My relationship with Hours Were the Birds

Hours Were the Birds has a spirit of traveling to it. It’s a theme in the lyrics, but it’s also present in the music itself. Picking patterns in the guitar keep the songs flowing, moving along. Each song feels like it is set in a new place, searching for something.

The sound-world created by the guitar & voice here is fundamentally an exploratory one. I think there is an introspective aspect to exploration, which the music captures well. When you travel to new places, the exterior landscape is reflected back into you through your experience of it, shedding light on your interior landscape. New experiences often break internal impasses and grant new perspective and insight.

To me, the music speaks of that process of reflection in an unfamiliar place. Even though the music is well-known to me at this point, when I listen to it, I can feel the migrant part of myself, the part that desires to see new places. I get images of places I’ve been that resonated with me, and places I might still go.

This next part is a bit of a non-sequitur, but it’s part of my relationship with the album and I think it’s worth mentioning. I was listening to this album a lot when I was brainstorming Pareidolia, a video game I wanted to make after playing Hollow Knight.

My dream for the soundtrack was to do covers of every song in Hours Were the Birds, replacing the guitar with piano and the voice with clarinet. Honestly, to this day, I still think such a soundtrack would do a perfect job of capturing the same lonely & exploratory vibe I wanted to convey with the game. Even if I don’t make the game, I would still like to make the covers someday.

One other non-sequitur: the last track of this album was originally “We Were Young”, but the song got completely scrubbed from the internet back in (I think) 2018, and I never had a physical copy of the album. It was replaced with another song, “A Love of Some Kind”, which I have never liked as much.

To me, the version with “We Were Young” will always be the definitive version of the album, and it’s that version I’m considering when I rate it as a “completely good 5” on Rate Your Music. I haven’t heard the original track in five years now, and I miss it every time I listen through the album. Let that be a cautionary tale to you about the danger of entrusting your favorite music to DRM!

Have you listened to Hours Were the Birds? Did you enjoy it? Did you feel the sense of travel & exploration? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​