"Space 1" Song Notes

Hey blog-pals, long time no speak! In celebration of the latest chapter of Atlas releasing into the wild, I wanted to write down some thoughts about each of the brand-new songs. There's so much to tell you about this collection of songs, I don't even know where to begin!

First, song general info:


The first thing to know is that the sequence of this EP, and the next (SPACE 2), are in order of the planets closest to the Sun.


1. Sun 2. Mercury 3. Venus 4. Earth 5. Moon 6. Mars


Jordan Hill (played Drums made out of Auto parts on "Mercury") - As a mechanic and an incredible drummer, my friend Jordan Hill came up with the idea of creating a drumset made entirely out of Automotive Parts! He made a video showing it off and thousands of folks were blown away! Not only is it an interesting idea, but it actually sounds incredible! So when I was writing Mercury, a song I was limiting myself to using only metallic instruments, asking Jordan to play his Auto-Parts kit was a perfect fit! I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! Visit his blog here.

Jeremy Larson (played Brass on "Mercury") - One of my favorite people on the planet, and a frequent Sleeping At Last guest, I knew right away as I wrote the brass section for this song that Jeremy would be the guy to play/record it! He's new to playing Brass, and just like everything he does, he sounds incredible! Hear Jeremy's music here!

Melissa Bach (played Cellos on "Earth") - Another frequent guest of mine, Melissa came out to the studio with specific instructions - don't listen to this song more than a couple times. As with all things on Earth, I wanted the cellos to be reactive, more than planned. So we sat down with the song and recorded ideas as we had them! I couldn't be more delighted with the results! Melissa's a true talent and a great sport!


As I set out to write SPACE 1, I watched as many documentaries on Space as I could, read a bunch of sci-fi and studied up on the nuances of each of the planets in our Solar System. Basically, it was a kid-in-a-candy-store situation. I had SUCH a wonderful time writing songs inspired by these gorgeous planets!

1. SUN

What better way to segue from the "Light" EP, than to start with the source of all light in our world? The gentle, hopeful opening represents the Sun we know from down here on Earth - warmth, life and light. As if to follow that light closer and closer up to its source, the song picks up, becoming more and more driving and electric. I wanted to explore that spectrum of gentleness and intensity. Instrumentally I chose to use as many bright instruments as possible (mandolins, glockenspiels, synths, harpsichords, etc). Lyrically, this song revolves around the lyric "Infinity times infinity" which is of course a classic kid argument. The song is about division, arguing complex beliefs and ideas with one another - adult stuff, but realizing that we're just little kids, all under the same Sun, trying to out-do each other in one way or another.


For a planet 70% metallic, it felt fitting to only use metallic instruments on this song (except for my voice, of course, which is made of human). I asked my close pal Jeremy Larson to play Brass and he did gorgeously. Then, I asked my friend Jordan Hill to play drums using the incredibly unique drum-kit he built himself, made entirely out of auto-parts. (What?!) Such a cool sound! To see his kit, watch his viral video here. I'll be posting a separate blog post about these drums soon.. it was a pretty fun collaboration!


Named after the goddess of love, I had to write a love song. Sung from the perspective of an Astronomer (myself being the most novice one ever,) I wrote this as a long song for my wife. Side note: I noticed that this song goes really well with being on a train. It represents the most lighthearted part of this collection of songs.


Thankfully, I have my upcoming "Land" EP to execute further inspiration from the one planet we all know best. Made up of primarily Piano, Cello and Voice, which I have decided are the most Earthly of all of the instruments. My friend Melissa Bach played Cello gorgeously throughout this song. Melissa's been a part of many Sleeping At Last recordings, including: Emphasis, Goes On and On, as well as the entire Storyboards album.


An instrumental! I treated this one as if I were given an opportunity to score the Apollo 11 Mission. After watching hours of footage, I wrote this piece of music imagining as best I could as to what music for an adventure like this might sound like. I had a lot of fun doing it... and if you listen closely, you can hear (in sequence from launch, Moon-landing to the return back to Earth) NASA audio from that Apollo 11 mission scattered throughout the song.


The red planet, named after the god of war. I really didn't think I wanted to write a song about war, but somehow the words and stories spilled out of my head. This story follows a few young soldiers, off to war, and consequently returning home only to fight an entirely different, internal war within themselves. A darker song, to be sure.


The art, which I consider to be some of Geoff Benzing's finest work to date (maybe even my absolute fav!), is delivered exclusively in the digital booklet as usual to all Atlas subscribers! we've also included a jpg of the entire panoramic work for your enjoyment! Fun fact: The actual paintings, when laid out, stretch out to over 24 feet long. Amazing!

There is SO much more nerdy detail behind each of these songs, but I'll leave the rest of that nerdy stuff to upcoming blog posts on each individual songs. Soon. Thanks for reading!

Much love,

Ryan - Sleeping At Last