Anthem

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Written by Ric Albano Song Length: 4:39
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Lyrics
And you will find what you seek in your heart
And your compassion will guide you to that door
And you’ve got destiny’s balance on your side
And you’ll discover more secret passages
And you will never relinquish the Truth
And your convictions will be bold, clear, and pure
And you’re consistent against the flux of time

And you are trying to reconstruct a holy universe
And you keep relying on the self that only you know
And you are humble, and you are brave
And you can crest the wave above the swift, strong, submerged undertow

And you dwell within a prison in paradise
And you’re perpetually wandering beyond the painted lines
And you appear to make wrong choices at every turn

And you burn in undervalued anonymity
And you continue to crawl along the side of that muddy hill
And you are scary, and you are scorned
And your favorite store no longer is affordable

And you endeavor towards that which is right
And you pray for every mortal soul every night
And you’re bitter, bored, and blue
And you’ve got so much to do

And you revisit those spirits of lost youth
And you can see daylight back up that one-way path
And you will search for the poison’s antidote

And you will hope that someday soon it’s discovered
And the spring of life unobstructedly resumes its flow
And you are faithful while you are lost
On the dark side of Mars in a neighborhood where no one goes

Composition © 2003, Ric Albano
Publication © 2005, 2009, 2011 Cygnus Wave Music

Song Info
Composed on April 7, 2003
Recorded starting on April 8, 2005
at Saturation Acres, Danville, PA
Produced by Ric Albano
Engineered by Paul Smith
Mixed and Mastered in 2005
at Silver Spring Subterranean
Original Release: October 10, 2005
on Imaginary Lines I

Performers
Ric Albano
Piano, Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bret Alexander
Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Ron Simasek
Drums
Listener Guide
Grade

Analysis: Lifted from an extended poem, this song grew more in the studio than any of the early Imaginary Lines songs. The song builds with ever-richer arrangements through every verse and chorus, until finally reaching a crescendo through the guitar lead and last verse.

Song Trivia
This song was extremely difficult to name, going through several working titles in its first year, with Ric even holding a “name this song” contest with family in friends. Dissatisfied with any of the suggestions, Albano settled on the generic “Anthem” in tribute to Individualist Philosopher Ayn Rand, as this is a very self-reflective song.

To offer your own analysis of Anthem, please leave a comment in the box below.

33 Flames for Mary

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Written by Ric Albano and Ron Simasek Song Length: 5:57
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Lyrics
Down in ‘Never-never-ever–been-that-ordinary’ land
Where the crossroads of forever stretch in infinite directions
Sound and light disseminate through tiny holes in the time-traversing van
Wait until the weather’s gettin’ better and we’ll revitalize the plan

Was it ever-ever-ever really alive and within your reach?
Or did it crumble in the face of a sweet success with a meek retreat?
Will the world still spin this night despite this man?
Who could have never-never-ever have designed this odd journey

Odd journey, with no fortunes of note sustained
Save the bane of under-quenched thirsts that sap the Day
Of any soft or sympathetic ears left to accost along the way
No time ever exists until it’s executed,
But by then you’re beyond the “Line of Absoluted”
How can you do it when you show up late for that?

Could there have ever been a better bet laid on a surer thing?
Then one who’s credible, devoted, optimistic, true, and trusting
To simply cite the results is to immensely overlook the strong significance
To one who thirsts for the ballad that this siren once agreed to sing

Significance, upsets the balance in the happy fool’s ear
Within their ducts it dams up his truthful tears
And then extinguishes the flames by quixotic thought and providential fear
I rearrange the pieces of the past
Until today makes sense someway, somehow
Although distress flairs light up tonight’s sky
I just cannot be bothered with that now

And I’m never gonna be here again, and I’m never gonna be there again
There is only so much tension,
You can cumber away until the mind no longer bends
(And I’m never gonna be there again)

And I really haven’t been anywhere since then
(And I’m never gonna be there again)
There is only so much passion one can drink while his soul is on the mend
And I’m never gonna be here again

What can you do when you show up late for…
And the day’s already been before…
And your key no longer unlocks that door?

Composition © 2003, 2005 Ric Albano and Ron Simasek
Publication © 2005, 2009, 2011 Cygnus Wave Music

Song Info
Composed on May 11, 2003
Recorded starting on April 8, 2005
at Saturation Acres, Danville, PA
Produced by Ric Albano
Engineered by Paul Smith
Mixed and Mastered in 2005
at Silver Spring Subterranean
Original Release: October 10, 2005
on Imaginary Lines I

Performers
Ric Albano
Piano, Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Vocals
Bret Alexander
Electric Guitar
Ron Simasek
Drums
Listener Guide
Grade

Analysis: This a totally original song, fusing a melancholy power ballad with a precise, marching drum beat, revolving, almost funky bass line, and an excellent, bluesy, guitar lead. The vocals and lyric are almost secondary here, but still they portray the sad lament in the epilogue of a broken relationship. Further the song is asymetrical, nearly a mini-suite, with the story told in the form of a journey.

Song Trivia
In over 20 years of recording with The Badlees, and The Cellarbirds, and various other groups, this is the only individual songwriting credit for Ron Simasek, according to the All Music Guide.
“33 Flames for Mary” is the origin of the “33”, later used in the song “33 Shots at Louis”, the album Imaginary Lines 33, and ultimately the company 33 Dimensions LLC (parent company of Cygnus Wave).

To offer your own analysis of 33 Flames for Mary, please leave a comment in the box below.

Imaginary Lines 33

Imaginary Lines 33Released on September 9, 2009

Imaginary Lines 33 is a compilation album which is actually three albums in one. It includes the entirity of two previous releases, Imaginary Lines I in 2005 and Imaginary Lines II in 2007, plus several new and previously unreleased tracks. In all, its 33 songs have a combined running time of nearly two and a half hours.

This album came together when the project’s producer, Ric Albano, decided to abandon the originally-planned “trilogy” of albums because he did not feel there was enough quality material to make an adeguate Imaginary Lines III. Instead the focus shifted to enhancing previously released material and developing the better songs of the unreleased music.

Disc One Writer(s) Previously Composed
 1. Crimson, White, & Indigo     Ric Albano Unreleased 02/03/06
 2. Sister Josephine Ric Albano Unreleased 08/08/08
 3. Rubicon Ric Albano Unreleased 03/01/09
 4. Princess of Pearl Avenue Ric Albano Unreleased 06/07/06
 5. 999 Escape Ric Albano Unreleased 11/03/08
 6. Tommy’s Got a Gun Ric Albano /
Hunter S. Thompson    
Unreleased 12/25/05
 7. Can’t Get My Mojo Risin’ Ric Albano Unreleased 07/02/09
 8. Ashes Ric Albano Unreleased* 10/09/08
 9. The Phoenix Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I     12/10/04
10. Good Friday Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I

03/22/02
11. Perfect Light Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 06/23/04
12. Lorelei Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 06/14/04
13. 33 Flames for Mary Ric Albano /
Ron Simasek
Imaginary Lines I

05/11/03
14. Anthem Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 04/07/03
15. Donovan’s Dread Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 05/17/05
16. Peace Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 03/08/05
17. One Ric Albano Imaginary Lines I 08/03/04
Disc Two Writer(s) Previously Composed
 1. The Fool’s Overture     Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 05/07/07
 2. She Said Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 05/31/06
 3. Keep Doing What You Do Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 03/10/06
 4. The Last Man to Walk Alone     Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 02/28/06
 5. You Sure Were Fun Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 12/19/05
 6. 33 Shots at Louis Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 09/26/06
 7. Believe Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 09/12/06
 8. A New Religion Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 08/25/06
 9. The Cup Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II     03/02/06
10. The Old Man In the Sea Sue Kovaleski /
Ric Albano
Unreleased 03/17/06
11. Twilight of Innocence Ric Albano Unreleased 05/19/97
12. Here On the Beach Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 04/20/06
13. Naked Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II

04/18/06
14. Deuce Ric Albano Unreleased 08/25/06
15. Half Hearted Ric Albano Unreleased 12/07/07
16. Long Way Home Ric Albano Imaginary Lines II 12/03/07

Imaginary Lines I

Imaginary Lines IOriginal Release: October 10, 2005

Side One
The Phoenix
Good Friday
Perfect Light
Lorelei

Side Two
33 Flames for Mary
Anthem
Donovan’s Dread
Peace
One

All songs later included on Imaginary Lines 33

Imaginary Lines

List of all Imaginary Lines Songs       Imaginary Lines 33 Album

Erik Trabert, Bret Alexander, Ric Albano, and Ron SimasekImaginary Lines is a studio project produced by songwriter and musician Ric Albano. It was initiated in 2004 and has yielded two full-length albums; Imaginary Lines I (2005) and Imaginary Lines II (2007), and will culminate with the triple-length compilation Imaginary Lines 33 in 2009, the final Imaginary Lines product. Ric Albano had been an active songwriter, producer, and performer in the Hazleton, Pa. area for over a decade starting in 1985. Educated as an audio engineer, he wrote and recorded several semi-professional albums under the pseudonym RAREx, later renamed Wahray and Soul. Many of these recordings have recently been remastered and released by Cygnus Wave as a 72-song collection called The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995.

From 1996, Albano entered into an undeclared era of retirement from songwriting that would last for the better part of a decade. In those subsequent years he developed several extended piano instrumentals that were worked and reworked until finally being forged into the songs that would become some of the earliest Imaginary Lines tracks (“the original six”). These included “Twilight of Innocence“, “Dawning of Decadence”, “Welcome Home”, “Episode IV” (a Star Wars tribute which was later re-written as “Lorelei“), “Imaginary Lines”, and a couple of instrumental pieces that would later be combined to form “Good Friday“. In 2003, a couple of more songs – “Anthem” and “33 Flames For Mary” – were written and added to the mix.

Originally, Imaginary Lines was to be a “concept album” with several songs that focused on the chasms between perception and reality. Some of the songs that fit well into this concept were “Lorelei” and the title song (“Imaginary Lines” which later became “Soliloquy” and then ultimately “One“). Several other songs that appear only on the 2004 demo were written in this fashion such as “Speak No Evil”, “Paradise”, “Elitist Lament”, and “I Don’t Want to Live Without It”. Over time however, better, more traditional songs were developed to replace the “concept” songs, including “Good Friday“, the 2 written in ’03, and newcomers “Perfect Light” and “The Phoenix“.

The demo was completed in December, 2004 and Albano spent the early months of 2005 shopping for a recording studio in the Harrisburg area. After meeting with Bret Alexander at Saturation Acres in Danville, Albano decided that was the place for him and recordings on Imaginary Lines I began on April 7, 2005.

Taking advantage of the “house band” feature of Saturation Acres, Albano brought on Cellarbirds Bret Alexander on guitars and Ron Simasek on drums. He originally envisioned using several more session players and singers for this album but found that to be over ambitious and costly. Nevertheless, he was determined to make Imaginary Lines I a richly produced album and did so by layering the songs with digital effects, orchestration, and counter-melody. After drums, guitars, and bass were recorded at Saturation Acres, Albano added keyboards and vocals at home studio along with all initial mixing and mastering.

Ultimately, the album contained nine tracks; seven (or half) from the 2004 demo along with two tracks written in early 2005 – “Peace” and “Donovan’s Dread“. There were also two tracks recorded at Saturation Acres that were excluded from the album – “Welcome Home”, which would not appear until Imaginary Lines 33 and a version of “Lorelei” that was determined to be too slow and was chucked in favor of overdubbing and remixing the original, demo version of the song. Over half the songs on the album were longer than five minutes in length and all were constructed with unique arrangements, chord patterns, and instrumentation. The ultimate goal being to compose something of longevity, with new discoveries on every listen, and which might still sound fresh five or ten or twenty years down the line.

Imaginary Lines IAs the first album neared completion, Albano decided that Imaginary Lines would be a 3-album “trilogy” with a definite end, presumably in 2007, no matter how successful the project would be with the public. This plan would lated be adjusted. Imaginary Lines I was released on October 24, 2005 to moderate reviews that ranged from positive comparisons to Genesis, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd to negative comparisons to “show tunes” or over-indulgent prog rock or worse. Ironically, it was Albano’s primary goal of producing a richly-layered album that also may have caused Imaginary Lines I to lack accessibility to the casual listener. While unapologetic about this initial project, Albano was receptive of honest critique and decided early on that the next album, Imaginary Lines II, would consist of more traditional, shorter, and simpler rock songs.

Production for Imaginary Lines II was set to begin in April, 2006, with a timeline similar to that of the previous year and album. The intention was to combine several songs written in late ’05 and early ’06 with a few of the original demo songs left off of the first album. However, these plans got delayed and production on this album did not begin for over a year.

Albano decided to use this time to write in volume, and 2006 became his most prolific songwriting year of the era. “Crimson, White & Indigo“, “The Last Man to Walk Alone“, “The Cup“, “Keep Doing What You Do“, “She Said“, and “Believe” were just some of the songs conceived during the year. A song called “Deuce” was written to end the album with a link to another song “The Last Day of February”, which was set to kick off the album Imaginary Lines III, but neither this song nor album ever materialized. The earliest version of a song called “Trinity”, which was intended be the final song in the collection (last song on Imaginary Lines III), was also composed, cleverly making the final songs in each album to read: “One”, “Deuce”, “Trinity”. A couple of upbeat instrumentals were also written; one called “Can’t Get My Mojo Risen’” and another called “I Kicked a Dog”.

Recording for Imaginary Lines II finally got underway on April 13, 2007 at Saturation Acres. Ron Simasek was again enlisted for drumming duties, but no immediate plans were made for guitar tracks, as Albano tried to stick to the simplicity principle of just piano/bass/drums/vocals of each song with each song being either three or four minutes in length and with a “traditional” arrangement. One planned deviation was to be the 16-minute-plus, four-part “Ocean Suite”, which concatenated two of the “original six” – “Twilight of Innocence” and “Dawning of Decadence”, with the new songs “The Old Man In the Sea” and “Here On the Beach“.

A couple of the later songs written for Imaginary Lines II were the near-comical “Naked“, probably the closest to 1970’s pop that Albano would come, and the driving rocker “The Fool’s Overture“, which picked up the “dangling string” from “One” and kicked off the album.

Imaginary Lines IIAs production progressed on Imaginary Lines II and projection on Imaginary Lines III was assessed, Albano determined to change the overall arch of the project. First, as the deadline of the end of ’07 rapidly approached, Imaginary Lines II was trimmed to 12 tracks by excluding the song “Half Hearted” and including only “Here On the Beach” from the extended “Ocean Suite”. Also, the song “Trinity” had morphed into “Long Way Home” and would conclude this album instead of Imaginary Lines III, which was scrapped altogether due to lack of focus and/or strength of the projected material for that album. Instead, initial plans were made for a large compilation that would include both Imaginary Lines I and Imaginary Lines II in total, along with some of the better songs either excluded from those first two albums, or slated for the now-defunct Imaginary Lines III. So it was that an intentionally under-produced version (or “Naked” version as it was sometimes called) of Imaginary Lines II was released on December 27, 2007, with the promise and understanding that the full version would be featured in the upcoming “33” compilation.

The significance of the number 33 has a bit of history, as Albano considered that as an artist title when he was actually aged 33 (2001-2002). It was later in the title “33 Flames for Mary“, although that was more coincidental than by design. During the later phases of Imaginary Lines II, Albano wrote a light-hearted reciprocal to that song, from the instrumental that was “I Kicked a Dog” and renamed it “33 Shots at Louis“. He also considered a third “33” song (“33 Visions of Time” from the unpublished song “Only a Matter of Time”), but that never materialized. Nevertheless, “33” was a real number to be met by total track numbers and several decisions needed to be made to reach it. Even though far more songs than that sum had already been written (in whole or in part) by the end of 2007, some judicious editing needed to be made to optimize the remaining selections. Ultimately, Imaginary Lines 33 would be made up of 3 distinct sections (spread over 2 discs in hard copy).

Imaginary Lines 33The first section of the compilation (tracks 1-8 of disc 1) is made of previously unreleased material, save that which was omitted from Imaginary Lines II due to time constraints. These include the songs “Crimson, White, & Indigo“, “Tommy’s Got a Gun” “Deuce“, “Princess of Pearl Avenue“, and newcomers “Sister Josephine“, “999 Escape“, and an instrumental titled “Rubicon“. Also included is “Ashes“, which appeared as the prefix link in the Imaginary Lines I version of “The Phoenix“.

This leads into the second section of Imaginary Lines 33 (tracks 9-17 of disc 1), which is the whole of Imaginary Lines I – nearly verbatim. Aside from the re-mastering, the only significant changes to the original are the omission of the “Ashes” intro into “The Phoenix” (the new “Ashes” immediately preceeds “The Phoenix” anyway) and the editing out of about 36 seconds of ad-lib during the coda of “Perfect Light“. Also the faint lyrics (…where is the buzz when you need it the most/drowned in black coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast…) were re-instated into “Lorelei” shortly after the organ solo in the mid section. The first disk ends much the same as Imaginary Lines I, with “One” and the fading of the “dangling string”.

The second disk (and third section of the compilation) is made wholly of the full, complete version of Imaginary Lines II. Starting with the introductory “dangling string” during “The Fool’s Overture“, it is immediately apparent that this is updated from Imaginary Lines II, as Bret Alexander’s droning guitar (originally recorded along with “One“) joins in. All of these songs on disk 2 were remixed and re-mastered, with many having guitar parts added by Erik Trabert as well as further arrangement and production enhancements (albeit not quite to the level of Imaginary Lines I). The sequence of songs follows the same pattern as the original Imaginary Lines II up to track 9 (“The Cup“), with tracks 10-13 being the separately listed tracks of “Ocean Suite”, followed by “Naked“, the previously omitted “Deuce and “Half Hearted“, and finishing with “Long Way Home“.

With the release of Imaginary Lines 33, the project has come to it’s completion. Being that there are no immediate plans to perform live shows, the name “Imaginary Lines” is effectively retired.

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