August Moon

Origin

This is a song that my friend Judd Sather (now a highly in-demand photographer) wrote some time in mid-90s.  Judd was the lead singer of the first band I joined in college, and post-college we had a go at starting a new band as well.

I was immediately taken by the song, and came up with the instrumental bridge to add more drama to the song.  So the part I added was small, but I have owned and lived with the song for 20 years, dreaming some day of capturing the full majesty (pan intended) and power of this song.

Music & Production

The version in World of No Errors is obviously an ‘unplugged” affair, but it starts to exhibit the anthemic gesture that this song is capable of.  I’m particularly fond of the moment at the end of the bridge into the final chorus — it makes me imagine skies opening up, filled with light.

The verses of this song can be played with dotted, swing-y rhythm or straight, and I recall Judd playing it differently every time he played, driving everyone playing with him crazy.  So for the band version I made it stick to straight rhythm for when there’s singing and swing rhythm for in-between singing.  One of the lovely touches here is the minor IV chord, giving an unexpected softness to an otherwise predictable ascending chord progression.

The rhythmic change for that tacked-on bridge has also been tricky and I am equally guilty of playing it differently.  The problem is that the bridge wants to be played in 6/8 time but the rest of the song is in 4/4, and no matter what I tried the change felt abrupt.  (it doesn’t help that there’s one bit among the 6/8 that subdivides into two, not three) So — if you’re a musician, see if you can figure out what’s going on with the rhythm in this bridge.

Lyrics

There’s an interesting duality to the lyrics.  It starts out with almost a creation story, and the chorus is basically a vision, painting an idyllic picture.  But the 2nd verse really pulls it down to a more realistic situation, with longing and uncertainty.

In the beginning there was infinite time and infinite space
The earth was without form and void
And the darkness was upon the face of the deep
The spirit of God was moving over the water’s face
And heavenly bodies they were flung into the sea
The day and the night and the light and the firmament
They all fell in lines
The lands appeared and the water gathered together
Keeping the rhyme and time

A world without pain
Celestial beings dancing in the rain
Illuminate the haunting mystery
The majesty and the darkness bow on bended knee
To the August moon

I used to think that I know
The way it all eventually should go
But now I find that tightly woven dreams
They tend to unwind
Deliberate the choices we make
The chances we didn’t take
On a midnight walk I raise my palms to you
Give me an answer soon

A world without pain
Celestial beings dancing in the rain
Illuminate the haunting mystery
The majesty and the darkness bow on bended knee
To the August moon

Written by Judd Sather & Ari Koinuma (Lyrics by Judd)

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