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about

Soft War was born in 1984 when singer/multi-instrumentalist Tim Z* (now known as John Ludi) joined a Detroit-based band named Gon Moros that had recently lost it’s lead vocalist. Musically, the band could have been best described as a blend of the Smiths and 80’s era King Crimson and Ludi felt that it had great potential as a musical canvas to work with lyrically and melodically.

The band soon changed its name to Soft War within a few months of Ludi joining the group and proceeded to play a generous amount of local shows, later expanding into the Midwest, Near-South, and a bit of the East Coast. Soft War also recorded several projects, some of which met with a warm critical response and a fair amount of college and independent radio airplay.

After a time, the usual rock musician issues reared their heads. There were various membership changes, but the core three members who defined the sound of Soft War remained the same: Greg Kutcher on guitar and vocals, John Dennis on drums, and Tim “Eldair” (Ludi) on vocals and rhythm guitar.

The sound of the band became progressively more strident over time, in some ways anticipating the Grunge trend by several years with songs that featured abrupt dynamic changes and Pixies-like intensity.

One of the core essences of the band was the songwriting. Kutcher and Ludi became a veritable songwriting factory, in some way echoing the classic songwriting duos of the 60’s and 70’s.

Time marched on, as it will. Despite the overall quality of the songs and the band’s generally decent ability to pull the material off live, fleeting brushes with opportunity came to very little by the time Ludi decided to leave in 1989.

After Ludi left, the band marched on with the new name Trust Fund, Greg taking over the lead vocalist role (along with his wife Diane Kutcher-Wilson and several changes of bass player).
Ludi moved to Minneapolis and began to record a great many projects on his own, though he greatly missed the incredibly fruitful collaboration with Greg and never found any collaborators that could equal their combined quality.

After 14 years of working separately, Greg and Ludi got back together when an unfortunate series of incredibly foolish life decisions forced Ludi to move back to Michigan for several years. Greg and Ludi decided that it would be interesting to try recording together again, to see if the “magic” still existed.

Apparently it did, as this album will attest.

Both Greg and Ludi are immensely pleased with how this album has come out. It remains to be seen if the listening audience feels the same, but whether or not they do they are proud of this accomplishment and are likewise proud to present it to you.

credits

released February 19, 2008

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about

John Ludi La Crosse, Wisconsin

John Ludi is a musician/singer-songwriter with a wide array of influences and lyrical interests who was "Indie" before the term even existed. Working outside of the music industry by choice has given Ludi the ability to release songs of a level of lyrical depth that are anathema to the minds of the "suits". Ludi lives off-grid in a yurt in the woods of WI and will "fight the power" til he dies. ... more

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Track Name: There is the Wind
There is the Wind

These times they test your patience, these times they test your will.
These days you start to wonder if we can climb that hill.
Seems like the levee's breaking, seems like the die is cast,
like today's fading sunset might just well be the last.

But I keep hoping and I keep praying.

Those vultures circle closer, that river's running red.
Those bombs fall from the heavens on fields of smoke and lead.
Some dark portents are looming over earth so choked and strained,
some hollow haunted feeling in the hearts of the tired and pained.

But I keep hoping and I keep praying.

(C) There is the wind, there is the sun, there is the rain.
There is the spark of life, the womb, there is the grain.
There is the will to grow, forever, evermore.
The spirit and the word, the world will be restored.

Illusions cannot blind you, mere shadows can't obscure
the hearts of those committed, when the will and thought are pure.
Those lies that power's speaking are speeches to an empty room,
their folly and their flavor are dust in an abandoned tomb.

So I keep hoping and I keep praying.

There's not one wave that can submerge the will to be.
There's not one war that can consume a soul that's free.
Track Name: Fate
Fate

Open your eyes to another day, all possibilities in which to play.
But you'll deal your deals and plan your plans while the creases form upon your hands.

The second hand spends round and round, taxing your days without a sound.
You plot your future and log your past, ignore the fact that nothing lasts.

All the lines you've drawn align in time and space, as random chances slip silently away.
(C) Pain is a seed. Some things can't be.

The hours fall, you fill the page, the days depart, you pace your cage.
And listless is your soul in your mock security, it cries and kicks and screams in your dull maturity.

The years drone on, you waste your time filling out forms, standing in line.
Live by rules that someone else has set... squander every opportunity you get.

Father Time is laughing horribly at you and all the freedoms you'll eternally eschew.
Track Name: Absent the Memory
Absent the Memory

Is this my face? I can't remember. Identity at once dismembered.
Submit to strain, submit to fracture. Is this a blight or freedoms rapture.

I wash these hands you say hold power over the world, over the hour.
And tempted thus, to find the answer amongst the cells, amidst the cancer.

(C) I am not who I used to be.
Behold the void that once was me: A shell bereft of memory.

In some grey void without an exit a nameless ghost, blind and faceless,
contorts and claws and seeks sensation... I feel its need, determination.

(C) I can't be blamed for what I am:
a fading figure of a man subject to some buried demand.

Absent the memory...if I were a whole man...
would that I, could that I...I'd never let it happen.

Unlock the gates that bar the demon, release the beast that craves its freedom.
Some rough beast, its mere breath hateful. I fall into a place so fatal.

(C) I am not who I used to be.
Behold the void that once was me: A shell bereft of memory.
I can't be blamed for what I am:
a fading figure of a man subject to some buried demand...with the world's blood staining my hands.
Track Name: Supplication
Supplication

Such a time, such a phase. Such a memory a scent can raise.
Pictures assault me, they damage my eyes. Voices surround me with love and with lies.

I hear you cry, a forlorn child, then watch you rage, eyes flashing wild.
And even my hand raised as to fall couldn't convince you to pause or to stall,
you played my heart and soul.

(C) Play this heart and soul.

Bite and scratch from morn' to night, day to day and fight to fight.
I'd beg and I'd plead for a moment of peace or failing that, to just be released,
you played my heart and soul.

Sap my strength, crush my will, then circle 'round for the final kill.
Tell me the truth, was it always your mind to be so deliberate, to be so unkind?
You played my heart and soul.

Time moves on and seasons change, and soon your claws fall out of range.
As I'm walking on you're looking so small, and if I walk further you're nothing at all.
You played your heart and soul.
Your own heart and soul.
Track Name: For This We Bleed
For This We Bleed

Follow the blind, follow the leader through the maze of self-control.
Marching in time, marching in meter, its taken no toll.

(C) For this we bleed, for this we need to purge ourselves
our bliss in sovereign lies, so close my eyes...tightly.

What's this I hear, you've got ideas? Hurry now, they call your name.
Hurry my son, you've fallen far behind. No one to blame.

For a while, once I had questions, fleeing for miles in different directions.
Now I know no side to side, just close my eyes.
Everyone fares you know (she's all you need).
There is no room to grow (simple and sweet).
Where is it you would go if you'd take the lead?
(C) It's her I need, tomorrow's fights left on the shelf.
For this we bleed, for this we need to purge ourselves
our bliss in sovereign lies, so close my eyes.
Track Name: Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying

Early morning, packing luggage, hotel checkout. Dingy taxi, broken headlight, dirty ashtray.
Foreign cabbie, bad directions, snarling traffic. To the airport, my safe passage home.

Standard confusion, blur of bodies, drunken tourists. Baggage handlers, metal detectors, blared announcements.
"Flight now boarding", screaming babies, blared announcements, window seating, my safe passage home.

Tray extended, acrid coffee, stale peanuts. Plane ascending, engines whining, annoying pressure.
Boring movie, hardly caring, almost sleeping on the redeye, my safe passage home.

Changing direction, strong momentum, anxious voices. Eyes blinking, hands gripping, "where are we going"?
Metal rending, decompression, rapid falling, silent darkness, my safe passage home.
Track Name: Relentless
Relentless

A guessing game I'm playing...ah, you made an impression. Are you a fair glimpse of heaven or a ticket to depression?
They say nothing lasts forever except for late night movies. I'm tossing and I'm turning, I want you here with me.

Do I break down and call tonight? Every cell in me lusts for you.

My soul of wrath and anger, of age and doubt and danger. Everyday a little darker, everyday a little stranger.
And damned to lay in shadows with all the things you can't see, all stained and lost and jaded as you will never be.

I'll whisper sweet dreams tonight, all the scenes I could sing for you...
I saved all my worst for you.

(C) You stand so fair and high and so pure it makes me cry. In the cold place I reside, you light my empty sky.

When we speak I study your fine and gentle features, and I behold an angel, a heaven-born creature.
Desire, it overwhelms me, clouds my heart and my view. Tempted to touch, to hold you, tempted to corrupt you.

I could show you my world tonight, its rough scenes could be taking you...
and all the while I'll be breaking you.

(C) There you are all clean and bright, a beacon in my endless night. There could be such pain and delight, but conscience holds me tight.

Transcendent, my love. I want to leave this world behind with you.
A tempest, my love. I want to bleed upon the rocks with you.

I can give you my heart tonight, hear its beat, hear its mournful call:
An empty shell full of nothing at all.

(C) I turn back to meet the gray and embrace my barren ways. In my dreams you beg me to stay, in this world I just walk away.

Relentless, my love. I want to forget every word of you.
Track Name: Futile Rockets Fail
Futile Rockets Fail

They threw accusations at the air over our heads, we responded with sanctions, fuel for the fire we fed.
We declared an embargo, they filled the canal with mines. We ignored every caution, they crossed over all lines.

Feed the beast and warm its belly, watch it grow and grow.
Sing its praises and trumpet its virtues as it drags you all down below.

We called in an air strike, they stopped their shipments of crude. So we unleashed the full fury of wars unholy brood.
With no intention of winning, every life lost was lost in betrayal, but the office fills up with contracts when futile rockets fail.

Feed the beast and fill its belly, watch it swell and bloat.
Give it blood and give it bodies, give it tanks, napalm, and boats.

I don't expect compassion from you... so you won't get any mercy from me.

Imperialism and conquest: history is but one endless fight for the fool-hearted folly, for the financier's delight.
For who cares for tomorrow when the blood of today brings you power? They will forfeit our future as the dreams of the damned fully flower.

Feed the beast and drown in its belly: a victim of your own designs.
Pernicious and bloated and greedy and craven, as the hope for the future declines.

Feed the beast and stroke its belly, for its comfort, profit, and delight.
Then pray to your false gods and run for cover as it blots out the last rays of light.
Track Name: Together and Isolated
Together and Isolated

Born to estrangement, we're each alone here with suspicion and selfish fears.
All in error and thrown together, and all fomenting our own dark weather.

Live but never learn, watching bridges burn. Walls between our lives, doubt clouding our eyes.

And each new contact contains a danger. Words, will or weapons, best to be strangers.
Always uncertain communication, person to person, nation to nation.

(C) Honesty's an empty promise when we speak. You are wary, I'm mistrustful and we're both weak.
Bile and venom fill the vacuum with spite and rage. Together and isolated, bound and caged.

So all divided and all conflicted by finite senses, vision restricted.
And some are watching, but none are listening, and some try reaching, but all keep missing.
Track Name: Sense of Denial
I am in free fall and obsession,
I am a fool who knows not what to do.
Hear my silent pained confession,
the one who could not find his way to you.

Me, I'm just an echo
of the man I longed to be.
So far away, a stranger in so many ways.
A fading rumor, an empty phrase.

I'll put you off until tomorrow
and hope that some chance for us remains.
But that future has grown hollow,
choked by regrets that slowly stake their claim.

You have got my number,
you know, the one you never call.
My image fades, I've never held your smiling face...
now you're aglow in a distant place.

(C) This sense of denial, the roads I'll never walk again.
Our funeral, my trial, my hopes all bruised and bound and chained.

I'll wallow in inept confusion,
and pray for time to take me away
from my excuses and conclusions...
wasted years full of empty days.

We just never happened.
Nowhere is the nothing that we shared,
just hollow space, an unlit candle,
an empty vase on a table love never graced.
Track Name: Tiny Murders
Tiny Murders

Tiny murders happen every day, never to make the front page.
Borne by the stains within my heart. Expanding to poison every part.

That which lives in all of us undermining human trust,
with no warning or alert all my noble thoughts desert.

I can feel it.

Pulled between the demons and the saints, all charity my selfishness taints.
I’m mourning my long-dead purity, drowned by my cruel maturity.

I peer inside and watch it writhe, under my faith, below my pride.
My better angels all struck dumb as my weary will succumbs.

(C) It shuns the day and stays out of the light. It’s sorry soul a tempest and a blight.
To know this thing and call it by its name, it can be calmed but it can never be tamed.

Therapy and cheerful words all fail...its subtlety and longer reach prevail.
Coiled to strike, the poisoned serpent’s sting, to devastate and foul all wishful things.

And the damage I will do: savaging me, savaging you.
A sad smile upon my face, I’ll make our world a darker place.

I can feel it.

(C) I hear the scream of despots in my blood and watch the stream as it becomes a flood.
To know this thing and call it by its name, it can be calmed but it can never be tamed.
Track Name: Futile Rockets Fall
Futile Rockets Fall

A daughter cries and says goodnight to a soldier's photograph. I miss the skies seen in your eyes, I miss the heavens of your laugh.
I try to smile, yet all the while I muster all the strength I can. Without my friend I'm weaker then when it all began.

(C) Waiting, waiting...lives torn asunder. Hating that you answered the call.
Am I a casualty I wonder, when futile rockets fall?

For three long years I lived in fear I’d never see you once again. Despite the pain it remains a question not of if, but when.
When will we be one again, when will it be? When will it be, my love? When will you come home again? Return to me…return to me.

(C) Waiting, waiting...lives torn asunder. Hating that you answered the call.
Are we all just victims I wonder, when futile rockets fall?

On my face a lone tear stings, a freezing place as the phone here rings.

As time goes by, I try and try to remain composed and strong. The world is cold, I feel so old…the nights they now seem twice as long.
When will we be one again, when will it be? When will it be, my love? When will you come home again? Return to me…return to me.
Track Name: Angry Blue Planet
You think you're on the way up,
it's clear to see I'm headed down.
Will you extend your hands to mine
and catch me before I hit the ground?
You can't see to fight your nature,
the siren song of your selfish seed.
Your lust for all that glitters,
the faded line between your wants and needs.

(C) Your goodnight song of waste and wanton greed,
the trough of plenty where you endlessly feed.
The fate of sea and sky so surely sealed:
billions of scars that go unhealed.

You are a plague, you spoil everything you see,
and you forget that you all live off me.
Track Name: Win
Win

We’re entrenched, convicted, embattled and upset.
Cursing vows as mistakes as joy fades to regret.
We lift our heads skyward and mock the silent stars
as wills collide and night divides the sum of who we are.

(C) I don’t want to win if winning means losing you.

Count the hours of weakness against the minutes of restraint.
Take the pulse of honesty as it grows slow and faint.
For every accusation, a snide sneering retort.
We’re full of bad intentions and lies of last resort.

(C) I don’t want to win if winning means losing you.

You’re standing there and I’m standing here,
were you inside of me you couldn’t be more near.
We choke on the words that we both want to hear,
self-righteous, paralyzed, made mute by rage and fear.

Victory is tragedy and certainty is doubt.
Two directions left to us, leading in or out.
You extend a hand to mine (iron fist in velvet glove).
I relent and draw you close, pay the humbling toll of love.

(C) I don’t want to win if winning means losing you.