by High Tor

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An album about perpetual wreckage, capital, spirits, and the realism of distances.

This is my first (and possibly only) full-length under the name of this project. It took far longer than I'd anticipated, and it's easily the most personally significant thing I've made. Of course, that means little on its own, so my hope is that if you come across this album, somehow, it offers something beyond a collection of irrelevancies. It's certainly more than that to me.

Written over the course of a few years, recorded over two months.


released February 10, 2017

Special thanks to Barry, Nicole, and Mike, for your input and support. And for every other artist I know, especially those who helped shape this album. Between us, it's a mess, but it's a mess I can call mine. Thank you again, I'm proud of all of you.



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High Tor Toronto, Ontario

Anti-folk from the west end of Toronto.

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Track Name: High Tor (Foreword)
"Why are you crying?"
"Am I crying? Well, they're not for you, nor him, these tears. Only when you have him, love him a little better for your sake, knowing how bitterly I cried for the times passed and things done."
"You're strange. I'm afraid of you."
"Afraid of tears, and a voice out of long ago? It's all I have."
Track Name: Skyline Composition
You said I was a good person, that I didn't deserve this. (I wasn't.) I prefer the skylines starless, I prefer a sunrise gone. Adding to your theories of how everything looks so much better in the dark. Your light pollution is still here. (These halls, these walls, they sing your name, and I'm afraid. I'm afraid of you.) Reasoned with our values. Found deference in resistance. They won't find us. (They won't find us if we stay.) Canned water for the shelter, pure absinthe for the taste. Made plans for a null future, card-catalogued disgrace. Undeserving self-destructives, would we recognize this place? This place among the wreckage. This is where we'll stay. Your light pollution is still here. (You're still here, you're still.)
Track Name: Scarborough Bluffs
Someday they'll cut away this weathered skin, adding scars to this collection. Adding scars to this collection of figures in subconscious dreams, and all the things I chose to leave when I chose to leave here. When I chose to leave this place; awoke before the sun rose, rode the transit east. Scarborough Bluffs, I hope you missed me. I hope you've missed me now. Emptied out the bottle, put the lethal dose aside. Painkiller breathing, retired eyes, I'll be alright. And what were you? A mirror in my halls, a reflection in my skull: unmentioned refractions. Unmentioned refractions. Bottle of whiskey, NDRIs, I'll be alright. Someday they'll cut away this weathered skin and leave the marks you left on it. Leave the marks you left on it, Scarborough Bluffs. I hope you miss me. I hope you miss me now.
Track Name: Trailway, Revised
We're building towers to be filled with more bodies than lives. Principled stories with lessons we never quite applied. The snowflakes are hanging static, still in the sky, as if they were grieving, someone or something lost in time. I'm grateful for all the things I made you dread, I'm grateful for all the things you had left. Somewhere outside there was a storm, but I don't open up my blinds here anymore. “Lacking in fundamental humanities.” That's what you wrote about me, and whether or not you meant it, it was true. Either opiates or constant distractions, illness or time spent on mirrored reactions, I was never as fair as I should have been to you. Well, I guess we'll just be mirrors, leaving fractals in our wake, completing different pictures, filling in a distant space. Distant voices fill a different space, different voices fill a distant space.
Track Name: Highland
There's a gaslamp on a sidestreet, it's ugly and unromantic. The owners still light it every night. Painted flames in a rainstorm. Reminds me of something that you would have once loved, or kept under your skin. Pieces to keep track of. Did you keep track of me? I put your nerves there on my doorstep, didn't need them anymore. I had wrapped them all in paper and had kept them in my drawer. Assumed that you'd be back for them but didn't hear your voice for weeks. Did you ever think of me? What else was in your system, when you chose to leave?
Track Name: The Wealth Of Nations
I kept reasons bad enough to fill in all your forms. Called in resignations, 'bored' a hole right through my floor. You sat there with a look of awe on that face of yours. “What will the neighbors think?” “It's a scene they've seen before.” You didn't come back for any of the books you'd left: The Wealth of Nations and something I'd forgotten I'd read. You liked your politics, hated what I'd said. Well what did you find in the pages that I'd kept? Alone Against Tomorrow, alienated and suppressed. There was there no poetry in the lives that they'd spent.
Track Name: Rosamond
In print, a nameless innocence. Eyes impressioned against the wall. Read about how the clouds pulled you from us. Read you'd had a dream: a great wave taking you in, how I've dreamt the same. I think we'll meet the same fate, I haven't learned to swim. The machine, loss and reproduction. Strands of twisted string. No use saving much of anything. They'll forget you, as the sea did her. They'll forget you, nothing stays remembered. Nothing stays remembered. Nothing stays.
Track Name: Gilchrist
Nine years gone, I told you what it was like to be back home. You said you never knew because you never left yours alone. The bench along the trailway, the railroad in my head. You never left your home state but saw enough of it. So create another template and let me fill it in. Your blanks alone are better than what I'd make for them. Did you ask me what I was thinking because you know who I am? And did you ever take issue with the lines that I misread? Nearer days to number and better times to spend. It's all fondly remembered, is that for the best? I haven't found a use for myself yet. It's an ending you wrote to amend. It's an ending you wrote.
Track Name: Camrose
We cleaned off the screen but the image is warping, it's no use to any of us now. Clear away my things, I'm not working and you can't afford to keep me around. Defined it all as a lack of function. Misprints in miscommunication. Defined it all as a failed production. The crisis unit will sort you out. The onboard device caught the pilot flailing, an aneurysm before he'd left the ground. They'd written a speech and covered his body, let his songs play, let the waves resound. Let the waves resound. Defined it all as a lack of function. Misprints in miscommunication. Actors in a failed production. Call me first before they sort you out.
Track Name: Imagined Occasions
The last time I saw you, you were stone-faced and tattered. The last time I told you, you said you felt safe. But I'm no protector, and you were no savior of mine. The last day I'd left you, you told me I'd mattered. The last day you spoke it, you knew me too well: I'd been defective, and my words had no stories to tell. I couldn't tell by the way that you smiled. So where did you go, sullen windstorm's daughter? Where will you rest those eyes? And what should I keep, in this frail and vivid picture? What will you leave, in time? The days when you loved me, you said I was addled. Distraught, and dependent. Just a portrait you observed. In truths you'd omitted: a record, one year's score. You asked me not to leave then, you couldn't change me anymore. And I don't think I could have, I don't think I should. So where will you sleep, wide-eyed winter's fire? Where will you make your bed? The burns that you'd left blurred space for the better. They'll tell the same means to an end. This winter's miles deep, and I hope you won't miss me. This winter's miles deep and I expect for it to drown me.
Track Name: Halley
They found her unconscious at some freight yard the bureau. Wondered where her mind was when she decided to hop the train. Forced herself to pry her eyes from the looks of sheer disdain. Dreamt the tracks were breaking in the early winter rain. We're all our own vehicles, pulling forward into the night. Brake lines weary, wires snapping, failing in the arms of our archetypes. Destinations the same, absconding on a whim. I came in with memories that only I'll forget. She watched the inborn systems eventually give way: her wiring was infernal, a machine built to break. The trembling in her hands was overbearing. A book containing words that she'd been keeping: Letters from the Earth, assorted writings. And what are we, if we're nothing but coincidence? I came in with Halley and I'm going to leave with him.
Track Name: High Tor (Afterword)
"Goodbye, Van."
"You'll be back tomorrow?"
"Well, let me see you down, then."
"I can climb. You stay and guard your mountain, you think so much of it."
"When will I see you then?"
"Never, we'll call it off."
"But my roots are here, my roots are down in that rock. You can't breathe down there, Judy. Not when you've lived up here in these hills."
"I know how it is, Van, forget about it. You had your choice and you chose High Tor. You're in love with your mountain. Well, keep your mountain."