Zoonotic

by Semaphora

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about

Zoonotic, the debut album from Semaphora, is a collection of ten songs exploring friendships and connections between human and non-human animals. At its foundation this is rock music, but with patches of jazz, reggae, and folk sewn in, all guided forward by dense, poetic lyrics about unconventional subjects.

credits

released April 5, 2017

All songs written, performed, and produced by Lydia Arachne, with:
Gina Rizzo - lead vocals (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10)
Elizabeth Ashkins - lead vocals (2, 4, 8), backing vocals (3)
Jessica Kalamaria Plude - lead vocals (5), backing vocals (2), woodwinds (2, 5, 7)
Jake Habegger - drums (3)
Special thanks to Bill Readey, Chris Quiriconi, Phil Soltis, and Brian McKenna, who all played a part in moving this album into the realm of the possible. Thanks also to Jack Mondo, Jesse Raderman, Jake Habegger, and Eliza Paterson, who helped to test the arrangements of many of these songs.

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about

Semaphora Bridgeport, Connecticut

Carefully crafted rock treatises on our fascinating world.

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Track Name: Georgia White
It’s in the eyes and ears
And in the way my Georgia White draws near
It’s in the tails and in the coats
Of all the Reds we used to fear

It’s no ancestral way to be
But all the symbiotic signs
Pointed far across the lines we used to draw
Like Moscow dogs who wander free
Between the trains and metro stops
Singing 얼굴이 기차표 입나다

It’s how our friendship is the tundra
No one’s bothered to explore
It’s how we age without the signs
Our wrinkled predecessors wore

Drawn ever toward neoteny
Like a fate we feel is true
You can hear it in our грустные голоса
Like Moscow dogs who wander free
Between the trains and metro stops
Singing 얼굴이 기차표 입나다
Track Name: Arturo's Song
All across this continent
Cape Horn to Quito
I have sought a sentiment
That could truly show
Simple as it seems to be
Nature takes its course
Getting all the best of me
Taking time by force

It’s called home
A place that puts the cat in catacomb
A break from colour back to monochrome
It traces out a circle like a palindrome
It’s called love
The heir to the conditioner thereof
More like a turtle than a turtledove
To study like an opening from Kasparov
It’s called

Shreds of common decency
Caught between my claws
Bear with this you say to me
Bear without a cause
Pleasing to the private sector
In the Argentine
Former speaker, my protector
Help me share what’s mine

Glaring inconsistency
Stares me in the mouth
High reward for atrophy
In the global south
Every storm that Mary weathered
On her icy floe
Nothing brought us back together
Still at heart we know
Track Name: Keep Your Head Low, Washoe
If I lie about my age
There's no notary on hand to check the page
And if I lie about the time
There's no H.G. Wells machine to check the crime

So keep your head and hands low, Washoe
The selfishness that you and I know
Through days when we have failed
Will keep the both of us alive
If there were nothing better I know
I'd try to overthrow my Maslow
But we'll be better off
If we can think of it as all a game

If my lie falls not in sight
Would it drive me mad to think on when it might?
If I lie and you find out
Is it worth a life in the shadow of your doubt?

So keep your head and hands low, Washoe
The selfishness that you and I know
Through days when we have failed
Will keep the worst of us alive
The compliment of id and ego
Will rise into a new Toronto
And we'll be better off
If we can compromise the way we think
Ignore the baby in the drink
And never step outside the frame
And think of it as all a game

This is the kingdom where
They phylum but don't compare
Between one class and the next
There's order but not respect
Every family has one
A genus who can't be undone
But every species has an origin

So keep your head and hands low, Washoe
The selfishness that you and I know
Through days when we have failed
Will keep the ghost of us alive
And there is nothing better I know
So keep your head and hands low, Maslow
But we'll be better off
If we can think of it as all a game
And never step outside the frame
Ardipithecus would do the same
Track Name: Modern Dinosaur
S: Your eyes are open since the glowing filaments
But I can’t help but wonder if you’re really awake
How is the lighting done, what is the giant one
That opens up the door and fills the edible lake
And then turns the other way

T: I know the things you fear, we have no power here
But try to rest your mind from all the questions of why
We’re standing on the edge of noble heritage
Despite what our surroundings imply

S&T: Flap your wings and roar
Like a modern dinosaur
T: We can live out of view of the Sun
What more have we done
S&T: Stand up tall and growl
Like the Asian junglefowl
S: If we freeze once we’re out of the cage
What more could ice age

S: I couldn’t help but see the vast majority
Surrounding us are neither agitated nor wise
They never once respond to thoughts of what’s beyond
I feel no understanding when I look in their eyes
They just turn the other way

T: Though what you say may be, we share a destiny
If there is separation it exists in your mind
We all have been attached even before you hatched
You missed what’s on the surface for your searching behind

All: We know what you soon shall learn
Born low cost and high return
Best try hard to recreate
Our tabula rasa state

T: See how seeds meet our needs
Concepts thrive as the thing itself recedes
Wait, and then, out of ten
Nine return again

S&T: Flap your wings and roar
Like a modern dinosaur
T: We can live out of view of the Sun
What more have we done
S&T: Stand up tall and growl
Like the Asian junglefowl
S: If we freeze once we’re out of the cage
What more could ice age
Track Name: Rongorongo
Every problem has an answer, supposedly
Perhaps we’ve missed more than we found in our history
But all the peoples of the world in every time and place
Between us not too much remains that as a whole we haven’t faced
All the things that we could teach us
If we just knew how to reach us
With the wisdom of the whole of humankind
But we fold along the creases
And we tear off into pieces
No room to wonder what we left behind

Every written word began as a spoken tongue
They let us see how things had sounded when the world was young
We search the stelae for the thoughts behind the hieroglyphs
One has to know what’s on the ground to hear the wisdom in the myths
But conquistador desires
Manifested into fires
Sooner listen to the dagger than the pen
And since they burned nearly every codex
From the descendants of the Olmecs
We reinvent the astral wheel again

If we could just recall the songs of yesterday
If we could read this rongorongo in the clay
If we could just recall the songs of yesterday
If we could read this rongorongo

Every answer has a problem, supposedly
The richest island still will have a set capacity
This was the lesson that we wrote out for you in the end
And since you cannot take our words you can ask our stolen friend
In the faces we were carving
While the common folk were starving
See the pain of losing all that had been ours
You can say we were just an island
That isolation made us silent
But the earth is just as isolated from the stars

If we could just recall etc.
Track Name: Endangered
By the closing of the day
I was running like an engine
The way you looked, then looked away
Enough to capture my attention
I was wise enough in style
But still fool enough to pick this
Not close enough to share a smile
But close enough to share a sickness
Cognizant and reckless

And if you will not watch me
As I climb under the lens
I'll sit and say goodbye
Congratulations, parabens
The ones who hold a mystery
Like a stranger to a child
I think that people like you
Are endangered in the wild

I wasn't looking for a fact
I was looking through your table
For no enthusiasm lacked
In your fabricated fable
I wasn't speaking from the cuff
Neither had I been outsmarted
But what I knew was not enough
To be level­-head­-and-­hearted
Abandon what I started

By the rising of the Sun
I had violated curfew
But there was nothing in verse one
That I would have been averse to
We didn't bother asking why
Or to see which way the winds blow
I heard the call, but didn't try
To go climbing out the window
If Simon never said so
Track Name: The Twenty-Cent Paradigm
So.
My open cranium below
Can you see what I don't know?
Or restore what I forgot?
I fell apart
Since the day I lost the art
Like the inverse of Descartes
If I don't think, then I'm not

I'm waiting on my recompense
Ever since I've been stuck on one stupid line
Seems I woke up without a sense
Now it's all that I have in mind
I'll play it over nineteen times
Or at least 'til the music returns somehow
But this twenty­-cent paradigm
Is all that I can afford for now

In a week
It started getting hard to speak
Hold the tongue and turn the cheek
No longer actions optional
Then the blind
Fell across the part of mind
That made the only love I'd find
Forever silent, cynical

It appears
That the skills I used for years
Are somehow lost between these ears
Like a diamond in the rough
Please confide
If there's no cure you haven't tried
Bring my sister to my side
And I'll see Gershwin soon enough
Track Name: Canticle
You met me back when in the worst of my days
In a dreary and cold November
From where I was I would have given such praise
To anything that could help me along
I said the things that I had thought I should say
And kept smiling so you’d remember
The good impression that I put on that day
When I quietly sang your song

There is no friendship in an interview
But still you looked across the line
And tried to see what I made sure you never knew
One small protectorate of what is solely mine

For making friends with me would only be a mistake
I’ll push upon the pedal while you’re pulling the brake
The things we have in common will all prove to be fake
If I should see you sleeping I will poke you awake
I’ll vanish once I pocket all I think I can take
I’ll serve you only frosting for there isn’t a cake
And that’s one tenth of all the trouble that I’m certain to make

Now that I’m settled in the sin of my ways
You want to think of me like a neighbor
But still this feeling like a foreigner stays
On my conscience like sixty stones
I drink your glass of Mavrodaphne divine
As you ask me to stop and savor
Is that because you think that everything’s fine
Or that proximity chills your bones

When you’re enamoured of a photograph
One tends to miss the things behind
You’d overlook a twenty­three foot tall giraffe
For all the other senses active on your mind

Don’t mean to emphasize the differences
I’m only trying to save you time
What I believe is far from what your father says
And yet you’re saying that you want him to be mine
Track Name: Handbirds
We turned appendages to animals
For the cybernetic global masquerade
Then in the cadence of your syllables
I heard familiar and enchanting things conveyed
Since then I'm drawn to every word you say
Like a dissertation topic to expand
One question walks across my mind each day
Will I ever have a chance to reach your hand
Before it flies away
Perhaps you see the same and know I'm wrong
From your thirteen hour future citadel
But I've lived dark abstractions far too long
To be covered in concrete would serve me well
If only I could swim the ocean clear
Like some leonid chimera of the sea
Instead I'll sit and keep an open ear
So I don't miss it if you ever call to me:
Foreigner, come here