Eye of the Storm

Full EP

This EP was produced in its entirety, under duress, during the darkest hours of Beijing’s zero-COVID lockdowns between July and December 2022, while my neighbors waged unadulterated sonic warfare against me. I was personally locked down twice during this period, once with a detector magnet on my door to make sure I did not leave my apartment, and once within the confines of my enclosed neighborhood.

Originally it was intended to be a concept album which represented a physical and spiritual journey from the current state of the urbanized, unbalanced modern world, represented in the opening track “Chaocity”, down a mystical river into the unknown in “River of Shade”, up into the liminal threshold of the jungle-forest beachfront where one would actually enter the unknown in “Heat of the Flight”, and into a new forest society where the mystical tree Dryoda lives. “Dryoda” was to be the last song, and its title is a concatenation of the words Dryad and Triode. A triode is a component found in audio and other electronics and, to be brief, is involved in the process of amplification. The idea was that this forest was balanced in spirituality, ecology and technology, and had a tribe of modern people living there-in who were devoted to the trees and their spirits (as the ancient Greek dryads were), and also maintained technology that, rather than destroying nature, helped to maintain it.

However, in working with my professor Sean Slade [Radiohead, Warren Zevon, Hole], we decided that Dryoda, as a song, wasn’t as developed as the others. I’d had big plans for it, including Beijing Opera style singing going through a vocoder (a device which can synthesize human speech and present it through other non-human audio waveforms), which would symbolize the spirit of the great tree Dryoda speaking/singing to its tribe through a triode for the first time. However, given the current pandemic situation I was facing, I wasn’t entirely convinced I could pull it off the way I wanted to given the fact that anyone I was cooperating with could be locked down at any given moment. So I pitched up a few more song possibilities (although I was pretty gutted about not getting Dryoda in there as the closing, and focal, track).

“Gypsy Fantasia” and “Heat of the Flight” were literally borne of “River of Shade”, which I co-wrote with Justin Howell. In both instances I had been working on River alone, and started jamming off of the same chords and came up with both of them. So “Heat of the Flight” comes nicely off of “River of Shade” because they are both based on a D minor chord progression. “Gypsy Fantasia” I later transposed into A minor because it was both easier for me to perform on guitar, and the vocals came more naturally to me in that range. Furthermore, I surmised that the prescient Gypsy could foretell the coming future of Dryoda, and be a placeholder in this special edition “pre-release” of the EP, which was originally going to be named “Dryoda” after its intended destination. But here it is, in all its reality, and I have named it “Eye of the Storm” instead. The Eye for the gypsy, and her foreseeing gaze, and also the haven in a cyclone, which is like what Dryoda is to be as an escape from Chaocity (Chaos plus City in case you didn’t get it).

So here they are, the final four in sequence: Chaocity -> River of Shade -> Heat of the Flight -> and Gypsy Fantasia holding down the closing position. The first three tracks feature Nico Mege on drums and “River of Shade” features Justin Howell (who co-wrote the instrumentation) on vocals, acoustic guitar, and jazz guitar. Also a huge shout out to the lads from Back Seat Bingo for stepping up to the plate at a clutch moment four stories underground in Xiao Space to come up with the best gang vocals I could have asked for on Chaocity. All the other instrumentation, as well as lyric writing, songwriting, recording and production work was done by myself. In times of trouble, one must carry the can when one has it.

The EP is of course designed to be a good listen on whatever device you’re monitoring on, but if you have a nice pair of headphones or speakers, feel free to use them. Without further ado, here they are, with their lyrics posted below. Dryoda awaits.


(you can just hit the orange/white arrow in the top left corner and they will play in sequence)


You call this a city?

Verse 1

You call this a city?
It makes me dizzy,
With its jagged lines
Crossing my eyes

We’re bound and blinded,
subjection minded,
So cover up and take all your lies

There is a beacon,
That’s beaming on us,
jamming us with radio rays

And now the chaos,
It is upon us,
Demolishing our fortunate days


Plastic, metal, polythene
Drinking from the guillotine
Don’t you know they’ll cut off your tongue?

The revolutions came and went
Followed by our decadence
Do we have to swallow the rent?


We’re living in Chaocity
It’s livid with ferocity
We’re drowning in a putrid sea
Of chemical stupidity

You can’t die in peace

You can’t die in peace

Verse 2

There is a doctrine
That’s not a doctrine
Screaming as the law of the land

The drought has drowned us,
In torrid voices
In the whiplash of the echo-chamber’s din

And there’s a showdown,
Right on the fertile ground
The sickle’s raised with poison at our feet

The drones outman us
But can’t outplan us
So come on baby we got the seeds

Pre-chorus 2

They’re digging up the dinosaurs
For temperature and solar wars
Lubricate the Howitzers now

In smoke the broken mirrors shine,
through fratricidal battle lines,
The flags are shrouded, no one can see

Chorus 2

We’re dying in Chaocity
It’s them and us and you and me
Drop me a line when you are free
We’ll struggle down the steps and see

You can’t die in peace

You can’t die in peace

Bridge and Solo

Verse 3

The streets are a trap
And there’s no map
To run upstairs and fly to the stars

The executions
And retributions
Are streaming next to livecasts of Mars

Pre-Chorus 3

They’re turning up the amplitudes
and burning up the latitudes
Eskimos are surfing in the sun

Mosquitos rage like UFOs
They’re landing on my feet and toes
Mainlining my bloodstream for fun

Chorus 3

We’re living in Chaocity
The stench of famine’s in the breeze
So have a cocktail, rest at ease
And sail upon the rising seas

You can’t die in peace

You can’t die in peace

River of Shade

On this barque we are silently floating…

Verse 1
On this barque we are silently floating,
On the currents towards moonrise tonight,
As these dark waters roll,
We will transport our souls
On this Acheron’s dwindling light.

There’s a battle of noise right behind us,
In the dust and the metal and heat,
And the windstorms don’t stall,
Waves are 50 feet tall
They could swallow our vessel complete

And our sorrows are drifting like vapors
As we glide past the dim lights on shore
I can’t see far ahead
Everything’s infrared
As we seek the unknown to explore

Pre-Chorus 1

I’ve heard the old stories, I’ve cast my own runes
I’ve walked down the stone paths and gazed from the dunes
To endless horizons that call with no sound
But I’ll never get there with my feet on the ground

And we’re riding the River of Shade
We are riding the River of Shade

Verse 2

Now the boughs are bent low as we pass them
As the rising steam swirls in the air
In the late humid heat
As our keel moans and creeks
To the summoning blackness we stare

And we’re entering uncharted waters
And the shadows they dance on the waves
Only dimly aware
Of what’s lurking in there
In the echoing forests and caves

We’ve left miles of water behind us,
With the rippling moon in our wake,
How much further we’ll go
Is completely unknown
On this mystical journey we make,

Prechorus 2
There’s a bend in the river, And a quickening flow,
There’s a skip to the beats in our hearts as we know,
We’re approaching what lies ahead rapidly now
But will we survive or will we go down?

Chorus 2
We’re riding the River of Shade
Yes, we’re riding the River of Shade

Heat of the Flight

And the fireflies are glowing like stars…

Verse 1

We’re breaking through the heat unto landfall
Arriving like a tropical storm
I hear the whirring sound of the wind call
The air is hot the water’s blood warm

There’s a creeping heat blowing tonight
I’m sweating and its stinging my eyesight
We’re pushing through this dizzy mirage
The mud on our face is our camouflage

Chorus 1

We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
Like a serpent in the sand when its hot and white
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight

Verse 2

We’re looking for the way to Dryoda
We’re following the Dog Star tonight
The temperature is gonna erode us
We’ve gotta get our target on sight

There’s a tribal beat pounding the trees
And the buzz of the jungle sounds like killer bees
There’s a gradient over the sand
We’ve gotta get some shade and get onto the land

Chorus 2

We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
I can see a pair of eyes burning bright
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight

Verse 3

Now we’re stealin’ out into the palms
They’re swaying in the shadowy wind
We’re going through the eye of the storm
A momentary lull in a world of sin

And the fireflies are glowing like stars
The jungle flares and heaves like a breathing beast
No one has ever made it this far
The sun is long gone down but we’re heading east

Chorus 3

We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight
There’s no turning back and no end in sight
We’re burnin’ in the heat of the flight

Gypsy Fantasia

Like a whirlwind dancing in wheels…

Verse 1
On a crossroads we first met, you gazed into me
It was deep in a pass in the east Pyrenees
I asked you to follow me you said its best
To meet in Cantabria springtime you guessed

Prechorus 1
In Santander, you’d wait for me there
On the Bay of Biscay with the sun in your hair
And your eyes gleamed when I said farewell
And set out for Aragon under your spell

Chorus 1
In a dream
Si te llamaría
How I long to see you
Gypsy fantasia

Verse 2
The autumn came quickly and with it the wind
When I gazed at the stars in the sky they were tinged
With the smoke and the embers that rose from the trees
Did they bear your heart’s tidings traversing to me,

Prechorus 2
On the starbound wandering sky?
Oh Santa Maria please don’t let me die
Till I meet you again on the shore
I’ll never forget the flamenca you wore

Chorus 2
In my dream
It was red as sangria
As we danced near the villa
in Andalusia

Verse 3
The winter I spent down in western Castile,
Dressed in tunics the friars they gave me my meals,
And I wrote you a song in the wind with a prayer,
Dispatched with my love so that you’d meet me there

Prechorus 3
Like a whirlwind dancing in wheels,
Turning the stars with your gitana heels
And I can’t come north in the spring
Your caravan must travel south where I sing

Chorus 3
In my dream
Cantando magia
Gypsy fantasia
In Andalusia

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