Vespers III & IV

by Aaron Strumpel

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Forever spinning and burning, the sun persists on its path through nothingness, throwing heat through the void every morning to warm our world; taking its heat with it when it leaves our skies every evening. We’re left to endure the cold of night, the mystery and fear of darkness, and simply, the other empty, vast side of space. This shift in heat and light is sacred and even with our heaters, lightbulbs, buildings, and comforts, we can feel it, even if only peripherally. Dusk brings us an awareness of mortality, of life ebbing, of loneliness, of need.

For centuries, contemplatives have marked this time of day with prayer services called “vespers,” a celebration of sacred stillness and a recognition of our acute need for God’s proximity. In two sets of three songs, these Vespers III & IV, were written during this time of day, in this frame of mind, in the pursuit of God, in the working out of the day’s consolations and desolations, in the expression of love for the One who calls us out of our cycles and proclivity for isolation and darkness.

This is the second release in a series, the first being Vespers I & II, for which Christianity Today said, "Aaron Strumpel worships as if his life is hanging in the balance.” This second set gives no quarter to comfort or complacency. There is the urgency of the psalmist, the resolution of the pilgrim, and the desperate hunger for sustenance only God can give. It’s a call to keep eyes focused, hearts strong, and feet moving.

Written, performed, and recorded simply by Aaron Strumpel in his studio, Shovel Studios, this record is a lean and rich offering of prayer and supplication. It is a hoping for hope, a hoping for joy, a yearning to love, and a yearning to be loved.

May you, Fellow Pilgrim, find your hopes and dreams, sorrows and joys, whether whispered or shouted, unlocked in the listening. Godspeed on your journey!

credits

released June 10, 2014

All songs written by Aaron Strumpel
Engineered by Aaron Strumpel at Shovel Studios in Lafayette, CO
Mixed and Mastered by Mike Binder at EPicenter Studios in Boulder, CO

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Aaron Strumpel Boulder, Colorado

Aaron Strumpel is a songwriter based in Boulder, CO.  A collaborator with Enter the Worship Circle, an avante-garde worshipper with his Elephants, Birds, and Vespers, he has been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and Paste Magazine.

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Track Name: IIIa. Spin and Burn
i may yet spin and burn
i may yet cut and run

but you will see me through

i may yet fade and die

but you will see me through

in the springtime/i will see you
top the hill/i will meet you

in the springtime/i will feel again
winter's over/i will live again

in the springtime/i will hope again
mind will clear/i will dream again

in the springtime
Track Name: IIIb. Buffalo Run
i will see you
coming round the bend
i will meet you
oh sweet day to spend

and all the people we've loved will
sing along
they'll
come along
with us

like an elephant race
we gotta shoot straight
dry dirt underfoot
we can't stop and stay

like birds en route
we gotta shoot straight
with a song to sing
we can't stop and stay

like a buffalo run
we gotta shoot straight
hot days in the sun
we can't stop and stay
Track Name: IIIc. Golden Harps
sweet child, born in blood
hard days, hardly stood
in your way // got out the way // for you
sweet child, mired in mud
hard days, hardly stood
in your way // got out the way // for you

as golden harps
fell all around
songs fell from skies
fell all around
as broken bones
came out the ground
songs sprung from lungs
came out the ground

sweet child, held down so long
hard days, you are so strong
go your way // you'll find your way // back home
sweet child, you've been wronged
hard days, you are so strong
go your way // you'll find your way // back home

new songs // new homes // new souls // new bones
new words // new days // new thoughts // new ways
Track Name: IVa. Bitter Dose
it's a hard way to end
a year and a half
with a muddled mind
with a muddied hand
it's a hard way to end
it's a bitter dose to take
from another hand
it's in my veins
i fought in vain
it's a bitter dose to take

so i set my eyes like stone
and i lift up my chin
and i pick up all my bones
and breathe life in again
and i build my house on stone
and i make straight my frame
i will not be knocked down
when the winds come again

and i hope for hope
and i hope for joy
and i yearn to love
like i yearn to be loved
Track Name: IVb. Spit and Mud
clean on the outside
full of death on the in
clean on the outside
stinks like death on the in
nothing but dead dry bones
in the valley of my sin
nothing but your sweet breath oh God
bring me to life again
bring me to life again (repeat)

skin like a leper
it ain't no match for the deep
all of me like a leper
seven times in the jordan
you can wash my feet
you can wash all of me
please wash my feet
i'd rather you wash all of me
wash all of me (repeat)

spit and mud in my eyes
trees and weeds walkin' round
lay your hands upon me
oh my eyes they are clouds
oh you will take of me
not sight but heart you've won
oh you will treasure me
i am your favorite son
favorite son (repeat)
Track Name: IVc. Formed My Frame
comforter
you come to me
you hold me close
you set me free
you are the one
that i have been
waiting for

deliverer
you rescue me
you spilled your blood
up on a tree
you are the one
that i have been
waiting for

creator
you formed my frame
you made me well
you number my days
you are the one
that i have been
waiting for

oh the rocks/they will/cry out/to You
with a voice/so strong/so pure/so true
telling stor/ies of/your maj/esty
they have sung/they will sing/for centuries