“Hide & Seek”

So here’s the first song off my ’99 album:

It’s actually two tracks running together: “Count to Ten”, the electronica instrumental, and “Hide & Seek”. When I played it live (e.g., I’ve played Burlington’s New Year’s Eve arts festival a few times as a solo artist, but not for over a decade now), I would usually start “Hide & Seek” with a version of “Count to Ten” (on acoustic guitar).

As with everything musical with me, all roads lead back to The Beatles. I love songs that start with a quirky intro that you don’t hear again for the rest of the song, and brothers and sisters, did those guys ever have a truckload of ’em, e.g.:

Speaking of musical geniuses for the ages, Matt McCarthy was the engineer, CD masterer (“masterer”?), additional producer, and occasional guitarist on “Roomful of Fans”, the CD from which “Hide & Seek” came. Among other things, he came up with little guitar flourishes, things that were either too complicated for me to play or that I couldn’t have thought up myself. The little arpeggio after each “Oh oh oh ohhhh” is an example of his tasteful playing. He also put the “Count to Ten” tune together, sneaking in little touches such as his and my touch-tone phone numbers.

I have to balance wanting to write a lot about Matt –because we go back decades together, having met in high school and formed an Essex Junction/Burlington band that played for a few years– with respecting his privacy. Matt keeps a low profile online on purpose, sort of in keeping with his wonderfully contrarian nature, so, for example, there’s nothing (that we would want me) to link to.

Suffice it to say that “Roomful of Fans” is a testament to his ability to push the limits of cheap desktop computing circa 1997. The entire thing was recorded and mastered on his PC, making it perhaps the first CD in Vermont to have been created that way; in those days, most digital recording took place on Apple Macs, and the hardware and software to do similar audio production on PCs were either terribly expensive or didn’t exist in the first place. (I also did all the graphic design, typography, and layout on PCs using Corel Draw and Photopaint, making it a completely Mac-free CD.)

Matt has been profoundly influential on my musical development, and he’s still the best musician I know. I’ll continue to praise his excellence here on NatoSongs.

So what’s “Hide & Seek” about? Seek, and ye shall find. That’s what clever apes like us do.

Hide & Seek

Count to ten, turn around
Disappeared, they have fled without a sound
Under stairs, in the trees
Children’s laughter in the breeze

Alive in a hide and seek

Painted fur, sharpened rock
Ancient girl crawling slowly to the flock
Where they graze on the hill
Her lip curls for the kill

Alive in a hide and seek

Sticky beer, cigarettes
Ten of three, and he hasn’t hooked up yet
Stranger smiles at his joke
There’s a blush, there’s still hope

Alive in a hide and seek

And on adventure’s horse we’re riding
Our searching always beats our finding

On a hunt for the truth
Giving up, when you’re almost out of youth
Turn around, count to ten
God is giggling behind the fence

Alive in a hide and seek

©1999 Nate Orshan


“Hide & Seek” — 5 Comments

  1. So what’s “Hide & Seek” about?

    The children’s game of “Hide & Seek” is viewed as a prototype of a basic pattern in human behavior, as exemplified by the hunter hiding from her prey, by the single man on the (sexual) prowl and by the young adult grappling with elusive philosophical ideas (specifically, theism).

    Excellent lyrics, poetic yet lucid, set to a lovely tune. The music, despite echoing various influences (chorus evokes REM to my mind) , shows a remarkably distinctive, personal style that is surprisingly mature, considering this was your very first album!

    Thank you for another great gem, Nato!

    This just out: September i’ll be traveling to the States: LA, SF & NYC. Is there any chance you’ll be performing in one of these areas around this time? I’d love to see you perform and possibly have a chat after the show. 🙂

  2. Hey Itai, thanks so much for the song summary and commentary. I’m honored, really.

    No gigs lined up at this time, but I’ll certainly let you know before you’re in the States!

  3. Ya make me sound like Mutt damn Lange for crite-pete… except he is actually successful.

    Thanks for saying nice things, though. Some of them were even true!

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