The Sichuan Project

by Matteo

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We wrote these songs during our time as musicians-in-residence at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. Most of what you hear was recorded there, in our dormitory. Additional recording (and some lyric writing) was done at our homes in Salt Lake City. To all of our Kickstarter backers, and to the University of Utah Confucius Institute -- we can't thank you enough for helping us make this happen.


released September 24, 2012



all rights reserved


Matteo Salt Lake City, Utah

Drawing inspiration from rice paddies and mountains, this wholly American foursome has taken sino-american relations into their own hands and strings. Traditional Chinese instruments-- guzheng, zhongruan, liuqin, and erhu-- converse fluently with acoustic guitar, violin, and upright bass.
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Track Name: Mountain Pass
Car clings the edge
Fog turns trees to ghosts
Faces flat against the window
Weaving the mountain pass

And we just stand and stare to the thin grey air

Passing stands, food and honey
Cliffs give in to grass
Bright white peaks, rocks vermillion
Women harrow the hills

Ride a rotting road
We're laughing in the wind
Driver points ahead, says "picture heaven,"
We joke, we've come so far
Now the van goes quiet and the water washes on the road
Who will be the one to say what we all think
Don't you know I'm here with loved ones
We close our eyes as we

Mud and steel, water's pouring,
Wheels are in the air
Red rural face, broken windows,
Just take the things we need
Hours go through summer snow, I sit and watch the family sleep
Keep the liquid drip from running dry, as hall lights glow
Spare wheelchair, the closet where my sister calmly listens
While the night nurse gives me papers to sign so we can go
And the faces in the window watching like a show
Come so far, and found death's near heaven,
Heaven just looks like home
Track Name: Brocade River Barcarole
The trolling boat that's floating me
In between the chicken streets
Cardboard caught in river weeds
The egrets watching civilly

The river moon, a ripple-ghost
Is one Li Bai can finally hold
He dives to grasp his misery
The egrets watching soberly

Qu Yuan makes a river bed
And pulls the river overhead
He hears the anxious paddle beats
The egrets watching silently

Catching trash in fishing nets
Buildings bowing overhead
The cityscape escaping me
The egrets watch indifferently
Track Name: International
The terraced tired hills
Leave my family's fields
Mom's weeping in the road
Dad won't see me go
From the home he's only known
The terminal arrivals check the times
It's teeming with people and wheels
Watching walkers talking on the phone
All alone
I just have to wait
In the international

Sun breaks on the train
Morning migrants sigh and shift
I want to look ahead
But we can only see the rising city from the sides
The bags are piled tight, tied on the cart
The baby she's asleep inside my arms
Her mother holds the food
And all at once I think if they were gone,
Can't move on
I just have to wait
In the international

We populate like paper dolls
Can't choose to be alone
What we're running from, I'm running to
And we're sharing rooms for better pay
We're packing pots to get away
And the terraced hills will slowly drain
The terminal will try to entertain
Waiters wait
I count the hands
Numbers I cannot comprehend
Six something billion and now
It's clear to me
We're only as lonely as we choose to be
In the international
Track Name: Xu Shi (Pick You Down)
The careful Tibetan that drove us to Bamei
When we were all shuddering
He took a long distance phone call
And all that I heard was yes,
I know, I'm lonely too
Anna just smiles and draws crowds at the clinic

Pick you down, jiang ni zhai xia
Pass you 'round, gei bie ren jia

The farmer, a father, his calves in the water
Spreads oil on the terraces
His wife and her mother hold sickles
And baskets, and laugh
When we ask them about the corn
The boy chews hard candies and gives one to Anna

And the city's years surpass her hours
Upon the people's earth
And the branch bows low on our gathering
And we're all looking up just to watch the flowering

Pick you down, jiang ni zhai xia
Pass you 'round, gei bie ren jia
Track Name: Scene of Archways
On her roof the tiles are rotting
And her electric stove is cold
In between the bricks and concrete
She sits making shoes with woven soles
Track Name: Red-Eye
On the Red-Eye
In the bright black sky
Sleeping people
A reading light

Book is laid across my lap
I'm in the window looking back
Feel a hand upon my back
Turns me back

In this itinerary
Am I flying from the sun?
In my tattered dictionary
Will I find this defined?

It's just temporary
I know it will go

But I know you know I know
Know you know