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House of Leaves: The Song vs. The Book

House of Leaves Juturna mark z danielewski

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#1 Spectral Beings

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 10:07 AM

Just wanted to start this to see what people thought about the song House of Leaves and its relation to the book by Mark Z. Danielewski. If you haven't read the book or know what it is about, just Wiki or google It, it is a fascinating concept, especially when considering the lyrics.
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


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#2 Spectral Beings

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 10:50 AM

Also, I do know that there is some relation, considering I have seen pictures of Anthony with Mark and I know the band is a fan of the book and the author a fan of circa
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


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#3 September

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:33 PM

i'm pretty interested to hear what your thoughts are on this matter.

i've never read 'House of Leaves'. i find that i gravitate toward reading history/non-fiction.

though i have read the plot summary from a few different sources in the past and it does seem like an interesting read and story.
the book seems to have an rare literary style and the use of different fonts and text colors truely makes it stand out among other fiction books i have looked into.
i have also gathered that people seem to get very different things out of this book.
it seems more subjective than the dry concrete stories most books have. which is an unusual attribute.

as for how connected the writing of the lyrics or the writing of the music were to the book, i have no idea.
if there are any direct quotes from the book in the lyrics id be interested to know.
I know that when asked about the title of the secret song on Juturna,
Brendan responded with "Paranoid Flu OR House of Leaves OR I completely forget what we called it. OR Blues" and that was it.

People latched onto 'House of Leaves' but it could have went a different way and the book reference could have been a trivial footnote.
but in the end 'House of Leaves' stuck.

There was an image of a notebook page that was part of the first creature club pack that had a list of the working titles for the juturna recording sessions.
'House of Leaves' was listed as 'Blues'.

As for the song itself, I think about the who, when, where of it being written.
Spring thru late summer 2004. circa wasn't even fully formed. different lineups were being considered. different drummers. different bassists. a girl on keyboard.
They were living at a house in Trevose, PA. Writing material and deciding on which directions to go. who/what felt right and who/what didn't.
It does seem that by the end of the summer Nick and Steve's positions were solidified.
I'm not sure when this particular song was conceived because much of 2004 is shrouded in mystery.

though brendan and colin did shed a little insight into this time when reminiscing about 'Suspending Disbelief (2004 Basement Demo)':

"This is the original demo for suspending disbelief.  This song always had a really special vibe to it.  Listening to this demo puts me right there in the basement at Linden ave. where the five us first started writing songs together.  This demo in particular really sounds like that basement felt.  Very airy and moody and dark.  Most of the guitar riffs that I'm playing came from us just jamming on this for hours although I think the little intro riff was something I already had.  One of my main issues as a guitar player is trying not to play something that sounds like someone else so I had to keep telling myself that some of my riffs in this jam didn't sound that much like Tool so I could actually press on and make progress with it.  That seems to be a recurring thing with me.  I feel like it's important to wear your influences and be proud of them but I don't want to rewrite anyone else's music.  It's interesting to see how some of the changes we made affected this song.  One thing we did for the studio version was cut the second verse by a few bars, so you can hear a couple of vocal lines here that we later took out that are really cool.  The jam at the end was something we really liked playing back then.  The band was really getting to know each other musically so it was a lot of fun for us to just sit in a groove like this and let it develop and see where it would take us.  This one was particularly patient and very trancelike for me and another one of those things that I'm sure we played for hours.  That basement was old and unfinished.  It had a low ceiling and hardly any light.  Sometimes one of us would be working and someone upstairs would switch off the basement light not realizing anyone was down there and it was hard not to immediately feel a chill running down your spine.  The line, "Twilight Army" became the name of our first headlining tour and is still one of my favorite phrases that anthony has ever given us.  It really reminds me of the way we would all just wander out into the night together as a new band of brothers and see where the world would take us. -brendan

It always crushed me that we didn't put this song on Juturna. It was just one of those, I don't wanna fight about it kind of situations.  But it really is such a cool song.  If there was one thing represented by Anthony's lyrics that I wanted out there it was in the line "We Understand What It Means To Break Down." All in all there is a lot of nostalgia to be found when I listen to this demo.  I remember being so thrilled when we were putting this song together and how much I loved to rehearse it.  t just felt awesome to play...  It felt like such a badass of a song.  The long and creepy ebow intro, the off time John Bonham groove in the second verse, the emotional tone of the chorus... It all made me feel like what we were doing was exactly inline with what we desired to be. -colin"  

i think this is important to take into account if your looking for the mindset of circa when they were writing juturna.

also, I did look a bit into the author and his family to try to get an idea of what might have influenced the story to be written in the first place. his sister's band Poe releasing the album Haunted as a companion piece to the novel. First books or albums show alot of what's been building up in the artists mind over many years and usually gives tremendous insight into their prolonged preceding focus. I also found it interesting that their father was a film maker and they moved around alot at an early age.

so whats your take on their connections?

#4 Spectral Beings

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 06:33 PM

I'm really glad you're interested in this! Unfortunately, I may have to make you wait a week before I can respond in full (I am a junior in college during finals week, I do not have much free time), and I do have a lot to say about this topic. I wish I would have joined Circaboard long ago.

What I will say for now is this:
You shed a lot of light on what the band was doing when this song came was being written. The basement and finding out what direction to take the music in REALLY stick out to me. House of Leaves is a chilling maze. It's a mindfuck. I honestly got a very similar reaction to Juturna (I always felt like I was wondering a forest with ruins of fountains and statues while I listened to It).
As for the song, it seems to be written rom the perspective of Johnny Truant, a character plagued by paranoia and misplaced thoughts -- I'm sure I don't have to point out what lyrics reflect this just yet.

I promise I will get back to you in full after this week.

BTW -- my signature, the poem, is from House of Leaves, it reminds me of the song.
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


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#5 Spectral Beings

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:58 AM

I just want to take this a little bit at a time. I thought that it was really interesting that on multiples sites the lyrics for "speak so softly" are followed by "yltfos os kaeps..." again and again. I can actually hear Anthony singing that now (I always wondered what he said).

After I said that the song was probably written from the perspective of Johnny, I started to second guess myself. The voice that Green assumes In the lyrics is most associable with Johnny's voice in the book... but this is where it gets confusing.

The book has multiple narrators: Navidson (guy who lives in the strange house and documents strangeness), Zampano (guy who finds "The Navidson Record" and tries put the pieces together but doesn't), and Johnny (guy who finds the Navidson record and tries to put the remains together). All these voices are going through you're head when you're reading, like all the voices in the end of the song. But the closer you get to the end of the book (and I'm not giving anything away here) the more you start to wonder what voice belongs to who, which may be reflexive of the "speak so softly" sang backwards.
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


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@AAHFinest

#6 September

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 11:02 AM



#7 Big Dyly

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 10:49 PM

i suddenly want to dedicate my life to satan. hail him
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#8 Roy Batty

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 04:55 PM

Still think Leaves is their best song. so fuckin deep man
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#9 FaiNt

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 09:07 PM

View PostRoy Batty, on 01 May 2014 - 04:55 PM, said:

Still think Leaves is their best song. so fuckin deep man
me too! i get so many vibes from this song. Has a classic rock type of guitar solo riff and a proggy type of sound and just daunting colors i visualize when i hear the song... like gold and black and green.. its weird man lol

#10 September

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:32 AM

i found this old post discussing the correlation between HoL and In Fear and Faith.
http://circaboard.co...553

Colin Frangicetto . 12.22.2006 . MPLS Scene Blog Interview
Interviewer: Why did you name the hidden track "House of Leaves" after the book by Mark Z. Danielewski?
Colin: "Well I know it's one of Brendan and Anthony's favorite books. I've read bits and pieces of it, it's mind-boggling. I really appreciate it for what it is, I just haven't gotten through the whole thing yet. But, we didn't even really name it that. We eluded to the idea that we did, then it became it. We had kinda leaked it out that that's what it was, and I'm sure there's little hints here and there. It wasn't officially a name until people started saying it."

Also I can't find the exact quote, but I remember that when Juturna had just come out,
someone in the band mentioned that the 'Hidden Track' is much more like what the band actually sounds like before they rework a song.
more raw and jam-like than the refined final versions of most of their songs. i kinda feel like anthony might have said it.

#11 Spectral Beings

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

wow that discussion about In Fear and Faith is pretty spot on, I definitely see the relationship there. The chapter he is referring to ischapter XXII and it is titled "Faith." The quote after  Chapter XXII is "Truth transcends the telling," don't know if that resonates with anyone, I just thought it would be good to put it up here.

I would recommend reading Chapter XXII online (I think there are pdfs of the book available, If not let me know and I can put it up here), it is very short. Like he said, there are just way too many similarities to IFAF to point out lol. I got the chill rereading the chapter.

I could also kind of see Get Out being partially inspired by HoL

"I can't wait to understand the reason
I have yet to translate any meaning besides
it's not worth it to try"

this seems like Johnny's experience putting together the contents of Zampano's chest into The Navidson Record. The whole time he was waiting for some sort of meaning to appear, he was translating things, putting them in order and the whole time wondering if what he was doing was worth it.

"Lock myself up in a room without a window" of course could be alluding to Johnny's newfound introversion while dealing with TNR.

I've just always put those lyrics together with HoL, could be completely wrong. Wow literally In Fear a Faith just came on my Ipod with my 7,000+ songs on shuffle WTFFFFFFFFF
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


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@AAHFinest

#12 Roy Batty

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:46 PM

I think the songs got a definite focus to it. It just so happens to have a long and amazing crescendo into the best climax of any song of all time. Coming from someone who listens to a ton of Godspeed and Sigur Ros.

I want more trippy jazz and post rock from this band stat
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#13 Roy Batty

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 05:48 PM


I think the songs got a definite focus to it. It just so happens to have a long and amazing crescendo into the best climax of any song of all time. Coming from someone who listens to a ton of Godspeed, Sigur Ros, and related bands.

I want more trippy jazz and post rock from this band stat
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#14 Spectral Beings

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 05:07 PM

From what I have heard from Ant's instagram/facebook videos of them in the studio, we may be getting some of that. It's hard to tell, but from what I could gather it was more jazzy/trippy feeling like in HoL.
Little Solace comes to those who grieve
When thoughts keep drifting
As walls keep shifting
And this great blue world of ours
Seems but a house of leaves

Moments before the wind


www.Facebook.com/AtlasAtHisFinest
@AAHFinest

#15 Jacky13516

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:15 AM

I read the book a bit ago so if there are specific references in the song, I at least certainly don't remember them. That being said, I agree with Spectral Beings in that there is a broad connection. I think the atmosphere and themes of both the song and the book are similar in that they are dark and bring to mind a sense of isolation and paranoia. I wouldn't be surprised if the song wasn't written with the book in mind, but if after the fact someone (possibly Anthony of Brendan based on the above interview) noted similarities between the two.
Either way, it is a great book as long as you are intrigued by how non-linear it is, because I'm sure this would put off a lot of people. There are definitely a lot of stylistic liberties (changes in text layout, things that appear to be crossed out, footnotes that serve as a separate narrative, etc.) but it's all purposeful and meaningful. And of course the song is amazing too.

#16 meepcreep

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:59 PM

View PostRoy Batty, on 01 May 2014 - 04:55 PM, said:

Still think Leaves is their best song. so fuckin deep man
agreed. I saw Anthony for the first time late last year and throughout the entire preformance I would occasionally scream loudly "SING HOUSE OF LEAVES' in the hopes he would play it, but unfortunately that didn't happen ;(

wonderful song though, always has been my fav and I got it to be my moms fav as well. ♥

View PostBig Dyly, on 29 April 2014 - 10:49 PM, said:

i suddenly want to dedicate my life to satan. hail him
hehe ♥

#17 AwesomeFresh

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 09:58 PM

I actually saw MZD read 'the 50 year sword' in person, and took the opportunity to have him sign my copy of House of Leaves with 'Speak So Softly'. He goes, 'Oh where's that from?" and then I realize that those words aren't actually in the book...No regrets though, it's one of my prized possessions. Out of MZD's mind into Anthony's and into mine.

Anyway I asked MZD how it transpired and he said he woke up one morning with a Youtube link in his inbox and that was the first he heard of the song. After that he met up with Circa a few times. MZD told me that they're a nice group of guys but it appears to be just a casual friendship. No word on if he likes Circa or not.

If you have more specific questions on the book I've read it twice and done a ton of internet research.




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