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Trilobites at the Tricentennial

by George Korein and the Spleen

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The 2076 US Tricentennial Exhibition in Philadelphia will feature the unveiling of a time machine. As according to my instructions, George Korein, the Trilonaut, will carry out destiny. It's a simple plan, really. All he has to do is cull a motley gang of horseshoe crabs from Delaware, instill a gene-altering eldritch superserum into thousands of Philly pretzels, infuse them with Mollusk flavoring to entice the crabs to subsist on the pretzels until they have matured into magical mind-melding munificent monstrosities, teach them to play searing, solipsistic rock art, and smuggle them on stage at the exhibition with gear in hand to inundate all present with a soundstream potent enough to polymorph any multicellular being. We are taking it back, far back, far far back… five hundred million years ago…
Finished the album, saw the shrink Had my car detailed Brought my junk to goodwill Said "sorry I failed" Signed the paperwork Forgave my parents for some small things Got a license, biked around and walked the hound Tried to learn to sing I got it done I got it done 10 years after it was due I got it done Does that not prove I get it done So look here, you Returned the call, recorded that sound Ate that food that was sitting around Came out of hibernation for a day Even remembered what I was going to say Had a cup of tea in the morning A glass of red wine at night Did those ten push-ups I'd been planning Thought I glimpsed the light I got it done I can scratch it off 10 years after it was due I can check the box Does that not prove I get it done So look here, you For a moment there I felt functional And I must say, it felt wonderful There's so much more I need to do Years of backlog to clear through That's why I have to stay alive Another century Or two
Hazards 02:15
I put on my clothes straight from the dryer They were so warm they set me on fire Shortly thereafter I died in the blaze My corpse was real smoky, it smoldered for days I walked too hard, I stepped too strong I shattered my leg, I landed on my arm Bone stuck through my skin and into my eye And through to my brain and that's how I died
Preposterous sarcophagus in the penthouse pyramid Posthumous ultralux in the penthouse pyramid Yertle the Turtle's bones way up on Odin's throne Dead dreaming on panopticonic perch The lookout lapsed into reverie And collapsed into the sea Yertle's corpse still lords over the works Conspicuous cash coffin locked away from taxation Megalomaniacal mega-mausoleum Sky high sarcophagi multiply Oligarchs entombed in glass Paid a pretty penny for a way to say "We die higher than you live"
A firefly smoked himself And the smoke went toward Florida Now all that's left is a pineapple boot 'Cause I'm the only one Who smoked myself in a bun Because a robber chased me And turned himself into a potato peach
There is me for no one Let there be no uncertainty I know that I'm no fun But I know I love no one Because no one can tolerate me Even at my worst Because no one can give me what I need and what I want Even when they are at odds Yes, I'm in love with no one And no one loves me too Because you are no one And no one is you There is me for no one Unmistakably I know that I'm no fun But I know I love no one There is me for no one Irrevocably I know that I'm no fun But I know I love no one
Now! I alight from nowhere, Hidden in the nether realm Descend from air portal A scourge from above, Wildly waving the tools of my trade I invert the bucket and proceed to scoop, You're slathered in spackle, there is no escape Your body's perimeter is encased in goop, Soon to crust over, inculcate and flake Surely this will be of detriment to your complexion You must scrub and wash, moisturize, exfoliate And so you are rendered prone to I, the merciless Your shackling, cackling, spackling captor and master of your fate Thissed by that Thissed by that, you've been Thissed by that Thissed by that you have been I'm suspended with hooks from suction cups affixed to the ceiling Tremendously inconvenienced, I have been I have claimed the discomfort that is my birthright My respiration is strained and irregular Subluxations occur in my lumbar vertebrae Mucus slithers from sinuses to drip out the nostrils I am helpless to wipe my nose My body is wracked with sneezes, victim of allergies Who must I appease to be released from this grief? Thissed by that Thissed by that, I've been Thissed by that Thissed by that I have been


"Me For No One" Music Video:

In 1999 I recorded some music on a 4-track and put it on a CD-R called “George Korein’s Unholy Assortment”. The music has not held up well, to say the least, but the process of recording music on my own for the first time was revelatory. The title reflected the lack of a unifying theme: it was just a collection of what I’d recorded within a period of time.

By summer 2001 I’d met Alexs Vallejo and Nagle, who inspired me to delve into drum machines, vocals, and metallic antics. A kid’s science magazine laying around at my dad’s house had an ad for “TRILOBITE! Eyewitness to Evolution” by Richard Fortey. I was amused by the notion of “Memoirs of a Trilobite” and made a little image of a trilobite at a typewriter saying “I tell it how it is.” Colin borrowed a basic digital recording interface and we made the Infidel?/Castro! album “Case Studies in Bioentropy”, and recorded songs for "Trilobite". One morning Bill Marston had NPR on and Colin heard Richard Fortey talking trilobites, and thoughtfully recorded the interview, which included passages from the book narrated in his charming, professorial voice. We sampled this quite liberally for my project. We put out “Case Studies”, but the Trilobite record didn’t quite feel finished.

In 2003 I got my own recording interface and started making songs at home. By 2005 I decided to pay for a CD pressing, and if I was going to do that, I figured, I might as well jam it 79 minutes full with almost everything that had piled up — an unholy assortment indeed. With a diagram woven into the tracklist I hoped to make “Memoirs of a Trilobite” not seem like an undigestable monolith but instead a set of nine two-sided singles, plus an intro, outro and interludes. Each single ostensibly corresponded to one of the eight orders of trilobites, to which I’d attributed arbitrary attributes. After nearly being judicious enough to leave off my embarrassing forays into hip-hop, I got the news that a ninth order of trilobite had been classified, and felt compelled to include a dubious pair of songs to match.

1000 copies costed scarcely more than 500, so I went ahead and ordered 1000 and sent a 30-box each to every one of the many contributors, including Richard Fortey, who said they attracted considerable interest in the paleontology department of the Natural History Museum of London. Years later I uploaded a superior 60-minute digital version and threw out the other hundreds of copies — no more physical media for me.

In 2008 I was in London with Liz to see part of the Sparks concert marathon, and managed to land an interview with Richard Fortey at the Geological Society, where he had become president. He asked me if there would be a sequel to “Memoirs…”. At first I wasn’t sure, but I thought it might be a nice thing to get around to someday. Eleven years later, I had made several albums that I feel are more mature and developed and thematically organized, and also many songs that didn’t quite fit into my other concepts. Could these be gathered together? Some of them bore traces of the old trilobite DNA, and some of them were almost as old as the original album — downright paleontological. Once I started reading about the centennial, the sesquicentennial and the bicentennial, I had a title and a sort of frame story. I wrote a cartoonish sci-fi monologue for Fortey to narrate as intro and outro, which he agreed to record upon his next stay in the US. This turned out to be in California, and thus the whole thing was done by lo-fi digital phone call anyway.

I realized the way to break this 56-minute digital album into two sides was to split it into two albums, “Trilobites at the Tricentennial” and “Trilobites at the Sestercentennial”. There did seem to be lyrical themes after all, relating to time and the century -- as well as good old absurdist fun. "I Got It Done" concludes with a stated need for an extremely extended lifespan -- at the time of the tricentennial, I will be 93 -- only to be followed by the slapstick death visions of "Hazards". “We Die Higher Than You Live” has some lyrical kinship with “Kill People, Go Shopping”. The lyrics to Pineapple Boot are a transcription of something Hattie said when she was 4.

Some of the music is more complex and sequenced than my more recent material. A composition I wrote around 2007 for the chamber rock ensemble Normal Love finally arrives: where “Memoirs” had my 12-tone piece I wrote for a homework assignment, “Tactless Dyslexic Carapace”, “Tricentennial” has my quartertone endeavor “Pragmatic Intuitive Edifice”. “Thissed By That” is a manic take on gory death metal, with the gore, death, and metal removed.

Stay tuned for part two (or is it part three of a TRILOgy?), “Trilobites as the Sestercentennial”, which should arrive around February.

As the second song goes: I GOT IT DONE — only ten years after it was due!


released November 11, 2019

Variously recorded by Bruce Howze, Barry Knob, Zach Goldstein, Colin Marston, Jeff Zeigler, GK, Eli Litwin and Christian Moehring
Variously mixed by Barry Knob and Zach Goldstein
Mastered by Colin Marston

Drums on 2 by Eli Litwin
Drums on 5 by Julius Masri
Drums on 7 by Christian Moehring
Shoo-wop shoo-wah on 6 by Liz Bot and Jessie Bennett
Guitar on 3 by Travis Woodson
Growls on 8 by Alex Nagle
Dub echoes on 4 by Zach Goldstein

All music and lyrics by GK except lyrics on 5 by Hattie Korein

Cover designed by GK, illustrated by Doan Trang


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