ICARUS

As a child, a large, semi-abstract painting hung inside our front door. It was called “Icarus” and was painted by my mother at art school. Mum explained the story of Icarus to me which I found fascinating. I suspect the intention of telling me this story was as a cautionary tale – about listening to your parents and doing what you’re told! However, what interested me about the story was the idea of the narrow margin for error – that Icarus could neither fly too low or too high, otherwise the dampness from the sea would weigh down his wings, or the heat from the sun would melt them. So I guess the notion stuck…

MUSIC

Some songs just magically present themselves to me in a fairly completed form – usually in the morning when I’m getting ready for the day. This was the case with “Icarus”. So although I was deep in the production of several of songs on the Future Memories album, I decided to take a detour and record this song. The initial production of the song was remarkably quick. However, when it got the end of the album and I was mixing the track, I had great troubles trying to get it sit right in the track sequence. It was the only track on the album which would join “Forever” with “Fly a Pony” and getting the right amount of bass so that it was neither too thin or too bass-heavy took 17 mixes to get right!

Stylistically the track is intentionally Synthwave/Retrowave with the high energy bassline, filtered arpeggios and chorus synth-stabs. The thing that stands out most to me about the track is how the vocals in the chorus are electronically harmonised – it’s quite distinctive.

LISTEN

LYRICS

In this song, Icarus is a metaphor for the immutable nature of our own mortality. That all life operates in this narrow band of existence and ultimately we all get pulled from it one way or the other, not by youthful hubris or over-confidence as in the myth of Icarus, but through the powerful forces of nature and the random application of circumstance.

Every face on the earth
Will look into the sun
Headed to the light
Like Icarus above
And falling from a height
Towards the great unknown
Feathers coming out
Turning into stone

Now, I fly so high
I guess I’ll never know
Just how far I’ll go
How, I wonder why
I guess I’ll never know
Just how far I’ll go

Every leaf on the tree
Will fall onto the ground
There’s no place on earth
Where we can’t be found
With a lump in my throat
Oh, for you I’ve got to say
You’re imprinted in my mind
And I miss you everyday

Every moment in the sun
Has its time and place
Your future’s in the past
Drifting into space
Like Icarus we fly
It’s always high or low
We cannot get it right
Despite everything we know

TECHNOLOGY

“Icarus” features sounds from vintage synths and drum machines, along with some modern synth/drum sounds from UVI Falcon.

• Akai AX80 – bass
• Korg Polysix – bass
• Roland JX-8P – stabs
• Roland Jupiter 8 (Arturia) – stabs
• Yamaha CS-70M – lead
• Oberheim Matrix 12 – strings
• Oberheim OBX-a – arpeggios
• Korg PS-3200 – strings
• Emulator II – drums
• Oberheim DMX – drums
• Linn Drum – drums
• Kawai XD-5 – drums
• Korg DDD-1 – drums
• UVI Falcon – pads, arpeggios, bass, lead, drums

ALBUM: FUTURE MEMORIES

TRACK 2: ICARUS

ALBUM PAGE