Endless Landscape

by The Grand Optimist

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The Making Of Endless Landscape:


The Endless Session: (Me Playing The Whole Album Live):


Visual Art Made For Endless Landscape:


May 2014 - March 2015


released March 8, 2015

Randy Jones: Lyrics, Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Singing Bowl, Bass, Snare Drum, Floor Tom, Tambourine, Shaker,Cymbals, Bowed Bass, Slide Guitar, Timpani, Glockenspiel, Bowed Banjo
Tracks 1-11

Violin: Aaron Muller
Tracks 1, 4, 6, 9, 11

Flute(Silver and Wood): Meg Tapley
Tracks: 2, 7,11

Trombone: William Lyman
Tracks: 3, 4, 10

Trumpet: Jordan Lief
Tracks: 3, 10

Trumpet: Dakota Keller
Track: 1

Additional Vocals:
Carter Beavers, Austin Longbine, Jonathan Hernandez, and Aaron Muller,

Guy That Quietly Yells "Fuck Yeah!": Brian Haywood
Track: 9

Additional Sounds, Samples, and Field Recordings:
Movie Projector, Lighter, Glasses, Wine Bottle, Beer Can, Locks, Safe, Breath, Drawer, Traffic, Thunderstorm, Movie Countdown, Two Very Different Crowds, Lightening, Pill Bottle, Birds In An Aviary, Tin Box, Slot Machine.

Front Album Art: Andrea Zuniga
Back Album Art: Randy Jones
Merch Design: Randy Jones
Web Design: Randy Jones
All instrument parts written by Randy except the violin on Track 11.

Recorded and Mixed by: Randy Jones
Mastered by: Shawn Myers, 570 Productions, Nanticoke, PA

Recorded at :
The University Of North Texas' music practice rooms,
my dorm room,
Goolsby Chapel,
and my parents home.

Vocal Samples:
Neil Degrasse Tyson
Jim Carrey
Andy Puddicombe
And a few random people who don't have names.

Endless Landscape was necessary for me to create in order to reinvent my own perspective on death. I was very crippled by a series of constant reminders of my own mortality to the point that I wasn't thinking of much else. Much like a storage container, I used this record as a place to store all the crippling thoughts I was having so that I could visit them occasionally, but not live inside of them constantly.
My musical ambitions were, in large part, to be defined by contrast. To make a maximalist anthematic sound worthy of the subject matter at times, and to pair that next to sounds very soft and sparse, in order to showcase what it is exactly I'm trying to say with these songs, and my singing often borders on soft spoken word to better spotlight the lyrics.
I think throughout the time these songs were written there was an argument happening inside of me on the exact significance of myself, of my time, and of humanity in the cosmic sense. This led to a sort of back and forth debate throughout the record that turns up in some way on every song. There are also very personal stories which are told to help understand the larger themes, and these larger themes, in turn, help you understand the stories. Many characters and symbols emerge to help convey this complicated story such as telescopes and portraits, which allow me to visualize this somewhat intangible topic.

If I could get anything from making this it would be for the record to force someone to address their fear of death as I have, face it head on, and to see living as the truly ridiculous and fascinating phenomenon that it is. It isn't something to be feared, but to be embraced. Whether you're humbled by your unimportance in the universe or inspired by the importance your life can have on the others around you, breaking down the wall of your own mortality is essential, and it is my hope that this record can help someone in the way that it has helped me.

Explanation of Less Obvious Repeated Imagery:
This album primarily conjures cosmic images, the barriers in human language, and references to visual art such as paintings, etc. There are many more, but I thought I'd share what some of the main imagery means to me.

Vultures are negative influences who feast on your good qualities until they're no longer there.
If one were to turn a telescope toward them self it would magnify them as if they were the size of the universe.
The lottery is meant to represent the odds of you being born, especially as the most intelligent and dominant living thing that we know.
Self Portraits represent self image.
The framework represents humanity as a houses foundation which I suppose I am trying to break down and understand.
The aviary represents a place I escape from where the vultures live.
There are many more, but I thought I'd share what some of the main ones mean to me.

Extremely Special Thanks Are In Order For: Shawn Myers, Austin Longbine, My Parents, Brian Haywood, Aaron Muller, Scott Malmberg, Ben Miner, Andrea Zuniga, Carter Beavers, Blaine Covington, Drew Duffy, Garrett Cook,

All songs written by Randy Jones



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The Grand Optimist Denton, Texas

Singer-songwriter from Denton, TX.
Just trying to make whatever feels honest.

Recording In Progress

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Track Name: Vultures (Prologue)
i don't like large gatherings of people i don't know,
where the only thing that binds these vultures
are their short lived ways of letting go.
Because substances can't save us from our unfortunate fate,
and we will all be a drop of paint in the endless landscape.

In our own dimension even time can't command,
and i feel the ticking hands let their grip off my throat,
as i inhale the purest breath and then release all of the stress.
(The best time is when you dont know what time it is at all).

i keep running through my re-runs again,
watching old movies from when i was a kid.
And i remember things weren't always this happy at that time,
i recall a house of thunderstorms and close call lightening strikes.
Track Name: Telescope
i turned the telescope towards myself,
To try and match its size and shape.
Because i have been feeling a bit overwhelmed,
When i look up at the endless landscape.

i turned the substances away from myself,
i don't like the person that they create.
Because im always feeling a bit overwhelmed,
when i put myself in an altered state.

i turned every hallway into a maze,
Overthinking how i'd be portrayed;
because it's easy to romanticize your pain,
as a way to make you feel okay.
Track Name: There Is A Universe Inside Of Me
Solar wind, lift me up out of my skin.
and the creator may unlock his door
and i may be invited in.

But if there's no answer
i will cultivate my own home,
and look toward myself because there's no where else to go.

But there is a universe inside of me
limited by all my human boundaries
there is a universe inside of me
that i can't attempt to explain when I speak

Everything i hold on to seems to run away,
whether it runs out of my head, my hands, or to another state.
But in my own dimension, for now, it seems that i am safe
and i am free from all the boundaries that language creates.

But there is a universe inside of me
limited by all my human boundaries
there is a universe inside of me
that i can't attempt to explain when I speak
Track Name: Lottery
i was born in a house of thunderstorms and close call lightening strikes.
The voice of my maker echoed through to my neighbors
and the cops came more than twice.

It is that growing up that made me so scared
of the constant conflict when we're just splitting hairs.

But i cant shake the anxiety i feel in my own house,
isn't this supposed to be a fortress to keep the world out?

So take the old house i was raised in and raze it down.

i stood tall on my toes to match
what had been growing for millenniums past,
and saw i shouldn't get so attached
but it's hard to admit how long i'll really last.

i was chosen to win this lottery
but was it random and i beat the odds impossibly?

Or did someone have a hand in who was winning?
Track Name: Yugen (Act II)
The oldest moving painting,
Our father's only ceiling.
The most humbling feeling
to see what they did.
To travel time
and transcend skin.
Track Name: Self Portrait
Body language is the first way we all learn to speak,
and you haven't been very fluent.
There's too much risk in living so we don't do it.

Concrete and stone built on piles of bones
and yet i still try to feel important,
like the universe in some way is assorted.

If we were meant to be here why does no one feel comfortable?
If there's some cosmic event that could cause me,
(a piece of the universe aware of itself consciously)
then i'm thankful to see i am nobody.

Every night i paint a self portrait,
and not even in one am i smiling.
Now they hang on every wall.
Reminding me of when
all that i knew i could count on one hand,
and i was happy to not understand
the gears beneath the paint.
The ticking then was faint.

If we were meant to be here why does no one feel comfortable?
If there's some cosmic event that could cause me,
(a piece of the universe aware of itself consciously)
then i'm thankful to see i am nobody.
Track Name: The Invention Of Locks
Right after the universe
the second thing the creator made was a lock
so no one could ever see his face.
But i've been picking at his lock,
and trying to crack his code,
but it seems there are a few numbers still missing.

You believe you see ghosts
walking through the house at night,
in rooms that are unsafe to go into.
Do you really see shadows in your periphery?
Or ethereal people who once lived standing in your room, where
on that kitchen table you drew a perfect sketch of me,
but quickly tried to cover up the honesty in what you really see.

And maybe one day we could live without names
and i could know you by all my five senses that you satisfy.
But you don't know how to swim in anything deeper than shallow water, and i guess that's true for your speech as well.
And every time i come home i never take off my shoes,
'cause i don't plan on staying very long.
Track Name: Raven Feathers
That homespun dream catcher only catches dust,
and it's raven feathers won't bring you any luck.

It takes a whole ocean and the moon
to erase my mere footsteps in the sand.
Its thoughts like these that make me feel large again.
But the Earth's endured a lot more than I could throw at it.
And it's perfect system will make sure to cover
every track i've ever made.

It seems so self important to capitalize the letter "I".
Lowercase it makes more sense with our actual size.
And the urban ocean waves of traffic flying by
wash over my body but still leave me dry.
Track Name: The Framework Of Human Nature
We are ever static walls
Though our paint may change,
our frame will always hold us up exactly the same.
It is that structure underneath that keeps us standing,
but the way we choose to decorate it gives us a reason to stand

i've been punching holes to see
past the paint that's pale and peels off.
To see the perfect symmetry in the boards of wood.
Though now i see through the wall, it's just to see through myself.
To see the boards that built the body i was barely given time to borrow.

i go forever inward
Track Name: Abstract Painting Endless Landscape
We don't go inhaling,
we let it all out in the open.
And what we kept bottled up,
the corks fly open.

And i'm not one to borrow from and refuse to return,
so i willingly give my body back to the Earth.
Because i don't mind leaving behind
everyone and thing i love when i sleep,
how different is eternity?

i can feel the universe pull us apart.

We're an abstract painting made from perfect order.
and i'm staring at the endless landscape
as i feel myself get shorter.
This vacuum won't leave me alone
so i scream at it until i've shredded up my vocal chords
but the sun just interrupts before it even has a chance to speak.

i can feel the universe pull us apart.
Track Name: The Aviary (Epilogue)
Trapped in the aviary
then effortlessly I'm carried
floating up
freed by some fragile force

Clouds cover my skin like clothes
and the cool mist wraps me in it's hold
and all i can see now is grey

High above the vultures now
and portraits that cornered me
and shouted awful advice that i'd take

Jealousy tricked me
to turn the telescope toward myself
as if i could be infinite as well

Closer now to the top of the cloud i scrape
as i approach the endless landscape
and feel the clouds cloth unravel from me

Naked but i don't feel unnatural
as i turn toward the actual size of Earth
as it dwindles away

Darker now from grey to black
but i don't feel cold as i float far past the Earth
i feel a warm welcome