Tempus

by Nell James

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about

"Tempus" (2006) featured the compositions, production, vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion of Nell James, a teenaged musician who cites the work of Yes, Gentle Giant, The Flaming Lips and Nektar as her major influences. A theme album loosely tied around the concept of time, "Tempus" tastefully merges elements old and new - '70s progressive rock and contemporary indie rock - with a spirit that is both wide reaching and philosophical, as well as personal and accessible, and decidedly different from most prog or indie acts.

"This 17-year-old Long Island guitar gal thrice comes close to climbing the pomp heights of ’70s...rock [with] “Tempus” (Yes-like ornateness), “Hunger to Know” (heavy enough to justify its eight-minute length), and “End of Yesterday” (...placid enough to make Espers jealous.)"
- Chuck Eddy, Harp Magazine

"Rarely do you come across an album that is so brimming with sincerity, so honest, and so heartwarming, as [Nell] has put together here. If you love lush, folky prog rock, with plenty of nods towards the greats of the 70's, and don't mind a little pop thrown in for good measure, this will be a pleasant surprise for many...chock full of gorgeous vocals, sumptuous Mellotron sounds, majestic piano, gymnastic electric guitar, lush acoustic guitar, flutes, synths, and a myriad of drums and percussion."
- Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

credits

released March 15, 2006

All songs written and produced by Nell James. Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion, and album artwork by Nell James.

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about

Nell James New York, New York

Nell James is a self-produced one-woman-band known for her 2006 progressive rock album, "Tempus," which she released at age 17. She cited the work of Yes, Gentle Giant, the Flaming Lips and Nektar as her major influences and performed vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion. James now composes concert music under the name Nell Shaw Cohen. ... more

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Track Name: End of Yesterday
Absolute which bears our root
Will follow to the end
The yes of all that’s coming
Is the no of all that’s been

Moving forward like a sword
Plunging through the years
The morning dew is frozen
Never wet with tears

If you’re here or if you’re there
No matter where you stand
The speed of one pound falling
Is the same if feathers or sand

Cancel out that world of doubt
As fortunes wind their way
The start of what’s tomorrow
Is the end of yesterday

Window panes and painted frames
Around these doors, below ceilings, above floors
Countless hours, endless days
Have come to none now all is said and done

In my heart this is a part
Of all I’ll ever know
But must live for tomorrow
It’s the only way I can go

© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: Images
All the images that seem to appear
Golden years gone, they bring me some fear
All the stages we pass through our age
Fiction on a stage

Greetings from days you’ve left behind
Hope you are well, what is on your mind?
Have any changes taken place
‘Sides the pictures of your face?

Carry onwards, there’s nothing to do
But live out, go on to something new
Carry history of you and me
Be what we will be

I’m a stranger in my eyes

All the makings of what we are
The places we’ve been, the blink of a star
All the images that seem to appear
They’re not truly clear

I didn’t choose to birth to here
In these lives, in this sphere
Yet everything seems to be right
As well as anything might

They’re strangers in my eyes
Feels so strange sometimes

© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: Hunger to Know
All through the ages past
We’ve hungered to know
The powers that we can grasp
Led us from long ago

Together we march to the sun
As we trek the roads of the sky
The secrets of all that’s around
Will change how we get by, how we get by

The searching is in your soul
It’s in your blood
Rearranging to meet your goal
Will it turn you to mud?

Together we march to the sun
As we seek our cups to be filled
The quantity that we destroy
Will it equal all we rebuild, all we rebuild

Sister, my brother, parents and friends
Is this the answer or the end
Are they one in the same
Words that you’re speaking, I’ve heard before
Many people walked through that door
The rules of nature we bend, oh is this a game of pretend
We’ll carry on to the end

© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: Cast Away
Cast away, oh cast away
Along the rocky coast
What will you miss the most
Now that you’re never going home

Fill the space, oh fill the space
With thoughts and revelations
As you claim your life’s station
Now that you’ll always be alone

Solitude is eternal
The company of your mind
The endless days of searching
And living with what you find
It sounds such a tragic place to be
But it has a certain beauty
The cavernous space inside
This world which we reside

Blowing through, oh blowing through
The wind, it scatters all
Brown leaves in the fall
And the murmur of our past

Flickering, oh flickering
A star wavers in the dark
It’s a brief but beautiful mark
It’s the heart that you know best

It’s not to get you down
Chin up, feel proud
You’re a member of the human race
It may not be glamorous, but it is your place
This is your face, so take it with grace

All those feelings that confuse
And all the love that you lose
It’s a part of this human race
It may not be easy, but it is your fate
This is your state, so don’t be late


© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: Day By Day
(Instrumental)
Track Name: Tempus
Lights have a way and time, from far beneath these distant nights
I will write of their structures as they seem to sing and recite
(All the years and days, that we try to hold in our hands)
All the seasons of every year
(Above us all, we see them)
See them walking in the sky

Stones follow with the sun, so all who see this shadow owns
(Stones in the earth show time)
Of the measures, we build because we cannot see the unknown
(All the hours and days, that we try to hold in our hands)
All the hours of every day
(Below us all, we see them)
See them leaning on the Earth

What was past, is it still
Still we try to grasp moments as they passed
Past means none, what’s to come
Coming from what’s most, memories are our ghost
Ghosts care not what we see
See not much of time, so just walk our line
Line is long behind now
Now is all that’s here, soon it disappears
Now is all that’s here, soon it disappears

Craft anything we can, the tools for seeing through the days
(Craft tools that see, show time)
As we do we see new ways, every century pass on ways
(All the ticks and tocks, that we try to hold in our hands)
All the ticks and tocks that we make
(Among us all, we see them)
See them shifting in their time

What was past, it is still
Still what we can know, use it for today
Days are short, light is long
Longing for the past, memories are our dreams
Dreams care not what we see
See not much of time, so just walk our line
Line is long behind now
Now is all that’s here, soon it disappears
Now is all that’s here, soon it disappears

Shifting shaping coinciding
Endless thread demands our dividing

© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: White Lies
Fiction’s true if truth is sense’s lies
Maybe fantasy is truth in disguise
Thriving in a dream of yesterday
When the heart feels right, what can you say?

Timeline stretching out in decades
Turn into days and bend in my mind
We’re already so blind, so what’s the false in trusting your pulse?

Loves of real are few and far between
Is it more unreal if the shadow’s unseen?

Value is facade now they seem peas from the same pod
The memory and the dream run the same stream
Can you understand a bursting heart without demand?
Will this gain respect when you measure the effect?

Myths and stories all, there’s nothing more that you can call
My image of the past, and yet it will last
When an empty place hangs in the air will take a face
Feeling’s just as real and just as ideal

© 2006 Nell James
Track Name: Fossil
From another place I’ve seen a face of yesterday and beyond
Drunk on fossilized youth through darkness, out the dawn
He shatters all the years that fall between the now and then
A moment that will know its life many times again

Endless hallway to what was then
Living always, he’ll never end
And he will lend himself to confusion
He will bend himself for illusion

A ghost transcribed his spirit, left on parchment to be seen
Knowing nothing more or less, his face remains serene
Of all the figments of the past, that I could file through
Of all the songs and words been said, I’m glad I know of you

© 2006 Nell James

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