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credits

released February 11, 2019

"Both charmingly sprawling and acutely nuanced, the new ‘Ur’ LP features ten songs that reflect a myriad of influences, from straight-up indie rock, through prog, shoegaze, and bright(er) moments of exquisite prettiness. Like a journey stretching through brand new pastures, the whole thing manages to feel both alien but completely captivating, folding in on itself then suddenly expanding once more as the whole thing rolls on and on, through each climb and decline, through light and dark."

-Gold Flake Paint

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All songs written & performed by Nature's Neighbor

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Mike Walker - piano, guitars, rhodes, bass, organ, korg, sampler, bowed acoustic guitar, xylophone, vibraphone, vocals, lyrics

Seth Engel - drums, guitars, rhodes, bass, sampler, vibraphone, piano

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya - guitars, piano, drums, bass

James Collver - korg, sound effects

Sen Morimoto - saxophone

Cheer Zhao - lyrics, vocals

Conor Mackey - bassoon

Vivian McConnell - flute

Daniel Lee - cello

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Album artwork by Mike Walker

Recorded @ Pallet Sound by Seth Engel

Mixed and mastered by Seth Engel @ Pallet Sound

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Ur is our last album for the decade. It serves as a wave goodbye but also hopefully a doorway into new possibilities. Ur was initially inspired by a conversation with Seth Engel about trying to write songs by starting with the drums first and avoiding typical guitar based songwriting by using more synths and pianos. I also was very interested in recording an album at Pallet Sound in Bridgeport. Seth and I recorded this album at Pallet in 13 separate 10 hour sessions spread out between the months of February-August 2018. Mixing then began several months later and was finished around the end of that same year.

I was incredibly fortunate to have the pleasure of working with some new friends on this album. Most of them were introduced to me by Seth. All of these musicians have brought so much more life and richness into this album than I could have ever hoped to do on my own. Seeing each one of them in the studio working was a very exciting and educational experience for me and I was extremely impressed with how each one of them approached the recording process in a unique way.

This album is a new mixture of musicians and so the resulting sound is really quite different than anything we've put out previously. This time around Seth has definitely been more like a bandmate than simply the recording engineer and drummer. Him and I wrote nearly all of these songs together swapping instruments and bouncing ideas off of each other. Often times we would go into an all day recording session with basically no plan for what kind of music we were going to record that day.

Not all songs were written this way however. Sanzhi Pod City is an old song that I had written way back in the fall of 2012. I had tried and failed many times to record it over the years and I was happy to finally do a solid version of the song. I was also lucky that Pallet had a lovely Steinway baby grand piano available to play. Pallet Sound is a wonderful studio. I've never enjoyed the recording process quite as much as I did this time around.

Now that it is finally finished and we have come to the last year of this decade I can look back on everything leading up to this day and smile knowing that it was all necessary in order for us to bring you these 10 songs. I hope that you connect with and enjoy this album that for us was such a pleasure to make.


- Mike Walker, January 2nd 2019

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Track Name: Floating Continent
Carried on through the breeze or even ferried across the seas
Languages dead and lost, the ancient wisdom we all forgot
Cities destroyed by time, beautiful ruins with tourist lines
This town that I call mine shares the same fate by divine design

Will they remember this 20 years after apocalypse?
Would it even exist? Or would my message be lost or missed?
Continue to persist but in this ocean you're just a fish
Trying to make that list?
Might as well scream into the abyss..
Track Name: Living Woods
And the sea it shined like diamonds in the light of ever sun
And the birds they all fell silent when we arrived with everyone
And in the trees I saw a little light
I followed it to the forest, out of sight

Then the night it fell around me
All the light had disappeared
And the beasts the roam the darkness were moving in as I had feared
And in my head I heard a little voice
It told me not to be fearful but rejoice

寻寻觅觅 来去匆匆 没日没夜疯
你一路向前 无休无止 迷失了方向
我还在原地 吃着西瓜 看潮起潮落
Track Name: 转悠转悠
转悠悠 悠转悠 转悠转悠
晕乎乎我绕着地球在转
有蓝天有大海伴随左右
微风吹阳光照心情美好

全世界走过后回头再看
不远处还有你等我回家
满眼中红橙黄绿青蓝紫
一起飞去探索未知宇宙
Track Name: Gilgamesh
< P1. >

Drink to my health
Keep your sentiments to yourself
When I die there's another life to find

Sink in the depths of the deepest sea
In a trench
And i fight against the tide
I try and try and try

< P2. >

See them as they were
A king of old
See them as they are
A story told and retold
on the tip of your tongue and then gone

See them as they were
A genius child
See them as they are
Sick to death of life and fighting all the time

See them as they were
A living God
See them as they are
He still remains entombed
His name renowned
His legacy assured

See them as they were
An emperor
See them as they are
A frightened child who could not understand
The price in blood that stained his land

See them as they were
A poet king
See them as they are
An oversensitive and angry kid
Ashamed of all the things he did

See them as they were
A golden God
See them as they are
An overzealous man who though he held the power of God in his hands

< P3. (A) >

Its my ocean you breathe
Its the potion you drink
And the notion you feel is me

Way back when the flood began
I was such a younger man
Do you understand just what I am?

< P4. (A) >

Its a lonely mystery
A lonely mystery
This place has a haunted history my dear
Its a lonely mystery my dear
Hold 'em still for the surgery
This place has a haunted history..

< P3. (B) >

You draw circles in the sand
And you dream of distant lands
Was it ever in your plan to leave?

Far out to the ocean blue..
Feel it calling out to you..
Do you understand just what it means?

< P4. (B) >

Its a lonely mystery
A lonely mystery
This place has a haunted history my dear
Its a lonely mystery my dear
Hold 'em still for the surgery
This place has a haunted history..


< P5.>

Was I wrong to sing "In the void we're free." ?
Is it God or me writing my story?
How can I exist in a world so blissed?
And will I be sure?
Will my song endure?
Track Name: Tower of Owen
In a tower up in a floating country
On the peninsula by the raging whirlpool
Through the waterway..
And a tiny trap door
Going ten floors up..
The medusa is waiting for you

Then you take her head
Though she almost took yours
Then your companion jumps in the fames before you
And as you scream his name he will turn to face you
You see him say something..
But the words escape you
They do
Track Name: Sanzhi Pod City
When I leave my friends I feel I leave them happy
But my thoughts attack me and apologies they come
Like a rushing river flowing from behind a dam
Pressure thats been building for 1,000 years or more

Though they reassure me there's no need to say these things
I repeat the process, better safe then sorry
But perhaps they're right
And its a far better plan to believe they care
And that they truly understand

All wasted time behind me
Track Name: Esper (灵)
众生善 天人合 万物生死轮回
孟婆汤 勿忘喝 一解前世愁

朝朝暮暮 猛然回首 此生有幸再次遇见你
恩爱情仇 无始无终 解脱超越清净生命真永恒

如走散 请继续 走你该走的路
莫回头 望远方 寻迷失的我

朝朝暮暮 猛然回首 此生有幸再次遇见你
恩爱情仇 无始无终 解脱超越清净生命真永恒

梦醒天亮了 鸟儿鸣叫在窗前回荡
我迷迷糊糊 试图睁开眼睛看
只听见声音 温柔耐心地唱着歌谣

摇一摇 外婆桥
摇一摇 不见了
Track Name: The Great Flood
Oh my little dove, its all love
Don't even try, try to hide
Oh my little dove, its all love
Don't even try, try to lie
Oh my little dove..

When the rain did come
And the flood..
We watched the tide rising high and come crashing down
All around
It covered the ground and blocked the sky
When the rain did come
And the flood..

By the time the sky was clear again
I looked around to find a friend
Seeing only you, I took your hand
And we went along to find the sand
And we sailed the seas til we found a beach

You know the story of my life is not so easy
Telling the story of our lives is not so easy
Its not so easy..

Oh my little dove, its all love
Don't even try, try to hide
Oh my little dove, its all love
Don't even try, try to lie
Oh my little dove..

You know the story of my life is not so easy
Telling the story of our lives is not so easy
Its not so easy..
Track Name: Ziggurat
Scattered ashes of our last ditch effort to be everlasting
I'm accepting that my fate is to fade away
But not today, not today

I'm in the way of something greater..
Trying to say that any day could be my last ditch effort to be everlasting

I'm standing on my tiptoes
Trying to see what lies ahead..
If they knew then they would tell me
Some things are better left unsaid..

I remember one past November..
Would would stay in
Drink the day away and say it was OK
Because tomorrow will be the same

I'm still insane
But for the moment I am floating
My atonement is in reach
I'm on the beach and they are standing next to me

They're standing on their tiptoes
Trying to see what lies ahead..
If I knew then I would tell them
Some things are better left unsaid..