Lieder ohne Worte

songs without words - a collaborative art project

UK-based instrumental trio Immortal Machinery present "Lieder ohne Worte (songs without words)". Inspired by classical pianist Felix Mendelssohn's compositional series of the same name, the band paints a bleak soundscape powered by the dark tones of the electric organ and melodic lines carried by piano instead of the human voice.

 

This release also contains two companion pieces

  • “lyrics” for each song that follow the cadence of the piano lines but are intended to be read rather than sung. In separating music and lyrics, the aim is to give the listener space for their own thoughts and reflection. They are available at the bottom of this page, or alternatively on https://immortalmachinery.bandcamp.com/ as a bonus PDF when the album is downloaded

  • A gallery of artwork submitted to us by listeners in response to the music, which appears next to the video below. Interpretation is open-ended and left entirely up to the artist, and we continue to welcome new submissions of all styles and media at immortalmachinery@gmail.com

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Universe in My Hand

In which a mathematical genius contemplates his failure to understand the humans around him

 

(Electric Piano Intro)​

 

Drifting through a crowd of empty souls

I am but a breath invisible

Their faces change but I don't know what it means

Their laughter and tears, a foreign language to me

(Violin Solo)

 

If I could make you understand the universe within my hand

Would you stay by my side?

If you could see inside my mind, would you fear the myriad things you find

Would you run from me?

(Violin / Double Bass Solo)

 

Please don't think my words to be unkind

When I speak of things so far beyond your grasp

Though I probe the mind of God and His creation

I'd relinquish all for normality with you

(Violin Solo)

 

If I could make you understand the universe within my hand

Would you stay by my side?

If you could see inside my mind, would you fear the myriad things you find

Would you run from me?

 

The mysteries of the stars are mine

The fabric of space, the ripples of time

But finding the words to describe the beat of my heart

When thoughts of you enter my mind is a step too far

 

A step too far

(Violin Outro)

 

What if I'm Wrong?

In which a religious fanatic experiences a brief moment of doubt before completing his mission

 

What if I'm wrong

What if it's all been a lie

What if I'm wrong

What if there's nothing when we die

 

Am I a pawn in a game of power or a holy man

Now I curse my disbelief and take as many down as I can

 

They call me a warrior, they call me a monster

They call me a healer, to some I am the wisest teacher

By the bullet and the scripture I live and die

Seeking his authority I look to the sky

But he is silent

 

What if I'm wrong

What if it's all been a lie

What if I'm wrong

What if there's nothing when we die

 

Am I a pawn in a game of power or a holy man

Now I curse my disbelief and take as many down as I can

 

I used to feel powerless, until they took my hand

Gave me a family in the land of mountains and the burning sand

My nights are filled with dreams of serving my lord

I'm asking for his favour when I'm struck by heathen sword

But he is silent

 

What if I'm wrong

What if it's all been a lie

What if I'm wrong

What if there's nothing when we die

 

Am I a pawn in a game of power or a holy man

Now I curse my disbelief and take as many down as I can

 

The flames dance higher, this is not what I'd intended

Did I truly believe or had I just pretended?

The fire burns right through my flesh and chars my very soul

Relief, it never comes down in this corner of Sheol

 

(Violin Solo)

What Nightmares are Made Of

In which a young woman, exiled from her community, visits her home town in secret

 

(Violin Intro)

Silently I glide through streets familiar

the darkened pathways of my youth

With sunken eyes I watch him make his journey home

Oh father if you but knew the truth

 

I close my eyes and I am eighteen once again

For all the world alone but for the love you showed

I remember wind in face as I ran

I remember how it snowed

 

This what nightmares are made of

This is what nightmares do

This is what nightmares are made of

This is the price for a life of freedom with you

(Violin/Bass Solo)

This what nightmares are made of

This is what nightmares do

This is what nightmares are made of

This is the price for a life of freedom with you

 

He never turns around to meet my cold and weary eyes

A ghost in my home town, my memory tarnished by their lies

Honour forsaken, rejecting my kin

A crime unforgivable, cardinal sin

 

This what nightmares are made of

This is what nightmares do

This is what nightmares are made of

This is the price for a life of freedom with you

 

(Violin Outro)

Kohelet Part I

In which the Hebrew book of Ecclesiastes is given a modern re-telling:
a rich, successful individual reflects upon past glories with doubt and cynicism

 

(Violin Intro)​

I, I was the King
I, I was the preacher
I, I had it all, to the people a spiritual teacher
On an unfeeling earth man's body breaks in toil
No inheritance, no legacy, only nature's endless turmoil
Havel Havelim (HEBREW: meaningless, all is meaningless)

 

(Violin Interlude)


I, I was the King
I, I was the architect
I, I was their luminary
A man of renown, worthy of praise and respect
And though I walked proudly as chief among the wise
The fool and I are destined for the very same demise
Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim

A time to be born and a time die
I surrender to the power that no man may dare deny
A time to sow and a time to reap
He may strike me where I stand or He may take me in my sleep
A time to kill and a time to heal
I bow before your majesty and accept the hand you deal
Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim

Kohelet Part II

 

Havel Havelim, still the lament of my heart
I wished for the comfort of those who depart
Better to be poor and know wrong from right
Than to reach for the throne, for Earth's foolish might

And the growl in my stomach, it never dies down
The hole in my pocket's never sewn
In the palace, in the field, in fine suits or rags
Makes no difference when you're on your own

The fool says much and breaks from his word
The poor man sleeps well while the rich is perturbed
Yet down they all go, bare just as they were born
Champagne and caviar, or a bowl full of corn

 

And the growl in my stomach, it never dies down

The hole in my pocket's never sewn

In the palace, in the field, in fine suits or rags

Makes no difference when you're on your own

Build it up or tear it down
Do you feel any joy when you wear your crown
The more words you say, the less it seems to mean
Beginning and end, questions in between

And the growl in my stomach, it never dies down

The hole in my pocket's never sewn

In the palace, in the field, in fine suits or rags

Makes no difference when you're on your own

 

Kohelet Part III

 

(Violin Theme)​

Do the tears in your eyes make you feel afraid
Do you run from the funeral bell?
When the wise man pleads O heed his words
For fools laugh their way into hell
The day of joy belongs to the Lord
But so do the days of toil
I've seen the truth in its beauty and pain
And I cannot help but recoil

The money you saved has lost its worth
Your house lies haunted and empty
No kings, no deeds in the land of the dead
Sheol laughs at your times of plenty

 

(Violin Theme)​

In the court of the king I can but kneel
I only await His command
While war and wind, destroyers of man
All mock the things that we'd planned
Fate, capricious, unfeeling, blind
Leaves riches at iniquity's door
So drink for today, drink for tonight
Tomorrow only sees you wanting more

 

The money you saved has lost its worth

Your house lies haunted and empty

No kings, no deeds in the land of the dead

Sheol laughs at your times of plenty

 

(Violin Solo)​

 

(Bass Solo)​

No might, no power, no riches, no honour
Nothing greater than time and chance
Every beast, every army, every man, every king
To its cold, cold beat we dance

The money you saved has lost its worth

Your house lies haunted and empty

No kings, no deeds in the land of the dead

Sheol laughs at your times of plenty

(Drum solo)

Kohelet Part IV

 

(Violin/organ intro)

The words of the teacher, the preacher, the sage
In sorrow, in rage, remain the same
From whence he came, ring in the night
In fevered dream “Havel Havelim”

The fool can corrupt, make you lose your way
Interrupt and beguile the discourse of the wise
As drowning flies carry rot on their wings
A folly so small can destroy many things
Upon what you build, and that which you pursue
Your blood may be spilled, may cause you to fall
And nothing at all shall break your descent
They only shall tell of how far down you went

 

(Violin Interlude)

Create, invest, grow your empire
Plans laid best, He may yet bring to dust
Rot and rust, it may rise, it may fall
The Lord Almighty owes you nothing at all
And the vigour of youth, may it gladden your heart
Before the day of truth, the darkness overshadows
When man knows, at last that he means nothing at all
When man knows, at last that he is ever so small

 

(Violin Interlude)

He will reveal, He will expose
When great men kneel, when the stars grow dim
Before Him, aligned in mourning procession
Blinding wisdom and justice offers little concession
Has not all been said, and not all been done?
Under the sun, is there anything new?
O righteous few, on the path you tread
You are washed, you are clean, because He bled

 

The words of the preacher, the teacher, the sage
No sorrow, no rage, remain the same
From whence he came, ring in the night, in fevered dream
Havel Havelim

(Violin/organ outro)

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