And so we come to ‘Axioms’. The quintessential ‘cubist folk’ song, and the one which provided the template for the rest of the record.
This track was called ‘Dinas Powys’ before I wrote any lyrics (and before I lived there). It’s a Jim O’Rourke inspired part in DADGAD tuning, which was built on and retweaked to become this 9 minute folktronic monster. The first section I recorded the guitar in a bathroom, the ambience on Cardiff Queen Street, the underpinning drone from a mellotron (not a real one). The last section uses the Reactable app on an iPad to process the guitar through a modulated delay into the percussive sounds that spin around the main track. Things get flipped backwards, requantized, buffer shuffled, live chopped using the monome 64, micro looped using an arc 2. Eleanor returns for more violin…. Basically everything I have I threw at this track.
Lyrically ‘Axioms’ is about what much of this album is about, being wrong about what will make you happy. The sentiment ‘your axioms are wrong’ is nonsensical in itself, the point of axioms is that they aren’t wrong – they’re the immutable, fixed starting point for mathematics, or in looser usage, for a philosophical stance. So if, in that informal usage, your axioms are wrong then everything else you’re building on top of them may also be wrong. In one sense, it could be taken as amongst the most insulting things you could say to someone. I often find myself wanting to say it. Here though, the axioms again are the beliefs about how to be happy, and how to hold on to happiness when you have it.