Many years ago, I was introduced to VNV Nation. The album was Futureperfect (2002). From the first minute, I was hooked. The track that captured my imagination most was “Airships”, the final track on the album. It planted the seeds for what ultimately became my own Airship, nearly a decade and a half later. Their lyrics describe someone watching an airship as it flies above a city, reflected in the skyscrapers, “splendid and graceful”. The onlooker joins a host of others, amazed and rejoicing at the sight:
I was not alone, I think it was the first time
Watching you rise splendid and graceful.
I cheered as you sailed, a greatness unknown,
I laughed as I waved, imagined you saw me.
In the streets of the city, the windows of buildings,
A million faces gazing upwards in wonder,
A million faces together and cheering and smiling!
You were the warmth of their hearts, you were the sum of their dreams.
In the coldness of morning you brought warmth to their lives,
Giving this feeling of wonder I could not imagine,
You unlocking these thoughts no book and no picture could ever convey.
This feeling and morning had opened a door.
I stepped into a new world, I watched you fly,
Saw you as a friend, the spirit of dreams,
Imagined a new world, lands far away,
And imagined those faces as you hung in their sky.
— From “Airships” by VNV Nation, Futureperfect (2002)
I breathe a sigh of longing whenever I listen to that song; it is otherworldly and inspiring. It describes what I felt when I wrote the music for Airship. I wanted to capture and convey that feeling of wonder. I hope I have succeeded.
With the pre-order of Airship available, I am happy to share “Silently You Sail”, the fifth track on the album. “Silently You Sail” began as a sketch piece about radio airwaves. I imagined them traveling through the air, delivering sounds from tower to tower. But when I started working on the album, it seemed to work just as well as a description of an airship in flight.
The track has three melodies. The first is a bass synth humming throughout. It is accompanied by “drops” of sound, gently counting out the pace. The second melody is the main theme, joined in time by an accompanying third melody. They weave unhurriedly along, with an occasional rush of synths, until the conclusion of the track.
Lyrics and a title change (or two)
The track started out as “Recording I”, then became “The View From Above” when I adapted it for Airship, and finally changed to “Silently You Sail” when I introduced lyrics. The lyrics are to be sung by the listener at the 1:20 mark, where the second melody starts. It is a little unusual to expect the listener to do the singing, but I like the idea. The lyrics come from a poem I wrote that fortuitously fit the melody:
Silently you sail
As the daylight yields,
Wondrous flying ship
To forgotten fields.
You can listen to the track on the Music page. If you sing along, let me know! Comment on this post or tweet @forgottenfield? I would be honoured!
I am pleased to announce that the Forgotten Fields Music page is live at music.forgottenfields.co, and that the upcoming album, Airship, is now available for pre-order. I have done this because I am eager to start sharing music, and whilst I am doing all kinds of administrative work related to the album release on 12 December 2016, the pre-order gives me an official opportunity to do so. For the time being, track two (“A Good Day For Flying“) is streamable on the Music page and also on Soundcloud and YouTube. I will add track five (“Silently You Sail”), soon. I hope you like what you hear. Why not give me your impressions in your own review (please share the link with me in the comment section below), or comment on the track on Soundcloud or YouTube, or tweet @forgottenfield? I will definitely read it.