Subversive Ciphers

by Jesse Dangerously & Friends

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  • Cassette

    The four songs plus two 8-bit interludes by Klopfenpop.
    High bias tapes, navy blue, classic cassingle O-ring packaging.
    Hand-lettered by Sage Mosurinjohn.

    Includes 32-page lyric zine!

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  • Cassette

    All the lyrics of the songs on the Subversive Ciphers quadringle;
    hand lettering & word art by Sage Mosurinjohn;
    foreword by Tribe One;
    a very interesting timeline of the songs' creation;
    and a long interview with Jesse by internet feminist superstar Anne Theriault!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Subversive Ciphers via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

This is a quadruple: four singles in one release.

Two songs are by Jesse.
One is by Jesse's friend Batya.
One is by Jesse's friend The Mighty Rhino.

One is about the 1986 fantasy Muppet film, Labyrinth.
One is about selling solace in fantastic worlds when the main actual world isn't treating you so great.
One is about meeting life's challenges, physical and mental, and taking care of yourself and others when you can.
And one is about gender and sexuality and living in a culture that is not forgiving of doing those things "wrong."

They all have lots of feelings and perspectives and good rhyming words and tough beats and at least a little singing.

I hope they help you feel connected, the way they helped us feel connected when we made them and started to share them.

You can have them for free but if you've got a few bucks it would really help the music to continue! But if you can't spare it, we understand!

Thanks, love you!
Jesse Dangerously (& Friends)

credits

released June 25, 2016

executive produced by rap legend Jesse Dangerously
mixed and mastered by C Money Burns

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about

rap legend Jesse Dangerously Ottawa, Ontario

"Wiz Khalifa meets Pat Califia;"
"Sapphire meets Sappho meets Saafir meets Jonathan Saffron Foer;"
"not the Black Frank White, just the white Frank Black;"
"the white version of a Black Zach Galifiniakis;"
"like Buck 65 but faster and fat;"
"the teenage Che Guevara meets Christina Aguilara."
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Track Name: rap legend Jesse Dangerously - A Secret Gay Film on its 30th Birthday
I wish they WOULD come and take you away, right now.
I wish the goblins WOULD come and take you away,
RIGHT NOW.

I had a dream I could find my way to the centre of the Labyrinth. Dance Magic Dance! and when it's time to pay the piper, I'd just hide away in a quiet place. Try and escape; I didn't realize for days that I was wide awake.
In dire straits, I tried to wake up. Am I on stage? I didn't recognize the face behind the make-up; I am fake. Frightened of what lies in wait, I spy a face in an iron gate. It lies and I can't break through it but I'm not going to take its advice - no way!
Helping hands cling and surround, talk, and shapeshift into mocking faces; bringing me down. There's no place like home? That's just hot air! Trapped and I don't know how I got there, “It's not FAIR!”
Go undercover deeper. Guess I need a plan. Am I my brother's keeper? Yes, it seems I am. Speaking of lost boys; I am Peter Pan - when I fall I Never Land, but the clock stays ticking like the croc that ate a severed hand.

[hook]

SMELL BAD. Bogged down. Something is wrong, I make that summoning rocks sound. I swear revenge. Ludo says, "Sarah Friend!" These are the people who really love me, but they're pretend. Where's it end, I wonder? I'm too scared to calm down, but I keep my head while others lose theirs all around.
I was mistaken to ask you. You put a brake to the axle, but if I'd gone “that way, she'd have gone straight to their castle!”
Thanks, asshole. My patience is taxed, this maze is unnatural. I race at my maximum pace, but I'm back in the actual place I was trapped like an animal! Scrambling panicked, I crawl into a passageway or try to jump.
Goblin King or Garbage Lady, I'm captivated by the junk!
I have today to find the baby I angrily gave these guys. After that, he stays behind in the maze inside my crazy mind. Wow, kids these days! You remind me of the babe, don't misbehave - just do as I say and I will be your slave!

[hook]

Through dangers untold and hardships too high to number, I’ve fought my way to the castle beyond the Goblin City for my brother. Give me the infant that you have stolen through my blunder!
Will he ever forgive me? I wonder.
Look. Faeries bite. Beasts are friends. Jareth’s right. I should never reach the end. I could eat the peach and surrender to dream of masquerades, but I’ve seen what matters, and after that?
A Labyrinth’s a piece of cake!

For my will is as strong as yours,
and my kingdom is as great.
~
You have no power over me!
Track Name: Batya the Toon - Creatures of Dream
"It starts when we're kids; a show-off at school..."

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

It's like you need a breath of air but the window's too far. I know where you've been, 'cause I've been where you are. I know it's hard right now -- it never really gets easy, but hold on! It gets better, kid, you gotta believe me!
It's hard to keep breathing in this kind of pressure that leaves your soul bleeding and your mind a mess, your heart beaten so bad it feels crooked and swollen. So you're hiding in the attic with the book that you've stolen, or in the children's section of the library stacks. Sometimes you try to leave, but they keep driving you back.
Besides, your friends are all here. They're in line on the racks, and some have got torn pages and the bindings are cracked, but this is where your love lies, that's the primary fact, and that's a statement of truth you'd rather die than retract.
You don't know why they react with mockery and derision. Don't let them tell you you're wrong, it's got to be your decision. You've got a secret ambition but you're surrounded by doubt. They don't believe in the vision and so they're drowning it out.
And that's a pain that you work so hard to disguise, but there's a tall pale man with stars in his eyes. He's the lord of the dream realm, he's a muse and a seer. He's the source and the beam, the reason you can be here. He's the force in every myth that binds us one to the other; his name is Morpheus, and if you're one of his, you're my brother

Creatures of Dream
We are the Creatures of Dream

You know those days when you're awake but your thoughts are all muddy, and you get the feeling something's tryna tell you somebody? When every headline and street sign hides a more secret meaning, and every song on the radio says no more sleepy dreaming?``
When you're away from all the crowds and choices,you're the storyteller, hero with a thousand voices. You're building worlds, that's what your proudest joy is.
Be not afear’d - the isle is filled with noises.
Yeah, getting through high school's like proceeding to hell and back - you know you never needed Joss Whedon to tell you that, but that's why when you need it most you pick up the pen. You find the rhythm and then you find you're living again.
You don't have to be afraid, you've got your name and your cause. And if your life is a prison, who's to blame for the bars? Free yourself from the earth, you've got a claim to the stars! You've got nothing else to use, so use the shame and the scars.
You take the pain in your heart and you convert it to glory. Turn the stain into art, turn the hurt into story. Find the happy ever after once upon a beginning and never give up, not even when the windmills are winning.
We know the world is cruel, we need to survive, so turn the suffering into fuel to feed to the drive. Like they say, the best revenge is just being alive.
You know you were only waiting for this dream to arrive.

Creatures of Dream
We are the Creatures of Dream

This world's inhospitable, hostile, and toxic and you're stranded with no pressure suit and not enough oxygen. Too far away to see the sun, freezing and desolate, alone and getting colder and increasingly desperate.
That's the part you know, can you believe in the rest of it? That I was here before and I've been leaving you messages?
A few subversive ciphers there, beneath the surface, to fight the ones that tell you to believe you're worthless?
They told me the same once, you know how it hurts us, so you know how come we channel it to prose and verses. You know why we work this with the alchemies of rage, and with the stroke of a word we pin the anger to the page.
Leave it beating its wings there like a falcon in a cage. When you're bleeding you sing, 'cause that's your anchor in the waves and that's the meaning of things, the truth in back of the displays. That's the feeling that brings you through from balcony to stage.
We write it down because it's something we have to do, and you can find your voice for the ones who come after you; and you can be the one to tell the kids, “Hang in there! There's a way to survive, you can believe me, I've been there!”

I'm not that strong, I can't fight this crime
I can't right this wrong but I can write this rhyme
If I can write this song well then it might just shine
and I swear to god I'm a get it right this time

Creatures of Dream
We are the Creatures of Dream

I know where you've been, 'cause I've been where you are.
it gets better ~ you can make it ~ hold on.
it starts when we’re kids.
Track Name: The Mighty Rhino - Complicated Life
Yo, I'm a motherfuckin fat person! I've been that way from time. I never really lost weight because I hate the gym unless I'm on the treadmill bumping awesome rap, and then I just get distracted and lost in that.
I'd probably make at least some progress with ease if I stopped eating pasta and chocolate and cheese, and mostly ate kale, but then that would take away a lot of pleasure out of living from the day-to-day.
I know GooDIE M.O.B. got the song, "God, I wanna live to be an old man..." but God probably got His own plan. I just don't wanna go from being such a stupid brougham I couldn't switch spinach in for smoked ham.
So I feel pressure when I choose my food, but the Bahá'í say Kam kam. Ruz bih ruz. Little by little, step by step, and it's true! And no shame to my fat homies, do what's best for you!

It's a complicated life that we got to live,
Cause we’re honest and we're bright and got love to give.
We wanna get it right, and this life is hard,
But this complicated life is ours.

I got bipolar, Asperger's, OCD. Think I'm a let it keep me down, and I won't be me?
No word of a lie, certain times I'm surprised I ain't dead, so much suicidal thoughts been in my dang head. Feel like every night I be crying more tears. Tryna find a job, first time in four years and plus, right around the 11th of September, I had a breakdown. Reckoned I would never get better ‘til I called up my good friends, Esther and Sam, and they reminded me that they love me just as I am.
And that's some CRUCIAL! MOTHERFUCKIN SHIT TO HEAR! when you're manic-depressive and at the brink or near!
So I brightened up. Said to life, "so what?" Now I'm sitting here, rapping on the mic and stuff.
To all my people who be searching for a brighter day: I'm your brother in the struggle, hope you find your way.

[hook]

I want to take a little moment for my people who are LGBTQ. I'll tell you right now, we see you!
Me? I'm just a straight observer, but I want to help you end the system that holds you down, I hope you take it further!
The work of emancipation, that is, and God loves you! He'll help you turn your pain into bliss! I hope you trust He doesn't need you to change, that He made you that way, so take heart and keep peace in your brains!
And that goes for people of colour as well. It's all the way fucked up that you're stuck in this hell.
And I know I play my part in it too – I'm a white cis man. Implicated, but I promise it's true that none of those of us who love you will ever give up trying to shower you with blessings when you're vexed in a rut. This is your world the same as it's mine.
I know it's complicated out there, but we gonna make a breakthrough in time!
Track Name: rap legend Jesse Dangerously - Coming Out Wrong
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy on us.

When I was nineteen, I wrote a song; a work of fiction. A childish fantasy I hoped could make a person listen. First person narrative, taking on a certain diction to play a role, but also engage in circumscription.
Everyone that heard the lisp since seventh grade dances asked the same question. I never gave 'em straight answers, but I didn't think I liked boys, 'cause boys called me a fag so much it blended into white noise. Somehow they sensed I wasn't measuring up. Turns out they didn't have to ask me what my preference was. Nothing I could say was ever enough to ward them off me; now I got a war that haunts me, like a veteran does.
Okay I guess “it gets better” and stuff - I mean, you learn to conform, crush eccentricities, return to the norm. As sure as you're born, certain forms are forced into the light.
That's when you give them the performance of your life.

You're not different, you're just another victim. You'll never fit in with other children. If you can just hold on a little bit more, you'll get to see the reasons they were hitting us for.

When I was fourteen, I didn't want to be male. Couldn't tell my best friend that little odd detail. Self preservation prevailed, I kept my feelings private. Everyone believed the lie that I presented, even I did.
Never felt I was a girl, I could only wish I was, and feel ashamed about my fat body and homeliness. Ironically, I didn't know that that's how girls are supposed to feel in a culture that doesn't treat them as though they're even close to real!
I didn't know the deal, I was a boy with long hair. I shut the door on that and acted like I'd never gone there. That's privilege. I retreated to a safe distance and stayed hidden - it was easy to not face difference.
I'm fairly positive this is all coming out wrong? I'm not closeted, but this is a coming out song, so if this topic ever gives you trouble, just remember:

You're not the only one who struggles with gender.

You're not different, we're all doing our best to deal. Trying to find our zest or zeal, and dying for our sex appeal. If you can just hold on, believe me - you'll get to see that no-one really finds it all that easy.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy on us.