Ospreyshire Origins: Is This a New Normal?

This was the first of 2 new songs I made for the DFxO split with Dystopian Futures. Dave from DF suggested the idea of a “lockdown” EP given the state of the world today. I freestyled my observations on the world in this pandemic life by mentioning some of my anxieties and concerns. Yes, I did reference some cases of that covidiot licking deodorants at a store or how another one was assaulting and coughing on a cop in Chicago in the earlier parts of the lockdown period. I used an organ sound as a base after listening to a lot of Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio and Booker T around the time of that recording. Relax, I would never rip them off as the song clearly isn’t an organ trio jazz tune.

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the song.

New split EP! DFxO! That’s Dystopian Futures X Ospreyshire, for those scoring at home.

This is what I referred to last week!

I, Ospreyshire got to be involved with a split EP and it’s the first time I’ve ever done a collaborative album with anyone. The other part of the split involves the Scottish experimental punk band Dystopian Futures whom I’ve mentioned on this blog before and I’ve even made a music video for them on their first EP. Dave Emmerson (lead singer/bassist) and I are good friends. We had an email conversation a while ago about potentially collaborating and once the Coronavirus was unfortunately spreading worldwide, he came up with an idea of coming up with a “lockdown” project. Despite him being in the UK and me here in America, we sent each other songs.

I got to remix Dystopian Futures’ song “Apocalyptic Romance” which was really fun. I added some digital synths, random sound effects, a lo-fi recording of me playing a keyboard and I do back up vocals in the middle of the song. Dystopian Futures also got to cover the song “Corona” by the Minutemen. Some of you might recognize that song as the theme to Jackass.

For me, I got to bust out with two new Ospreyshire tracks. The first one is “Is This a New Normal?”. I used an organ setting on my keyboard while adding my trademark acousmatics in it. I also freestyled all of the lyrics which was a first for anything I’ve ever done as a way to reflect about how I felt about the pandemic. The second one is “Art In the Midst of Pandemonium and Pandemics”. I wrote down the lyrics to this one as well as doing some avant-garde soundscapes by multitracking live sounds of me playing bass in traditional and unconventional ways. This was also an Ospreyshire first since it involves a guest vocalist with the aforementioned Dave. He got to write and record his vocals in the song and it really tied in well. I liked how he referenced all the other songs in the split EP with his verse.

Just so you know, this split EP is either FREE or pay-what-you-want. Whether you want to chip in some money or not is totally up to you to get some new music.

Have a great day, everyone!

Ospreyshire Origins: GTW: Granville Tailer Woods

Lyrics:

I’m not an Edison clone
The railroads were my domain
The damage in those fields were staggering, so I started with the telegraphony
Relayed messages ensured safety, wire by wire
Then Edison wanted credit for my work
How nice, I sued and beat him twice
He was on his knees begging me to work for him.
Nah, bruh
I kept my head up and crafted overhead lines to clear road traffic of cable cars
Automatic brakes, circuits, and egg incubators
Would become part of my repertoire
Although I would rest in an unmarked grave for sixty-five years
My name would be on streets and schools
I’m glad the afterlife wasn’t the end of the line for me

All aboard the originator’s express!


Third time is the charm. This is the third track from Dear Innovare that involves Edison ripping off someone and the second one involving an African-American inventor.

Granville Tailer Woods made several inventions with the telegraphony which was the first telephone/telegram hybrid for trains which drastically improved communications between cars. He made innovations in the third rail, egg incubators, and I even found out long after recording is that he had the archetype for the rollercoaster. Yes, Six Flags, Disney World/Disneyland, Universal Studios, and your favorite theme park owe something to this man! Edison actually plagiarized the telegraphony, so GTW sued him twice and WON against him. Oh, yeah. That actually happened. This is further proof that Tommy is nothing but an overrated hack. I didn’t know who GTW was until last year and that’s a shame on the educational system. If I learned about him during my childhood, I might have been an engineer by now and not be some artsy loser.

The picture of Granville Tailer Woods is from Famous Inventors.

Ospreyshire Origins: The Realest Man From Colchester, Ontario

Lyrics:

Fifty-seven patents not that I’m blowing steam
Glowing with overlooked esteem
Not fronting or stunting
You’ll know more than just my name
Than some hall of fame

Everybody trying to plagiarize my work
Like parasitic jerks
But they can never materialize my prized inventions

A folding ironing board? Built that!
Lawn sprinkler? Built that!
Oil lubricators? Built a bunch of those!

I was never bored when I was a tinkerer
With indicators pointing to me being an inventor like no other
The stars and stripes and the maple leaf
Better recognize and save their gripes for some fakers and thieves

Who da realest? Elijah! (X8)

Colchester, keep it real, eh?


What’s up, Canada? I got a song just for you!

This is all about the inventor Elijah McCoy. Born in the unincorporated village of Colchester, ON (it’s actually part of a town called Essex) to runaway slaves, he eventually moved around to Scotland and America. He worked in various engineering and railway jobs, but he eventually created dozens of patents in multiple fields. One of the biggest ones was oil lubrication on trains which is still used in this present day. His formula was so successful that everybody and their mom tried to rip off his patent. Various companies were so reluctant that they only want McCoy’s original formula. Here’s a little video that talks more about him.

The Realest Man was a first for me on so many levels. I had never written a rap song in my life and this was the first time I ever recorded one. I made the beats and I added acousmatics as part of the sound textures. It was a mix between my avant-garde leanings and modern trap rap. Yes, I was a bit comical in my delivery especially after multiple serious songs, but I wanted to make something fun and educational. You certainly aren’t going to get constructive and/or informative lyrics from 2 Chainz, Migos, or Lil Pump, that’s for dang sure. Hahaha!

Fun facts:

Colchester and Essex, Ontario seem to be named after the town and county of the same name in England.

The picture of Elijah McCoy is from National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Ospreyshire Origins: Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis Pt. III: Rise of the One True Emperor

Lyrics:

[Swahili]

Tazama! Mfalme anainuka!
Tazama! Ukweli utatawala!
Tazama! Hatutakubali wafalme bandia!

Father, I hear your voice in the eastern sky
Mother, I hear you from the constellations
I will make you both proud in being the one true emperor
As I express myself in this human song,
I will right these misdeeds
I’ll still have unity with mankind and the wildlife in my kingdom
I’ve survived capsized ships, weapons, and bigger animals, and I’ll survive this

(Japanese backup vocals: Taitei o nagaku ikiru.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Mfalme ni bandia. Wambariki mfalme wa kweti.)

I hear the cries from Kinshasa, Toronto, Saitama, Grimes, Kigali, Kampala, Dodoma, and Nairobi
While I fight for peace and make sure my kingdom has dignity
I have to address the king who swindled me

You wouldn’t exist without me, but you’re so full of pride
(Japanese backup vocals: Kare wa honto shishi desu.)
(Swahili backup vocals: Ukweli unaishi ndani yake. Akawa ukweli!)
Like uncle, like nephew
You enjoy usurping the throne
Your gods had no worries
Profiting and suing others
For cultures they don’t own
Much like your father you dreamed of
Devastation and deceit
Have you seen a human before?
Have you found a way
To punish without genocide by starvation?
Shame on those humans who are allured
By your mate’s bedroom eyes
Was she your sister or your cousin?
You vagabond in denial
I never ran away when my parents died
Artifice flows through you
And permeates every time that you breathe
You tried blocking my existence
And denying it, too
You’re a false king
I’ll break your deception (X3)
Cause I’m the one true emperor

Copycats get no mercy!


I wasn’t originally planning on writing a song based on this anime when I was coming up with Dear Innovare. However, with everything I know and have learned last year with this and other cases, there was no way I could avoid talking about it especially when a good portion of this concept album involves plagiarism and theft cases. Also, there’s a contest that I have for the fun facts section if someone wants this song for free if they don’t have the album already.

If I could base songs on the Paprika/Inception controversy and the Battle Royale/Hunger Games controversy, then I’d be a fool not to talk about what one could make a strong case to be THE biggest film plagiarism issue of all time. Well, there’s that and having a couple of friends who actually wanted to hear an Ospreyshire track about the first anime series to be created and broadcast in color. One of those friends would be one of my college buddies Drew and the other is my Scottish mate Dave from ZAP Records himself.

[sigh] Here we go.

For those of you who don’t know anything about this song or anime series, this involves Osamu Tezuka’s creation Jungle Emperor Leo AKA Kimba the White Lion. This was a manga made in 1950, but it got the anime treatment in 1965, so this is older than Speed Racer. Tezuka is also known for creating Astro Boy, Black Jack, Metropolis (no, not the German film), and Dororo which got remade last year. This story is about the life and adventures of a lion cub prince named Kimba (I’m going to refer to their English names from here on out). His goal is to have unity between the animals and the humans, but he has to take responsibility to lead his kingdom after his father Caesar (the original king) gets murdered and…

You know what? I don’t need to go further with a synopsis.

Related image

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you want to know my full thoughts on this issue, then check out my Lion King rant post I did last Summer. You can also check out my review of Kimba the White Lion on my other blog. If you really want to get in depth with this insane film plagiarism controversy, then check out this link. I don’t want to repeat myself too much here.

This is infuriating how Disney even to this day have never owned up to stealing most of it’s characters, storylines, and even scenes that were shot-for-shot from Tezuka’s work. The reasons why Tezuka Productions haven’t sued Mickey Mouse are because Osamu mentioned on his will not to burn bridges with Disney (context: he died in 1989 during production of The New Advantures of Kimba the White Lion which would be 5 years before The Lion King was released) and because they don’t have as much money to take them on in court. I disagree and they should’ve sued The House of Mouse. Disney even tried to block Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 from North America at the Fantasia Film Festival in Canada back in 1998, for crying out loud! Simba was originally going to be a white lion in pre-production. Roy E. Disney called Sarabi “Kimba’s mother” in the 1993 Prodigy Q&A Transcript which can be seen in one of the links above. They would have so many strong cases for copyright infringement. Here are examples of these various characters:

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 11.52.44 AM.png

Comparisons from the first picture and this screencap:

Lion prince: Kimba=Simba
Deceased father lion: Caesar=Mufasa
Comic relief hyena henchmen: Tom and Tab=Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Wise, yet eccentric baboon advisor: Dan’l=Rafiki
Major-domo bird who gets into prat falls: Pauley=Zazu
Major villain that usurps the kingdom: Claw=Scar (BIGGEST RIPOFF VILLAIN EVER!)
Girlfriend lioness who becomes the prince’s mate: Kitty=Nala

Bonus examples:

Lion queen mother: Snowene=Sarabi
Daughter of the main character: Lukio=Kiara (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion King II respectively)
Son of the main character: Lune=Kion (see: Susume, Leo or Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 and The Lion Guard respectively)

Even The Simpsons made a joke involving this plagiarism controversy. Yes, that’s James Earl Jones doing all the voices in that scene!

Enough of me ranting here. I felt like I’ve done a bunch of it on two of my blogs already. Hahaha! Let’s talk about the music. This is actually the longest Ospreyshire song I ever written and recorded and has more instrumental layers than anything else. I had three different sounds from one keyboard, bass, acousmatics, African percussion instruments (fair trade, FTW!), and my little mbira. I felt so compelled to use both Swahili and Japanese lyrics which was a very nice touch and I wanted to be respectful to those cultures. The lyrics use a TON of Kimba and Lion King references. I won’t explain them all, but here are a few and the meanings therein.

Kimba references:

“Father, I hear your voice in the Eastern sky. Mother, I hear you from the constellations.” This represents the death of both of Kimba’s parents. The Eastern sky also references an opening lyric in the Jungle Emperor Leo 1997 ending theme “Wind Song”. That and he sees the spirits of his dead parents in the sky in the original show (SOUND FAMILIAR?).

“…this human song” This references the Kimba song “Sing a Human Song” in the English dub.

“Saitama…Grimes” Those cities have major significance to Kimba. Saitama, Japan has a baseball team called the Seibu Lions who use that character as a mascot even to today. Grimes refers to a town in Iowa referring to Right Stuf and their anime distribution subsidiary Nozomi Entertainment who have the license to the original show.

Top Lion King potshots in my opinion in no particular order:

“Was she your sister or your cousin?” Who is Nala’s father? No Lion King fan has ever given me a straight answer on that issue, so I directly referenced that infamous incest theory in this song! Do the math.

“Your gods had no worries profiting and suing others for cultures they don’t own…” Three words: HAKUNA MATATA TRADEMARK!

Note: I reference capitals of countries where Swahili has official language status with Kinshasa (DRC), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Dodoma (Tanzania), and Nairobi (Kenya).

“Have you found a way to punish without genocide by starvation?” This line calls out Mufasa’s severe protagonist centered morality of the Elephant Graveyard. Starving and isolating others is genocide. Just look at Shark Island in Namibia, the several Native American tribes who were subjugated by the pilgrims, and The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi to name a few. Also, I have to give props to Croatian blogger Vigour of Film Lines for noticing that severe flaw of the Mufasa character and for calling the Elephant Graveyard a concentration camp, too!

Fun facts:

I namedrop the title of my other song “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit” in the lyrics. It’s even more appropriate when you consider the subtitle is (Circle of Lies).

Lion King fans! I actually parody two songs from that movie franchise from a musicality standpoint. The intro should be obvious and the other parody aspect kicks in when I start singing halfway through the song. The first person who gets the answers right gets this song for free if they didn’t buy the album.

Hope you liked my somewhat lengthy backstory on that song. This concludes this song/poem trilogy.

The picture of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion is from Fandom and is property of Tezuka Productions.

The screenshot of Mufasa, Simba, Caesar, and Kimba is from Mashable and they are property of Disney, Tezuka Productions, and Nozomi Entertainment respectively.

The character comparison guide is from the Internet Archive. All characters are property of Tezuka Productions, Nozomi Entertainment, and Disney respectively.

The video clip is from The Simpsons and is property of Fox.

Ospreyshire Origins: I, Axum

Lyrics:

Were the invaders fascinated by my beauty?
I stood tall in this living city
My creators took care of me every step of the way
Its a shame they never foretold of my destruction and abduction
While my homeland was never colonized, I was taken defiled, and cloned
I’m disgusted by my inferior leaning tall north of me
My people…rescue and reconstruct me
The world must know I exist
May the originator give me renown despite my obscure state


I got something for the architects and for those that respect African culture. This is going to be something I guarantee you never learned about in school.

This is the Obelisk of Axum in the Ethiopian town of the same name. This tower has been around in one of the oldest nation’s in the world since the 4th century AD. For centuries, this obelisk has been in the Horn of Africa, but unfortunately it became damaged and stolen. Even though Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to have been colonized, Italy tried to claim that nation through warfare after they got Eritrea no thanks to the Berlin conference.

I didn’t know about this obelisk until I watched the documentary Unjust Perceptions: Ethiopia where they go to a museum and see a picture of it. Think about what I said about Ethiopia and Italy. Phil (the American who’s visiting Ethiopia) looks at the picture and the first thing he says is “That looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.” and the tour guide gives him a lesson…

Image result for leaning tower of pisa

Long story short:  Italy stole a bunch of things including the design of the Obelisk of Axum. The Ethiopian government did their best for years to sue the Italian government to get their culture back and they eventually got the parts of the Obelisk to bring it back home and they’re reconstructing it as we speak. This was jaw-dropping for me and I never realized how that famous building ripped off something from Africa. In the song, I speak in a feminine voice and I use metaphors of the colonizers raping and assaulting the original culture to drive the point home as uncomfortable as it is. The percussion is even based on Ethiopian and Eritrean drum patterns that I’ve noticed in both traditional and pop music from that part of the world. Much like my Art Theft pieces, this is just a sickening display of colonization even though Italy didn’t take over the Abyssinian nation.

Just think twice whenever you see that tower.

The picture of the Obelisk of Axum is from International Travel News.

The picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is from Britannica.

Unjust Perceptions: Ethiopia is property of African Diaspora News Channel.

Ospreyshire Origins: About A Benjamin III: Boardley, not Bradley

Lyrics:
I didn’t care anymore how my last name was spelled after my time on earth
Just know that I was an innovator people haven’t heard of
My family and I were in bondage in the Old Line State
Whenever I could, I’d learn from the children of my captors
That education would come to use
Printer offices and the Naval Academy would see my intellect
Too bad my captors got most of my pay
My greatest achievement involved gun barrels, pewter, steel, and random junk
With this mechanical trash came the first steam engine
My patent was denied even when my brainchild bought my family’s freedom
Don’t deny my innovations

By the way, steampunks. You’re ever so welcome.


This concludes my About A Benjamin trilogy on my Dear Innovare album. This final entry involves Benjamin Bradley. Excuse me…Benjamin Boardley. I will address him as such because his name was misspelled on the various texts and history books, so I want to get his name right. Mr. Boardley over here was a former slave from Maryland who would eventually help in that state’s naval academy while inventing things. His biggest invention was the steam engine. That was a MASSIVE innovation at the time which made so many vehicles and machinery more powerful for decades until petroleum would take over. Think about it, so many inventions spun out of just one engine that he created. Much like other tracks, he wasn’t allowed to patent his innovative engine due to the color of his skin (while others tried to steal his invention in the process), but he was able to use the sales of his engine to buy the rest of the Boardleys away from slavery which is very admirable. Benjamin Boardley is a man worth respecting.

That last line of the track is totally a dig against that subculture. How ironic that so many stories utilizing that aesthetic involve a majority or totally of white characters, but their environments were built around the inventions of a black man. Let that sink in, people. Know your roots even when it comes to fiction.

The picture of Benjamin Boardley (not Bradley) is from Recovery Team.

Ospreyshire Origins: Scraping for Blanched Crops

Lyrics:

There was always a lie
That someone of my complexion never invented anything
They surely never met me
I was known only as Ned
I created the cotton scraper
Much like how my master took humans like me, he took my invention
So, Stewart. How did you come up with my scraper again?
Even the patent office rejected you again and again
You’re so typical in your laziness
When I cried, sweated, and bled more than you could imagine


This would certainly count for a good portion of the previous tracks on Dear Innovare, but this is still a good way to honor an unknown inventor to kick off Black History Month!

Even though he would only be known by the name “Ned”, I’m still going to give him credit and recognition when most people won’t. Ned was a slave who invented a cotton scraper. Think about it, cotton was king in the south which made the plantation owners multi-millionaires. Too bad their lazy butts couldn’t innovate let alone work on their own, so guess who had to do everything and not get the credit? His captor Stewart literally stole Ned’s idea and tried to patent it himself. This was during the time where black people couldn’t patent anything legally in America (expect this to be a common motif), but Stewart couldn’t prove that he invented this money-making machine. Shame how much money was denied for Ned who was the REAL inventor of that agricultural device.

Here’s a fun fact about recording: I actually used a fork to scrape against a vent for the acousmatics.

Ospreyshire Origins: About A Benjamin II: Montgomery

benjaminmontgomery01

Lyrics:

Born into chains and auction blocks
I was under the eyes of the Davis family
I vowed not to be chattel and kept myself learned
Those steamboats in the South enraptured me
Yet they could only do so much
One bad turn and a famine or shortage can occur
No need to steer people wrong and I would figure the right angles for this problem

Enter the propeller! (X4)

My design made these steamboats faster, more efficient, and had better navigation
Shame how my patent was denied (X4)

My former captors including the president of the South tried and failed to credit themselves for what I made
I dreamed of more despite my heartbreak

Isaiah, the rest is up to you.


On Wednesday, I gave a crash course on my Art Theft tracks, but today we’re going to focus on my About A Benjamin series on Dear Innovare. Part II involves the inventor Benjamin Montgomery. His biggest claim as an inventor is creating the steam-powered propeller. Sure, we don’t hear about that propeller that much in 2020, but this was an archetype for controlling boats. Back in his day, he was in the South, so you had all these steamboats around, but they didn’t have any control as they do now when it comes to aquatic transportation. These boats would ship medicine, food, clothes, and other important things. One wrong move, and people will lose major business at best…or die from sickness or famine at worst. Montgomery grew up as a slave, but he was able to make this propeller which causes the boats to actually steer and maneuver in different ways. However, when he made the propeller, it was around the time when black people legally couldn’t patent anything and white people would steal the patents and get all the credit.

This is part of American history, warts and all!

Montgomery’s captors and patent thieves were the Davis family which also involved Jefferson Davis. Yes, the same person who was the president of the freaking Confederacy tried to steal his invention! I’m sick of this thievery and this notion that black people can’t invent anything which sadly people still think about that fallacy even today. Show them this fact and call it a day.

The image of Benjamin Montgomery is from Black Inventor Online Museum.

Ospreyshire Origins: Boyd Bedsteads

Lyrics:

An unmarked grave is where my mortal frame rests, yet my inventions let people sleep in style
Wooden frames and canopies were built for luxury and durability where commoners can sleep like kings and queens even to this day
While Ohio and Kentucky weren’t always kind to me, I knew I had to have a twin set of endurance
My ethic, diligence, and carpentry had to see me through and spring into action
Brothers, sister, your freedom was paid for from my classy beds patent or not
They saw my name on every frame
I wish my company would’ve withstood the flames of envious arsonists
I would free those who were like me
My life has been used for the greater good
Let me rest


Here’s another case of a former slave doing for self. This is Henry Boyd. The Kentucky-born and later Ohio-based man would become a carpenter/furniture maker in his own right. He crafted some of the fanciest beds around that nowadays are worth a pretty penny in antique form. However, he deserved better. His businesses went ablaze by jealous racists. I would bet you those same people would be the ones to tell black people to pick themselves up by their bootstraps (how ironic and fallacious).

Here’s a fact about the acousmatics of this piece. I used a pair of drumsticks to hit different parts of my own bed and mattress to create the percussive soundscapes before multitracking them.

The photo of Henry Boyd is from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.