Quintessentially Unreal (the early piano demos)

by JILL TRACY

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about

This is Jill Tracy's 1995 first solo demo CD, the album the San Francisco-based pianist/singer said she'd never record. After all, she had just relocated to San Francisco from New York City, didn't even have a band yet, much less the budget to do a full-on recording.

But do to rabid interest in her stunning live solo performances, her provocative and imaginative lyrics, signature dark parlour piano and glamorous cinematic style, the requests from fans to "own these songs" became too great to ignore. Band or no band. Jill Tracy simply rolled tape alone over two days at Mobius Music in San Francisco and committed some gems to tape. No overdubs, no second takes, no punch-ins, no special effects, much of it improvised.

"Quintessentially Unreal" is how everything got started...

This album earned Jill Tracy two California Music Award nominations, SF Weekly Music Award, and attention from publications as diverse as Electronic Musician to Redbook. Atlanta's WRAS proclaimed it "one of the most brilliant albums ever received." It remained in the Top Five Phones at WRAS and subsequent college stations for over five months straight.

"When you hear Jill Tracy's lush, sultry voice and experience the spooky melancholy of her lyrics, you're hooked...you can't escape the haunting and seductive powers of her macabre torch songs. As you listen, your will is no longer your own."
ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN

"The best surprises are the ones that come completely out of nowhere. Here comes this chanteuse..., her hands deftly pouring over her piano and boom- we have brilliance. Jill Tracy commands your attention, her voice just dribbles down your back- to places you can't even scratch..."
MICHAEL OVERSTREET, WRAS-ATLANTA

credits

released September 20, 1995

words and music by Jill Tracy
engineered and produced by Christian Jones
graphic design by S.M Steen

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about

JILL TRACY San Francisco, California

Jill Tracy will transport you into a seductive and magical realm far beyond the Everyday. The place where we wished we lived. A dark, elegant netherworld full of hidden passageways, wonder cabinets, and opium dens. Of monsters, marvels and mayhem. You know it’s not safe here; but with Jill Tracy as your guide, you’ll be in no hurry to leave. ... more

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Track Name: Extraordinary
Extraordinary
(words and music by Jill Tracy)

oh my dear, you runneth over
with your cup of convoluted wares
the aftermath is sinking lower
the perfect pales beyond compare

your garden's rushing to my head now
your guise will leave no stone unturned
I'm paralyzed by your concoction
your sleight of hand keeps all my fingers burned

I've searched the holy books and I've dog-eared every page
I've stolen secrets from the sorcerer's own sage
although a connoisseur of fine legerdemain
I’ve just one word for you

extraordinary

you're open to interpretation
like the trap door underneath your tousled throne
and I’m engaged and I'm enraged and I’m enchanted
with this little bit of magic I’ve been shown

I've searched the holy books and I've dog-eared every page
I've stolen secrets from the sorcerer's own sage
although a connoisseur of fine legerdemain
I’ve just one word for you

extraordinary

I've searched the holy books and I've dog-eared every page
I've stolen secrets from the sorcerer's own sage
I'm rendered speechless in my pretty little rage
but I'll save one word for you


extraordinary
Track Name: Between the Black
Between the Black
(words and music by Jill Tracy)

you're the enemy of the out because I let you in
you're the foeman of the wide, my patience has worn thin
you're the other half of evil because you're awfully good
you're the sinister of sometime more often than you should

you're the dark side of the quick, forever and a day
you're a traitor to sacrifice with all you take away
you're the fall of nothing cause there's always something more
you betrayed the ceiling cause now you got me on the floor

oh, I've been pushed to the front of the back
I'm captivated
but I'm caught between the black

you're the rival of array, all broken into bits
you're malevolent to the mend, it's something I can't fix
you're estranged from always, cause it's never quite enough
you contest immaculate, cause you'd rather keep it rough

you're the enemy of the out because I let you in
you antagonize the end just waiting to begin
you're a traitor to sacrifice with all you take away
you descend from sanctity with all the wicked tricks you play

oh, I've been pushed to the front of the back
I'm captivated
but I'm caught between the black
Track Name: Hour After Hour
Hour after Hour
(words and music by Jill Tracy)

you live inside a clock
I feel your hands upon my face
choking on the aftertaste of Time

and should the ticking stop
just watch my heart disintegrate
into these fragments you've embedded in your mind

you're light years away
but you're still mine most every day
just a wicked master of horology

if I reach out my hand
I just get buried in the sand
I'm suffocating
could you spare the time to rescue me

hour after hour
I get caught inside the days
it's like some broken fascination
I can't make it go away

hour after hour
until the count is finally through
more and more i guess what Pavlov says is true
my life gets lost inside of you

the numbers on the wall
prove that the sky's is about to fall
but maybe persistence will melt it all away
we're all in the pursuit
of chronologic absolute
but please tell me
could you simply count me out today?

I could believe in athanasia
but what if there is no hope at all?

hour after hour
I get caught inside the days
it's like some broken fascination
I can't make it go away

hour after hour
until the count is finally through
more and more i guess what Pavlov says is true
and I'm still counting

hour after hour
I get caught inside the days
it's like some broken fascination
I can't make it go away

hour after hour
until the count is finally through
more and more I guess what Pavlov says is true
my life gets lost inside of you
Track Name: Make It Burn
Make it Burn
(words and music by Jill Tracy)


what's the fascination with the flame
I can sense something getting hotter again
they call it an obsession
orange, yellow and blue
a little dose of friction
another night's work is through

make it burn

let the fire ignite your mind
just a slight indulgence is a crime
you know you got your methods
to illuminate the sky
a little dose of friction
takes you up so high

can't quench your desire, a little passion for fire
can't quench your desire, a little passion to
make it burn

an incandescent funeral pyre
pyrotechnically inspired
they call it a fixation
keep the matchbook closed
a little fix of friction
combustion overdose

can't quench your desire, a little passion for fire
can't quench your desire, a little passion to
make it burn
Track Name: Quintessentially Unreal
Quintessentially Unreal
(words and music by Jill Tracy)

I kinda like the way you move me
sleek and slick and upside down
this blur of colors rushing through me
but you can't utter a sound

I kinda like the way you push me
into a state of disarray
let's conjure up a castle
and we'll toss the key away

I know what it means to be a dreamer
I know what it means to be alone
I know exactly how I want it to feel
quintessentially unreal


I kinda like the way you shiver
and shake and quake and go away
spin me a million miles an hour
let's make some plans for yesterday

I can chart the course of flights of fancy
I'm immersed in ideality
I know exactly how I want it to feel

quintessentially unreal

oh, I'm wandering again
oh, who says you can't pretend?

I kinda like the way you move me
sleek and slick and upside down
this blur of colors rushing through me
and you got me face down on the ground

I kinda like the way you pull me
farther and farther away
in the kingdom of the mind's eye
I think we'll always stay this way


I know what it means to be a dreamer
I know what it means to be alone
I know exactly how I want it to feel
quintessentially unreal
Track Name: You Kill Me
You Kill Me
(words and music by Jill Tracy)


I didn't mean to blow the lid off
I didn't mean to strap you to a chair
I didn't mean to scratch the surface
I didn't mean to look down there

I didn't mean to claw the corners
I didn't mean to catch it on the sly
I didn't mean to strike your fancy
I didn't mean to wonder why

but I know you like it like that
it's closer than before
I know you like it like that
your faith is pressed to the floor
I know you like it like that
it makes it hard to breathe
I know you like it like that

you kill me

I didn't mean to press your poison
I didn't mean to drop the reins
I didn't mean to hesitate, I didn't mean to fluctuate
I didn't mean to stay the same

asphyxiation
the fix
my stimulation
why must it come to this?

but I know you like it like that
it's closer than before
I know you like it like that
your faith is pressed to the floor
I know you like it like that
it makes it hard to breathe
I know you like it like that

you kill me
Track Name: Anything At All
Anything at All
(words and music by Jill Tracy)

I'll pack up a suitcase and I'll hide inside your car
I'll resurrect the memory and eradicate the fear
I'll scrawl your name across my skin until it bleeds
I'll ascend into your heaven while I'm treading in your sea
I'll do anything at all

I'll grant you the nine of cups on eleven rainy days
I'll pull apart the lion's mouth and make him sing your praise
I'll challenge the great Houdini to a remarkable escape
I'll amputate the fingers upon the Hand of Fate
I'll do anything at all

just to get closer to you


I'll melt the highest mountain and I'll grow to ten feet tall
I'll slither like a serpent, bang my head against the wall
I'll sojourn over quicksand, I will scale the great Abyss
I'll shine the rings round Saturn, I'll roll stones with Sisyphus

I will swallow up the ocean, I will bind the hands of Time
I will join the cow over the moon like in that nursery rhyme
I will excavate Atlantis and float with creatures from the sea
I will consult with Nostradamus and change the course of history

and I will spin around and spin around and set the Earth askew
I will dig a hole to China in the hopes that we fall through
and I will shrink into a teardrop just to drown inside your eyes
a thousand things preposterous, but I'll try and I'll try and I'll try

just to get closer to you

I'll do anything at all