Words by Emily Hollitt
TW: This article / EP deals with the issues of abuse + grooming.
Read at your own discretion.
Music, for many, can be used as a cathartic way to process trauma. For both listeners and writers alike, it’s one of the most powerful mediums to connect with; an intrinsically human way to feel. New act transmissions from the water-tower has done exactly that with debut EP ‘long, long night’. Written as “an anonymous way to write about personal experiences” the project uses a “variety of DIY recording techniques to tell deeply personal stories“. Recounting the subjects of “childhood trauma, the perpetuation and cycle of abuse, and the notion that ‘hurt people hurt people‘”, the EP is as emotional as it is brilliantly done. Both written to process trauma and analyse how “we are all capable of great good and great evil“, ‘long, long night’ is a brilliant depiction of human behaviour as a whole.
i hope that you know opens the EP on a powerful note; an open letter to an abuser. The track is accompanied by a single, thumping acoustic guitar. The melody sits mildly dissonant against the instrumental, retaining a haunting sound throughout. The artist’s vocal delivery is pointed, yet slightly lethargic, making his voice sound exhausted and run down.
“Ánd I don’t think you set out to kill a man, there was no target on the back of my head. But in the end, you still pulled the trigger, and when the smoke cleared, we all lay dead“. He opens, using visual analogies to drive the point of the track. “And I don’t have a shred left for what you did but I hope you know, that it could not have been more wrong, now it lives inside my songs. I hope that you know what you’ve done”.
As the track continues, atmospheric guitars and keys join in, aiding to the track’s minimal yet powerful production. More harmonies are added, giving the song a haunting, nostalgic sound and feel. “There is nothing I’ll forgive, but I’ll gladly let you live. I hope that you know what you’ve done”.
see right through you follows, with a much cheerier sound than the prior track. The main guitar part is as melodic as the lead vocal, complimented by distant brass and decorative banjo. The track is reminiscent of early 2010’s indie folk from artists like Ben Howard or Benjamin Francis Leftwich‘s more upbeat tracks.
“I think I’ve seen you round here some other time before. We didn’t speak but both our eyes met and naturally I thought about the ashes and the embers that moved with you when you walked, the static that admitted from your lips when you talked. And by the time we’d said goodbye I had some other place to be. And so, I turned and walked away from the cool shadow of the tree. But before I’d gone ten paces, changed my mind and turned around, ran back to where I’d seen you, you were nowhere to be found.”
The lyrics are simple, yet poetic; attentive to the object of his affection. “Hadn’t walked away, I could feel you there… you might not walk away but I can feel you there, feel you there” he repeats as the song comes to a close.
Harsh, quickly strummed acoustic guitar opens long, long night. A confessional track, filled with intense imagery, honing down the EP’s message ‘hurt people hurt people’. “Your grief is valid and I wore that cold gown, because that’s what I was taught, so the pain is passed on down” he sings in the second verse, acknowledging the cycle of violence. “The pain trickles down through generations, like cancer of the blood, like radiation”. “I’m so sorry” he repeats, as the song fades out. The instrumentation builds around these lyrics and his voice is heard pleading the same words in the background as harsh, static noise closes the song on an uneasy note. The track acknowledges that it’s not always easy to understand how trauma has affected you until you’ve already inflicted it onto someone else.
“terrible, terrible, terrible says the ghost in my head that I can’t shake.” He opens in terrible. “There’s no way to turn back the hands of time. If you never think about it, then it’s fine”. “tell the whole world each and every problem, instead of searching deep for their resolve” he sings, acknowledging the way we often look for a savior, or for pity, instead of saving ourselves. “There’s evil living inside everyone. If you don’t know that, then it’s probably won”. “Nothing I can say can change the past” he sings, addressing that no amount of apology can mend the hurt he inflicted.
dreaming of riverstage ends the EP on a cheerful, hopeful note. “I found my true love, the one I dream of. She’s sleeps inside a padded tomb, inside a dusty practice room” he sings, beginning his dreams of a career of music. Daydreaming of someday playing Brisbane’s Riverstage, the track’s overall sound is hopeful and uplifting; a motivational end to such a confronting collection of songs. “I’ve found a way to turn my greatest weakness into strength” he sings, recognising how his trauma and experiences can find a healthy outlet; music.
transmissions from the water-tower has done an exceptional job of portraying the cycle of violence from start to recognition, where changes can truly be made. It demonstrates the way tireless way even the best intended people can hurt others, and how the distinction between what makes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ person isn’t an easy one to make. ‘long, long night’ is a truly eye-opening representation of human behaviour and all the ugly stuff that comes with it. And it’s as healing to listen to as I’d imagine it would have been to write.