State of Undress

by Susie Asado

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about

State of undress was recorded by Norman Nitzsche at underSTUDIO. Percussion recorded by Robert Kretzschmar at underSTUDIO.
Mixed by Norman Nitzsche at MOKIK Studio.
Mastered by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering.
All songs are written by Josepha Conrad.
Photography by Anja Conrad.
Design by Franziska Morlok, Rimini Berlin.

credits

released August 21, 2015

Josepha Conrad: vocals, classical guitar, casio (Blu Blu), electric
bass and ukulele.

Alicja Adamczyk: vocals, violin (State of Undress, Dear Karl-Heinz, Watching TV), and eko bass pedals.

Ariel Sharratt: vocals, clarinet, elka bass pedals, chimes, casio (Talk to Strangers).

Marko Hefele: violin (Under Under, The Photographer, Zebra Stripes, Blu Blu).

Robert Kretzschmar: percussion, casio (State of Undress).

All songs were arranged in collaboration with the musicians listed above, except for “The Photographer” which is based on an arrangement by Steven Taylor.

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Susie Asado Berlin, Germany

Susie Asado lives in Berlin. That is the band, not the poem. The poem is by Gertrude Stein. Yes, there is such a poem. The band is not a poem. It is a band. Josepha writes the songs. She takes this very seriously, as she takes the band very seriously and of course the poem, that is Gertrude Stein very seriously. ... more

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Track Name: State of Undress
I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to deliver mail, I wanted to be a kung fu master, I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to be in a movie, I wanted to be a good lover, I wanted to be a Susie.

I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to be a scientist, I wanted to be a good daughter, I wanted to be an archeologist, I wanted to be a spy, I wanted to be a historian, I wanted to learn how to fly, I wanted to be a librarian.

I wanted to be a flaneur, live somewhere on the left bank, I wanted to be a chauffeur, I wanted to be frank, I wanted to live on a farm, I wanted to ride a horse, I wanted to protect from harm, I wanted to be a good force.

I wanted to be a hero, I wanted to climb up walls, I wanted to be invisible, I wanted to go to Niagara Falls, I wanted to make a home, I wanted
to make some circles, I wanted to be alone, I wanted to join a circus.

I wanted to be a singer, I wanted to travel the world, I wanted to work for the theater, I wanted to find the right words, I wanted to hold on to love, I wanted to walk together, I wanted to rise above, the whims of my mood and the weather.

Now I’m down to my underwear and there’s nothing except me and my hair. You can count all the lines that are me, you can see the veins and my banged-up knee.
Track Name: This Is Not Rain
Another afternoon another night, you’ve seen the numbers, something isn’t right. Just because the plow in your heart doesn’t show, doesn’t mean you haven’t been dragged through the snow. Now you romance with gas lanterns, talk to magazines at the corner store. Your shirt is tight, your throat is tight, money’s tight tight tight, words a tightrope dance, call it a no-hope-mance. You hear voices say, “Don’t worry if your boyfriend doesn’t treat you right, ‘cause everything is gonna be alright.”

The shopping cart is upside-down at the supermarket in your night-
gown. You take medicine to keep calm: in the elevator, in traffic, on the
L platform. You’re trapped with the pots and pans, with the alligator you’ve got no chance. His teeth are sharp, his claws are sharp, his tongue

is sharp sharp sharp, he plays with sharp pliers, his nails are sharp liars.
You hear the voices say, “Don’t worry if your boyfriend doesn’t treat you right, ‘cause everything is gonna be alright.”

This is not a pipe, this is not a heart, this is not a cloud, this is not art.
This is not a song, this is not a life, this is not a wrench, this is not a knife. This is not a burn, this is not a plate, this is not your story, this is not your fate. This is not a bell, this is not a chain, this is not your fault, this is not rain. You hear the voices say, “Don’t worry if your boyfriend doesn’t treat you right, ‘cause everything is gonna be alright.”
Track Name: Citizen
I once heard you sing that your passport is your destiny. Seems like we’ve all been dealt a card, strangely significant yet arbitrary. Maybe you wondered as you were held up at the border, if the officers heard your song, if they had some kind of court order. Because they turned you back at the border, after a night on a plastic chair. They went through your notes, your luggage and your hair.

Your beard, your guitar, your record collection, so very clandestine so very suspicious. Clearly you are a man of great threat, you are dangerous dark and malicious. You are malicious. The work you do scribbling
words, scrambling ideas and melodies, even though they are underpaid endeavors, could crumble their economies. They could crumble their economies. So they turned you back at the border, after a night on a plastic chair. They went through your notes, your luggage and your hair.

You wanted to go to the country of The Beatles and Oscar Wilde.
You wanted Sherlock Holmes, wanted history compiled. You wanted more than books and movies, you wanted to ride on the Tube, you wanted to look to your left, you wanted greasy pub food. You wanted greasy
pub food. But they turned you back at the border, after a night on a plastic chair. They went through your notes, your luggage and your hair.

In retrospect you recount the tale, all neat with a beginning and an end. It’s dramatic absurd Kafkaesque, but it all makes sense. The moral cited in the epilogue reads “Next time you cross a border, keep your songs to yourself and say the guitar is for serenading your wife. It’s for serenading your wife.” So they don’t turn you back at the border, after a night on
a plastic chair. So they don’t go through your notes, your luggage or your hair.
Track Name: Photo Booth
At the corner photo booth I sit behind the curtain for self-portrait art, self-portrait art. Four pictures to capture an X-ray of my face, a blueprint of my bones, a composite of my case. You can’t fool the lens, you can’t fool the light. The photo booth can see what you’re trying to hide.

Four pictures to capture the letter “o” on my chest, a dislocated thought, an accident undressed. You can’t fool the lens, you can’t fool the light, the photo booth can see what you’re trying to hide.

Four pictures to capture a thimble and a note, a slipknot and a gun all stuck inside my throat. You can’t fool the lens, you can’t fool the light. The photo booth can see what you’re trying to hide.

The photo booth reveals the truth, the photo booth will see right through, the photo booth unveils details, the photo booth tells all your tales, the photo booth looks to the past, the photo booth 123 flash, the photo booth sees things to come, the photo booth sees where you’re from. You can’t fool the lens, you can’t fool the light. The photo booth can see what you’re trying to hide.
Track Name: Under Under
Under the world is the underworld, under the hand is the underhand, under the belly is the underbelly and under your dog is the underdog. Under the mine is the undermine, under the lie is the underlie, under the cut is the undercut and under your foot is the underfoot. Under the story is the understory, under the study is the understudy, under the skirt is the underskirt and under your tone is the undertone. Under the go is the undergo, under the tow is the undertow, under the fight is the underfight and under the write is the underwrite. Under the state is the understate, under the stand is the understand, under the thunder is the underthunder and under your under is the under under. You can stand on a storm drain, you can open the door, you can take the elevator to a subterranean floor.
Track Name: Dear Karl-Heinz
Time has turned you into an imaginary friend. In another country reading poetry on the subway, seen you there, sent you thought-mail. As to your song, I’ve been taking it everywhere; an egg to be hatched, a plant to be watered and a baby to be tended to ou ou ou ou ou ou.

Here I am, on the first floor, while below a bus roars over a scar, where a wall once stood now perfectly documented by history books. I’m preparing for winter, I built a fortress out of papers, still plan to leave the house, hope to see you when the moon comes out ou ou
ou ou ou ou.

I like hearing you count and the turning of pages. I like hearing your room and all of your faces.

Dear Karl-Heinz, there is a low hum in my room — is that you?
Or the motor rumble of the city’s tune? I have other questions too, like why is October so beautiful? And the meaning of the mucous goo — is it true that the muse is in the ou?
Ou ou ou ou ou ou. Ou ou ou ou ou ou.
Track Name: Watching TV
All my bones are funny bones. All my roads a map. When I see you in the street, I’m always glad we met. We talk, louder than cars. We laugh, pull on our scarves.

Lately I’ve been staying home, watching TV. Something happens in
a box as if inside of me. My eyes, brighter than lights; my heart, bundled up tight.

If only I could switch off, the story of friends turning lovers. If only
I could move my bones, I might encounter others. Or you, right on the bridge — watch boats, float underneath.

Oh no! I’m staying home.
Oh no! Watching TV.
Oh no! I’m staying in.
Oh no! Drinking some tea.
Track Name: The Photographer
In 1859 I went to his house. He saw something in my shadow, something crawling out of my mouth. He captured this “ectoplasm” to prove a point. He held my hand, my wrist, called us a dovetail joint.

He saw the future in my iris and the past in my palm. He put sugar
in my tea, I felt strange but calm. When I saw him turn the key, I should have grabbed the knife, I should have stormed the door, I should
have run for my life.

His eye turned into a machine, his hand into a wheel. He said he would only steal my light, it wouldn’t hurt, I wouldn’t feel — the moment that
my image got trapped in the box, the moment that my soul would forever be lost.

When I left his house, I couldn’t feel my feet. I couldn’t feel the ground, or my heart beat — I could only feel three shillings cold in my purse, that would never mend my heart, that would never lift this curse.

What can you buy with three shillings to your name? Not the moon, not the stars, not love, not fame.
Track Name: Talk to Strangers
There is a swan in the middle of the walkway. He’s sitting down at the end of his workday. I went up to him and asked him if I could be of assistance. He proceeded to hiss and I was startled by his resistance.

I continued my walk — it was cold, it was Sunday. There was a girl feeding ducks in a driveway. I went up to her and asked her if I could sing her a poem. She just looked at me, said “No thank you Ma’am,
I really have to get home.”

I continued my walk — it was cold, it was getting late. There was a man painting gold on an iron gate. I went up to him and asked him if he could tell me my future. He just looked at me and said “No but why don’t we kiss by the sculpture?”

Now you might wonder if I accepted his offer. I surely did, it was fun it was awkward. Hey, life is weird and it gets lonely when you don’t talk to strangers. So get out there, jump, dance, ride a pony, just don’t ever think of the dangers. Talk to strangers!
Track Name: Zebra Stripes
Zebra stripes on the asphalt, white shadow of the grasslands. In the middle of traffic, I stand on one side. Waiting for my moment of crossing seems, we are all thinking of horses, of savanna and of streams. I would like to return to this place I’ve never been. Not in a safari sort of way — wearing hats and glasses, peering through binoculars — but with wind and speed, muscles, wild spectaculars.

I am quite well behaved, I know how to restrain a thought. I clean my spoon, my cup, my hair and all the floors. I hold doors for old ladies and help with strollers down the stairs and when I’m angry I smile, I get up and stack the chairs. I would like to return to this place I’ve never been. Not in a safari sort of way — wearing hats and glasses, peering through binoculars — but with wind and speed, muscles, wild spectaculars.

I’m a perfect pedestrian, obeying rules of traffic and of civil law. A lady
of good breeding, with her heart on a leash. I read books and the paper,
I listen to the radio and on Sundays I go to the theater, or a music show.
I would like to return to this place I’ve never been. Not in a safari sort
of way — wearing hats and glasses, peering through binoculars — but with wind and speed, muscles, wild spectaculars.
Track Name: Blu Blu
Die Bäume sind leer gepustet, die Straßen mit Staubsaugern gefegt. Plastiktüten tanzen, etwas, was sich bewegt.

Die Krane sind angefahren, haben den Blu schwarz übermalen. Da war schon ein Schatten, nun kann man ihn sehen, die Brache in Ketten, die Straße vergeben.

Verkauft das Wasser, die Luft, der Dreck. Verkauft, der Blick, die Geschichte, das Eck. Verkauft die Vögel, die Füchse, die Risse. Verkauft, die Fussel, den Kuss, die Kulisse.