Animal

by Higher Learning

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An ep we sat on for about two years. Released on tape in 2013, now finally available for your digital enjoyment. :)
-HLC

Lyrics and Music written between Spring 2010 and December 2011
Recorded in December of 2011 at Earth Capitol in Los Angeles California
(William Donahue played drums on this recording)

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released September 4, 2013

Ian-Throat
Matt-Gits
Bryant-Bass
Will-Drums

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Track Name: Higher Learning
Lyrics:
The ritalin orphans whom the culture despised
Mobilizing an army of the marginalized
Those you tried to oppress, repress and restrain
Have found the hammer of Truth to break your shackle and chain
Wielding a sonic weapon of idea and will
The perpetual virtue, the flesh cannot kill
The Universal struggle, come and partake
Keep the flame burning bright, trample the snake

The eyes once plagued by darkness have seen the bright sun burning
The voice within the soul screams Higher Learning
The age of hate is over behold the new page turning
The writing on the wall reads Higher Learning

Thoughts:
There are two themes in this song that kind of intertwine. The first theme, conveyed in the rather outlandish references to “Ritalin Orphans”, armies “of the Marginalized” wielding a “Hammer of Truth”, referrers to a transcultural idea that exists throughout much of folklore, literature and religion of both the eastern and western variety: The triumph of the lesser over greater/ the deepest beauty existing in the most overlooked places.

The Brythonic-Celtic legend of Arthur perhaps best illustrates the idea. For those who grew up in a cave and never watched “Excalibur” or “Sword in the Stone” or read T.H. White’s Once and Future King, Arthur, is the orphaned son of Lord Uther Pendragon. Shortly after his birth he is reduced to the state of an unwanted and worthless societal burden. Now because of this, he happens to stumble across a fantastic, supernatural weapon which not only reveals that he is in fact the opposite of what he had been believed to be, but instates him as king and in many ways an a cosmic medium to secure community, preserve the weak, fight evil and ultimately bring balance to the cosmos. Now THIS IS NOT a suggestion that people who had the misfortune of being prescribed Ritalin while attending school should attempt to overthrow the PTA and instate some new form of whatever, far from it in fact. THE POINT BEING MADE is that the most beautiful things, the most valuable things, the most praise worthy things often manifest in the most unwanted and seemingly insignificant places, the simple and the humble as opposed to those who are resigned to glory, title and status, posses the greater capacity for beholding the beautiful and grasping the profound.

The second idea, “The Universal Struggle” is not intended to be a stupid marxist quip, but is rather based around a rather romantic idea that in playing this “ritualistic folk music” we call Hardcore, we are somehow tapping into this sort of sonic historical chain. That in playing this music with joy and the intention for moral action in our hearts, we were somehow united across space and history with Civil Rights Marchers in Alabama singing “We Shall Overcome” or slaves in the cotton fields a hundred years earlier using music as a medium for survival or Gaelic-Irish Raparees, humming Latin hymns as they are hunted down by Cromwellian Troops. As corny, romantic, metaphysically inconceivable, and even arrogant as it may be to some, the idea of jumping into this sort of moral/musical stream, this river of sonic liberation, for lack of a better word, and floating along with those who came before us, despite the obvious boundaries perceived, is one we find particularly moving.

(Please note that we are not talking about channeling, spirit conjuring or medium craft etc. This has nothing to do with such activity and is by no means an endorsement. Stay away from that crap.)
Track Name: Take.Consume.Destroy.
Lyrics:
Soul plugged into a hostile, anti-human death machine
Reared by moron beatitudes flashed on a plasma screen
Media the new reality, human compassion now sedated
For your entertainment pleasure watch your brother mutilated
In the fourth installment of the franchise with your sister they were more discrete
They cut her hair, cut our her tongue and lovingly force bound her feet
Catchy corporate slogans are now the only words she'll say
As she starves from malnutrition on Yoplait and Special K

Children's heads bursting with crap, brightly colored, sweet to taste
Nickelodeon, Disney sugar made from cancerous toxic waste
Spinning ring around the rosy, joyfully chant the marketing ploy:
“This product will grant you lasting peace so
Take, Consume, Destroy”

"The screams you hear beneath you are in fact cries of delight
Gouge out your eyes, deafen your ears, we shall provide you sight
Grow these crops of self-destruction in the fresh plowed loamy tilth
Transform you to primate imbeciles in a Jungle of Filth."

Thoughts:

This is a song about our obsession with TV sets, computers, digital media and advertising in general. Technology when existing in its proper context (existing for our own needs as opposed to its own development) is rather useful and nice. However when it goes the other way it, it might be fair to say that it reduces us to uninformed, self obsessed, uncompassionate fools. As Thomas Merton very eloquently says:

"If technology really represented the rule of reason, there would be much less to regret about our present situation. Actually, technology represents the rule of quantity, not the rule of reason (quality=value=relation of means to authentic human ends). It is by means of technology that man the person, the subject of qualified and perfectible freedom, becomes quantified, that is, becomes part of a mass--mass man--whose only function is to enter anonymously into the process of production and consumption. He becomes on one side an implement, a 'hand,' or better, a 'biophysical link' between machines: on the other side he is a mouth, a digestive system, and an anus, something through which pass the products of his technological world, leaving a transient and meaningless sense of enjoyment. The effect of a totally emancipated technology is the regression of man to a climate of moral infancy, in total dependence not on 'mother nature' (such a dependence would be partly tolerable and human) but on the pseudonature of technology, which has replaced nature by a closed system of mechanisms with no purpose but that of keeping themselves going.”

-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

"Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments."
-Thomas Merton
Track Name: Animal
Lyrics:
"Eat. Sleep. Copulate.
Exalt my pride, feed my hate
To smart to love, to strong to think
My ego is real food and drink
My perceived strength it does suffice
In the modern age of paradise."

Thoughts:
This song is not to be taken literally (hence the quotation marks)
This intended to incapsulate the mantra of the "glorious", "modern" "humanist" age. The mantra of human “progress”, the mantra of human “reason”, the mantra of genocide, eugenics, air pollution, cancer, misandry, misogyny, racism and deforestation, the mantra of a dying world. This is the mantra of all things anti-human and those who have forfeited their rational minds so that they might be truer servants to their appetites. This is not the mantra of a man; this is the mantra of an animal.
Track Name: Rage of a Child
Lyrics:
Propaganda addicts, slaving through the years
Songs of desolation playing in their ears:

"This is your inheritance
World of excess and sword
Welcome to your birthright
Where convenience rules as lord
The modern cult of hatred springing forth to full fruition
To hell with Love and Charity, outdated superstition
You're worthless your ideas are wrong
You're stupid and you don't belong
Where's your children? Where's your wife?
You're growing old and wasting life
You're life's not yours your dreams are dead
Now get in line and slave for bread
Hide the tears you long to weep
Trudge through life with lack of sleep
We hate you! yes its true wish the very worst on you
Despise you! oh yes its true, hope you fail at all you do
The price of gas,cost of grain are the tax you pay so don't complain
Worship estate, drink acid rain and when the banks they rape, embrace the pain"

I oppose this structure, I will not be beguiled
Stand forever in resistance wielding the Rage of A Child.

I am no slave, who speaks as he is told
My dignity is mine, it won't be bought nor sold
A Neo-Raparee, fighting nail and tooth
The incurable idealist still clinging to the Truth.

No Submission.
No Chain.No Tag.
No Submission.
No Tattered White Flag.

Thoughts:
It is interesting to watch how children have very little tolerance for charades, pretense and what they perceive to be insincere and false. Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes, perhaps best describes this concept. If you are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to read it. The idea of children, being some sort of embodiment of truth and decency, is nearly universal in human literature, religion and folklore. Both Jesus and Lao Tzu refer to salvation as something that can only be acquired by the childlike. J.M. Barries’ Peter Pan, a child, does not fear death but rather welcomes it as “an awfully great adventure” while his adult nemesis Captain Hook, is forever terrified of clocks, a symbol of time and a correlation to the crocodile, who not coincidentally is linked with his inevitable death. We can go on, but I am sure you grasp what is being referred to when the phrase “Rage of a Child” is used in this song.

It is important to stress that this is NOT a political song. Far from it, for the political is not the center of being and it could be said that those who believe so, have resigned themselves a lifeless worldview. We do not hold solutions to the problems that have plagued humanity since its beginning, so we are not proposing any. THIS SONG IS ABOUT clinging to what is real, what is true and what is unchanging, to withstand the petty ugliness of human life and still hold onto the belief in the coming of a reconciled world.

So now the final question arises, where do we fit in to this picture? Do we wish to resign Hardcore Music, and far more importantly our own lives to self-obsession and insincerity? Do we wish to become so narcissistically obsessed with ourselves and our own problems, our own legacy and our hatred that we destroy the world around us until we will ultimately fade in our own vanity, or do we wish for something better, something purer and something truer?


It may very well be that hardcore music will cease to exist within our lifetime. It is probably even more likely that the overwhelming majority of us will move on and “sell out” into the inescapable responsibilities and obligations of living. And this is nothing to be ashamed of for Hardcore is not an end in it of itself and should not be confused as such. Hardcore is a temporary means to an end, and we should play it and listen to it in the hope and anticipation that there will come a time when we will no longer need Hardcore. The only thing that is important about our participation in this music is what did we learn from it and how we used it to better our own lives? Did we reaffirm our desire to be forever bound to the true and irreconcilable with false or did we run into the arms of pretense? Did we learn to Love or merely feed our own hatred? Did we learn that human kind exists for community and reciprocation, or did we convince ourselves that we were all that mattered? Did we learn there is Truth and that we exist for it or did we decide that we define Truth as we wish?

We will all die, that is a given, this song is an encouragement to resist the insincere, cling to the real and in doing so “staying young” until that day.