I am the Walrus...

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23. Mär. 2007, 13:31

(Despite the title, this has nothing to do with the Beatles; however this songwriter has been compared to them on numerous occasions...)

I've been a fan of New Zealand musician Neil Finn for at least a couple of decades. If you're not familiar with him, he started a band called Crowded House in the 80's, and before that, he was in his brother's band Split Enz. As he came up on my mp3 player I was struck by the following.

Has Neil Finn ever used any kind of nature sounds in his work? I seem to remember weird bird-like noises (gulls maybe? possibly backwards?) at the end of Kill Eye...any others?

This occurred to me after I recently purchased One All from iTunes after becoming a reluctant iPod owner (yes, I'm a bad Finn fan - but I did manage to get 7 Worlds Collide and Everyone Is Here first). After listening to Into the Sunset several times, I realized something sounded familiar - the bell-like noise in the chorus. I used to have quite a few Paul Winter albums (mostly on tape, never repurchased as CDs, so I haven't heard them in a long time), and a couple of Bernie Krause CDs - both artists use animal sounds in their work, and one of those albums is where I heard a very similar sound.

It's a male walrus, declaring his territory. You can hear it here:

http://whyfiles.org/114music/3.html -
(click the walrus button)

They make the sounds underwater, by vibrating air sacs in their necks.

Now I'm sure the bell in Neil's is just that - it sounds a bit muffled and off-kilter, but the sound is consistent. The walrus's vary in tone and pitch. However, I'm sure I must be the only person who hears Into the Sunset and is reminded of Arctic pinnipeds. Well, there is some marine imagery in this song, so perhaps it's not too out of place.

Into the Sunset

(* where the "walrus" sound occurs...)

Here lies a place
Won't let me languish
Hears all my footsteps and waits
Watch how she fades into the sunset
A vision spectacular in grace

Hunger *for the world travel
Stimulating discussion lift me*
Faster into the weakness
Off the wall into blackness
Gifted*

Red eyes reflect
Open the suitcase
Spread all your clothes on the floor
Much like it was
Ten years ago
Time on the clock
Don't want to waste it

Hunger *for the world travel
Stimulating discussion lift me*
Faster into the weakness
Off the wall into blackness
Gifted* (Gifted)

Watch how she fades into the sunset
A vision spectacular in grace
Hunger *for the world travel
Stimulating discussion lift me*
Faster into the weakness
Off the wall into blackness
Gifted*

And I'm away from home
And it's a way of life
And I'm a-flying high
And I'm a wheeling gull*
Here now I come to *rest
Under a lion rock*
Over marine parade
Maybe this time*
Maybe this time*
Here I'll stay*

- Neil Finn

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