The Afterneath

by Jascha Hoffman

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Peck They talk about the 8 Habits of Highly Effective People...Jascha's got those plus a 9th...which is the source of his "je ne sais quoi."
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When the light dims and your sight dims and you’re ready to go. Anasthesia and the seizures. O my doctor am I ready to go? Can you find me, in your filing? Would you wheel me to the mercy machine? In the open, in the summer, in the back of a van. At a campground in his hometown, Dr. Death hit again. Tell the family, tell the family, she was ready to go. Tell the brothers and the others… Get the doctor to a doctor, give the doctor some room. Now he’s lying, almost dying, let some light in the room. Would you wheel me to the mercy machine? No we can’t sir. That’s the answer.
Six inch wings in the kitchen pulling up above the silverware. Little airplane taking the air. How many years in the wood shop with the circuits and the superglue? Now the big time’s coming for you. Will I become immune to the lift and the thrill and the sin of the first flight? And could we go alone to the brink of the air? Down at the fundraiser carwash there’s a scuffle for the Armor-All. Little plane rise over it all. Ride my Chevy beside you: top down, radio, big sky. Little airplane, king of the big time. Have I become immune to the lift and the thrill and the sin of the first flight? And sure I was aware of the risk to be run by the tip of a wing made of tin in a plane’ that could cross a holy… Skimming the lip of the ocean to the wet and windy irish shore: little airplane taking a tailwind. You’re the reason I’m rising in the embers of a tender life: Little airplane.
The Tennis Table (George Hendry, 1920-2011) Wartime champion with the features of a teenage retard, wanting nothing more than tennis tables to whack down on in 1940. Monthly cash out with an avalanche of girls and trophies you could almost see the sweat drip down on all the steaming green tennis tables. Causes, causes: there was always something eating slowly through my mind and through my ping-pong paddle when the Austrian took my title… Long time old man, let’s unfold the table. Slice those chop shots with a paddle in your wrinkled fingers, taking charge of the senior circuit. You can call me the comeback kid, the king of the senior league… Come back come back, I’m the one you want to…
The Pistol 03:09
4. The Pistol (Bud Dwyer, 1939-1987) Got my degree from the great Allegheny, with a stake in the fate of the Theta Chi, o my friends. Tried to correct the mistakes of withholding but got served with naught but disrespect in the end. And I will live to show you how… I can’t escape this American show trial, can’t go back and undo the crimes I haven’t even done. And I’m not gonna resign as the treasurer; I’ve made a different choice that don’t apply to anyone. And I will live to show you how the facts will shame you, burn through your dead hearts, awakening the spirit of the founders of America. Shut your lips, shut your lips, and don’t judge a man that you can not apprehend. Can you feel the arrival of the winter, can you feel the surrender of the law in the end. And if you take out both my eyes, I’ll turn my cheekbone. But you touch my children and it’s war that you’ll have upon the conscience of a nation. So good night to my fearsome believers and good night to the men who pushed me down to the boards. I can see that you all had your reasons, and now you all have the right to make amends to the Lord. So let my mouth come open wide: the pistol’s in there. I’ll take myself down…
5. The Rear View (Mary Daly, 1928-2010) Dickspeaker, where are you? I can’t hear you, so get out of my rear view. Dickspeaker.
6. The Atom Bomb (Joan Hinton, 1921-2010) By day on the mesa, by night on the lab, they were building the chamber. As the sky pulled up inward she was pressed to the sand, like an ocean above her or God’s left hand. When it hit Hiroshima she was out of her heart. So she boarded a steamer, the red red star. You’re still burning and I’m still breathing. We’re alone now, alone believing. Without your mercy, you calm my fever... So she worked for the chairman and she lived on a farm. And she raised up her children to fear the bomb. The reactors are humming as she plays violin. When the big one is coming, she keeps on breathing. You’re still burning and I’m still breathing. We’re alone now, alone believing. Without your mercy, you calm my fever. You keep me lonely, a clean believer…
The Freezer 03:47
7. The Freezer (Vann Nath, 1946-2011) I was a slim survivor in the land of the bone and skin. Just the husk of a painter when they locked the outside in. If you slip me your supper I will draw you an empty bowl. See the insects humming, we could steam and eat them whole. Have we taken everyone? Have you looked in the freezer? There's a bag with a human head. They're trying to read our brainwaves, they want to kill us before we're dead. Have we taken everyone, have we taken everyone? … See the blind man missing from the rice fields in the dawn. They took his wife in a convoy, now there’s nobody left to wrong.
The Guardian 03:12
8. The Guardian (J. Paul Getty III, 1956-2011) You made me in the stairwell, you sent me to the street. I was picking through the litter, I was ragged in the feet. The snow is falling slowly from the heavens to the sea and the money that you left me Is the opposite of free. The telephone is ringing, the coffeepot is cold. You're sitting and you're singing like an angel getting old. The song was never sold… The savior was a salesman on the doorsteps of the meek, with a killer sense of mercy and a murderous physique. Guardian of my sorrow, master of the wheel: I'm leaving you forever if I make it through the meal. Heal me with you sharpest blade, heal me with your heel: I’ll find a way to thank you.
The River 03:16
9. The River (Wally Boag, 1920-2011) Here I come from the deep deep dark with a shiver in my body and a secret in my heart. I got water in my boots and a pocketful of stones, saying, “What’s it gonna take for you to let me back home?” Pull me together, honey, pull me apart; I can almost hear the river in the rhythm of your heart. A couple years ago on a cool dark night we were passing by the river and we had a little fight. I took a long hard dive to the cold river bed with a bellyful of water and a vision in my head. Pull me together, honey, pull me apart; if the river is a killer it can never reach my heart. Well I heard you moved on, found a good strong man, takes you fishing in a pickup on the weekends when he can. But one of these nights when the cold wind moans, gonna rise from the river, take these lonely bones back home. Pull me together, honey, pull me apart; I can almost hear the river in the rhythm of your heart.
The Shepherd 03:42
So I loved a Montana man in the shade of the redwoods. Gouged our bodies instead of the wood. He lit up such a tiny place in the cold of my hollow, came spelunking so physically there. Open timber and sterile streams, that was all we could damage. Left no mark in the midst of those trees fading from sight. Did he go back to his fields and caves after the day was done? Did he go back to his fields and caves? Yes but they all were... Wild fennel and coastal fig in the shade of the river. We expected some privacy there, my shepherd and me. Pulled me down to the ocean floor, did not hold me. What was that he said to me there? Did he go back to his fields and caves after the day was done? Did he go back to his fields and caves? Yes but they all were gone.


Ten songs inspired by obituaries in the New York Times.


released November 11, 2014

Jascha Hoffman (vocals & keys), Bjørn Vidar Solli (guitar), Michael Thurber (bass), Leo Sidran (drums), Debby Gipsman, Jesse Olsen Bay, Spiff Wiegand (backing vocals).

Music and words by Jascha Hoffman. Produced, recorded and mixed by Leo Sidran in Brooklyn. Vocals recorded by Spiff Wiegand in Berkeley. Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. Cover design by Karishma Sheth.


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Jascha Hoffman New York

Jascha Hoffman's concept-driven albums mine dark themes to produce subtle and bittersweet songs that span genres from indie folk to classic pop.

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