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Picnic in the Dark

by Renata Zeiguer

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1.
floating on the ceiling of the town the sky is turning over inside out clouds evaporating in the sun peeling back the layers of the tongue as the daylight starts to fade the caterpillar makes its way climbing down into the sea into the sea into the sea underneath your bedroom lies an ocean child eyes lately when i go to sleep they're next to me they're next to me they're calling opening illuminating ever incandescently returning me the mindful touch is moving you it's moving me my body's keeping score of me it just wants to feel safe baby don't you know i'm counting on the seashore? oh but something so familiar isn't always right... over time the air begins to change everything is different and the same moving through the winter ice cocoon incubating slowly with the moon as the sun begins to linger wrapping round the tunnel's finger hear the water trickling the spring is talking tickling underneath your bedroom lies an ocean child eyes lately when i go to sleep they're next to me they're next to me they're calling opening illuminating ever incandescently returning me the mindful touch is moving me it's moving me it’s changing rearranging all the pathways in the sand baby don't you know i'm counting on the seashore? oh but something so familiar isn't always right...
2.
Eloise 03:59
hiding somewhere inside little eye watching out for the sky growing all of the time little mind you can change on a dime eloise i know you’re not gonna try unless you want take your will into your own home hope you find what you need to be oh complete counting every seed in the sand below that you’re hoping to grow eloise i know you’re not gonna try unless you want one by one that’s how you’ll go home
3.
Evergreen 03:07
making space from my birthplace driving out gotta leave this town for the sundown forest singing changes like an ancient chorus as i wander, as i wander out oh evergreen please allow me to see mellow my mind tonight love is inside my eyes now we’re talking aloud into the ground feeling the earth and some rebirth gone upside down by a shady tree these roots are out and growing leaves me in the moment and i’m receiving every moment i am ageless as i call you, as i call you out oh evergreen please allow me to see mellow my mind tonight love is inside my eyes
4.
Whack-a-mole 04:29
running i was running i was running… and the city was calling and the sky was falling and you could not hear me i was running i was running… i have been around but i haven’t found the puzzle piece that’s buried me so far underneath everything undercover mole cruising through the centuries when I’m at home and the night is clear i can feel his heart staring back at me but when i go to look he just goes away into some other hole calling “whack-a-mole!” calling “whack-a-mole!” and he’s running upstream comin’ down disappearing overhead and when you finally do pull him out, it’s like some kind of victory and i’m reaching out a hand, a return to sea i know that it’s okay leaving you today something in your eyes is like an open door i know that you are there right next to me right next to me right next to me right next to me right next to me
5.
i’m still learning which cards i can hold don’t have to show everything that you know harboring a grudge won’t relieve you from pain best to love more than hate having a picnic in the dark i can sit anywhere there is no light around but i have found a way out here my brother’s calling and i’m always there my mother has many times disappeared father never was any place but they’re both still in my ways having a picnic in the dark i can sit anywhere there is no light around but i have found a way out here having a picnic in the dark everyone’s in their home i’ll wait for the sun to rise and light my eyes, a very long time
6.
time to commemorate before it’s too late after it’s too early in between we’ll mark the date we’ll mark the date do you know what time it is? do you know what day it is?
7.
Child 04:48
family name, someone to blame, childhood reward choir of rain and the rain is warm, hereditary storm simple wilderness monumental mold it’s not yours child, you can let it go, let it go like a language that you have never known to be kind and still draw a line in the sand between you and the water so you can safely stand all alone, i learned it at home child, my first love, i learned it from home but finally i can breathe, finally see the light and the light is you and the light is you and the light is you some kinda miracle something physical and whole living in your body lies an old story from long ago grown into a stranger now you are young and you are old oh my god i learned it from home child my first love i got it from home but finally i can see, finally see the light and the light is you and the light is you and the light is you
8.
six characters cast searching for an author who has passed hoping they will find an answer to their minds that keep cover like a guard in the night burning castle in the night corridors filled with light fire in her arms taking hold little lamb where have you been? it’s alright when the morning comes i’ll find it through the back out the yard little dog’s breathin’ hard looking round for the bone he remembers from the early days of living with the sharks in the dark there’s a hint yellow teacups at night drinking up the mirrorings of spite the couple carries on always singing their own song playing games in the bath while the orchestra goes on and Bermuda’s waiting there with triangles in her hair for her own sacrificial lamb it’s alright when the morning comes i’ll find it
9.
Avalanche 03:32
evelyn take my hand go right in to begin again heaven and hell are a place in your mind see a small snowfall is the storm growing tall oh what is this gravity? it’s building up inside oh let it go for a ride avalanche death romance twirling down all along i see you’ve stayed inside hey, high-five! holding out for what? too strong to be underneath evelyn take this branch hold on tight and slide through the night into the avalanche let’s have a dance holding back no more there’s no other plan take this hand keep it close to your heart Evelyn
10.
Carmen 04:09
carmen in the world at home wonderin’ had her parents known living a lie was not the way to make each other stay darling tell me when it’s over, tell me when it’s over, tell me if i’ve gotta go calling in the angels, calling in the angels, calling in the holy dark keeping order through the dawn seagull holding out for what? simple desire for the fall forging into one sea darling look the other way dear, look the other way dear, i don’t want to go alone please don’t leave me hanging, go the other angle, i don’t want to go alone calling in the angels, calling in the angels, calling in the holy dark
11.
without you the more that i breathe without you the more that i dream now my eyes can finally see it’s time better spent how you said the lilacs were free looked at me so romantically but when i move closer to you you disappear now that i’m alone and you’re alone with someone else i can tell you’re just a lover cause you can’t be by yourself i hear that you’re still the same always running away like a rabbit racing to win the fur on its skin even now the work doesn’t end but better off here than pretend ‘cause i know that time to recover is time better spent now that i’m alone and you’re alone with someone else i can tell you’re just a lover cause you can’t be by yourself
12.
Primavera 03:08
el sol se eleva y hace feliz al cielo y a mi al cielo y a mi el sol se eleva y hace feliz al cielo y a mi y la primavera con su brisa y luz llega y la verdad junto a ella la primavera la esperanza que llena también llega el sol se eleva el gris ya no está estoy fuera ya no hay espiral bailemos que el sol se elevó y curó el corazón con su vibrar y luz llega y la verdad junto a ella la primavera la esperanza que llena también llega

about

'Picnic in the Dark' is the enchanting new album from Renata Zeiguer, her second full length release for Northern Spy. The album follows Zeiguer through a dreamworld of magical realism as she navigates her memories and seeks to confront inherited dysfunctional patterns head-on. As Zeiguer reconciles her childhood and her adult lives with careful compassion, 'Picnic in the Dark' reveals itself as an album not only of transformation, but of healing and self-actualization.

Zeiguer takes us by the hand and leads us into her surreal storybook realm by way of lead single “Sunset Boulevard”. We are guided through the metamorphosis of a caterpillar, a kaleidoscopic metaphor for the process of letting go of the seemingly safe and familiar in pursuit of a healthier and freer life. Throughout the album, Zeiguer’s free-associative approach transports the listener from sylvan reverie in “Evergreen” into disturbing fever dreams in “Burning Castle”. Her intuitive gift for storytelling, through both her words and music, is rare: narrative journeys seem to unfold spontaneously over the length of her songs. For instance, “Whack-a-mole”, a restless hunt for her innermost grief, slowly blossoms from a menacing nocturnal spy chase into a celestial wash of shimmering guitars and synths that shine like fireflies in an evening mist.

In collaboration with co-producer and old friend Sam Griffin Owens (Sam Evian), Zeiguer sonically invokes the meeting point of memories and dreams, calling to mind Broadcast, Cindy Lee, or David Lynch’s multidisciplinary ventures. With generous splashes of spring reverb, ghostly vocal harmonies, antique drum machines, cinematic strings, and the comforting warbles of synthesized organ, all bolstered by a tight indie rock sensibility, the sonic palette of 'Picnic in the Dark' is magically anachronistic.

Fittingly, Zeiguer incorporates the sounds of her childhood—from jazz standards to classical music—but most notably the bossa nova greats such as João Gilberto, who married musical playfulness with lyrical poignancy. She shares Gilberto’s subtlety and intention of approach in every aspect of her music-making, from her hushed, deliberate vocals to her gorgeously understated arrangements and fine-tuned vintage guitar sounds. Most remarkably of all, Zeiguer has a masterful command of the harmonic and rhythmic language of bossa nova, fully capturing its romantic spirit. This is showcased in the impishly shifting ditty “Mark the Date”, a delirious dance through memory and time, and the yearning chromaticism of “Carmen”, an achingly beautiful plea for honesty. The album’s tranquil epilogue, “Primavera”, a direct homage to Gilberto’s heartfelt intimacy, brings Zeiguer’s journey full circle, passing through seasons of life and death and returning to the rebirth of spring at last.

In 'Picnic in the Dark', Zeiguer has lovingly crafted a volume of fairy tales, torchlight glowing through its golden leaves. The image conjured by that very title reveals its essence and purpose: to allow the artist, like a child lost in the pages of a story, to safely venture into the shadowy, painful corners of her psyche with a lightness of spirit and fantastical whimsy.

credits

released April 8, 2022

All songs written by Renata Zeiguer
Track 6 lyrics by Sneal
Track 9 and 11 co-written with Alex Toth

Recorded & mixed by Sam Griffin Owens at Flying Cloud Studios in NY

All Vocals & Track 6 recorded by Renata in her home studio in Kingston, NY

Track 9 recorded by Adam Brisbin & Renata in her home studio

Mastered by Chris Gheringer at Sterling Sound NYC

Co-produced with Sam Griffin Owens

Renata Zeiguer: vocals, guitars, keys, bass, violin, percussion
Will Graefe: guitar - except 6, 9, 11, 12
Sam Griffin Owens: guitar on 1, 7, 8; bass on 1, 2, 4, 5, 7; sax on 11
Sean Mullins: drums - except 5, 6, 9
Karl McComas-Reichl: cello on 8; bass on 10
Adam Brisbin: guitar & bass on 9
Austin Vaughn: drums on 5

Special Thanks:
Ari, Eda, Luis, Adam Downey, Lydia Velichovski & Anne Pomponio, Jules Evens, Caitlin Pasko, Jason Parent, Annie Del Hierro-Jost, Jason Burger, Dandy McDowell, Ross Edwards, Ashley Hoffman, Rochelle March, Adam Schatz, Tom Abbs, Cody DeFalco, Evan Welsh

Album art and layout by OTIUM

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Renata Zeiguer New York

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renatazeiguer@gmail.com

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