MÉLANGE

by Erika Ji

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1.
03:15
On the Squarehead rigger, Bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. Lying on the bowsprit, Water foaming below, Masts towering above, Every sail white with moonlight. I became drunk with beauty, Drunk with the singing rhythm and beauty, Drunk with the lyrical swell and sway and beauty, ah! Free! I dissolved in the sea, Became white sails and flying spray And sparkling deep. Free! I belonged within unity and wild joy And something greater than me or mankind; I belonged to Life itself. So I yearn Ever for the sea, For the veil might draw back, For a moment, true meaning, A moment fulfilled with palpable meaning, A moment at last divine, glorious meaning, ah! Then the veil falls And I am lost in the fog. Truth hides in the heavy murk. Time crushes us to the earth. Sink ourselves in fog. Drink ourselves to death. Sink ourselves in fog. Drink ourselves to death. The fog is the ghost of the sea, And man, with his lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams, Man is the ghost within the ghost.
2.
I want to leave you with something, for after. I don’t have much longer; I know you know. Clare, you have waited for me your whole life. To be torn from you now…I scream in my core. I want to leave you less crying, more laughter. I’ve caused you such agony; I’ve pained you so. You have waited so faithfully here by my side. I can’t ask you to wait anymore. So when I die, stop waiting and be free. Rest me deep inside you if you need, Then renew your thriving story, And reclaim a life with peace. When I am dead, as dead I well may be, Know that my love will never leave. I love you. Time is nothing, nothing, nothing. I want to leave you with something, for after. Our love has more weight in this world than I do; Forever our thread through the twistings of time, It shall linger on after me, holding, enfolding you, Yet when I die, stop waiting and be free. Rest me deep inside you, then proceed, As a phoenix from the ashes, To reclaim a life with peace. When I am dead, as dead I well may be, Know that my love will never leave. I love you. Time is nothing, nothing… I hesitate to share this, Because you might wait longer than ever before, But I know you would want me to tell you That we’ll see each other once more, once more. Oh, Clare, I have seen your elderly face, Your eyes, your smile, your willowy grace. Death is not the end; We’ll see each other again! So when I die, stop waiting and be free. Rest me deep inside you, then proceed, As a phoenix from the ashes, To reclaim a life with peace. When I am dead, as dead I well may be, Know that my love will never leave. I love you. Time is nothing. I love you. Time is nothing. I love you for eternity. Time is nothing.
3.
TAYLOR I’m tired of “coding chops” Defining who gets admiration. I’m tired of changing the colors of buttons On countless mobile applications. I’m tired of coffee shops Where startups dominate the conversation. MATT My app? Well, it’s a mobile, social, local snapchat, for dogs. It’s gonna CHANGE THE WORLD. TAYLOR I’m tired of people who think “entrepreneur” Is the only worthy occupation. So I’m leavin’ for New York, Sayin’ goodbye, San Francisco! I’m puttin’ this place behind. Oh, I just wanna find out what I can do When I’m somewhere new. I’m leavin’ for New York. JAMES Taylor, San Francisco has more than just people who work at tech companies. You don’t have to move to New York just because you’re tired of tech. TAYLOR True. But San Francisco is dysfunctional in plenty of other ways. Sure, I don’t fit in here ‘Cause I’m not in love with “innovation.” But let’s be real, I just can’t deal With the collectively decided five avocations: Rock climbing! Cycling! Improv class! Getting free food from tech company cafeterias! And last, but definitely not least...Burning Man! I’m tired of Ubering everywhere ‘Cause we don’t have subway stations. Oh Good Lord, are people SCOOTERING now? Give me real public transportation! I’m leavin’ for New York, Sayin’ goodbye, San Francisco! I’m puttin’ the past behind. I’m a smart, creative, driven, brilliant mind, I will be fine. I’m leavin’ for New York. JAMES Cold winters. TAYLOR I will be fine! JAMES Cockroaches and subway rats. TAYLOR I will be fine! JAMES No In-N-Out Burger. TAYLOR (feeling less fine) I will be fine! JAMES Taylor, you have no good friends there. Are you sure you want to do this? TAYLOR Maybe I haven’t thought this through. What if I don’t like it? What if I make no friends? What if I can’t find my life purpose? No! I won’t let myself spiral when it’s rough. I’m a resilient person who meditates and stuff. For once, my intuition’s saying something feels right. Maybe I’ll finally find what I’m meant for, And write a life story I’m excited to write! So I’m leavin’ for New York, Sayin’ goodbye, San Francisco! A heroine on her quest. Oh, I don’t wanna be like all of the rest. I’ll be the best at Whatever I do in New York. Hasta la vista, Fog City! New Amsterdam calls me now. Oh, I am ready, I know I will be fine, I will shine! So come at me, New York!
4.
AJIB and the BOY stop in front of the hovel. BOY Here we are. This is Ajib’s house. AJIB (Disbelief. Then laughs uncomfortably.) Oh, of course. This is where he used to live. But I want to see where he lives now. BOY If he has moved since yesterday, I do not know where. AJIB Excuse me, boy. You must be wrong. I’ll hold it not against you, But Ajib must be a rich man; I’ve dreamed it, so it must be so. Opulent, wise, corpulent size, Adorned in fine silk and things of that ilk. Mayhap one of the most prosperous folk On this side of the Bosporus. BOY Sir, this is truly Ajib’s house. You see, there he comes. FUTURE AJIB exits the house. Due to a bad back, he limps across the stage. AJIB That… that can’t be! AJIB Turban plain, clothing stained? Same shack, walls cracked? Twenty years! What have I achieved? Nothing at all?? That can’t be! I’ve dreamed of jeweled turbans and Damascene robes, A palace fit with furnishings from all around the globe. But more than all the finest rugs, than all the gold above, I need to have a blessing to wed the one I love, to wed the one I love. Taahira! With eyes as dark and beautiful as a gazelle. Taahira, whose seductive scent of myrrh I sweetly smell. A simple weaver is not a favorable match, But surely they’d approve if I came with wealth attached. So for her family’s blessing, for our passion’s sake, This cannot be the future, not with our love at stake. So, little boy! You must be wrong. I’ll hold it not against you, But Ajib must be a rich man; I need it, so it must be so. AJIB feels inside his own pocket and brings out a key. AJIB I must see this for myself. AJIB tries the key on the house lock, and it works. He enters the house. AJIB After twenty years, I cannot even afford better pillows? After twenty years, I still use this old chest for my savings? AJIB opens the chest. It is filled with gold dinars. He is astounded. AJIB So, future Ajib is rich, but stingy? Condemning himself to a place so dingy... While hoarding treasure? Does he hate pleasure? If I had this gold, I could marry Taahira. Beat. AJIB If I had this gold, I could marry Taahira! The old man doesn’t seem to care if he’s of gold bereft, And stealing from my future self shouldn’t count as theft. Does Allah reward the hoarders, or those who prove their drive? Does He not wish us to enjoy this world while we’re alive, while we’ve alive? Future Ajib! You must be wrong. I’ll hold it not against you, But this Ajib will be a rich man; I’ll seize it, so it must be so! AJIB hauls the wooden chest offstage.
5.
Time does not bring relief; you have all lied. Time does not bring relief; you have all lied Who told me time would ease me of my pain! I miss him in the weeping of the rain; I want him at the shrinking of the tide; The old snows melt from every mountain-side, And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane; But last year’s bitter loving must remain Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide. There are a hundred places where I fear To go, —so with his memory they brim. And entering with relief some quiet place Where never fell his foot or shone his face I say, “There is no memory of him here!” And so stand stricken, so remembering him. I want him at the shrinking of the tide; I miss him in the weeping of the rain; Who told me time would ease me of my pain! Time does not bring relief; you have all lied. Time does not bring relief; you have all lied.
6.
04:06
7.
04:02
jenny has the smile of a porcelain antique flawless face from afar, up close you see it could shatter to a million pieces that's why she never breathes doesn't show that she cares, afraid she'll break no risks, no permanent mistakes never shares any secrets, never aches or if she does, no one knows the laughing's fake when you numb all your heartbreak and hurt, don’t you know that you're numbing love? when you numb all your heartbreak and hurt, don’t you know that you're numbing love? soothe your eyes, forgive your fear let yourself cry and brave your tears break your lies after all these years in honest light, you're finally here jenny's with a boy who is gentle, kind, and sweet makes her laugh, holds her hand, and likes to eat she feels her heart flit and flutter to her feet can she like him this much? but when she tries to confess it, she retracts feels her porcelain face begin to crack steers the subject to a safer track terrified that he doesn't love her back when you numb all your heartbreak and hurt, don’t you know that you're numbing love? when you numb all your heartbreak and hurt, don’t you know that you're numbing love? soothe your eyes, forgive your fear let yourself cry and brave your tears break your lies after all these years in honest light, you're finally here straighten your tiara, porcelain queen face your realm of earnest dreams dare to say "I love you" first, be vulnerably seen leap into the void, pray you grow wings shed your glory, embrace your need write your real story and let them read shield be gone, see, we all bleed you are worthy, and I believe in you

about

MÉLANGE • a set of diverse elements, a varied mixture often of incongruous elements • a nod to the influence of my time in France • the name of the exotic spice/powerful drug in science fiction novel Dune

credits

released July 20, 2019

Created by Erika Ji

Matthew Billman • Vocals (1-2)
Shawn Chang • Piano (6)
Nathan Cheung • Piano (1-5)
Joan Hofmeyr • Vocals (5)
Erika Ji • Vocals and Piano (7)
Natalie Pernick • Vocals (3)
Michael Trainer • Vocals (4)
Jackie Traish • Flute (3)

Recorded and Mixed by Chris Gilroy • Douglass Recording • Mighty Toad Recording Studio

Artwork by Daniil Rybkin

Special thanks to Steve Smith • Kevin Sun • Julia Meinwald • The Musical Theatre Factory

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Erika Ji New York, New York

Erika creates music that tells stories. With a love for soaring melodies and dramatic emotions, Erika draws inspiration from the lush soundscapes of classical music, the character-driven storytelling of musical theatre, and the authentic heart of indie folk and pop. ... more

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