Old as Light

  • Submitted on time! Sep 22, 2023

My primitive percussion are two straw brooms that I used as drumsticks on my floor. In the spirit of primitive percussion though, I also recorded this without a metronome, and made no edits in post. Ok one edit but literally just one. I stuck with that mentality and didn’t edit the vocals/guitars nearly as much as I normally do. Had an absolute blast constructing the narrative—my son and I encountered some sort of apocalypse where time travel was our only escape. We ended up in the Jurassic era and have since been adapting to the new mindset, and catching bony fishes to roast over the fire of elusive lightening strikes. Please do enjoy.

Creep in the shade when beasts roam the sky

I’ve become as old as light

Ego degrades, sharpening my eye

I’ve become as old as light

On our last night

Stars left to rights

Approaching collision

A massive body

We found a curve

My boy and I escaped to the past

Bony fishes and a lightening strike

Dinner at last

Creep in the shade when beasts roam the sky

I’ve become as old as light

Ego degrades, sharpening my eye

I’ve become as old as light

Look out

Looking out

Where I looked in before


Looking for feedback on

Anybody have a detail that they enjoy?


EliasSZ October 8, 2023 2:05pm

This conjures a whole fucking world. So much about the vocal arrangement of this tune just blew me away. The high falsetto vocals add such a beautiful texture, either when they take the lead or when they’re serving as a counter melody for the main story line.

The way your verse starts is fascinating – immediately unsettled, unresolved. And the harmonic progression of the verse in general is so great. Always hinting at resolution but never quite getting there. Also the fading, reverbed quality of the end felt like such a natural way to end a song that didn’t ever really want to settle.

stonewindow September 25, 2023 6:38pm

My first impression was a similar vibe to Pink Floyd, would fit nicely on Wish You Were Here. Beautiful song Nick.

nick September 29, 2023 10:07am

thanks, stone!

Ryan September 25, 2023 2:36pm

Sheesh, I adore this. I’m on spin 4 or 5 already. Love when the e bass plays as big of a role as the percussion does in a rhythm section—especially when it’s minimal. And boy is that nailed here. I agree with others that “we found a curve” is the moment here. But there are so many details to enjoy. Piano after “stars left to right”? Yum. Shimmering little guitar after “massive body”? Yes please. Busy bass playing at ~2:05? Darn tootin.

nick September 29, 2023 10:07am

thanks brother. and yeah bass had to show up big time with such light percush. i will call out that the lyric is “stars left to rights”, however the melody does follow the lyrics as if it were left to right on a fretboard.

Ben September 25, 2023 11:13am (edited)

Figured I’d dig in here a little.

Man, this morning I was listening to a clip of Cory Wong interviewing John Scofield and he was talking about musical voices, and how you can identify someone by 1 or 2 notes, often within 3 seconds or less.

Your song came on autoplay last night on my phone (yes, yes, I’ve since listened again on speakers) and I knew it was you almost instantly. I replayed the very beginning several times to explore why I knew it was you, and I’m pretty sure I concluded that the tells are all there in those Magic First 3 Seconds. Here are some of the factors that I think my brain automatically considered just in the first 3 seconds:

1. it’s clean and natural sounding and starts without much fanfare or intro

2. the guitar is strummed and slightly muted in a way that i’ve heard you do hundreds of times

3. the little bass slide at 0:02 is something I’ve been hearing you do for many many years, with that specific feel. It’s a common “move” of course, but I think you put your specific little swing on it, and fret it in a specific way that I recognize. subtle, but recognizable.

4. the “lazy” (not a diss), “nasally” (also, not a diss) voice that I feel like you really started leaning into in your last album, as well as on some BCBCs the past couple years. This tone, coupled with the way you pronounce the “r” in “creep” at 0:02, is a tell that this is your song. the tone and voicing of the lyrics, coupled with it starting simply but confidently, and without a instrumental intro is party of what gave it away that this autoplaying song was by you.

The other 3 minutes and 2 seconds of the song are great too – there’s a lot going on in the story and structure, and it’s exciting and moving, but I’ll let some others review it. Just thought it was interesting, maybe just because I’ve known you musically for so long, that I could identify you in seconds, so I wanted to examine that a bit.

It’s a cool thing when influences definitely do come thru strongly – sure, in the first 3 seconds or less, I do hear shades of Thom Yorke vocals and McCartney bass, as well as some sensibilities from a song from your “TWEMIS” album that i cant remember the name of right now (can your younger self be an influence? why not.) – but the influences combine in a way that is undeniably unique to you. The influences are crucial to the sound, but take a backseat to the actual artist’s voice. Good stuff.

alechutson September 25, 2023 11:52am

Agreed – Thom Yorke vocals and McCartney bass are indeed strong in this one, but in a way that help paint a story of apocalypse and perseverance. Love the vibe – the whole song feels like it’s chugging along in spite of the odds. I really dig the line “we found a curve.”

Ryan September 25, 2023 2:30pm

I hear some Sharon Van Etten in here too. Especially in the verse. “My boy and I”.

Ryan September 25, 2023 2:37pm

Re: nasally vocals—definitely one of your things, Nick. But also dig that there’s a good balance on this track. Lots of fuller, rounder, softer, deliveries too. Really enjoyed the variety.

nick September 29, 2023 10:04am (edited)

wowie thank u for this silverdog. would have to imagine it’s this one, considering nicole noticed the same thing. 2-26-11

Ben September 29, 2023 12:09pm

that is the one!

agasthya September 24, 2023 10:15pm

“i’ve become as old as light” is such a good line. “we found a curve” is my favorite of many excellent moments in this.

Ryan September 25, 2023 2:37pm

Yeah what the hell is even going on here? An extra chord and a bass re-harm or something? Spill the deets, @@nick.

nick September 29, 2023 10:02am

mmm thanks. and @@ryan it’s just one of those moments in songwriting where something a little strange came naturally. two bars of 3/4 and i just dont technically know what’s happening harmonically… spidercreeping?