths if me
A choking prayer in the face of an epiphany

Niloufar – I know you're a star...
I want to be your flesh and skin for the moment we are in

Keep the horses at bay, torn shadow of a poison fear
Forward the screams of lust so that the doubts may disappear
As may you of course, there I've said it, and worse still, you might wake up and sneer
Oh stop the world right now, right here –

Niloufar – I know you're a star...
I want to be your memory so you'll forever carry me

I like you far more than I could ever express
In the brief moment of orgasm, Niloufar.

Dec 28th 2000
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In the King's Privy Council I'll meet you tonight
To hallow your eyes with the glorious sight
A halo of fire, both sceptre and crown
The pomp and the pyre tear themselves down

Fa la la la…

They ran from their houses when London burned down
They will run for their lives next time around
And the sky will turn black and then blue again
And the lightning will purge and balance will reign

Fa la la la…

Apr 12th 2006
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Watching in slow motion as you put on your midnight face
Light a cigarette and spread your smile about the place
Grace comes ever so lightly to those who will wait

Sweeping round the room your enigmatic shaded eyes
Proudly on your cheek a cultivated tinge of vice
Ice clinks in your Mojito as you make a pass

Don't stand so close to me
You'd better believe what you see
An armada of tense battleships
To leave you mildly concussed
Or ready to sink you if I must

With manicured hands you know just how to spin a tale
The pride of ageing lions, your fortune in the hunt can't fail
Trail a smokescreen of stories, a snare of sweet words

You cast yourself so worldly, sketch yourself so nonchalant
Punctuate the table with the treasures of the bon vivant
Can't you see they've been joined by my small cannonballs?

Don't stand so close to me...

July 23rd 2000
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This was a random bit taken from an e-mailed rendition of a dream I had the night before, and makes about as much sense to me now as it does to you. :)
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See right through me as you go
To the bottom of the lake
I'll be yours
I'll be yours

Apr 15th 2006
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Came home the other night, put on my TV
First thought was 'nice dress, girl', second thought hell, that's me
Prime time and colour, shining away
Realer than ever and ready to

Say goodbye to all the yellow stars
Especially those that pretend to lead you home
Say goodbye to all the yellow stars
And find your way alone
And say goodbye, say goodbye to all of the wrecks
That felt like home
That felt like home
That felt like home

Like dark dusty hangars that reek of time & space
Where I'd circled in waiting, forever out of place
Of all stupid moments, it really was today
That showed me me me always ready to

Say goodbye to all the yellow stars...

Why hide under stars that blink and fly away?
For fear that I cannot make it on my own
But north is somewhere deep inside
And I can be magnetic on my own

A tingo la lissene
A tingo la lissene
A tingo la lis-say goodbye to all the yellow stars...

April 29th 2000
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They say there's no harm in trying
I say there's no charm in lying
And not much point in denying it
You see

Would you have me more explicit
It's not what you want to hear, is it
I'll tell you – blink and you'll miss it
Do me.

Spoken to the mirror, it all falls back on me

For the rightly prepared, there's no need to feel scared
When the moment comes
Seize it / don't drop it
Freeze it / and stop it
The key to satisfaction is your well-considered action
When opportunity knocks, be home

I've got the clothes I'll be wearing
It's nothing overly daring
And I've spent weeks preparing
For this

I've got the words I'll be saying
Down pat, the part I'll be playing
No fine-honed point in delaying
This kiss

Why then does my failure taste sweeter than success?

For the rightly prepared, there's no need to feel scared...

No way would I want to be the sucker on the other side
Clinging to the mirror oozing petulance and wounded pride
Hammering his tiny fists and wanting to be free
Watching as the moment takes me down in a surprise attack
Watching as it picks me up and flings me down right off the track
Watching from beyond the glass and wanting to be me

For the rightly prepared, there's no need to feel scared
When the moment comes
Seize it / don't drop it
Freeze it / don't stop it
The key to satisfaction is your well-considered action
When opportunity knocks us out, be there.

September 22nd 2001
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Out of the corner of my eye
I thought I saw a tear in yours
Out of the corner of my mouth
I thought I tasted fear in yours
When I've been waiting for this moment
All my life

I didn't mean for this love to happen
But now it's happened I love it still
And this dizzy feeling almost
Makes me think that I always will
Like I've been waiting for this moment
All my life

Sometimes the world does not revolve
Around itself, around itself
Sometimes the world does not resolve
Into itself, into itself
Nothing stops the spin
Of this world we're in

Kais, cradle me
In your arms where I belong
In your arms where I belong
In your arms where I belonged
All my life

I almost think that I deserve it
What have I done to deserve you?

Sometimes the world does not revolve...

Aug 25th 2001
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One day, further than the sky
One day, older yet than I
You'll be ending what I have begun
One day, we'll return as one.

Feb 06th 2002
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No tiene llave por mi corazón
No tiene llave por mi corazón
Me tiene todo mi gentil león
Me tiene todo mi gentil león Quijón

And all of his whining and dining and pining won't let him back inside
I'm sick of his trying and spying and lying and taking me for a ride
I'll leave him out in the rain
And tell him once again...

No tiene llave...

Well so I was driven to give in to living with this little man
But that was never, not ever, forever, not now and not even then
Why do I have explain
I'll tell you once again...

No tiene llave...

There's not much I can say that's not romantic nonsense
I dare you to come here and stop me with a kiss

No tiene llave...

They say you're a gruff one, a tough one, a rough one, inspire no sympathy
They don't see you bleeding and feeding and needing and making love to me
Crying, my lion, for me
what more love can there be?

No tiene llave...

December 01st 2001
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