Elitist Lament

Bonus Track by 

Written by Ric Albano Song Length: 6:41
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Lyrics
Approval seems doubtful, why wait for the council?
We’ll teach him ourselves – why can’t we teach him ourselves?

Earnest, I have some terrible news that is both quite shocking yet true
Seems our prodigious son has gone out dancing with the other ones
And now he endorses their views
I implore that we address with most seriousness this advocating of the faux
‘Cause once those flyover freaks get a grip inside of a weaker mind
They tend not to let go

We found him in the dirt, aged six without a shirt
Living in a box in Morningside Park

Ole’ girl, you must not worry yourself by overreacting with fear
May it be the sin of the youth to walk crooked paths to the truth–
When it’s not unmistakably clear?
Dear Penelope, I need not remind you’ve had these lingering doubts before
That he’d ever put down that orange ball
And spend more time at Schermerhorn Hall-
That he’d ever open up that door

To which we provide the key through our benevolence and our charity
And the boy didn’t let us down any of those times

Earnest pick up the den phone! Summon Rabitowitz, Shays, and Jones
And leak a word to Lowell Waters at the Times through his private line
It’s most important we use his private line
(We don’t want to make any noise)

‘Cause Steven has gotten too high, Steven has gotten too high
We need not deliberate as to the reason’s why
While he’s out there in the danger zone
Yes, Steven has gotten high, Steven has gotten too high
We have to shield him from his own lies
Before he causes us more embarrassment, social harassment:
14,574,060 smirking “I-told-you-so’s”

We’ll save him from himself
And in time he’ll be most grateful for our help
And the boy will not let us down the next time

Earnie don’t be so naïve!
There’ll be no grand redemption for our Steve!
His reputation must be discredited so thoroughly
That there can be no time for deeper discussions
No, there can be no time for any thoughtful retorts
There must be no latent time for social preemption
We’ll play the role of victims fine

‘Cause Steven has gotten too high, Steven has gotten too high
He’s stumbled into the ideological abyss
Where his burning voice undermines our cause
Oh, Steven has gotten truth (no, wait!)

Steven has gotten high, Steven has gotten too high
He is not advocating creeds per-approved by our cocktail friends
It’d be embarrassing, should they ever catch wind o’ this thing:
6,217,020 rolling-eyed “You-should-have-known’s”

Composition © 2000 Ric Albano
Publication © 2004, 2011 Cygnus Wave Music

Song Info
Composed on August 3, 2000
Recorded Fall 2004
at Silver Spring Subterranean
Produced & Engineered by Ric Albano
Previously Unreleased

Performers
Ric Albano
Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Vocals

Listener Guide
Grade

Analysis: Recording from original “Imaginary Lines 2004” demo.

Please offer your own analysis of Elitist Lament by leaving a comment in the box below.

Ric Albano

Ric AlbanoRic Albano was born and raised in Hazleton, Pa. At an early age he was a big fan of Johnny Cash, saw him for his first concert at the age of five and would mimic him when he got his first guitar at age six. As he reached adolescence, Ric became a dedicated listener of classic rock, especially Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush, and The Doors.

In 1984, he purchased his first instrument, an odd hybrid of electric piano and harpsichord and about a year later he joined his first rock band called Running Wild. Together they wrote a handful of original songs that they played at their first gig about a week before high school graduation. About a week after graduation, the band promptly broke up.

Ric got interested in songwriting and recording. He slowly began to acquire musical instruments – electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and percussive instruments, harmonica – all of which he ultimately taught to himself. Using a Fostex 4-track recorder, he developed a makeshift home studio and would ultimately write and record nearly 300 songs between 1987 and 1996. Influenced by prog-rock acts such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Zebra, and Yes, these songs were experimental, adventurous, and eclectic with some being quite interesting and some downright disastrous. Due to the limited, semi-professional recording quality, none of these songs were ever released publicly but were curated as the collection The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995 in 2011. There were a few of these old songs that would be used as direct influences or templates for more recent releases in the coming decades.

Also during this analog period, Ric was involved in several other musical endeavors and projects. In 1989 he received former training in audio engineering and briefly worked and recorded in a professional studio in Ohio. Later he would provide live sound for several Pennsylvania bands, including The Badlees, during the period immediately preceding their national breakthrough and large arena tours. Ric was a performing member in series of short-run bands with names such as Onyx, Misery Loves Company, and The Steel Breeze, in which he, at various times, played on guitar, drums, keyboards and/or vocals (ironically, he would not play bass in a band until Animal Society was formed, several years later). He also briefly performed as a solo acoustic act under the name Snake Simpson.

Starting in 1997, Ric took a long hiatus from writing and recording original music to focus on domestic life and working towards a college degree. During school, he subsisted as a disc jockey in Northeast PA under the name “Dr. Jones” until he received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Bloomsburg University in 2002. In late 2003 / early 2004 Ric began a project to digitally refurbish some of the better past home recordings for a possible public release. However, he eventually decided that the best course of action would be to start from scratch with new material.

After relocating to suburban Harrisburg in 2004, Ric started a concept project called Imaginary Lines. He built a new digital home studio to record a demo and chose Saturation Acres studio, owned by Bret Alexander and Paul Smith of The Cellarbirds, for the high-end professional recordings. In 2005, he recorded and released Imaginary Lines I with Alexander on guitars and Ron Simasek on drums. This was followed up with a second release, Imaginary Lines II in 2007. Soon Ric decided to complete the Imaginary Lines project with a super-sized 33-song compilation of everything from the first two albums plus new and unused material. Future band mate, Erik Trabert provided guitars for several songs on this final phase while Simasek remained the primary drummer and Janet Rains of M80 added vocal support. The result, Imaginary Lines 33 was released internationally on September 9, 2009.

During the Imaginary Lines years, Ric developed this independent label, Cygnus Wave. In 2008, he co-produced Not One of You by 1980s new-wave band Hormoans, using archived studio recordings that Ric digitally re-mastered and released on the Cygnus Wave label. He also went on some musical tangents, writing material for other potential projects beyond Imaginary Lines. One of these projects was called “Americana on Acid” while another was called “Searching for the Perfect Sunday”. Songs from these projects may be used for a future project.

In late 2008, Ric formed the power trio Animal Society with guitarist Erik Trabert and drummer Matt Roy. Ric provided bass and vocals and wrote or co-wrote much of the band’s original material. In 2010, he produced the group’s debut album (Animal Society I), but Animal Society disbanded later that year and that album has not been officially released.

Ric also lent his talent to many charitable functions. When his sister-in-law suffered a massive debilitating stroke in 2007, Ric helped organize Dollars for Diane and was involved in all three benefit concerts, performing solo in one and with Animal Society in another. He also developed a website for this cause with future band mate Matt Roy, which was integral in collecting online donations. In late 2009, Ric and his wife Karyn produced a compilation album using donated songs from some of Pennsylvania’s finest artists. For this project, Ric wrote and produced “Song for Diane”, which was later recorded by Diane’s cousin PJ Heckman.

After 2010, Ric took another multi-year break from music as he worked to build his independent web design and publishing businesses. In 2013, he initiated Sinclair Soul, which was originally supposed to be a one-album recording project. However, those original plans did not work out. In 2016, Albano decided to re-interpret and re-mix some Imaginary Lines tracks and returned to Saturation Acres to record. This year also saw him composing a new series of songs on acoustic guitar, which ultimately led to him officially launching Sinclair Soul.

The seven-track debut Sinclair Soul album, The Journey featured four new versions of Imaginary Lines songs along with three new acoustic-based songs written in 2016. The process worked so well that it was a catalyst for much more music to come with a total of five Sinclair Soul albums released between 2017 and 2023. During the winter of 2017-18 a second album was recorded and compiled in much the same vein as the debut. Reflections of Relevance was a loose concept album focused on stories inspired by Albano’s original hometown of Hazleton, PA.

The Good Guys was commenced in late 2018 with a massive studio session in December of that year, followed by a solid year of additional recording, mixing and mastering sessions before it’s release in late 2019. This record marked the first time a majority of production was done at Paul Smith’s Eight Days a Week Studio (8DAWS) in Northumberland, PA and (along with the core 3 members) it includes a posse of top-notch musicians and producers, including Smith, vocalist Mycenea Worley, guitarist Phil Brosius and engineer Jake Albano (Ric’s son). Following this ambitious recording in 2019, Albano planned to dedicate 2020 on live performances. But of course, the COVID pandemic nixed those plans. With too much time at home, Ric decided to try recording some lo-fi, simple songs on his own home recording devices. During April and May 2020, he prolifically wrote many songs, so many in fact that he had enough make two full records. So he decided to separate these out into two different projects, with those calling for more complex arrangements held for the group recordings at 8DAWS. Ric Albano’s debut solo record, Out There Somewhere was released in October 2020, followed by the fourth overall Sinclair Soul record, The Girl with No Name, in the summer of 2021. This record returned to the roots of Sinclair Soul with the core three of Albano, Alexander, and Simasek being the only musicians featured on this rich collection of songs. In 2022, he worked on his second solo record, Another Rock to Roll. Unlike his debut however, this record drew from a lot of previously written songs – many from the original, unreleased Sinclair Soul project a decade earlier and some dating back as far as 2005. The result was a very introspective and solid record with Albano once again playing every single instrument.

Frequencies by Sinclair Soul When the song “Find Another Soul” was composed in late 2022, Ric instantly knew that this should be the final song on the final Sinclair Soul album. So 2023 was dedicated to producing this final album of 12 originals called Frequencies, which was dropped on New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2023. Frequencies is the largest and lengthiest Sinclair Soul record, featuring 12 tracks of solid classic-style rock n’ roll with various sub-genres, which we anticipate to be the pinnacle of this music project.

List of published Ric Albano solo songs
Ric Albano website

 

Imaginary Lines

List of all Imaginary Lines Songs       Imaginary Lines 33 Album

Erik Trabert, Bret Alexander, Ric Albano, and Ron SimasekImaginary Lines is a studio project produced by songwriter and musician Ric Albano. It was initiated in 2004 and has yielded two full-length albums; Imaginary Lines I (2005) and Imaginary Lines II (2007), and will culminate with the triple-length compilation Imaginary Lines 33 in 2009, the final Imaginary Lines product. Ric Albano had been an active songwriter, producer, and performer in the Hazleton, Pa. area for over a decade starting in 1985. Educated as an audio engineer, he wrote and recorded several semi-professional albums under the pseudonym RAREx, later renamed Wahray and Soul. Many of these recordings have recently been remastered and released by Cygnus Wave as a 72-song collection called The Evolution of Noise, 1987-1995.

From 1996, Albano entered into an undeclared era of retirement from songwriting that would last for the better part of a decade. In those subsequent years he developed several extended piano instrumentals that were worked and reworked until finally being forged into the songs that would become some of the earliest Imaginary Lines tracks (“the original six”). These included “Twilight of Innocence“, “Dawning of Decadence”, “Welcome Home”, “Episode IV” (a Star Wars tribute which was later re-written as “Lorelei“), “Imaginary Lines”, and a couple of instrumental pieces that would later be combined to form “Good Friday“. In 2003, a couple of more songs – “Anthem” and “33 Flames For Mary” – were written and added to the mix.

Originally, Imaginary Lines was to be a “concept album” with several songs that focused on the chasms between perception and reality. Some of the songs that fit well into this concept were “Lorelei” and the title song (“Imaginary Lines” which later became “Soliloquy” and then ultimately “One“). Several other songs that appear only on the 2004 demo were written in this fashion such as “Speak No Evil”, “Paradise”, “Elitist Lament”, and “I Don’t Want to Live Without It”. Over time however, better, more traditional songs were developed to replace the “concept” songs, including “Good Friday“, the 2 written in ’03, and newcomers “Perfect Light” and “The Phoenix“.

The demo was completed in December, 2004 and Albano spent the early months of 2005 shopping for a recording studio in the Harrisburg area. After meeting with Bret Alexander at Saturation Acres in Danville, Albano decided that was the place for him and recordings on Imaginary Lines I began on April 7, 2005.

Taking advantage of the “house band” feature of Saturation Acres, Albano brought on Cellarbirds Bret Alexander on guitars and Ron Simasek on drums. He originally envisioned using several more session players and singers for this album but found that to be over ambitious and costly. Nevertheless, he was determined to make Imaginary Lines I a richly produced album and did so by layering the songs with digital effects, orchestration, and counter-melody. After drums, guitars, and bass were recorded at Saturation Acres, Albano added keyboards and vocals at home studio along with all initial mixing and mastering.

Ultimately, the album contained nine tracks; seven (or half) from the 2004 demo along with two tracks written in early 2005 – “Peace” and “Donovan’s Dread“. There were also two tracks recorded at Saturation Acres that were excluded from the album – “Welcome Home”, which would not appear until Imaginary Lines 33 and a version of “Lorelei” that was determined to be too slow and was chucked in favor of overdubbing and remixing the original, demo version of the song. Over half the songs on the album were longer than five minutes in length and all were constructed with unique arrangements, chord patterns, and instrumentation. The ultimate goal being to compose something of longevity, with new discoveries on every listen, and which might still sound fresh five or ten or twenty years down the line.

Imaginary Lines IAs the first album neared completion, Albano decided that Imaginary Lines would be a 3-album “trilogy” with a definite end, presumably in 2007, no matter how successful the project would be with the public. This plan would lated be adjusted. Imaginary Lines I was released on October 24, 2005 to moderate reviews that ranged from positive comparisons to Genesis, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd to negative comparisons to “show tunes” or over-indulgent prog rock or worse. Ironically, it was Albano’s primary goal of producing a richly-layered album that also may have caused Imaginary Lines I to lack accessibility to the casual listener. While unapologetic about this initial project, Albano was receptive of honest critique and decided early on that the next album, Imaginary Lines II, would consist of more traditional, shorter, and simpler rock songs.

Production for Imaginary Lines II was set to begin in April, 2006, with a timeline similar to that of the previous year and album. The intention was to combine several songs written in late ’05 and early ’06 with a few of the original demo songs left off of the first album. However, these plans got delayed and production on this album did not begin for over a year.

Albano decided to use this time to write in volume, and 2006 became his most prolific songwriting year of the era. “Crimson, White & Indigo“, “The Last Man to Walk Alone“, “The Cup“, “Keep Doing What You Do“, “She Said“, and “Believe” were just some of the songs conceived during the year. A song called “Deuce” was written to end the album with a link to another song “The Last Day of February”, which was set to kick off the album Imaginary Lines III, but neither this song nor album ever materialized. The earliest version of a song called “Trinity”, which was intended be the final song in the collection (last song on Imaginary Lines III), was also composed, cleverly making the final songs in each album to read: “One”, “Deuce”, “Trinity”. A couple of upbeat instrumentals were also written; one called “Can’t Get My Mojo Risen’” and another called “I Kicked a Dog”.

Recording for Imaginary Lines II finally got underway on April 13, 2007 at Saturation Acres. Ron Simasek was again enlisted for drumming duties, but no immediate plans were made for guitar tracks, as Albano tried to stick to the simplicity principle of just piano/bass/drums/vocals of each song with each song being either three or four minutes in length and with a “traditional” arrangement. One planned deviation was to be the 16-minute-plus, four-part “Ocean Suite”, which concatenated two of the “original six” – “Twilight of Innocence” and “Dawning of Decadence”, with the new songs “The Old Man In the Sea” and “Here On the Beach“.

A couple of the later songs written for Imaginary Lines II were the near-comical “Naked“, probably the closest to 1970’s pop that Albano would come, and the driving rocker “The Fool’s Overture“, which picked up the “dangling string” from “One” and kicked off the album.

Imaginary Lines IIAs production progressed on Imaginary Lines II and projection on Imaginary Lines III was assessed, Albano determined to change the overall arch of the project. First, as the deadline of the end of ’07 rapidly approached, Imaginary Lines II was trimmed to 12 tracks by excluding the song “Half Hearted” and including only “Here On the Beach” from the extended “Ocean Suite”. Also, the song “Trinity” had morphed into “Long Way Home” and would conclude this album instead of Imaginary Lines III, which was scrapped altogether due to lack of focus and/or strength of the projected material for that album. Instead, initial plans were made for a large compilation that would include both Imaginary Lines I and Imaginary Lines II in total, along with some of the better songs either excluded from those first two albums, or slated for the now-defunct Imaginary Lines III. So it was that an intentionally under-produced version (or “Naked” version as it was sometimes called) of Imaginary Lines II was released on December 27, 2007, with the promise and understanding that the full version would be featured in the upcoming “33” compilation.

The significance of the number 33 has a bit of history, as Albano considered that as an artist title when he was actually aged 33 (2001-2002). It was later in the title “33 Flames for Mary“, although that was more coincidental than by design. During the later phases of Imaginary Lines II, Albano wrote a light-hearted reciprocal to that song, from the instrumental that was “I Kicked a Dog” and renamed it “33 Shots at Louis“. He also considered a third “33” song (“33 Visions of Time” from the unpublished song “Only a Matter of Time”), but that never materialized. Nevertheless, “33” was a real number to be met by total track numbers and several decisions needed to be made to reach it. Even though far more songs than that sum had already been written (in whole or in part) by the end of 2007, some judicious editing needed to be made to optimize the remaining selections. Ultimately, Imaginary Lines 33 would be made up of 3 distinct sections (spread over 2 discs in hard copy).

Imaginary Lines 33The first section of the compilation (tracks 1-8 of disc 1) is made of previously unreleased material, save that which was omitted from Imaginary Lines II due to time constraints. These include the songs “Crimson, White, & Indigo“, “Tommy’s Got a Gun” “Deuce“, “Princess of Pearl Avenue“, and newcomers “Sister Josephine“, “999 Escape“, and an instrumental titled “Rubicon“. Also included is “Ashes“, which appeared as the prefix link in the Imaginary Lines I version of “The Phoenix“.

This leads into the second section of Imaginary Lines 33 (tracks 9-17 of disc 1), which is the whole of Imaginary Lines I – nearly verbatim. Aside from the re-mastering, the only significant changes to the original are the omission of the “Ashes” intro into “The Phoenix” (the new “Ashes” immediately preceeds “The Phoenix” anyway) and the editing out of about 36 seconds of ad-lib during the coda of “Perfect Light“. Also the faint lyrics (…where is the buzz when you need it the most/drowned in black coffee, eggs, bacon, and toast…) were re-instated into “Lorelei” shortly after the organ solo in the mid section. The first disk ends much the same as Imaginary Lines I, with “One” and the fading of the “dangling string”.

The second disk (and third section of the compilation) is made wholly of the full, complete version of Imaginary Lines II. Starting with the introductory “dangling string” during “The Fool’s Overture“, it is immediately apparent that this is updated from Imaginary Lines II, as Bret Alexander’s droning guitar (originally recorded along with “One“) joins in. All of these songs on disk 2 were remixed and re-mastered, with many having guitar parts added by Erik Trabert as well as further arrangement and production enhancements (albeit not quite to the level of Imaginary Lines I). The sequence of songs follows the same pattern as the original Imaginary Lines II up to track 9 (“The Cup“), with tracks 10-13 being the separately listed tracks of “Ocean Suite”, followed by “Naked“, the previously omitted “Deuce and “Half Hearted“, and finishing with “Long Way Home“.

With the release of Imaginary Lines 33, the project has come to it’s completion. Being that there are no immediate plans to perform live shows, the name “Imaginary Lines” is effectively retired.

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