Summer House

  • Submitted on time! May 24, 2020

Alright, so! I didn’t have as much time to work on this as I would’ve liked. Some family troubles arose in the last few weeks and I ended up buying a car and making a trip to Massachusetts. So the mix isn’t quite there (headphones encouraged). But! I found this assignment terribly fun and rewarding. Thanks, Nora!

Originally, I was set on performing something (glass bottle, windchimes, etc.) for the wind requirement—but a few weeks ago I fell in love with Kamasi Washington’s score for the Michelle Obama documentary, “Becoming”. So my winds are a sample of the beginning of his piece entitled “Provocation“. If you haven’t heard that soundtrack yet—definitely check it out. As for the random wiki-ing, the WikiGods gave me a gem on my third click: Raventhorp. Essentially, it was a huge gothic summer house built on the coast of Maine for Anne Longfellow Thorp (daughter of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Joseph Gilbert Thorp (son of a wealthy lumber baron). The house is beautiful albeit haunted-looking (google some photos!) and I found it immediately inspirational. At first, I thought it would be interesting to explore what might have gone down in such a place—given the owners’ social circles. But then, as I could find very little about Anne and Joseph, I found myself imagining a love story for them—maybe they disappeared, wanting nothing to do with the worlds into which they were born, and instead determined to create their own. The song ends up being the fictional story of Anne and Joseph burning Raventhorp to the ground, determined to set off on an entirely new life, all their own.


Summer house

on the coast.

Son of a sin,

daughter of a ghost.


Looking out

on the waves.

Making our beds,

digging our graves.


I remember thinking I’d die

if I didn’t have you then.

Blood moon orange sky

hanging over Madison.

On the long drive east you said,

“We’re not like them.

We’re story-less.”


Clearing out

before the snow.

A pillar pyre—

the death of our home.


Stepping back

to watch the flames.

The wraparound porch,

the gables ablaze.


I remember thinking we’re dead

if we ever return.

Your face lighting up

in the glow of the burn.

And on the long drive south

you threw your head back and said,

“We’re new again.

We’re story-less.”

Looking for feedback on

How's the harmonic mood for you? This is new territory for me. What about the song structure? Work for you?


alechutson May 26, 2020 9:55pm

love the arrangement, intro gives me fleet foxes vibes and then settles into a more pinegrove/nostalgic feel. really into hearing your voice more upfront. your lyrics always seem so effortless and natural. great work!

Ryan May 26, 2020 10:41pm

Thanks, Alec! Glad the lyrics seem natural. I think once I settle into a narrative and see the whole environment it gets easier to paint a picture. The source material provided a super helpful ‘place’ for this one.

laurawolf May 26, 2020 5:37pm

Tbh I’m in awe of this mix! It’s so full and clear! Maybe it’s the mix but I feel like I’ve never heard you sing out this much and I think it really works with your voice!

Ryan May 26, 2020 10:39pm

Thanks, Laura! Glad the mix and vocals are working for you. Trying to improve on both!

Ben May 26, 2020 1:29pm

Huge Kamasi fan here! I’ve yet to see Becoming. I should.

Your mixes are always nice and big and the vocals are so clear and rich and this is no exception.

It’s cool how I’m not constantly thinking about how this is in 3 or 6. It’s definitely in 3 (or 6) but it doesn’t feel too intentionally waltzy, which often can ruin a groove for me. Also love the change in the drums at around 3:30 and then even more at 4:10 (is that some 4over6, 2over3? 8over6?). I love how it get dirty and verby toward the end too.

Ryan May 26, 2020 10:38pm

Stoked to hear that—was hoping to subvert the very 3 or very 6 feel. Re: drums at the end—not sure! Let’s check with the polyrhythm gurus: @@nickand @@Kyle. I just knew I wanted that snare to start a-slappin’. I keep referring to it as the ‘double time’ part.

nick May 25, 2020 4:02pm

yeah i like you in this place. sample sounds great, glad you went for it. how much fun is it digging into some random story?? you really got across a great vibe of nostalgia for something i know nothing about. I think finding a way to include elements of that sample from the intro into the verse could be good. could be subtle, but keeping a representative of the dirty/grittyness from the intro throughout the piece is my vote.

Ryan May 26, 2020 12:03pm

Extremely freaking fun. That’s a good note. Will look into that for a future version of this track. Thanks mate.

juliapiker May 25, 2020 2:57pm

oooo this is beautiful <3 INTO THIS MIX ry guy. such a shift from intro that beautiful wide mix. Im finding myself interested in the way everyone has been mixing these projects. Also thank you for bringing out that beautiful voice. I’m feeling like the the lead guitar is singing right alongside you. Beautiful writing. overall wonderful submission

Ryan May 26, 2020 12:00pm

Thank you Jupes! Yeah I think the mixing is slowwwwly getting better! Wish I had more time to do a few more vocal takes, but overall I’m happy with it. Glad you dug it!

peter May 24, 2020 10:09pm

amazing submission, ry

keep it up!

Ryan May 25, 2020 11:10am

Thank you sensei!

daeclan May 24, 2020 9:09pm

holy shit raventhorp is on the island i grew up on, mdi ! wild random beauty. like 15 mins from my home 🙂

i will relisten to this w headphones, but on macbook speakers this sounds real clean; spacious & rich. the structure is nice, and gives the song a greater ambience and resonance. great work, dude!

Ryan May 24, 2020 9:15pm

Ha, dude no way! Incredible. Would love to make a visit out there some day. I got very into the idea of going to see Raventhorp during this process haha. And rad, thanks for the listen, mate!

daeclan May 25, 2020 4:24pm

update ! it sounds even better on my speakers, much more textured and lively. i get old new england & grizzly bear vibes in the best ways 🙂

Ryan May 26, 2020 12:13pm


Carseat May 24, 2020 9:08pm

I love this. So much. The intro. Had me in space. The harmonic mood. Wow. Yes. It’s very mixolydian but slips really nicely out of it. Real smooth.

Ryan May 24, 2020 9:16pm

Ah, good! Was hoping that transition worked! Glad you dig it! 🤓