Life in the Underground

by Chemystry Set

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    Immediate download of 13-track album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire. Plus original 12-page booklet!




A groundbreaking debut by the eclectic rock ensemble. 13 tracks weave their way through deep realms of consciousness, telling stories of rebellion, conspiracy, roots and hope. Guest appearances by bassoonist Paul Hanson (Windham Hill), percussionist Avidan Rose (Mobius Operandi, Myron Dove) and Soji Odukogbe (Kotoja, West African Highlife Band). Binaural audio clips from the hands and ears of multimedia guru Tony Idarola. Original ball point pen cover by Matt Ritchie.


released November 18, 1998

Sven Eberlein - Electric Guitar, Vocals
Mark Sand - Drums
Joel Oppenheimer - Bass
Baba Ndjhoni - Electric Mandolin, Acoustic Mandolin, Vocals
Dave Jacobsen - Keyboard
Greg Carney - Guitar




Chemystry Set San Francisco, California

Musicianship tight as an atom, music wild and roaming as the imagination of the unknown. It’s like everything and nothing I’ve ever heard, a screaming reminder that rock is rebellion and must be reinvented each time it’s played, or else it’s just pop.

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Track Name: Thwart
Go seven generations fore to ask what they have seen
Be sure the things you say and do are what you want to mean
Construct, revise and protest what you're told up on the screen
To change the glory of conquest to what it should have bean
Don't you worry, I will get you to where I'm going
Thwart me but I won't turn back from where I'm blowing
On the seas of change
The flow will help us to rearrange
It's not a crutch to get me where, I'll get there on my own
more a passage to a place where I have often grown
Want to illuminate with possibles where few have brightly shone
Provide a future for the youth who swim in the unknown
We're standing on the world, so please forgive us if we slide
it's not for those who are never wrong and swimming with the tide
the echo of our folly is now blowing through the night
so thwart me if you will but I am running with the light
Track Name: Small
I walk the walk
I talk the talk
I'm not the kind who wanders with a suitcase of my choice
the weapons that you've given me have proven to be toys
I'm on a mission to protect the current pace
for those of you who disagree I'll shoot you in the face
And so, by god, I swear I'm not to blame
I'm in the dark and I was born in heavy rain
And still I scream and push with all my might
but in the end I wasn't meant to see the light
I'm small but I'm acting tall, you may see me tremble but I never fall
We're all on a little round ball, it's the same situation here for one and all
Track Name: To Be Kings
Kings of our own fields.
Kings of our own table
We want to find a place that is stable
Stop right there, we must digress:
Every people in their progress
Have a chance to go onward, but they choose to regress
Kwikala Balopwe
Don't let these words coolya
Don't let memories foolya
Don't let history schoolya, to be kings, kwikala balopwe
They came to the village when we were kings
Dethroned, now just a cog in the wheel of their workings
They left us in the shadows when they tried to light the room
But who needs light or darkness? We had the sun and the moon
White skin, but a black heart, they worked off our tails and ran
We can't catch up to them: The chase around the Baobab began.
He came into the cities, proclaimed us kings
He spoke of pride, three ZZZs, and promised many things
Soon the lies began to mount, dissolving spirals of negation
Dignity for emerging nation, just a figment of imagination
(He's got) black skin, but a white mask and the same black heart as the colonists
He made us all into thieves to keep himself the klepto-collosus
Burn the fields, clear off the table, changing season, new crop will enable
The storms are over, the sky is blue, no more will be done to us, it's time to let us do
They came into the prison, hear the sound of our chains breaking
But will they just be left to rust or forged for some new under-handed-taking?
We didn't need to be captives, but do we still need a king?
We drum out in a new direction, hear shouts and rhythm begin to ring
No face, all heart, this dance will be more challenging
But if our time has come.......we will sing
Track Name: Soiled
Standing in the doorway to the path around my dream, emerging rays of light reminding of the things I've seen
upon my late arrival and much to my surprise, I got soiled, I got soiled, I got soiled
Sighting flying objects and ancient memories, a dwindling fear of matter and abandoned cavities
I step into the tunnel and I dig myself a coil,I got soiled, I got soiled, I got soiled
Seven steps to heaven, that's what I had in mind, but when the gates did open the public eye turned blind
with all my strange behavior and even in disguise, I got soiled, I got soiled, I got soiled
So I turn in my confession about the world below, the officer suspiciously inspects my bag in tow
through loam and clay he murmured till he finally recoiled, You got soiled, you got soiled, you got soiled
The stage is now set for groundbreaking sweat, it may take a while to shovel the pile
and while we all breathe the earth underneath, we get soiled, we get soiled, we get soiled
Track Name: The Way of our Slow Strangle
The way we breed, the way we feed
The way of our slow strangle
So that we don't see the way we bleed
The way we root when the point is moot
The way we slowly suffocate
like we have no clue, it isn't me, it isn't you
The way we preach, the way we teach
The way of our slow strangle
I do beseach, all we do is leech
The way things are meant for your slow strangle
Get your head right out of the noose and start to disentangle
And when you're way high in the sky but see your body dangle
Then it's prime time to approach yet another angle
So you say: "Hey, hey, hey, hey!" when they make you scream
And we will: "Play, play, play, play!" just to let off steam in the ravine
Track Name: Twirl
What's unconditional doesn't have to be pure
Don't always have to want me to be that sure
Been lookin' for that kind (of love), but didn't need to look
I can see all of the strength (come through) the weakness i mistook
There's already so much twisted in our words
So redefine and join me in a twirl
What happens when one's destiny overcomes one's deed?
No longer claimed a monger, find you're a breed
Though you were built for famine, been made to feed
Will it hold you hostage, or will you be freed?
There's already too many twisting on the vine
So down you climb to join me in a twirl
We live by edifice of what we think we see
Just one constant strand (of energy) declared reality
Though taught we should believe, don't cede control
The truth is found within, not the story we've been told
There's lyin' and there's too much twisted in the world
So leave all that and join me in a twirl
Track Name: Tuber Song
Autumn leaves and castles in the sand, I've tried so hard to make it last
And when winter came and washed away the land, letting go of what had passed
then I knew what to ask
All the questions and all the memories, they will be with me till the end
but time is spinning and there are no guarantees, so sit together with your friends
let it flow with the band
Walk on bye, walk on bye, walk on bye
Grab a root and throw it in the pot, get your history in a stew
and when the soup's too thick inspiring no more thought, then you know just what to do
move on to something new
Our name's the tuber, welcome to the SET, get your good advice
We chew the goober and while doing that we're always asking twice
so come with us, break the ice
Track Name: Ducttape
Got some ducttape for your shoe
A stick of Wrigley's for you to chew
Got some air to fill the wings of a dove
Got some peace in the house of love
Got an album of smooth Jazz tunes
that takes you higher than big balloons
Got an anchor you can throw in the sea
The ease to yank it when you want to be free
On the way to the song of the surface of the earth
stepped a pilgrim who had long since forgotten her own turf
she was walking in the search of a promentory land
over rocks and under bridges and through many miles of sand
If you see her let her take you by the hand
She will tell you all the tales that she gathered on her walk
about the time she saw the yeti and about his crazy talk
then she will move a little closer and enchant you with a smile
before embarking on a float down the valley of the nile
If you see her let her take you by the hand
If you wanna be a part to help a pilgrim on a cruise
give her love with no condition and a solid pair of shoes
and if you're sad cause she told you that the time has come to leave
just remember what you give is in the end what you receive
If you see her let her take you by the hand
Track Name: Black Er Blue
I found a scrap of paper on the trail up to the cup
I was hiking at the end of a binge, the conflict between need and want made me troubled much
Three written phrases seemed sent to me, a clue, addressing my temperamental hue
"Stop tryin' to be blacker, cuz you really are just blue!"
and They're not the same (a black er a shade a blue)
The next made me think of the woman who just left me, it was time for her to go, I know,
but it still feels gloomy, like sunshine at the heart of a clearcut
She gone, but she left me some demons, so the comment hit its mark--
"You can crawl out of the shadows or stay cryin' in the dark!"
She's not to blame (neither are black nor blue)
Be careful where you get your cues, make sure the work you do follows your own tune
Don't mimic any others, though you might think they've got more soul than you
Be a Live one, not the Dead, don't just repeat all that I've said, a singular voice is rare
"The pain I have we do not share, so please do not compare!"
There's naught to gain ('cept a blacker blue)
Track Name: The Rim
Looking for tomorrow and you're sitting on an arrow to the sun
Climbing up the ladder but your feet are in the water, rabbit run
With every step you're breathing harder and you think you're getting smarter by the pound
And the air is getting hotter though your feet now sloth in water, hear the sound
Such a long way you have come, but your climb has just begun
Come with us to our world on the top of the rim
Where the sea is so high rise away from us and we can swim
Now you set out to get higher, to be seen and to inspire someone's dream
As you're slowly getting up there your shoulder's under water, change of scene
See the canyon down below and feel the ocean grow on the rim
When you're standing on the verge, but you find yourself submerged, start to swim
Such a long way you have come, but your climb has just begun
Track Name: Flying
Endless miles I'm running
Myriads of change
I saw the last wall coming
before I jumped the range
What I saw was the wide open sky
covered by a veil of pink
so huge that I was afraid to fly
holding on to the missing link
Flying, flying high in the sky, we fly so high
Flying, flying high in the sky, watching the world go by
I turned around just one last time
in fear of losing ground
but then the rope that I had climbed
gave way to lights and sound
I thought of all the troubles
I witnessed in the search
of holes and fizzy bubbles
while dwelling in the earth
There still remains a trace of doubt
the comfort sure was nice
but finally I'm breaking out
though slippery as ice
through all the motions I was shown
from high to lowest tide
I learned that many seeds are sown
by stepping to the side
Track Name: Life In The Underground
Life in the Underground with the carrots and the beets
Life in the Underground, down a hundred eighty feet
Life in the Underground, see the world from down below
Life in the Underground, I can hear the grass grow
Life in the Underground from a million miles away
Life in the Underground cause I only wanna play
Life in the Underground where secret plans are made
Life in the Underground cause it's cooler in the shade
Stand on your head, pull your toes and spin around
You can go in all directions when you've come from underground
Lie on your back, close your eyes and see the sky
it appears in many colors though they're sometimes passing by
Life in the Underground I can hear 'em talk a storm
Life in the Underground as a supersonic worm
Life in the Underground where the echo of my love
Life in the Underground can resonate above
Life in the Underground and we're slowly digging up
Life in the Underground from the dawning land of mud
Life in the Underground with the carrots and the beets
Life in the Underground down a hundred thirty feet