Hello Friends Old & New,
Veteran’s day is less than a week away and our nation has spent the last year getting emotionally charged over the dual umbrellas of interest. Still, our world keeps turning. Our world conflicts linger on, and those fighting are still across the sea or brought home and expected to fit right back in the system pretending their memories & horrors were not real.
My compositions, Song of Innocence For Government Issue and Song of Experience For Galvanized Iron are a two-part suite of musically arranged spoken word interviews of Iraq war veterans. Inspired by William Blake, Song of Innocence For Government Issue features the accounts of a soldier leaving for Iraq after training, whereas Song of Experience For Galvanized Iron recounts the memories of a soldier who had been in Iraq on the front line in 2003-04. When I wrote these songs for my album, Autonomic Leviathan, I was given the opportunity to see part of a world I would never know. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder comes in many forms, and has many faces, and make no mistake: it is real. I have spent time with these people, lived with them. Looking back at some of the truly traumatic scenes in my own life has been at times unbearable, but I make no mistake in comparing it to that of a serving officer. If anything, the trauma in my own life has given me more understanding for those who serve, feel constant horror at their past and feel there is absolutely no ability to explain it to others.
Mental Health is a constantly expanding field. The amount of known and unknown of the human brain & consciousness illustrates the upward battle in the field. Fortunately, there are those who dedicate themselves to the subject and face it’s problems head on. I first heard of The Soldier’s Project when I came across an article of their honorary award given on the White House lawn by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Project, in their effort to provide free and confidential psychological help to any soldier or military family member for free, nationwide. I was moved by Dr. Judith Broder’s rejection of her own retirement for her sense of responsibility to help, as well as all the counselors that sought the chance to calm the anguish of the able and willing, without expecting profiteering from it.
So, in honor of Veterans day this year, I re-released both songs in a “two-sided” digital single in high resolution audio. They are available for a donation of name-your-own-price. Download it for free if you wish, check it out, forward it to a friend, but any and all payments made will go in full as a donation to The Soldiers Project. At the end of the holiday season I will post a confirmation from the foundation online to show the donations made their way to where they are intended.
The single is available here on Bandcamp.
Thank You, enjoy, and Happy Holidays.
~Kai Elan, 11/2012