Once Upon a Midnight

by Valentine Wolfe

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released September 1, 2013

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Valentine Wolfe Greenville, South Carolina

Two classically trained musicians combining ambient solo bass, brutal distortion, electronica, and 18th century opera to tell a story of the macabre.

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Track Name: The Tell-Tale Heart
The Tell Tale Heart

His vulture eye is watching me
And tempting me to sin
What man could resist such devil bliss
To give in to this mortal whim

Madness winds around my mind
Haunting me both day and night
When the night comes black as pitch
I’ll hear the groan of terror

That dull blue eye with the hideous veil
Chills the marrow in my bones
The hellish tattoo of his heart increases
Quicker, quicker every instant

His vulture eye is watching me
And tempting me to sin
What man could resist such devil bliss
To give in to this mortal whim

4 o’clock still dark as midnight
Who’s come knocking at my door
They want to check his chambers
My manner must convince them

At ease, at ease with the world
But for the ringing in my ear
I foamed- I raved- I swore (to cover)
That beating from under the floor

His vulture eye is watching me
And tempting me to sin
What man could resist such devil bliss
To give in to this mortal whim
Track Name: Annabel Lee
Annabel Lee

She was a child- I was a child
In that kingdom by the sea
How cruelly then she was taken from me
My beautiful Annabel Lee

When death came in to steal her from me
I tried to put up a fight
I was no match for that figure cloaked in black
And I lost my bride to the night

She was singing at her piano
Such a beautiful sight to me
But blood has now consumed our lives
It is dripping from the keys

Let me have under her own hand
A letter bidding me goodbye
I may die, my heart will break
But I will say no more
Track Name: The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher

it was a crack, it was a fissure
running down the facade
the vacant eye-like windows
reflecting agony inside
an unredeemed dreariness
of thought and sensation
the hideous dropping off of the veil

Not hear it? yes, I hear it!
Yes, I have heard it!
long, long many minutes hours and days
I dared not speak- I dared not
miserable wretch that I am
we have put her living in the tomb!

Madeline-
do I hear her footstep on the stair
Madeline-
do I hear the beating of her heart
Madeline, Madeline
O whither shall I fly?

blood red moon
show me the fissure
splitting the house of Usher in two

blood red moon
just enough light
to show the tarn swallow it whole
Track Name: The Masque of the Red Death
The Masque of the Red Death

There are chords in the heart of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.

Seven rooms full of color
Prisms of light fall on the revelers
Outside the corridor a brazier of fire
Projects its rays through the tinted glass

Gigantic clock made of ebony
Pendulum swings to and fro
When the hour is to be struck
The revelers stop in their paces

To and fro in the chambers
Stalked a multitude of dreams
And these dreams writhed about
Taking their hue from the rooms

There was much of the beautiful
Much of the wanton
Much of the bizarre
Something of the terrible
And not just a little of that which might have excited disgust
And not just a little of that which might have excited disgust

One last chamber, the black chamber
With panes of scarlet, a deep blood color

Spectral image tall and gaunt
Shrouded as the grave
Mask conceals a stiffened corpse
Vesture shrouded in blood

The Red Death had come
Like a thief in the night
And one by one the revellers dropped
And died in the posture of the fall
The ebony clock went out with the last
And the flames of the tripod expired
And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death
Held dominion over all
Track Name: Morella
Morella


hour after hour
would I linger by her side
and dwell upon the music of her voice
until at length its melody
was tainted with a terror
and a shadow right there fell upon my soul

I am dying, yet shall I live
Her whom in life thou didst abhor
In death thou shalt adore

I am dying, yet shall I live
Her whom in life thou didst abhor
In death thou shalt adore

Morella
Morella

as the years rolled away
I gazed upon her every day
then did I discover
new points of resemblance
in the child to her mother
the melancholy and the dead

I am dying, yet shall I live
Her whom in life thou didst abhor
In death thou shalt adore

I am dying, yet shall I live
Her whom in life thou didst abhor
In death thou shalt adore

Morella
Morella
Morella

I am dying, yet shall I live
Her whom in life thou didst abhor
In death thou shalt adore
Track Name: The Lake
The Lake

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound
And the tall pines that towered around

But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all
The mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody,
Then- ah, then- I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake

Yet that terror was not fright
But a tremulous delight
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define
Nor Love, although the Love were thine

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake
Track Name: Ligeia
Ligeia

Ligeia! Ligeia!
My beautiful one
Whose harshest idea
Will to melody run
O! is it thy will
On the breezes to toss?
Or, capriciously still,
Like the lone albatross,
Incumbent on night
(As she on the air)
To keep watch with delight
On the harmony there?

Ligeia! wherever
Thy image may be
No image shall sever
Thy music from thee.
Thou hast bound many eyes
In a dreamy sleep
But the strains still arise
Which thy vigilance keep
The sound of the rain
Which leaps down to the flower
And dances again
In the rhythm of the shower

Go! breathe on their slumber
All softly in ear
The musical number
They slumbered to hear
For what can awaken
An angel so soon
Whose sleep hath been taken
Beneath the cold moon
As the spell which no slumber
Of witchery may test
The rhythmical number
Which lulled him to rest
Track Name: The Oval Portrait
The Oval Portrait

She was humble and obedient
Sat meekly for weeks
While the painter took glory in his work
Went on from day to day

She was a maiden of rarest beauty
All light and smiles and frolicsome
Loving and cherishing all things
Hating the art as her rival

He would not see the light which fell
So ghastly in that turret
Withered the health and spirit of his bride
Who pined to all but him

Vivid light presents a portrait
Flashing candles on the canvas
Dreamy stupor stealing over
Senses that recede from me

She was a maiden of rarest beauty
All light and smiles and frolicsome
Loving and cherishing all things
Hating the art as her rival

As the labor drew near its conclusion
The painter wild with ardor
He would not see the tints he used
Were drawn from her cheeks

And when but one stroke remained
And then the tint was placed
He stood entranced beside his work
His wife sat pallid and dead
Track Name: The Bells
The Bells

I. Hear the sledges with the bells
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II. Hear the mellow wedding bells
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells!
On the Future!- how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III. Hear the loud alarum bells
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now- now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear, it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells-
Of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

IV. Hear the tolling of the bells
Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people- ah, the people-
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone-
They are neither man nor woman-
They are neither brute nor human-
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls:
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells-
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells:
To the tolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells,
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
Track Name: Spirits of the Dead
Spirits of the Dead

I. Thy soul shall find itself alone
Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

II. Be silent in that solitude
Which is not loneliness- for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee- and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

III. The night, tho’ clear, shall frown
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the heaven
With light like Hope to mortals given
But their red orbs, without beam
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

IV. Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish
Now are visions ne’er to vanish
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more- like dew drop from the grass.

V. The breeze- the breath of God is still
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy- shadowy- yet unbroken
A symbol and a token
How it hangs upon the trees
A mystery of mysteries!
Track Name: The Assignation
The Assignation

Thou wast all that to me, love
For which my soul did pine
A green isle in the sea, love
A fountain and a shrine
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers
And all the flowers were mine

Ah, dream too bright to last
Ah, starry hope, that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“Onward” o’er the past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute- motionless- aghast!

For alas! alas! with me
The light of life is over
“No more- no more- no more.”
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or stricken eagle soar!

Now all my hours are trances
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances
And where thy footstep gleams
In what ethereal dances
By what Italian streams

Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee over the billow
From Love to titled age and crime
And an unholy pillow!
From me, and from our misty clime
Where weeps the silver willow!