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CD3 We are in the Time of Evil Clocks

We are in the Time of Evil Clocks was the third album from The Rebel Wheel and the second to be released through 10T records. It is many things but mostly it is a study in contrasts. Songs like "Scales", "Wordplay" and "Settling of Bones" are very tonal in nature and follow a fairly traditional poppy song structure. Contrasting that are songs like the title pieces book-ending the album, which are more electro-acoustic outings than anything else, although even here the verses of part 1 are dissonant and odd-metered whereas the choruses are tonal and in common time.

The epic piece "Discoverie of Witchcraft" exemplifies this contrast in an even more direct manner. The piece is cast in seven movements. Basically it follows a symphony form of four movements, the first being a sonata-allegro, the second a sonata-rondo, the third a scherzo and the last another sonata form, but these four large pieces are interrupted by three small folk-song styled acoustic pieces (Hags 1,2 and 3). The four larger pieces all use tone-rows as the basis for their composition and while exuding a hard-rock aggression and flaunting a plethora of odd-metered riffage, are at their core, atonal 12-tone compositions. The smaller Hags pieces are strictly diatonic and strongly rooted in a key. These disparate timbres contrast each other strongly and cause a strong motion of tension and release.

The album was recorded by the band live-off-the-floor (as much as possible) in various studios around Ottawa. They returned to Shattered Wing for some of it, did a whole lot at Fiction Music Productions and also recorded a fair bit in sax/vocalist Angie MacIvor's rehearsal studio. With the exception of Settling of Bones, which was all played by David Campbell and sung by Ange, the band used no click tracks and let a certain amount of tempo disparity reign. Even at that, the groove is solid and when David tempo mapped some songs in mixing (to have delays follow the beat etc.) it was found that the tempi varied very little in the course of, in some cases, an eight minute excursion. Nathan Mahl members (a band David was also in at the time and Claude had been in previously) were guest musicians on "Evil Clocks Part 1" and "Scales of the Ebony Fish".

Nick Brisebois came up with the basic concept (and title) in the first place. Artist Francis Dupuis did the graphics and the CD face design. Socar Myles did the Discoverie Illustration and clock-maker Roger Woods gave us his kind permission to use pictures of his iconic clocks. More information on the recording process can be found on the band's blog

The album was released on June 30th 2010 and has been the band's most successful outing. On the strength of that album they were invited to play Progday, Rosfest, Progtoberfest, The Nuance festival, and over thirty gigs in Canada and the States.

The album is available at the Rebel Wheel online store . It is also available at Germany's Rostfrei Records along with their entire catalog.

To download a pdf of CD3 lyrics go here or scroll down this page.

To download a zip file of CD3 artwork go here or scroll down the page

To download a zip file of CD3 sheetmusic go here.

The band:

David Campbell : guitars, keyboards, bass, vocals

Aaron Clark : drums

Angie MacIvor : sax, keyboards, vocals

Claude Prince : bass

Guy LeBlanc : keyboards on Scales

Guy Dagenais : bass on Evil Clocks 1

Album Tracks

Evil Clocks P1

An electronic sound-scape that evolves into a muscular odd-metered rocker with a pretty chorus, this tunes sets the tone for the idea of contrasting sections and tonalities. Guy Dagenais plays fretless bass on the pretty parts, Claude plays on the raunchy parts.

Klak

A song co-written by Geordie Robertson (lyrics), Klak is a modern beatnik outing. Lots of sax and odd-meters, a hard-rock verse and a softer more classically influenced harmonic chorus.

Wordplay

A co-write between David and Angie, this track leans more towards the jam-rock stylings of Phish or Umphrey's Magee. David plays bass here and he, Aaron and Angie tracked it live at her studio.

Scales Of The Ebony Fish

Written in 1979 for the punk-jazz quartet 3C-236, this song travelled well over the next few decades. The title was taken from some science-fiction book David read in the late 70s. Originally intended for Diagramma, the song ended up on Evil Clocks and seemed more fitting. The late great Guy LeBlanc plays keyboards on this one. Salut.

Settling Of Bones

A mellow piece to contrast the rest of the frenetic album, this Ange and David co-write is another old song brought into the band. Angie is the featured vocalist here.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft D1 Convent

The Discoverie of Witchcraft is essentially a symphonic form of four movements (D1-4), combined with three interludes of pastoral nature (Hags 1-3). Convent is the first of the D series (the band always refers to them as such but technically EVERY piece in the 7 movement form is part of the "D" series) and like the other Ds, is aggressive, angular and built on 12-tone rows, all transposed to a common root (F#).

Discoverie Of Witchcraft Hags 1

This is the first of the Hags parts and serves as a contrast to the D series. Here everything is firmly rooted in the key of D and the chilling lyrics are based on Johnson's Queen of Masques. These sections feature Ange's voice and are very acoustic in nature.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft D2 Mad Night

The second of the D series, this piece is a 10 different tone rows played back to back. It is loud and proud and like D1, has the injection of spoken-sung lyrics in parts, but remains mostly an instrumental. This is one of the bands favorite songs to play live.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft Hags 2

This is the second of the Hags parts and again serves as a contrast to the D series. like Hags 1 this one is firmly rooted in the key of D and the similarly the lyrics are based on Johnson's Queen of Masques.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft D3 Invitation To The Dance

The third of the D series, this piece is a also based on a tone row in F# and has what has been described as a Canterbury jazz feel. We agree.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft Hags 3

The last of the Hags series this piece sums up the song and ends with teh directive, "now let our orgies begin". The next D series is that orgy.

Discoverie Of Witchcraft D4 Cavort

The last piece of the major suite, this tune uses a big rig=ff and lots of vocals caterwauling as the assembled witches are caught up in the throes of their orgie. All of the plot and pacing of this was taken wholly form Johnsons's Queen of Masques.

Evil Clocks P2

Another electronic sound-scape that serves as a closing book-end to the opening piece. This one never deters from its acosumatic approach and ends the album on a return to the theme of Evil Clocks.

Evolution of a tune

The song "Mad-Night" is part of the Discoverie of Witchraft piece and is a perfect example of the 12 tone writing that abounds on the album. Additionally it is a perfect example of how the song evolved from David's studio demo to the recording studio and to a live situation. We have embedded two different versions of the song over a one year period to illustrate the evolution of Mad Night (and the ever shifting band line-up)

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Album Art

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Discoverie art by Socar Miles, cover art by Francis Depuis and clock designs by Roger Woods

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Evil Clocks Lyrics

Evil Clocks P1

Outside, outside. I remember, I remember everything.

Klak Geordie Robertson 2008

My baby klaks, like the teeth of a shotgun cow,

dead meat, hits the killing floor.

My baby ticks, like a deathwatch beetle,

waiting patiently beneath, linoleum.

I dreamt I was homeless, wandering the strange avenues

In a daze lost and lonely, I called out for you.

My baby fucks, fucks like a hurricane,

tearing up the coastline at, break-neck speed.

My baby fucks, fucks like a hurricane,

tearing up the coastline at, break-neck speed.

I dreamt I was homeless, wandering the strange avenues

In a daze lost and lonely, I called out for you.

I dreamt I was home lying in, your arms like a child.

Until laughing and loved I, kissed you awake.

Wordplay Angie MacIvor 2009

Disturbing the heart and the head,a heaviness descends.

Words spoken in a tongue of flame.

The three-eyed demon of, lust, envy and deceit;it knows your name.

Close your eyes, nothing will be the same.

Close your heart, only way to escape the pain.

Pull away, retreat into yourself.

If you feel nothing you won't feel your own heart break.

Inspiring deep feelings of dread, another chapter ends.

Mere tokens in a heartless game.

The three sweet angels, fall on their knees and cry, they cry in vain.

Close your eyes, nothing will be the same.

Close your heart, only way to escape the pain.

Pull away, retreat into yourself.

If you feel nothing you won't feel your own heart break.

Disturbing the head and the heart, like actors playing a part,

words spoken in a strangers tongue.

Inspiring deep feelings of dread, another chapter ends,'til the story begins again.

Close your eyes, nothing will be the same.

Close your heart, only way to escape the pain.

Pull away, retreat into yourself.

If you feel nothing you won't feel your own heart break.

Scales David Campbell 1978

Scales of the ebony fish, the blind poet's wish, as the cities lie dying.

Tales of the mariner's rime, the song of a time, the dawn of denying.

And this, the moment of naught when all that we've got

are the bones of past movement.

This, the age of decay, the era when day,

is no different than night.

Discoverie of Witchcraft Ben Jonson 1609

Part 1: Convent

Dame dame, the watch is set.

Quickly now we all are met.

From the lakes and from the fens,

from the rocks and from the dens,

from the woods and from the caves,

from the church-yards and the graves,

from the dungeon, from the tree,

that they died on, here are we.

Part 2: Hags 1

I have been gathering wolves' hair,the mad-dog's foam and the adder's ears.

The spurgings of a dead man's eyes,and all since the evening star did rise.

I last night lay all alone on,the ground to hear a man-drake groan.

I plucked him up though he grew full low.And as I had done the cock did crow.

Under the cradle I did creep,by day and when the child was asleep.

I had a dagger; what did I with that? Killed the infant to have her fat.

Part 3: Mad Night,

The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad,and so is the cat-a-mountain.

The ant, the mole sit both in a hole,and frog peeps out of the fountain.

The dogs do bay and timbrels play, the spindle now is turning.

The moon is red, the stars have fled, but all the sky is burning.

Part 4: Hags 2

A murderer yonder was hung in chains, the sun and wind had shrunk his veins.

I bit off a sinew I clipped his hair, I brought off his rags that danced in the air.

I have been choosing out this skull, from charnel houses that were full.

I from the jaws of the watcher's bitch, did snatch these bones and with them leaped the ditch.

Part 6: Hags 3

The scritch-owl's eggs and the feathers black.

Blood of the frog and the bones in his back.

The worm in the mouth of the dog's remains.

I killed a black cat and here are the brains.

I went to the toad breeds under the wall.

I charmed him out and he came at my call.

I scratched out the eyes of the owl before.

I tore the bat's wings; what would you have more.

Yes I have brought to help our vows, horned poppy and cypress boughs.

The fog-tree wild that grows on tombs,and juice that from the larch-tree comes.

Basilick's blood and the viper skin.

And now our orgies let's begin.

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