When I Have Fears

John Keats
John Keats

Words: John Keats (1795 – 1821)
Music: Michael Michaelis


When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,

Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;


When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;


And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,


Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; -


      then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Violin & Viola, Piano, Bass, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Percussion), additional sequencer programming (Marimba, Clarinets, Timpani).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 3.11.2018)

[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2018]


Gravity (Remix)

For some reason, I didn't wrote any new music for the last couple of month. Instead, I spent my time exploring guitar sounds, and practicing violin. As a „playing ground” for my experiments I used a song I wrote about two years ago, Gravity. Almost all tracks are new recordings – not with the results I dreamed about, but much closer to what I want to hear.

„Gravity” was the first song I unpacked my violin again, after I stopped playing pretty much exactly forty years ago. That was the main reason for me to go back to that specific song: convincing myself that constant practice (for almost two years, now) really makes a difference.


Telling Fairy Tales (Children's Song)

When I watch a child lost for the world in it's game,
I wish so much I could do the same,
becoming myself without being alone,
becoming the center of a world that is my own.

Wish I could close my eyes and bad things go away,
wish I could yawn about what important people say,
wish I could be innocent and honest about anything and everyone,
wish I'd be certain again that after the rain comes the sun.

There is a holy place where children play,
I was there, I learned a lot, I even knew my way,
but I had to leave, I'm so sorry, I couldn't stay.

Once I was steering a ship thru time and space,
but wherever I went I always could see my mother's face,
I still know how these wrinkles feel,
smiling at her, and the doubts her smiling could heal.

Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Violin, Bass, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Bass Drum, Snare, Percussion), Keyboards (Marimba).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2018]


Children's Song - Interlude+Solo

Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Guitars, Bass, Viola, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Bass Drum, Percussion).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.


Salt Of The Earth


When you look out of your window, what do you see?
Traffic and people, maybe a cut-down tree.

When you open your door, what do you smell?
Almost odorless, probably poison, but you never can tell.

When you open your window, what do you hear?
The sound of the beast, feeding of domesticated fear.

What do you see looking at the sky at night?
Barley a star, just a blanketed dome made of city light.


Poor people's barracks covering the valley like straggly moss,
churches like breathing giants, bearing their builder's cross.

High towers bending like grass in the storm,
bridges made of steel, cooing like a newly-born.


What would happen if you look out your window at the open seas?
Or if you start your day watching a line of trees?

What would you do for a clear vision of the stars at night?
But what about the horrors that are back with no light?

How would you feel living in a home like a breath of roses?
But would you face the perils untamed nature imposes?


This city was raised by many generations, stone by stone,
It has a graveyard for it's builders, and a life of its own.

Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboard, Alto Recorder, Violin & Viola, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Snare, Bass Drum, Toms, Percussion).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 17.2.2018)

[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2018]



Music: Michael Michaelis (based on the Changes of "Giant Steps", written by John Coltrane)

Michael: Guitar, Bass, Piano, Viola, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Snare, Bass Drum, Toms).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 15.5.2018)

[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]



I still dream of a revolution,
not because I'm bored of evolution,
but things won't end well, that's just another illusion,
waiting for the end is no solution.

Sure: you want to sit back and watch how the game plays out,
but you're watching those who are weaving your shroud.

You might have a craving for that ivory to build up your own tower,
and you can't do that by raising your hands against those in power,
but you can't live in peace in thunder and lightning,
'cause what you hear and see, it's not mother nature, it's armies, fighting.

Sometimes you just want to be left alone,
but you can't merely survive on your own,
we're all citizens of planet earth,
being part of human nature is what makes living worth.

I know, you've heard these lines before,
and you would listen, but you're fighting a fucking war,
maybe you're wearing a shining armor, but I bet you're not,
praying for help from a king or a god is all you got,
but praying won't help, it won't even call a truce,
'cause all hell is about to break loose.

Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Violin & Viola (String Sections), Cymbals & HiHat, Wavedrum (Bass Drum, Snare, Toms), Percussion (Bamboo Cata), Synthesizer Programming.

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 26.11.2017)

[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]


Byroads - Program

When I was looking for a title for my project, I translated the German term “Nebenstraßen” into “Byroads” - which seems pretty obvious for my kind of music.

Another choice would have been a translation of “Programmmusik” (program music). I rejected that for obvious reasons – it has a silly sound, to say the least. But it might have been a better description of what I'm trying to do.

In my songs lyrics come first. The music is just commenting the words. If the words are simple – like in Memories or Echos - the music can stay simple as well. The first song in the current “cycle” of what I'm just doing is Becoming - written on a trip thru South Africa, featuring musical standards used in African popular music, like unmodified cadences and patterns of “call and response”.

Sometimes the topic touched by the lyrics needs some level of comment. The music I do is not just paraphrasing what is already said, but offers some kind of an emotional level of understanding. Big words! ..and I'm not even sure if I can even touch that level at all; if I have the skills, as a composer, to do so.

Nevertheless: Nightfall is a good example of what I'm trying to do. It's a reminiscence to Richard Wagner's “Tristan & Isolde” (the “sirene” in the lyrics is – pretty obvious, at least to me – Isolde); there are several occurrences of the “Tristan” chord in the music. The formal structure of the song follows a “program”: Daylight (the intro) – Sunset (verse 1), Nightfall (verse 2), Rite Of The Shadows (interlude), Night (verse3). The entire structure is “reverse”; as is living, dying..

And so on (the dissonant Harps in Lies are not a coincidence, when the lyrics states: “I love you”; neither is the marching snare in Child of My Time in the last verse).

But it's up to the listener to make the connections – I just had a thought that it might help to give a hint.

In the last couple of weeks I did some re-recordings/re-mixes of some of the songs that started the cycle:




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