Peter Broderick – http://www.itstartshear.com

A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days

  • A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days
Heather Woods Broderick
voice
Peter Broderick
guitar, voice, violin, melodica, piano, drums, percussion, juno
Nils Frahm
piano, percussion, juno
Friedrich Störmer
upright &
electric bass

— Photograph by Terese Wallbäck —

Send a letter send a letter send a letter send a letter send a letter send a letter etc. etc. etc…

The repeating melody and text at the beginning of this song correlates to the countless number of letters exchanged between myself and a good friend / ex-lover during much of 2008 and into 2009. T (as I often called her in writing) was living in Sweden, myself in Denmark, and as if that distance weren’t enough, I was constantly on the move, traveling around the globe to play concerts.

These letters became a focal point, not only for our relationship, but for my life in general. Perhaps part of it was the thrill of doing something so old fashioned in a time where slow communication is virtually unacceptable. Or maybe it was just the same old reminder that having something tangible, something you can hold in your hands which you must take care of if you don’t want it to become damaged or destroyed, will always be more precious than anything in the cyber world.

Yet here I am, publishing this story on the internet. Welcome to the golden age of contradictions! The text in the middle of this song is from the point of view of one my letters to T:

I will start with ‘Dearest’ and end with ‘Love’
And I will be on your floor in two days
Read me, read me over and over
Place me, place me under your pillow

When I first set out to record this song, I was planning to include recordings of T and I reading letters out loud, mixing them into the song in one of the many instrumental passages. I chose one of my favorite letters from T, and she chose one from me, and we each recorded ourselves reciting them. In the end I never found a way to mix them into the piece.

  • A Tribute

Everything I tried felt unnatural and a bit too cheesy. But since this song (like many others on the album) was recorded more than once before arriving at the final version, I’ve taken an earlier (unfinished) version of the song and put the letter recordings in there. I always loved the ridiculous feedback jam at the end of this older version, but I also felt a strange tension when showing it to other people, which led to the more subdued ending on the final recording, with an additional four last words:

Love,
Peter Ray Broderick

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76 Comments on “A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days”

Ariel Hicks

commented on

Hi,

I just stumbled upon your site for the second time in my life. It’s been about a year since the first time I’ve heard your It Starts Hear song. I remember being struck by it and how genuine it seemed. But I don’t think my heart was in a place where it was soft enough to accept what your music had to teach/offer me. I was really angry a year ago about a lot of things. I went through some really hard stuff with my mom and dad and then finally cut off communication with my dad. There are a lot of reasons why I’ve done that. I feel guilty about it a lot because I know that he’s living and I’m living and why can’t we just work things out?

But… I know this song wasn’t written about familial love, it was more romantic. But this song actually reminded me of a dream I had about a month ago. it was almost a ghost of Christmas past type of scenario. I was walking around in my dream and watching myself as a little girl. It was a really good dream but honestly I woke up feeling really sad for the little girl version of me. I don’t think it does any good for a person to feel sorry for themselves. But I don’t think this situation was me just feeling sorry for myself. In the dream I was watching myself do all these funny little things I remember doing as a kid that totally made sense at the time and now I look back and I’m just like oh my word Ariel you were so weird and innocent and that didn’t make any sense. Haha. For example I used to think that no one could see where I was looking. So I would just stare at people… and think they didn’t know. Haha so. weird. Another one was, I used to get off the toilet prematurely as a toddler and since I was so tiny I kind of had to hop down. Upon hopping down, my urine would drip down my leg every.time. I just couldn’t figure out how to prevent that from happening so I would hop off the toilet much into my teenage years. So funny. So unnecessary. I think I tell you these things because when I was a little girl, I was vulnerable and needed direction. I needed someone to show me what love looks like. My dad just peaced. He just cut ties and peaced and I am still really confused on how a person could do such a thing. I was cute. I was his kid. I just needed someone to love me. And he couldn’t do that.

I think I tell you this so you know that your music has impacted me and it’s helping me process shit that hurts and is hard and I don’t want to deal with it but I need to. So thank you. I am really really thankful for your ability to write down good music. Sorry for the graphic pee story. Hopefully that didn’t gross you out too much.

Best wishes,
ALH

Benedita

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thank you! your work is so inspiring. it really touched me and I feel very inspired by it! amazing voice and music. blessings!

Thomas

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Hi Peter,

This website is amazingly cool. I’ve been a fan of your music for a couple of years now, starting from a concert in the Botanique in Brussels, in november 2010 during Autumn Falls. I didn’t know you before, but I was blown away by the purity and beauty of your music. Since then I started following you. Your album Home is one of my favourite albums of all time. But I also like your ambient music on the albums Float and the collaboration with Machinefabriek.

I’m commenting on this song, because I too used to exchange letters with my ex-girlfriend. It’s so much more worthwhile than emailing or *the horror* facebook and other social media. But of course I wouldn’t be able to write this without the wonderful invention of the internet. The contradiction indeed.

Good luck with your upcoming album and tour, hope I see you once more!

Thomas

Fabio

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I just can’t stop thinking about him and what he means to me. But he is so far away ;’(
Your music is a good friend :)

Hugo

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Hi. Me again. I really love this website. I really love your music. I kind of feel like you’re a less digital flatsound. I dig it.

Sarah

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Dear Peter Ray Broderick,

Your music is beautiful. It is not often that I come across music that makes me feel like yours has. I want to close my eyes and do nothing but be still and listen to it. I want to blast it in the car to cover my entire being in its melodies and lyrics. I want to fall asleep to it. I want to share it with everyone I know. I will probably do all of these things, but I just found this due to an old, long distance friend (we’ve never met, but we’ve been friends for nearly four years) sharing it with me, so first I need to listen to it all right now. Fantastic music, awesome album concept, just…all of it is perfect. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Love,
Sarah

Peter Broderick

replied on

thank you so much sarah.

peace and love.

p

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Francesco Gallarotti

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Stumbled into this website following a lead from Ben Eshmade’s “The Hut” (vol. 53). It is with true pleasure that I discover your music, but even more I am impressed by this uniquely interactive presentation of this album! Thanks for doing this, more artists should follow your inspiring example!

Simon Goff

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I am a musician too, travelling around a lot. Just started to write letters to loved ones, craving for that tangible thing. I think its time more than anything, letters give you a sense of time.

One thing though, how did you manage to receive letters whilst travelling all over the globe? Or did you get them sent home and collect them on the days you were there?

Thanks for sharing this album in this way. Very inspiring.

Peter Broderick

replied on

yep, i usually had a pile of letters waiting for me when i got home… and i’d be sending them out from different stops along the road. thanks simon!

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Ann

commented on

love this song – start to finish!
It is a very sensitive, creative interpretation of what writing a letter is all about – from start to finish. Thanks. Now, I’m gonna write to my daughter, who sent me the link to your website… and is in school across the country….
Thank you. Keep doing it.

Boris

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I used to have a good penfriend. But then she started ignoring me.

Erik

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I do like the production on the final version, but that feedback in the video is awesome!

Peter Broderick

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yay!!! awesome :-D

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Joey

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Thank you. :-) You have made me smile. I hope that others do as well. Life is beautiful.

Bar

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Hi Peter,

Me stumbling on your website is long over due I feel,
truly a wonderful experience to listen to your music. Thank you.

In regards to “A Tribute To Our Letter Writing Days” song
The concept reminds me on a poem by Emily Dickenson called “Bee”

Hope you’ll enjoy it!

Kind regards,

Bar

Bar

replied on

The song I meant to refer you to is:

Hope you’ll enjoy.

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Michael

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Hi Peter

i noticed a link to download this version but sadly it had expired. Any chance I’d be able to get hold of this version anywhere?

thanks

Michael

Michael

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i really like this version – i also really like the album version.
The letter reading doesn’t sound cheesey to me – i think because both happen at the same time, and because it’s what the song is about and inspired by perhaps?
Love the feedback guitar and the chaos – reflecting a letters journey? treat with nowhere near the respect it had when it was created or would get when it was received..
anyhoo – thanks for leaving this version here so i could listen to it.
best regards

Michael

Rafal

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Thank you !!!! Really !!! Thanks for this album!!!!!

virginia

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all is beautiful, here especially, this song too, me, from argentina dicover this page! kiss!

Jacinto

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cheers crazy guy

Bart

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Hello Peter, it is great to find out (I’m a little late it seems) about this album-website of yours; in the past, I already intensely enjoyed much of your music, and now that I just started listening to your new music on here, I feel this same wonderful feeling I had when I first heard one of your songs. It’s like being transported to a magically uplifting place, which brings out the calm and love in oneself – and it helps finding energy to do whatever needs to be done with an unbeatable positive vibe. It is really great to feel this anew with your new material. As such this website, and this song about letters, feels extremely tangible!

Maria Chavez

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A new fan!! This song is so touching. At first I thought it was an old track from Paul Simon but then saw this website. Really great. Thanks so much!!

Paul Würrer

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First of all, a huge THANK YOU for this astonishing album / website. Your music has always been amazing to me but coupled with this new and personal approach it becomes otherworldly!

This song and its theme convey so much emotion, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite works of you. Coincidentally a very dear friend started writing letters to me some weeks before I found this song. It soon became apparent that communicating through this tangible medium was an entirely different experience than writing e-mails.

The finished version sounds pretty good but the unfinished one with the letter recordings really strikes a chord in me. Maybe because of its “roughness” and noisier approach, it just gets me every time.
Is there any way to buy / download this version? I really would love to be able to access it offline.

Finally, please know that you are a big inspiration for me. I’ve been making music for some time now (haven’t written any songs yet, just some pretty nice jams with friends) and your talent never ceases to amaze me.

Thanks, Paul.

Peter Broderick

replied on

paul! so happy that you like the old version. try this link for downloading it:

http://wtrns.fr/Kk-FH4yf1jRBFh4

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Paul Würrer

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Thanks an awful lot for the link! It’s greatly appreciated :D

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Luke

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Are there, by any chance, any other old or alternative versions of songs that you might consider putting up??

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Peter Broderick

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luke. i do have an early version of “i am piano”, from the same session as this other early version. i think that’s the only other thing i have that’s potentially worth a listen . . . you can download it here while the link lasts:

http://wtrns.fr/T1khB-2N28lInsk

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Ren

commented on

Gracias por tocar con tu corazón…

creemos que sos de otro planeta…

uno más lindo que éste…

Asl&

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…Que la pluie des mots est belle.

Cara Frances

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Totally crazy reading this. Your description about having something tangible to hold, that you have to look after if you don’t want to be damaged or destroyed.. echoes almost word for word something I said to a friend of mine recently. I’m in London, he’s near Florida and although we speak every day through some means, we still write too eachother too and it’s may favourite bit.. I adore the whole idea of it and wonder how there was ever a time when people managed to find the patience. It takes roughly two weeks for our letters to cross and even with the communication inbetween, it feels like a lifetime. Anyway, I just felt a real appreciation for what you said, at this particular time. As ever, the song was beautiful. :)
Cx

Rus

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I like it! You have a fan from Russia!

Brad Lein

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I can’t describe how i feel about your voice or your music. I just graduated # days ago from highschool. I have no idea what direction i am taking in life. I get a huge feeling of anxiety everytime i think about it. All my friends are going off to college and i’m lonely sometimes. I still have my best friend in the whole world, but as the friends move farther away.. so do the peices that hold me together. but, Consider your heavenly voice and music as the super-glue that keeps me together now and will inevitably will for a very long time as i try to figure everything out in my life. I listen to you every.. single.. day. Thank you.

-Brad

Jimmy Harris

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Just wanted to say how my heart went boom at the beginning of the piano line nearest the end of the song. I think the idea behind the song is so sweet. Reminds me of this set of books that came out when I was just out of high school (91) and it contained letters and postcards between two people in love.

Thank you Peter (and Heather too) for your music :)

p.s. Awaiting that next solo Heather album.

Peter Broderick

replied on

i’m waiting for heather’s next album too!

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Benjamin van Vliet

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I totally understand your nostalgia for tangible things vs digital things. But as you also state, now you have put all the wonderful stories and alternative versions on a website only, which will probably no longer exist in, say, 10 years, whereas the album still will.

Therefore, wouldn’t it be an idea to release an expanded version of the album that includes all these stories printed, and all the videos and alternative versions here? Maybe along with some music and videos that you receive from people as feedback…?

Then again, ofcourse albums crumble and disappear too, or the equipment to play them on. So maybe I should cherish all the material and not fuss too much about the format.

Otherwise, a great website this!

Peter Broderick

replied on

love your ideas! i’ve thought about most of those things, and i think anything is a possibility :-D

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Madja

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Last summer, I have visited a very dear friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in 20 years (the war has separated us, and then we somehow lost all the contacts, and haven’t been in touch at all). As we were sitting on the floor in her apartment, drinking wine, trying to catch up, she got up, went to her room, an brought a box of letters I have written to her. We then started reading those letters, and it was a magical moment. From her town, I went back to my hometown, to my parent’s apartment, and found the letters that she had written to me (and many other wonderful letters from other wonderful people). I have then decided to start writing letters to her again. Upon my return to the continent/country/town where I live at the moment, I wrote her a letter. One.
At the same time, another very dear friend of mine was dying. He had already lost the battle with the cancer, and we all knew that the end is near. I was hoping though that I will have the opportunity to see him once again in his hometown (on another continent, while he has been treated yet on a another continent that has nothing to do with my home continent nor my current continent) that I was going to visit for Christmas. But the news from him, and later on from his wife made me realize that his time was quickly running out. Since I couldn’t talk to him any more, instead of another e-mail/fb message, I decided to write him a proper letter. It took me a couple of days to sit down and write it, but the distance between the continents for the snail mail was just a couple of days too long for the letter to arrive to him on time. I was prepared for his dead, but it still hurt. But I was furious with myself for taking those few extra days to write that letter, and not doing it the moment I thought of it. And I guess I’ll never forgive myself.
Yesterday I have finished another letter to the first friend from this note. Tomorrow I will send it. It will take two weeks for it to reach its destination.
And today I found this website. Coincidence.

Eric

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Always had a special place in my music library for your soul-stirring ambient-minded works and I’m so glad to see you being a part of leading the way into the next generation of how we share our creations with each other in ways that challenge artistic preconceptions and, more importantly, the power of a capitalistic music industry. For my own part, I’ve decided to never sell my recordings for money, distributing it for free online, but that’s just the way I approach this new age of music. I hope your innovation will inspire others to do similar works.

Andy

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beautiful but too sad to listen to all the time, if i were to listen to it on a regular basis i would not have energy to get out and confront the world, that’s how moving the album is for me…bought it on wax, many thanks for taking time and giving us a bit of yourself here…btw, mastering of this release is truly of an audiophile quality.

Peter Broderick

replied on

oh it’s great to hear that! i must give the sound credit to mr. nils frahm.

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Jim

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bloody hell now i wish every album i loved listening to could have its own archival website… this is so fascinating. i already had the album, but what’s fabulous is reading about the origin of the songs, hearing earlier versions, and i particularly loved finding out that blue was a song written by your dad, and then hearing it. i felt so happy for you and then rather jealous. the only thing i discovered that my dad had written was an intimate letter to a married woman who i had previously thought an innocuous family friend ha! anyway, he wasn’t with my mum then and i was a nosy 12 year old boy at the time, so served me right. anyway i digress, thanks peter, and i love the way you allow inspiration to come from wherever. which in turn is a great inspiration.

jan

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this is from last week, i copied it from my notebook. i have deep feeling towards this person, confronting her with them, she said delicately: “there is looming something…”. my response was this illustration and the sentence “the heart slumbered long enough in the mine!
“. and the reasons why i post it here are the same as yours!

anbahnung

jan

Peter Broderick

replied on

schön!

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Aaron

commented on

letterlope06_06_04-little-legacy

Today on the rarest of days. I take a look at an unopened email from my good friend Biff and discover a treasure trove of musical gems following a link here. This page immediately reminds me of once-upon-a-week in 2006 when I sent a myriad of letterlopes to my good friend Biff, with the hope of glory upon his discovery of this great new medium of communication. It wasn’t until many weeks later I brought up the letterlopes, worried they might have been lost in the in-between place, but this had not happened. Realising their craft, he had saved the letterlopes alongside his dusty books to open at a special time, like a surprise gift… Long and forgotten, several years later they still remained in the shadows, their beauty never exposed. I don’t know if he ever did open them.

The letterlope above was one of those I sent and refers to a film project about a lamp and a butterfly we were working on together at the time. A project I returned to just yesterday, after all these years. Hidden away on an old hard-drive, like a sealed letter amongst the dusty books.

Aaron

replied on

Oh… I meant to say… This album/website/place is the most personal and hand crafted thing I’ve come across on the internet for a long while. So thank you for the lovely feeling it gives.

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Peter Broderick

replied on

what a beautiful letter!

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Mo

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Sadly disappointed that this site isn’t its tarts hear as expected, although the music is pretty good! It does lack tarts though.

Peter Broderick

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ha! for a long time while working on the album, i had it listed on my computer as “its tart shear”. don’t worry, the tarts are in there!

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Oliver

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Hi Peter
Nice to see an artist bearing all for a change. The stock response of musicians of what motivated a particular song/melody/lyric seems to be a brick wall. The listener makes their own judgements and emotional reactions as to what a certain song is. This isn’t a bad precedent necessarily but it’s nice to ‘get inside’ the process sometimes and be steered a bit as this website does… From what I can gather it seems that only a fragment of anything is all that’s initially required, this then germinates and grows into a fully formed song. No song arrives complete and fully formed- it’s a long iterative process. I write songs too – I do it because I have to and for the instant gratification that the creative process generates. I perform live sometimes but that pales when put up against the writing process.

Tuck

commented on

Perfect for long walks on the beach, train journeys, plane journeys, at home and even long dumps. Incredible stuff. Perfect.

Peter Broderick

replied on

long dumps! nice :-)

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FreddieLeeFroth

commented on

Gorgeous & expansive … I want to write a letter now …

A.

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I can’t stop listening to the album.

It’s breath taking.
You’ve truly inspired me.

Thank you so much!

Mica

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stunning album, with this being my favourite track! I only wish I could get an interview with you one day! keep up the excellent work! [mica presents "a place to be.."]

Peter Broderick

replied on

hi mica.

i’d be happy to do an interview sometime. although i must admit, i much prefer doing these things in person. maybe you’re in berlin sometime? phone interviews can be nice as well… feel free to get in touch:

peter@itstartshear.com

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Nuno Oliveira

commented on

This site/album was a great idea! But just like the paper writen letters, i love the perenity of a musical physical suport like cd or vinyl. I´ll have to buy it!
Please come around Portugal again, your concert in Porto was perfect, intimate and wonderfull experience.

Joel W.

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First! Great idea to create an album/website hybrid, and this song is lovely, all slow paced and gentle. Keep on rockin’! – J.W.

Sylvie

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As for the vinyls coming back, maybe we shall get back to more sensuality by writing again on letters, I wish. I have known this before internet and every single letter I recieved from friends or lovers, I have kept them preciously because it’s a part of them. You make me realise I miss this so dearly. We can learn or relearn. I will see if I can post a shot of a letter. The song exactly expresses how I consider these gifts of love of a time. Thanks to reveal it to me again Peter.

Lee

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Peter – This is a thrilling concept executed so beautifully. I love learning about the evolution of the tunes, which so far are exquisite. And the letter writing posted on the Internet… well, our lives are full of such irony these days. Just look at the explosion of interest in handmade books. And where do we find information on this topic and connect with people engaged in this craft? Better yet, where do we find books about making handmade books? I have to add that the layout of your pages and how you organized these songs and their evolution is really well executed. It always looks easy once it is accomplished but it is generally a painstaking process to arrive there. Nice job. Hope it wins you lots of fans.

Peter Broderick

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thanks lee. i’m happy to read some feedback about the layout and design of the site! i have to give the credit there to my friends at FELD studio, here in berlin. they are amazing, and helped me so much to turn this little vision of mine into something real. http://www.feld.is

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Justin Price

commented on

So true, how many emails do we hold on to in this digital age? Words have almost lost their value to some, become to easy to say and to send autonomously from a distance with little effort. It’s the journey that makes them special, the time someone has taken and the anticipation of how they will get to the intended and how they will be taken to heart and mind once received. It’s about the time it takes as a whole process I guess.
Digital just feels temporary as it just moves fast and is always updated for the next big thing. Can’t imagine anyone will be turning on an old computer of mine in 50 years when I have passed to see what emails of love I have sent. But I know my wife still has the handwritten ones I’ve left in strange places to be found when you just need to say I love you.

Peter Broderick

replied on

well said justin!

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Eric

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This feels like the right way to use the internet.

mohamed gastli

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dear peter,
there are a few albums, when you listen to the 10 first seconds you know it is a masterpiece. This one is among those.
With all my respect,
mohamed gastli

Mohammad Shahid

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I love this song. Your theory behind the written word makes so much sense. Just like your letters, your music slowed things right down for me tonight. Thank you.

Jacob

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Hi Peter, just discovered this site. Absolutely love it!! Do you speak/understand danish? It would be easier for me to leave comments..

Peter Broderick

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hej jacob! sorry, my danish is not so good. just the very basics . . . and i’m afraid i’ve probably lost most of what i knew already, now that i’m trying to learn german…

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James Starkey

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This song makes me want to write a letter.

J

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Wonderful track! Also, what a cool idea for a release. However I must ask, will It Starts Hear it be released on vinyl?

Peter Broderick

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hello! the album is indeed coming out on vinyl. 2xLP with three sides of music and an etching on the fourth side. you can order it at the bella union online store at bellaunion.com

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Ryan Miller

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