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by Ben Hjertmann

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    CD and full 8-panel art by Alex Mitchell. Companion with lyrics to complete the story...

    Includes unlimited streaming of Angelswort via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Escaped just in time to a forest way north of anything followed a river for miles whereupon we met an Herb Mother who fed us meat pies with thin strips of steak and a flakey, buttery crust. “Mmm!” Behind the cottage the river rushed down a thick wooded mountain lined with enormous stones. And then I saw something moving in the mud at the bottom. There was a giant snakelike fish, I froze. Then, she called to the old man, to run along to the shed, and get the wooden spear. “Yes! That’s it! Now bring it here!” She raised her right hand, whispering in some strange tongue and it seemed as though the sky was turning, spiraling. The spear in her left hand, with eyes locked, on the pale sun, hurled it down! As the blood washed away, and the creature turned a pale gray, she explained how we could harvest Angelswort. Driftwood, it had become but it had been enchanted once. And we left that cottage at dusk. And as the dusked turned into night, we found ourselves in the company of some forty wolves! As we slowly walked past, every moment an eternity, every brittle twig snapped like thunder beneath our feet, I realized - They’re just like me. And even though their ears were soft, their breath warm as those I’d known, we knew to fear their glowing eyes.
Wolves watch too, with red breath on the rear-view, head-starved in the South Loop, trading rubies for rats, red ruin for sour-mash, and I’m hungry. Wolves walk too, in a theater near you, through miles of Coca-Cola glue, they don’t remember faces, maybe smells. The only true memory, in scars, and I’m angry. Wolves f*** too, it’s just they don’t remember whose red breath was on their neck, whose bushels they pecked, and I’m horny. Wolves also shiver in the May-tide winter, blue breath choked on the bathroom window, like a pile of wet rugs no one’s gonna clean up, and I’m cold. Wolves also die like you, heat-starved in the South Loop, neat scars on every tooth, trading thunder for sleep, the pack for the heap, and I’m tired.
<Original French> L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé, L'homme armé doibt on doubter. On a fait par tout crier Que chascun se viegne armer, d'un haubregon de fer. L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé, L'homme armé doibt on doubter. <English> The man, the man, the armed man, The armed man must be feared. Everywhere it has been proclaimed That each man should arm himself with a hauberk of iron. The man, the man, the armed man, The armed man must be feared.
In the darkness I can hear everything, cries of a wounded world bleeding in silence. Spirit of an ancient fire calls me to sing. In darkness, in shadows white and blue, I can hear laughing. In spider webs, I’m caught in, I’m wrapped in dreams of spirits past, around me now. In darkness, I can see everything, scars of a wounded world. I can hear cries of death in the fires of convenience! In darkness the last song of the old world dying in the fires of apathy! Be fruitful, find something to own, as our fathers are left to the dogs, in the fires. And the weasels spraying noise on the radio, and yet not a song left for the dying, but for the lazy ones, and the conquest of comfort, laughing and cries of the ancestors. I can hear the cries of a wounded world in the darkness I can hear everything.
Awoke just in time, late for something or something else file onto the train, whereupon we meet the same strangers every day, always angry at someone or someone else, overcome by the noise and the incessant yellow light buzzing above my head. Of course, just my luck! My head is pounding, the stress is bubbling. Must stop this maddening strobe! I reach into a hole, and then I feel something moving in the ceiling there, with eyes locked, on that damn light, a string in my left hand, I pull it down! In darkness, a dream which might be true. I can see lightning paint spider webs across the sky. I ran outside...
White Elk was different from his brothers slower, louder, too easy to see. Crashing through the forest, running alone. And there is always danger. If he is to survive, he must learn to run. Run through the trees, when the lightning comes, he must learn to run across rushing rivers down steep cliffs. He must learn to run. When the thunder rolls, and the painted ones come to taste his blood, if he is to survive, he must learn to run. Run through the snow, when the fire comes. He must learn to run away from men as from wolves. He must learn to run. Over unknown fields, and away from everything he’s known far from home into the cold space between. He must learn to run.
Looking down now, through the spiraling, swirling cloud of candles, through a sky webbed in synaptic thread, the buzzing lights, the convulsions of the painted flesh, through the old man’s war, the warmth of yellow eyes, of wood and water, through the green lamps of the train hall. Just in time. Tracks in the snow. Wolves run in step. Who then can know, how many there go? Strobes appear in step, when we project. Time was our waking dream, stitched together from forgotten patterns, so easily we erased.


Angelswort is an album of syncretic genre that borrows lead vocals & production techniques from the vernacular idiom, along with instruments & compositional techniques from the New Music realm.

Angelswort is a fairytale told equally through the music and artwork constructed from the visions and dreams of Ben Hjertmann.

Angelswort is the dissertation album by Ben Hjertmann (Northwestern University, 2013) and is the swansong performance of The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles (2007-2013).

Other compositions by Ben Hjertmann at benhjertmann.com
Kong Must Dead at kongmustdead.com

Be sure to click each track to see the individual album art for every track!


released June 22, 2013

Ben Hjertmann: vocals, percussion, prepared piano, auxiliary sounds
David Reminick: saxophones (II, III, IV, VI), bass (I)
Alex Temple: piano (II, VI) synth (IV), melodica (VI)
Chris Fisher-Lochhead: viola (I, III, VI), bass (IV)
Kenn Kumpf: vocals (III)

All artwork by Alex Mitchell. redfathoms.businesscatalyst.com/index.html

All tracks recorded and produced by Ben Hjertmann, KLWHNAA Recordings, Chicago, IL. Extra production/mixing help for tracks I-IV from Elliot Cole.

Mastered by Bill Milgram and Ben Hjertmann at Milgram Music Studios in Lake Forest, IL.

All music and lyrics composed by Ben Hjertmann 2011-2013, KLWHNAA Publishing (ASCAP).


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Ben Hjertmann Asheville, North Carolina


Just Intonation
Microtonal Folk


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