Eating Chicken

by Decomposure

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  • Compact Disc (CD)

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    If you just want the music - no funny stuff - skip this deluxe edition, and get right to the digital download. However, if you want a substantial, rare, unique thing made lovingly by hand and overloaded with special features to pass on to your grandchildren or something, this may be more your speed:

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    ALBUM ART

    • Watch the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlcuzW70Rjo

    • Handcrafted, painstakingly-constructed artwork painted on 30" x 25" textured cocoa cover stock, lyrics highlighted on reverse

    • Professionally pressed, 5-color screenprinted CD

    • Limited-run: Each album is handmade, uniquely assembled, individually numbered.

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    SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL

    • A ridiculous amount of extra stuff on an 8GB USB Drive:

    • Acappellas and Instrumentals

    • Drinking Gravy: 10-track bonus album of Eating Chicken b-sides

    • Chicken Scraps: 65-page scrapbook compiled for the album

    • Videoverview: 32-minute chat about the album and its creation

    • Podcasts: The 26 original mixes with track-by-track discussions

    • Tweeting Chicken: A minibook of selected tweets for some reason

    • Sketches + Sources: Original field recordings, highlights & demos

    • Music Videos: Readymade, Oh Brother, Wide Awake, and more

    • Publicity Material and Photos

    • 'Oh Brother' digital single

    • Total: 10+ hours of bonus material

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    DIGITAL DISCOGRAPHY

    Deluxe editions include digital copies of Decomposure's entire discography to date (including all bonus material), and featuring the original mp3s from Decomposure's ultra-rare first EP, 'uodsn - Sound Rearranged'. That's another 23+ hours of stuff right there.

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    INCLUDES INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

    Includes immediate download of 14-track album in the high-quality format of your choice (MP3, FLAC, and more), plus unlimited mobile access using the free Bandcamp listening app.
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about

Decomposure is Caleb Mueller, a 29-year old jack-of-all-arts up in Kitchener, Ontario; or as he puts it, a “Graphic designer by day, asleep by night. Somewhere between them, music happens.” But in April 2010, the wiggle room between those two spaces suddenly shrunk, as Caleb and his wife Nicole became proud parents of a brand new baby girl. “You’re handed this tiny helpless bundle that is totally dependent on you, you literally hold its life in your hands; of course it changes you. But it actually took me awhile to truly ‘get’ it. There was no bolt-of-lightning moment where a switch flipped and I instantly matured into a fully-formed father - I needed time to process it all, and music was how I began to work it out.”

Let’s back up a bit: Caleb created Decomposure back in 2002 as a project to pursue a hyper-specific strain of elaborate experimental-polyrhythmic-glitchtronica sourced from diced up field recordings and found sound. With each passing album, he added more and more to the mix... until one day, it collapsed under its own weight. “I finally had to stop. The process had become a paralyzing slog - I was literally spending a solid month working out each minute. And when a software glitch wiped out nearly a year of work, that was the final nail in the coffin. But out of that frustration I came to realize all my theoretical clutter was premised on unlimited time. I’d set up all these challenges - sound sources, repetition, time signatures - but I’d never thought to limit my time.”

With the newfound demands of fatherhood already whittling his hours down, it was the perfect opportunity to make the leap. The solution was a simple idea: write/produce/record one full song every week, release it as a podcast on the weekend. Rinse, repeat. And so Caleb sunk every spare waking moment he could into the music, hermiting away at night to write, stealing time from lunch to hammer out a beat, layering caffeine-fueled harmonies at 3am, marathoning through weekend evenings to tie it all together. And that old abandoned album? It got a second lease on life, as salvaged bits and sketches were revived and reworked into full-fledged songs, unexpectedly integrating a sweeping 5-year arc into the project. A year later, he was sitting on dozens of brand new songs, which were polished, filtered, and winnowed into their final definitive form as Eating Chicken, Decomposure’s fifth full-length album.

You might expect Eating Chicken to be a mess of eclectic styles and ideas mashed together. Aaaand you’d be mostly right - for Decomposure, genre has always been a tool, not the toolbox, and so songs swing from sunny pop to mutant dancehall to skittering minimalism to searing noise and back again, all wrapped in his signature kitchen-sink life sampling. But beyond those superficial differences, those who stick around will find a deeper underlying unity that rewards repeat listens. It’s an album that tracks the journey from perpetual-teenageness to parenthood, examining denial and truth, art and compromise, ends and beginnings, and finally, growing up.

credits

released 25 September 2012
words, music, production, design, etc: caleb mueller (socan/ascap)
engineering, postproduction: arnar helgi aðalsteinsson @ lalaland

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Track Name: Readymade
i knew all along...

readymade on a paper plate (food for thought is a good trade)
where neutral is a smiley face (or your face will freeze that way)
with punctured heel, square under weight (swallowed by the creeping blank)
old boss out, new boss is the same (sun may rise but will not stay)

saucers drawn back like a slingshot
past the silver trails across the sidewalk
their teal pits divided down to blue and green and white and black

eyes up eyes up eyes up
no hardening shapes to be plucked from their dance
above my wet footsteps
i’m gone i’m gone i’m gone, losing a page
pupils rummaging around in the back for green pens
careful careful careful i cut out my heart
inflating it with my last breath to set it free
i fall i fall i fall
it floats in the night
climbing soft, growing a padded halo named color
scatting lone to beat back barbecue forks
and knifeblade clouds storing black snow
slow rising under a phantom bridge
pumping please let me cry, i need to cry, just let me cry
but instead sneezes and dies
and at the end of the block a truck hits it

* * *

outside my naked hopes grew cold
so i kept them warm at home
and went to work to buy them clothes
Track Name: How It Happened
who knows how it happened?
retracing it, it’s clear the end was seeded from the start
unnatural disasters
the weight grew as it promised forever,
then it fell apart

the lapse of your teamwork is
bread in water lined in black, a tensionhardened glare
it did not breach the surface
spreading underneath, a cancer choking out the air
between no, now and later -
every collapse cuts into the urge to walk
against the shrouded faces
each beaming blank sansserif on a yellow box

i can’t handle the truth
i thought i could, but
i couldn’t make it through

i couldn’t drive all of 2009
because my license expired and i had to start over to reapply
when i go out at night, i look toward the northern sky
all the while a camera follows me everywhere
and i can never leave it behind,
try as i might

i know they’re right
it was good while it lasted
the light burns out of their eyes
and i know how it happened
Track Name: Oh Brother
oh brother
i don’t know what to say
should i even bother?
your mind is made up anyway.
oh brother
i don’t know what’s become of you
you follow after
enraptured by the piper’s tune

i’d write you off if we were not connected by this blood
as it is, how can we talk if the phone lines have been cut
and all the windows have been shut?

oh brother
i know you’re desperate to belong to something other
to define yourself through joining clubs
oh brother
the price of membership has been yourself
when you speak,
somebody reaches through your guts to work your mouth

some say god when they mean america
some say courage when they mean hysteria
some say strength while they cave to terror
some say bootstraps while they’re mostly carried
some believe they’re smart just because they declare it,
building nests of pleasant lies woven together
so the painful truths can never break the barrier
until the old aren’t wise and the young don’t care enough
and all my life i have been oblivious
do you think you could be too?

but you’re so vain
you’d never know this song is about you
you’re not that selfaware
to pick yourself out of a lineup if someone described you
living the biopic in your head
dropping status updates so puffy and seethrough
like an actor out of work drops names
they ring the bell and you salivate on cue
collect the full barbie playset

oh brother
pot and kettle, i know i’m just the same
i’m supposed to love you
sometimes i’d rather punch you in the face
oh brother
i wouldn’t care
if i didn’t think you knew so much better
turn off the teleprompter and just be you
Track Name: Safety Scissors
comfy pants (home alone confusing whitenoise with applause)
neon dance (clomping hooves all in time, call and response)
pumpkin smiles (if you don’t have money, well, then i don’t strip down)
in packs or piles (the world is lost, they should include us now)

it’s all water under the sugar bridge anyhow
madly tapdancing until the time runs out
while spamalot selling protest signs to cows
got my mojo maintaining regular business hours
and i don’t want to know where gravy comes out
from the director
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel
of the sequel to saw x
it’s...

safety scissors - my truth is fattening
rhymes with izzle - student demonstration time
pinkerton panther, phonevoice and matching
since you’re paid for, it’s store credit, no refund
hallelujah for a refreshing pepsi
hollow hands, blank books and waterwings
chase the seagull, kill it and walk away
j. walter thompson, paint markers and camel legs
it’s plainly different when you’re lit to cut teeth
and trade blue for the spoon in your gums
go go go

we’re so connected
through ducts, never alone, silently followed
we’re so connected
hooded detainees filing into a plane
go go go

yo blood money, it’s got to be the shoes
don’t hold your breath for a joint about sweatshops
poem words picked from drawers - grey, black, and white
lost when yawning feet climb in their socks
do you get mad or are you always quiet?
i don’t think you know me very well.
things must be said twice before they’re heard
or like receipts they’re bleached and blotted out
...and are meant only ‘til they’re said out loud

how do you sleep at night?

(dot dot dot)
phantom gatherings and paths unfollowed
packed brittle and yellowing in boxes
stains bursting across the floor,
indoor snow settling down like tired kittens
onearmed years buckled square under weight
of undripping rain that will not evaporate,
a steady eroding wash of accumulating entropy
blue flame smokes, extinguished to stone
days flip by like a baseball card
in the spokes of a bike.
tires.
a lost fly in winter spinning meekly on its back
running the air in prickly spasms like a dream
and falling silent.

anger wrapped in blankets
a padded knock of feeble fists balled pink and soft like sunday ham
sliding faint down doors with weak whispers
then swung lazily from shoulder gallows in narrowing cursive os
mirror cracked and distended, sallow pores swallowing warm fog,
widemouthed and recalibrating.

there is no fire,
just a pale pleasant glow lighting swollen palms
groping halfhope and heart
all spun and um between words,
a bare spidery sinus like a blindfold reaching back toward your ears
as you walk until all you can do is walk,
fumbling for a light switch,
or a wall,
then anything solid at all,
waiting for shapes to undress from behind photocopied scenery
and muffled faces shocked white and abbreviated
all feeling sucking back behind your own gelatin skin
until you stop.

and sit.

and your ghost continues on ahead,
without thought to toe or topography or thought.
this is the halflife, transformed
swaddled in the vast blank chrysalis
nourished by the lukewarm void and drying into the shell
a husk for new corn eyes,
a clear container with the label scratched off,
storage space for younger dreams
in its very own empty theatre
Track Name: Breaking Up
i just saw it for the awesome graphics
wanted to see things asplode,
watch some giants stomp through traffic,
wave the flag like a burning skunk.
and all of the characters talked with each other
the way toys did when i was small
we sat mesmerized sharing summer
like we’d never grown up at all.
later i wrote a song
but i won’t ever sing it
it cannot be sung
without breaking up

driving deeper into the forest,
trees swallowed the road behind
i drove blindly through the dark, unsure if
i’d see the sun again before i died
when i broke suddenly through the treeline
the car slowed, stopped and sighed
facing a faraway frozen ocean
under grey construction paper sky
i don’t know what’s wrong.
if i did, i would fix it.
the highway stretches on
i’ve been waiting for so long
there’s no one in the distance
all i can do is walk
the air is growing colder
the woods a dismal comfort
the sea an icy desert
and no one can set foot there
without breaking up
Track Name: Nashville Fade
first thing you’re told
in new school clothes
everyone is keeping score
passing notes, watching close
then you leave
and life keeps going
life keeps going on
no one’s watching,
no one ever was

free is how it’s sold
kids can’t die,
but kids weren’t meant to live this long
they must grow
with young dreams starving slow
but life keeps going
life keeps going on
the season’s changing
everything must go

how do you wake up
when you know
you’ll do this for decades more?
learn new codes,
still you’re lapped when you fall
life keeps going
life keeps going on
mostly waiting,
but you don’t live all at once

i’ve sung in the dark
i have worn jackets full of bullet holes
down trapdoors
with lines i wrote,
facing north
life keeps going
life keeps going on
nashville fading
like a forgotten song
Track Name: Waiting
oh she has been beaten faceless
her bound wrists are black and raw
lying in a burned-out basement,
hot blood choking off her sobs
while he haunts her from the shadows
through a mask of human skin
though she shakes and pleads for mercy
they both know how this will end
it’s almost done
the countdown has begun
waiting for death to come

oh his skin has gone translucent,
a thin marionette ghost
oh his head is full of tumors,
he has cancer in his lungs
as his wife sorted pills, he’d ask her
why won’t jesus take me home?
that was back when he could speak,
now he can’t talk to her at all
only hug
oh it won’t be long
waiting for death to come

saw a squirrel laid on the pavement
sprawled out like a tiny rug
so symmetrically under the tree
that it had fallen from
its body heaved with every breath,
paralysed there since
something snapped inside its soft brown back,
so it could not move its limbs
blinking once
staring down the road
waiting for death to come
Track Name: A Test
i arrived at work some friday morning, early ohsix
plaided out and sleepmouthed, dragging dawn for my coffee fix
checked my email, waiting bolded
someone@jwt.com wanted to give me ten thousand dollars
so macy’s could use my song

i confirmed indeed it was for real
everyone i told kept telling me this could be a big deal

but i was not convinced, i did not believe
boosting bright buy culture and selling sweatshop sweaters
seemed antithetical to my precious integrity
though intangibles aren’t accepted by collection agencies...

conflicted, i wrote back: i needed time,
i asked for the weekend to talk to my wife and make a decision
they said that’s fine, but summer’s coming,
soon we’ll need the contract signed
i researched, i waffled, i justified
the money - so soothing - made it all right
like a tetherball, i was drawn to the green light
i’d be crazy not to, fame is waiting
just like
moby wrote those essays but had no such qualms
when ad firms signed the cheques not everything was wrong
k’naan cut the poor to wave the flag for coke
nike made sure saul won’t live hand to mouth no more
m.i.a. led a coup for honda’s coupe si
feist counted as apple’s chinese workers died
it’s worthless without a price,
whatever you have inside, you’re
going to have to monetize it

a man without a code
is a flimsy tent that folds
when a strong wind starts to blow
monday i awoke
and i said yes

* * *

i never heard from them again.
and so my big break came and went,
untangling the knot inside my chest
though i’d still feel awful whenever people asked.
sometimes i think the whole thing was
a test devised in shadows by some dark controlling class
to expose how small a sum it took to make me dance
and pass around the transcripts at their gatherings and laugh
about how easily i sold my soul to hold a cheque i could not cash

so i slunk back to my high horse, still in debt
my songs circled like birds and taunted me
i’d like to think i learned something from that
when i saw myself undressed, and didn’t know the person underneath

* * *

i was working overtime
when the call came down the line
they said that my home was on fire
Track Name: Selah
you were dipped in liquid silver
when they lifted you above the turquoise sheets
you made a plaintive sound while we held hands
they set you down between our faces
it was true -
your mom started crying, i admit i teared up too
that was how we first came to meet you

you’ll reach out and grab my finger
though i know that’s just a reflex thing
you wake up every few hours
and your tired mom gives you milk and sings
but one day you’ll want food
after that, before you know it,
you’ll be off to school
you’ve got so much learning left to do

(selah)

you don’t understand a word i say
but sometimes you’ll smile anyhow, without your teeth
your feet are soft and smooth
because they’ve never touched the ground
you’ve never had a bruise
your eyes grow wide and shine
when something new comes into view
it’s a mystery and everything is new
you’ve got so much life ahead of you
Track Name: Black Snow
pan up from the ocean.
pushed like icewhite hands in winter water
stasis chasing hiscores in a forgotten arcade
skipping pale before a blue screen of death
and short breath and marshlands old to pave and push live freeways
carry my air wherever i sleep on a spit in a fatsuit
a set of split quotes fleeing cold from my back in a hot mute panic
pinned selfconscious as a naked turtle.
there is no doing left.
bloodhounds inert in electrified cages, asymmetrical warfare
sidescrolling through an abandoned city’s sprawl
crossing clouds when they can see your breath and tracks
bowed heads and thinning thumbs piled up at a dead end
snow from a tired brown sky, an hourglass with no neck
on the dogleg consulting a heineken for marriage advice
where there be dragons, elves against mice,
are taglines disguised as songs.
why ask what year it is?
bright beige food, footage of accidents in video loops
when they began using their lifetime passes, dancing with the coals
confined to grids, limited to perfection
trackback to fill in the tendons
i am a white male in my late twenties, so it has already been said.
it will not end, it will not come back, like a dog in the city,
like the first time you drove through a place you’ll be moving to
not many are fortunate enough to sleep without dreaming,
most have to live with themselves their entire life

walk out on the ice floe
the distance dark with black snow

sailor bailing out the boat with wood salvaged from the hole
frogger stuck with dead controls, out of time without setting foot on the road
soldier in a cave alone telegraphing codes into an empty ocean
shredded hands pulling the rope, it wouldn’t hurt so much
if you would only let go

breath is boiled bodily steam hissing from a sealed stovepipe
sprouting from iron lungs fired by the corpse of grizzled grey bird coal
each sunset a railway tie, each rail a thin strip sliced from sinew and skeleton
given crescendo, all conspiracy and no resolution, a forever storm
told the circle of the earth would roll endlessly without edges to fall from
so i busied myself painting a mural of the sunset to hang behind our graduation
and devised my parting precocious words
from all the borrowed humble grandiosity i could scrape together
while feathers were plucked from the hollow earth
burnt quills’ circling smoke sucked into its byzantine mechanical heart
howling whirls of special promising ash tracing the contours of crushed snails
down the entertainment dream inhale floured in possibility’s machinations,
lineart sunrises and daily affirmations
eagerly biting shiny nickels rendered from the priceless soot exhaled
from a cagesheltered chorus of blackthroated children calling for another
against the growl of their collective stomach’s engine
threshing entropy to progress and powerlines, sustained by treats.
hope as a veneer of young learned sarcasm
a molasses desert slowscaling permanent torsos
taped together my former split jaw (though not literally of course)
like i’ve been engraving on winter night for weeks
blueinking sleeves i cannot wear on days that don’t exist
a peeled jar bleached and filled with soil, sprout planted and growing
thumb on the scale and the same wait as i could reach back through the fog
stolen north, tracks laid and mortgaged to a clear pinched forcedperspective
painted on a wall in a bathroom stall
trying to scratch a reply to myself on the wall,
but i don’t have fingernails, and one by one the lightbulbs are burning out
the settling ether, old men eating breakfast,
the fog of summer mornings rubbing along blue streets
finally scattering against the burning disc of the sun
a long drape shuddering its last wide sigh for the warmth of its final petals unfolding

kids drink grape juice, grownups drink wine
one who knows only sweetness remains a child

* * *

by the time i got back home
everything there was gone
Track Name: We Shall Be Overcome
we will gather there in freedom square
and we will not leave until there’s freedom there
in the end we’ll stand hand in hand
as their machine guns rip us all in half

we shall be overcome

those who refuse to fall locked in the dark
where they’ll pull our minds and bodies apart
we know our coffins will be our clothes,
we will sing until they cut our throats

we shall be overcome

the agents hunt our families down and take them in the night
the leaders in their ballrooms feel no shame, they tell their lies
the newsmen check their hair and sip champagne as they transcribe
the history books recording only space between the lines
forgotten as we die

they will shut us up, they will have their way
our bodies ragdolls dumped in unmarked graves
they’re free to roll ahead once we’re brushed aside
they deserve the world we leave behind

we shall be overcome
Track Name: Who Knows
everybody hopes
to be awake through their funeral
listening in cold repose as they’re eulogized,
dead but still alive
to know what they thought of you all along
who didn’t bother to show up
to lie and hear the truth
before the lid is closed

everybody hopes
to be bought yet not be owned,
that the narrow road is short,
to eat their fill, and then
hope the hollowed cake will stand
who knows?
if money had its own price
what would you pay to make it worthwhile
to hear the truth and sell the lie
before the lid is closed
Track Name: Island
blessed is the apple cored: two dozen slices packaged, each one sold
blessed are the buyers’ notes: divorcing knives from the affordable
blessed are the vendors’ stores: heaven unrolls, each mile collecting toll
blessed is the oneway road: an apple cut cannot again be whole

the seers shout from their towers, ‘everything is infinite’
pray you don’t find they’re wrong, for you’ll be hanged for telling it

the earth is a lonely island
we have been steady drinking our own urine for far too long
we’ve heard the story time and time again
we’ve seen the ending and know we deserve it when it comes home

turn your costumes up.
remove your voicebox and roll it smooth on the counter.
the second law of thermodynamics sends your eyes on a tapdance
every moment on call, forever on the precipice
can you decide an upsidedown teardrop written in blank numeric verse?
decision points, thumbnails held open with alligator clips
sinking slick ships riding black waves of the unobservable past
come on, ashes - lick your chapped lips and pout for fashion
vanity veins and sunrise
there’s a white backdrop waiting to powerclip our hope in
whatever’s in the cup, you can find someone to drink it and say it’s delicious
starcrossed glasses banging pots in the kitchen
the laff track swells, john galt peeking under the shells
the future isn’t coming so we’re turning to salt
injected in our necks like antiradiation medication
fauxconscious rappers with their ation rhymes selling taster’s choice
couldn’t struggle from their la-z-boys to answer the door
when the poison made landfall. we cried,
“i wish there was a mainstream left, so i could hide in its meniscus
now all is edgeless, all is one hundred and ten percent.
my friends stripped and chatter pith down the river stored in a faraway grid
mined for primes and rare statistics
until they’re formally replaced by scale replicas

stormfront to backstabber
gathering facts in baskets that trackback to themselves on white lather
the light unravels while blackness hovers over the surface of the shallow
the swallow shot for the gold ticket in its beak from the gallows
straining for the ground as they swung
and we spin around the scene smooth and free
the programmers have the camera;
does it matter without tension between real and imagined?
tragedy’s skin deep to an avatar, avarice rentacar
observing is a hungry syringe
until you’re peering through one red frame of old 3d glasses
it’s so easy i don’t care where it’s from.”
the angel of death peeled his eyelids off
and placed two golden coin eyecups and mini tvs too in each socket
singing teenage dreams as bristling electricity for eternity
while its bright thorny roots pushed through the back of his skull
and spread like hotcakes generations wide
erecting trees without branch or leaf
impaling the conscience dreamers in flight
legs tight as a cramp in a dance routine
dogwhistles and moral hazards, so believable
can you hear their snaking chrome whispers spitting liquid smoke?
i’m being followed.
don’t retreat, reload.
grip the wheel and explode.
the end is within reach
with a few more on the board
from beyond the arc or slam dunk
i hope you didn’t need those arms
red dawn
swim to shore as it erodes
holla back when your bones show
Track Name: Wide Awake
from an eyeroll to divorce
flipping back to find where it went wrong
signs of hope, double quotes
neighbours gather when the power whimpers out

what if the apocalypse never comes
and we have to keep living with all that we’ve done?
what if the apocalypse never comes
and we have to keep living with all that we’ve done?
what if the apocalypse never comes
we did not understand just how far we had gone

now we are wide awake

row by row, manacled
they force their poisoned dreams into our lungs
still as stone, drilled full of holes
harvesting the gravy from our hearts

they cut off a little bit, then they return
and they cut off a little bit, then they return
and they cut off a little bit, then they return
and they cut off a little bit, then they return
and they cut off a little bit, then they return
they don’t know we can feel it
because we can’t say a word

but we are wide awake

* * *

life keeps going
life keeps going on
pain and beauty
from the same brush

i had nowhere else to go
i drove back to work alone.

...but i still couldn’t stop it

triangle