Traffic Island

by Susie Asado

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credits

released December 9, 2011

"Traffic Island" was recorded and mixed by Norman Nitzsche at the Villa Qrella. Mastered by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering in Berlin. All songs written by Josepha Conrad, photography by Anja Conrad, and design by Rimini Berlin, Franziska Morlok.

Josepha Conrad: vocals, classical guitar and ukulele.
Marko Hefele: violin and backup vocals
Tomi Simatupang: electric guitar, electric bass, vocals on "Songlines" and backup vocals
Michael Conrad: vocals on "Traffic Island" and backup vocals on "Koffer auf Koffer zu"

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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: Lady With Dog
LADY WITH DOG

I dressed up in a pretty frock
borrowed my grandmother's dog
my sister took my photograph
and there I was a lady

and if you look closely
at the image that my sister took
you will see the woman that I could
turn out to be if everything goes swimmingly

my mother says "Kleider machen Leute"
which means fine feathers make fine birds
or clothes make the man
but it is not men I'm speaking of here

I am speaking of a lady
a lady with her dog
of the lady she is
and the one she will become

in a bright green garden
with a dog on a leash
she looks smart and she is smart
and "her life isn't very hard"

think of all the photographs films paintings
of ladies with their dogs
and now I am one of them
most certainly in a process of becoming

of becoming from the outside in
from the dress and the dog to the fraud
there isn't a thing about me that's flawed
call me Susie Sandy or Maud

so here I go doing lady things (whatever they may be)
and here I go saying lady things (whatever they may be)
and here I go thinking lady things (whatever they may be)
and here I go drinking lady things (whatever they may be)
they may be tea they may be tea
Track Name: Little Plastic Figure
LITTLE PLASTIC FIGURE

all my hope is bundled
in a little plastic figure
standing on my radiator

I look to her in the middle of the night
I usually don't sleep well
I listen to steps in the stairwell

sometimes I think someone is in my room
I'm sure I can hear someone's breath
or clearly someone's footsteps

and I think all my hope is bundled
in a little plastic figure
standing on my radiator

she's a woman with a purpose
she's a woman with a sword
she knows why she's here
who she's here to fight
she's never been afraid
not of fire and not of pain
and she's never looked back

all my hope is bundled
in a little plastic figure
standing on my radiator

I know she has special powers
just because she's plastic
doesn't mean she's not fantastic

she came inside of a chocolate egg
it was a present from my brother
he always wants to smother me

perhaps he knew I needed someone for the night
someone who would just stand there
with a sword ready to fight

she's a woman with a purpose
she's a woman with a sword
she knows why she's here
who she's here to fight
she's never been afraid
not of fire and not of pain
and she's never looked back

well I think she's divine
and she's beautiful
I know she's very small
but in real life
well she's probably very tall

she's a woman with a purpose
she's a woman with a sword
she knows why she's here
who she's here to fight
she's never been afraid
not of fire and not of pain
and she's never looked back
not even just to check
Track Name: Plane Crash
PLANE CRASH

all these dresses
the glitter the mascara
I didn't want to scare you
I was just going back in time

I was retracing my steps
to a city by the water
in an airplane with a motor
drinking juice in plastic cups

when I read your poem
I knew I was in trouble
every word was floating rubble
and I was trying not to drown

I had packed all my things
in neat little boxes
I changed my dress and my shoes
the name was just a game

I thought I was the same
but my bones they had changed
I grew three inches
even though I am too old
told sold fold bold gold
mold scold hold cold old

the whales in the water
didn't want to bother
coming up for air
or gawking at the scene

they had better things to do
than rescuing the crew
the passengers were blue
it was getting quite severe

I don't remember
how i got to the shore
it was the middle of december
and the water freezing cold
told sold fold bold gold
mold scold old cold cold

in the dream I'm at a party
voices without bodies saying
"would you like some cake"
"would you like a fake Renoir"

my mind is in shambles
brambles rambles scrambles
I would like an explanation like
"there is a letter coming soon"

chandeliers are on the ceiling
and I've lost my sense of feeling
in my hands in my heart
I'm starting to count dots

polka polka polka polka dots

the doctors might guess
the mess it's my condition
it's the the rest of me
that is still crashing planes

I blame it on the weather
I blame it on the syntax
it's a new DNA
taking over every day
way lay say hay gay
stray tray way gay yeah

hysteria
disaster area
picnic area
Bavaria is in the south

I can carry you
that is why I grew
the glue must do
every screw needs a shoe

that is why I have the flue
and that's why I am through
with all the things that I must do
do do do do do do do do do do

now that's the end
I'm sure you understand
Track Name: Autobiography Of A Skyscraper
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SKYSCRAPER

first I was an elevator
then I was a high-rise
now I am a skyscraper
scraping the sky

first I was steel
then I was concrete
now I am all electricity
look at me eat

I'm so modern
I'm angles and glass
I'm so modern
I'm abstract world class

first I was all stairs
then I was all floors
now I am very tall
soon I'll be yours

first I was a blue print
then I was all feet
now I am newsprint
it's time that we meet

I'm so modern
I'm angles and glass
I'm so modern
I'm abstract world class

first I could see the horizon
then I was watching cranes
now I am looking at walls
and elevated trains

first I was fancy offices
then conveniently located down-town penthouses
now I am a museum
that slowly decomposes

a museum without visitors
a museum without sculptors
a museum without collectors
a museum without benefactors
a museum with nothing showing
a museum with the wind blowing
through empty floors and rooms
I am a inner-city tomb

that wants to stay modern
and wants to love
wants you to see my vertical lines
and revolving doors
I want to stay modern
and I want to love
I want to kiss the sky the birds
the escalators
and the elevators
and the the visitors
I want to kiss the visitors

because I'm so modern
I'm angles and glass
I'm so modern
I'm abstract world class
Track Name: Flugangst
FLUGANGST

ich war mal wieder fort mit Flugzeug Bus und Zug
an einem ganz anderen Ort
dort war es viel wärmer als hier
Wasserfälle fielen von Gestellen
ich habe mich ein paarmal verlaufen
Schleifen Schlaufen Wege und Umwege
jetzt bin ich wieder zu Hause

Auspacken Wäsche waschen Post aufmachen Suppe kochen
alle anrufen und sagen "ich bin wieder da" aber gar nicht für lange la la la

Wiederholung ist meine Belohnung
Schablone meine Melone
ohne Vorlage bin ich verloren
wie ein Tourist ohne Stadtplan oder ein Pirat ohne Papagei
was ist schon Malerei
ich will malen nach Zahlen
sie sind Wegweiser Kompass Schild und Pfeil
wie Seile beim Bergsteigen
wie ein Sicherheitsnetz beim Seiltanzen
Sicherheitsgurt Rettungsring
Schwimmweste Schlauchboot
der Himmel ist rot und die Banken sind in Not
was kostet jetzt das Brot reimt mit Tot

wenn ich auf Reisen gehe denke ich immer
ob ich zurück komme oder ist es für immer
es ist ja nicht ganz ungefährlich
und wenn ich ehrlich bin muss ich sagen
im Flugzeug wenn es wackelt
beim Strassen überqueren
auf alten Fähren und im Zug
die Bilder in meinem Kopf sind nicht gut
da fliegen Leute durch die Luft
und Laster rasen aufeinander
die Knochen sind ein Durcheinander
so wie im Film obwohl ich gar nicht mehr weiss wie der Film noch mal heisst
kann es sein ich war selber dort am Unfallort
denn ich könnte schwören ich weiss wie es sich anfühlt
wenn man den Körper nicht mehr spürt

ich war mal wieder fort mit Flugzeug Bus und Zug
an einem ganz anderen Ort
dort war es viel wärmer als hier
Wasserfälle fielen von Gestellen
ich habe mich ein paar mal verlaufen
Schleifen Schlaufen Wege und Umwege
jetzt bin ich wieder zu Hause

Auspacken Wäsche waschen Post aufmachen Suppe kochen
alle anrufen und sagen "ich bin wieder da" aber gar nicht für lange la la la
Track Name: The Collector
THE COLLECTOR

in an arena in Barcelona your sandals are coming undone
and the bull running towards you who would become a story
nobody would believe you were in the desert in Egypt
smoking cigars and counting camels as they fall from the sky

you are a man in a tree a man in a high-rise
you have a home that can swap countries
you are a mathematician and I think magician
perhaps you're living more than one life

on an island you plant palm trees you watch them grow over the years
and when your drunk you stumble among them as if you were one of them
you are a collector of watches carpets apples and elephants
you photograph the sunset and flowers of seeming insignificance
you are an investor in chocolate and you like the word brilliant
you don't drink much water but I think that is irrelevant

you are a man in a tree a man in a high-rise
you have a home that can swap countries
you are a mathematician and I think magician
perhaps you're living more than one life

you are a cowboy at a campfire a man in airplanes and automobiles
you are taking trains in Japan you drink cold sake out of boxes
you are a mariachi recording songs onto a little old tape deck
or yodeling on mountain tops you are a father playing vampire
with your children who lock themselves in a bathroom
because they are uncertain if the game is a game
for they know you to be cowboy a singer a gambler
a bullfighter a businessman a hobo a husband a refugee a poor boy and a rich man
well you might as well be a vampire too
oh no

because you are a man in a tree a man in a high-rise
you have a home that can swap countries
you are a mathematician and I think magician
perhaps you're living more than one life
Track Name: Songlines
SONGLINES

my ancestors traveled the land
along the ancient tracks made of song
they sang the songs
that have been passed on to them
my father taught me these songs
how to dream the tracks and how
to travel along invisible lines called the songlines

we nomads migrate singing song cycles
summon the marks that mark the landmarks
we navigate singing and the land sings back
and in exchange we all get to live

that is the land and the story and the dream
that is the past and the present and the future
that is the dance and the spirit and the sounds
that is the birds and the stones and the clouds
Track Name: That Button
THAT BUTTON

today I lost that button
the one you gave me
to replace the lost button previous to your lost button
it was a gold button unlike all the other buttons
and you said it was a "keep it together button"

you had found that button at the beach
it was as if it had come from the deep deep sea
it was as if a little animal with tentacles had made it
and it was the most precious button ever

you had sown that button
like a taylor to my coat
like a doctor stitching wounds like a sorcerer casting a spells
and we both knew what it meant
although we never ever said a single word

I've been spending all day
retracing my steps from the moment that I woke up
to this moment where I stand
and suddenly it is so very clear
that the last part of us has disappeared
Track Name: Koffer Auf Koffer Zu
KOFFER AUF KOFFER ZU

der Schornsteinfeger war schon drei mal da
doch ich bin spazieren oder verreisst
die Tassen gehen kaputt auch wenn keiner zu Hause ist
und der Korkenzieher ist sowieso nur Dekoration

Koffer auf Koffer zu ich habe nichts vergessen
die Blumen kann man essen und das Meer ist verschenkt
Tür auf Tür zu keine Spuren hinterlassen
die Luft ist zum Fassen und der Verkehr ist zum Verschwinden

im Flugzeug wachsen Bäume auf kleinen Tabletts
die Stewardess bläst eine Rettungsweste auf
ich esse alles auf bis zum letzten Rest
und mein Nachbar hält sich an der Lehne fest

als könnte er aus dem Flugzeug fallen
wie aus einem Riesenrad oder einem Karussell
der Staub ist viel zu schnell und das Wasser wasserdicht
wenn mann lange genug wartet wird es hell

Koffer auf Koffer zu ich habe nichts vergessen
die Blumen kann man essen und das Meer ist verschenkt
Tür auf Tür zu keine Spuren hinterlassen
die Luft ist zum Fassen und der Verkehr ist zum Verschwinden

die Schneekugel schneit nur wenn man sie schüttelt
deswegen halte ich still don't rock the boat
wenn du willst können wir Tanzen gehn
Diskokugelleuchten rock and roll

als wären wir in einem Musical
und plötzlich singen tanzen alle in der Luft
alle sind verliebt dancing cheek to cheek
doch sobald der Vorhang fällt bin ich fort

bin ich fort, ich bin fort

Koffer auf Koffer zu ich habe nichts vergessen
die Blumen kann man essen und das Meer ist verschenkt
Tür auf Tür zu keine Spuren hinterlassen
die Luft ist zum Fassen und der Verkehr ist zum Verschwinden
Track Name: Traffic Island
TRAFFIC ISLAND

in the street all the faces look funny
big eyes staring nowhere and strange buckled bodies
carrying bags parcels pianos and poodles
I'm going home
to put on my pajamas and dance

I watched the cars today their choreography
everything with a motor buzzing zigzagging by
and I was standing on a traffic island thinking
I'm going home
to put on my pajamas and dance

one day I will move to the ocean
one day I will move to the mountains
one day I will move right next to a lake
I will watch the clouds drink tea and eat cake
I'm going home to put on my pajamas and dance
Track Name: Tintenlumpenhand
TINTENLUMPENHAND

Tintenlumpen kleine Porzellanhand
I missed you very much
while I was traveling far far away
ich bin gerne zu Hause
und schau was in meinem Regal ist
da ist eine Tintenlumpenhand
waiting for me waiting
as only porcelain knows how to be patient

danke schön Tintenlumpenhand
thank you very much ich gebe dir die Hand
und einen Knicks you can save your tricks
for me when I'm home alone

a writer needs a Tintenlumpen
aus feinstem Filz gemacht
meine Mutter weiss was eine Schriftstellerin braucht
denn wir werden uns nicht lumpen
so I put on my fancy shoes
and all my special moves
denn ich komme aus gutem Haus
wo mann einen Tintenlumpen braucht

danke schön Tintenlumpenhand
thank you very much ich gebe dir die Hand
und einen Knicks you can save your tricks
for me when I'm home alone

one day I will grow up and write with pen and ink
and I will need a Tintenlumpen um alles
was daneben ging schnell aufzusaugen
so my writing will be pretty even if I have little or nothing to say
I wont make a mess sauber sauber fein und schnell
what the hell
I always wanted to be a lady
and it's just been lately that I'm old enough
für einen kleinen Hund und einen Palast

danke schön Tintenlumpenhand
thank you very much ich gebe dir die Hand
und einen Knicks you can save your tricks
for me when I'm home alone

I'm home alone, I'm home alone
wishing I had smart things to say
so my Tintenlumpen could Tintenlumpen away
Track Name: Wedding Song
WEDDING SONG

we know each other from many life-times
we were Samurai on top of a hill
we had cool hairdos and sharp swords
and we were never at a loss for words

we lived in many countries once we spoke Russian counting clouds
we were cowboys on horseback and cavemen hunting cows
now you'll say there were no cows in prehistoric times
but I remember a toppled canoe and the river in your eyes

no matter what time in history or geography
we were always in music and in poetry
and sometimes we were in love
and sometimes we got married we got married

my memory reaches all the way back to the sea
two underwater creatures convinced we were alien from another planet
who had finally arrived to free them from their tyrant king
and he did fall from his throne when he saw us dance
and their prophecy was fulfilled by chance of his crown
braking on the tip of our shipwrecked boat

no matter what time in history or in geography
we were always in music and in poetry
and sometimes we were in love
and sometimes we got married we got married

in this life time there are airplanes cars and telephone poles
there are visas to more than one country and there's a lake and a coming home
a family so large you can barely fit them in a room
and so many friends that there are non left for foes
and so much food that soon we will have to lie down
or dance to save our bellies from balloons
dance to save our bellies from balloons

it is not just you getting married today
it is all of us all of us tying the knot in some way