More Heart Than Brains

by Bike For Three!

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about

Bike For Three! is the well-lucked and mysterious cross-continental duo of Canadian indie-rap legend Richard Terfry (Buck 65) and budding Belgian electronicist Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê (Greetings From Tuskan). Shrouded in strange magic, anchored by the heavy stuff of life, and lifted by a mutual magnetism still uncharted, their music is a bright/stunning combination of downtempo textures, smart pop, and exposed lyrical bones.

Over 15 years, Richard has carved out a corner of hip-hop history by unraveling ornate and dust-caked yarns, often over beat-addled soundscapes, as on his seminal “Language Arts” album series (Anticon released part three, Man Overboard, in ’01), and unadorned as well (he recently became host of CBC’s “Radio 2 Drive” show). For his last record, 2007’s Situation (released on Sage Francis’ Strange Famous label), the man crafted an entire song-cycle around the narrative minutiae of 1957—Rich’s love for a good story is famous. Considering, he couldn’t have found a better partner for his latest work.

Joëlle was raised in Brussels by her Vietnamese mother, a painter and a chef, and remembers fondly the piquant scents she’d chase around mom’s restaurant. She was infatuated with the piano at her primary school, and took lessons when she wasn’t painting or tinkering with music boxes. She learned cello too, pursued photography (she’s now a successful digital video artist), and studied music theory in college, where she discovered that art-making brought back her childhood memories in vivid detail. She has magic secrets—and perhaps a touch of clairvoyance—that she put to work in creating 2006’s striking Greetings From Tuskan LP debut, Lullabies For The Warriors. To this day, there are details that even Rich doesn’t understand about Joëlle’s immaculate productions. Naturally, that’s another detail that he loves.
Bike For Three!’s constituent parts have never met in person, and they might not ever. She found him, and their story unfurls in real time along with their songs. Joëlle sends Rich music; Rich writes to the moods and movements that she’s designed; Joëlle nurtures each piece into an animate whole. Bf3! actually finds Buck 65 eschewing traditional narrative forms in favor of an intimate stream of consciousness (offset by tight rhyme cadence) that mines the craggier depths of romance both requited and out-of-reach, real and imagined (which perfectly befits Bf3!’s working relationship). The things Rich wouldn’t speak of in conversation thus become part of the conversation happening on record.

More Heart Than Brains, Bf3!’s album debut, is Buck 65’s first record to feature all electronic production. Of course, Joëlle has a few acoustic tricks up her sleeve—those music boxes from her youth, for instance—and an approach that seats her comfortably amongst such mercurial beat auteurs as Boom Bip, Modeselektor, Michna, and labelmate Alias. That Rich returns to Anticon a nearly decade later to release his most personal album yet is both an honor and the logical continuation of the label’s own story (Sage Francis did the same with Personal Journals in ’02). As for Bike For Three!, consider this Chapter One.

credits

released 26 May 2009
Written and produced by Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê

Words and lyrics by Ricardo Terfry (Buck 65)

released on ANTICON

contact: joelle@anticon.com

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Bike For Three! Huron East, Ontario

Bike For Three! is the well-lucked and mysterious cross-continental duo of Canadian indie-rap legend Richard Terfry (Buck 65) and budding Belgian electronicist Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê (Greetings From Tuskan).

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Track Name: All There Is To Say About Love
Dragonflies and the agonizing blast from a gun.
Under a magnifying glass in the sun.
You ran fast and you won. It takes time to heal a wing.
A hundred year old photograph doesn't feel a thing.
Tracked courses. The parable lacked sources.
Unbearable first memories of terrible black horses.
Question the funeral procession and the pageant.
The home we chose vs. the one that we imagined.

Break chains...
Make change...
Break chains...

I was boxing with a ghost and drawing maps
While bells were accidentally announcing the collapse.
Trial by journalist and crushed beneath heavy light.
Child's handwriting: I cry for you every night.
... the lonely end. I love you. You're my only friend.

Sailor vs. salesman and nothing bores a genius.
Oceans and time zones. Six doors between us.
Eyes that burn holes through people and indignant hisses.
Alone in our rooms with cures for malignant kisses.
Oh my God. Oh my god. The broken man that cries, 'believe me'.
Merciless, the wind at night and scared to death, my eyes deceive me.
Tie my hands behind my back. Question marks surround my head.
My legs know how to love someone. Alas, there's walls around my bed.

Over the phone, it's good to know we're not alone
With all the broken parts in the world and our own.
The sleeping ache. All the messes that we make.
Sound, you can count on me to come around when you break.
Track Name: Lazarus Phenomenon
The boy was an old cat and the girl was a clever mouse.
Didn't matter where they went, in whichever house,
Motel, suitcases and rental cars,
Photos and empty bottles memories and mental scars.
Raising heck, surveying damages, appraising wrecks.
Long nights and fights that ended with amazing sex.
Moments that were equally quiet and uproarious.
Frequently slow dancing in the kitchen, it was glorious.
Unknowns, they broke each other's bones and built camp fires.
They jumped out of windows and lived like vampires.
They'd bathe in the same water, same anguish.
They spoke bad French but laughed in the same language.
The boy was an old cat and the girl was a clever mouse.
Unswimmable waters and flames they could never douse.
One minute they were millionaires, the next they'd be the poorest.
What he liked about her was that she could see the forest.
Steering clear of some troubles and averting wrongs,
They drew curtains and died together over certain songs.
Opposites, theirs was a friendship of the rare sort.
They'd steal books and talk dirty at the airport.
Evangelists amongst themselves, it was scandalous.
Company was kept by Joan of Los Angeles.
Diamonds and crying eyes, short tempers and fast drives.
Promises and unsolved mysteries and past lives...
I can't help but wonder,
Will you recognize my face?
I hope so...
Here it's perfectly dark.
The girl was a clever mouse and the boy was an old cat.
Diamonds are forever, but they were never told that.
He'd lay there beside her, awake for safekeeping
While she'd ask questions to the river while she was sleeping.
And who by accident? The emptiness had grown quick.
She stood on his shoulders but for heaven he was homesick.
Long before the end came he already missed her.
She went slowly out of focus and he died without a whisper.
And I can't help but wonder,
Will you recognize my face?
I hope so...
Here's it's perfectly dark.
Track Name: Nightdriving
Night driving. Faced my wheel.
Both of my legs replaced by steel.
Lights in my eyes. Rear-view rosary.
Woke up this morning with your blood all over me.
My finger drew a deep red line.
Shout. Living without dead time.
Scared, yes. That would be a fair guess.
A New York City that couldn't care less.
Nights in Paris I just about died.
Behind doors that locked only on the outside.
Wandering hope attacked by worries.
Bended. Attended to by furies.
Communion swallowed, my head hung.
Taste of paper on my tongue.
'I see nothing', the driver said,
'I can't tell if I'm alive or dead'.
I'm a runaway...
Ten to two and the highway's divided.
Don't look back - my way's decided.
Milk's been spilt, the wall's been built.
Bones like glass and painted-over guilt.
Unanswered questions I fed on in prison.
Opposite fears in head-on collision.
I am the passenger - passionate, ill-at-ease.
Silver teeth and psychic abilities.
Roots and wires. Evens and odds.
Degrees of perfection. Demons and gods.
The loneliest hunter, fists in his pockets.
Waits and distances, pistons and rockets.
No going back. Black afternoons and red nights.
Lost in thought and caught in the headlights.
Into the unknown, I better arrive.
I can't tell if I'm dead or alive.
I'm a runaway...
Track Name: There Is Only One Of Us
Whispering ghosts. Seduction unlikely.
Just out of reach. The Abduction of Psyche.
The small violences...
The emptiness of chairs and freezing cold silences.
Words that could ruin me. Sharp knives and peeling paint.
Wanting to be deep inside you and feeling faint.
It's hard. We are lost.
Invisible to each other. On fire and star crossed.
There's a circle around you and caring loves.
It's like I'm touching your face while I'm wearing gloves.
The trees keep our secrets. Eternities curse them.
Evil and pure, the winds try to coherse them.
Echoing stillness, reduced with kisses.
Lower case x's and useless wishes.
Cuts on your skin that are deep but are fast healing.
The edges, the one way streets and the glass ceiling.
This is a sickness that embraces me warmly.
Something obscene. A machine that speaks for me.
It makes me nervous...
I miss you though. I wish that I could kiss you slow.
There's a shadow on my heart and it goes against.
The feuding sea. This house is empty including me.
I don't wish to be alone but what am I supposed to do?
Being sung to sleep each night by the ghost of you.

There's only one of us, parallel, nowhere to dwell.
Valuable and rare as well, thinking thoughts we're scared to tell.

There's only one of us, far apart, it's hard to start.
Looking for a star to chart. All alone and heart to heart.
Track Name: No Idea How
Steady. Unbreakable. Consistent. Fast.
Dirt. Everything begins in the distant past.
The sun rose. A clock started counting. A noise came.
I got a crush on a girl with a boy's name...

Starting with nothing and building a tragic notion
With sparks, a hammer and nails, a magic potion
And drift wood. Ideas this good rarely fail.
Anniversary time. A nursery rhyme. A fairy tale.
The colour green. The greatest hits and worst misses.
Laying down in the bed together and first kisses.
Which way is up? And who's fingerprints is this?
Being born is agony and ignorance is bliss.
And I'm so lost...

And right now the night owl delivers us to bad dreams.
Tears that turn into vapour and sad screams.
War all the time. This is how the attack sounded.
Objects of desire obscured and backgrounded.
It's unfair. One pair tortured and separated.
Red is the colour now - everything is decorated.
It's the hand you're dealt and the card played.
Burning the house down and learning the hard way.
Digging the exact same hole that's been dug before.
Sexual want - it's a perpetual tug of war.
Exploding hearts and mistakes that spark demolition.
Hunger with sharp claws and dark premonition.
And I'm so lost...

Carefully organized cruelty and measured violence.
Treasured silence. Stranded on dessert islands.
Dull pain that holds me with deep persistence.
Freezing cold and being told to keep your distance.
The blood that won't stop bleeding is hell's prize.
Cursing yourself and the mirror that tells lies.
Voices are everywhere I look and keep talking.
Memory serves and the whole world is sleep walking.
Bad things, bad things on the check-list.
Already checked off, random and reckless.
Breathing fire and outrage, I swear and swear.
It's everyday life - the jack hammer and wear and tear.
I question myself and the reply of the swarm.
The slow death of the pen and the eye of the storm.
Inside the lightning bolts and the snakes are woken.
Feels like hell on wheels and the brakes are broken.
And I'm so lost...

Here comes the end. It's the future. Belief.
With it comes death and what a relief.
It's night time. The colour is black. It's the void.
And sometimes it's pretty when things are destroyed.
This is what love looks like, it's unbearable.
The sun is a constant. The moon is a variable.
The shedding of skin, of time and regret.
Remembering how good it feels to forget.
I'm so lost...
Track Name: Always I Will Miss You. Always You.
Left to our own devices, preciseness,
We've made something indestructible and priceless.
Lightning is the fury. Thunder the obsession.
Hours in between and I'm under the impression.
When I heard your music I tried to dance and fell.
Advancing well, but I don't have a chance in hell.
Enhance. Excell. The darkest night - I should have been there.
But every time I come close you disappear into thin air.
I walk a mile through broken fields and bandaged woods.
We talk a while. The words are incoherent. I'm damaged goods.
I try to work my way down a list of growing factors
But instead I'm going backwards.
There's been an accident. Condition stable. Intravenous.
Holding your hand with the kitchen table in between us.
Your perfect hands - I recognize them right away.
Your naked truth that will never see the light of day.
We speak a secret language. Explaining scars,
Birds in the trees, waterfalls and flaming stars.
All the little things that can take my breath away.
Lying to myself, I fake my death today.
(Why am I doing this...)
Leavin' to stay. Tomorrow - all hail to it.
Blank piece of paper. Bored with a nail through it.
You belong to something else - part of my dreams.
Different story. I'm coming apart at the seams.
The face you want to know and the mask you touch.
I don't know what's worse and I ask too much.
Going down on each other and caught in the act.
Up against the wall and shot in the back.
Two rivers. Similarity and other-ness.
Another day in a life that is motherless.
Thorn in the side. Diamonds adorn the sky.
I'm under the impression and I was born to die.
Track Name: The Departure
Without everything else. Heavily and only-less.
Late at night in a city known for loneliness.
The words written are up for interpretation.
The ring on your finger cut off your circulation.
Working your patience, also nobody else's.
So bloody. Mark and trust your dark impulses.
See your own breath. Freezing cold and feelingless.
Why ask questions when words are just meaningless?
The picture of emptiness. The high wall it's mounted on.
The disappearance of the one person you counted on.
Nothing to look forward to. A painful past to sever.
Call off the search for something that lasts forever.
Close your eyes tight and break the bottle lightly.
Fall to the floor and bleed. God almighty.
Process of elimination. It's part of the pain.
The start of it's reign. It's hard to explain.
Playing dead. Cry your eyes out. Faint instead.
Under attack. Black walls. Paint them red.
Kiss the ghost. Listen close. Hear the curse.
Reveal the worry. Feel the fury. Fear the worst.

Home remedies. Witchcraft and wizardry.
This space for rent. Torment and misery.
Intelligent hands wait for the day to arrive.
The need to feel pain as a way to survive.
Exorcising demons and other things we try to do.
Cut yourself open to show me what's inside of you.
Scars all over your body, fast and clever.
Finally, something that will last forever.

Dark lives. Sharp knives. Pieces of glass.
Lets all the air out. Releases the gas...
Track Name: First Embrace
Pouring rain. Roaring pain. Girl meets boy meets holy ghost.
Solitary. Lonely most. Spend the night. Hold me close.
Take my pulse. Swing your hips. Written on the singer's lips.
Heaven's breeze. The seven seas. Hidden places. Fingertips.
The body breaks. Seeds are planted. Architecture. Demolition.
Lightning struck then God made woman. Deja vu and premonition.
Places traded. Worst replaced. Blessed. Rewarded. Cursed. Disgraced.
Brought to life. Reversed. Erased. Final breath and first embrace.
Burn a hole.
Return. Behold.
Learn the roll.
Earn control.
Burn a hole. Tell the joke. Compel. Provoke. Smell the smoke.
Burn a hole. Quite a catch. Might attach. Light a match.
Don't forget. Joke and threat. Word that's not been spoken yet.
Broke. In debt. Smoke and sweat. Burning hot and soaking wet.
Little death. Tiny violence. Every night at war with you.
Blackbirds fly backwards. Something to look forward to.
Fingers crossed and candles blown out, just to be the one selected.
Greatest hits and worst misses. First kisses. Unexpected.
Places traded. Worst replaced. Blessed. Rewarded. Cursed. Disgraced.
Brought to life. Reversed. Erased. Final breath and first embrace.
Track Name: Can Feel Love (anymore)
There's a baby girl on the way. Blow your horn.
Know your warning. And last night becomes tomorrow morning.
She'll know everything there is to know at first.
And that's why she'll cry sometimes and show it hurts.
The pain is far away and finally it'll worsen.
Then big, round tummy becomes tiny, little person.
Straight lines and sharp edges. Adequate. Suitable.
What'll go through her mind when she sees something beautiful?
What will her favourite music be? Displays of words,
Marvelling in front of mirrors and ways of birds.
Everyday miracles of men and god the savior.
Satellites in space. Patterns and odd behaviour.
Thoughts that wander aimlessly and unstoppable growth.
Will she think the falling rain is sad, beautiful, or both?
She'll sleep through the storm and run in the breeze
With the unexplained everything and sun in the trees

Probably
Because
Maybe
No matter what

One day she'll find her own way to Wonderland.
She'll probably see things that we'll never understand.
I can't remember the day I became my own someone.
And where did my concept of beauty come from?
What happened to me that I'm so afraid to drown?
Afraid of the dark? Afraid of letting people down?
To take care of myself - my parents taught me how.
But they probably never imagined me alone like I am now...

Lawless love. Long lines of string.
Garbage on the ground and first signs of spring.
A million things to look at. Long days forget the weather.
The strength of a heart and the way things fit together.
Words in the dictionary, including 'grief' and 'tragic'.
Scientific method combined with a belief in magic.
Wood vs. steel. Shoulder blade and collar bone.
Fears that we all have and ones that are all her own.
The truth that hurts and facts have laws.
Kids can be cruel and cats have claws.
The sounds of all kinds of collisions and ticking clocks.
Learning how to tie her shoes and picking locks.
Flashing lights. The tapes that didn't rewind back.
Feet in shoes and eyes hidden behind black.
Detached shadows. Her weakness and divinity.
First moment. Might need. Light speed. Infinity...
Track Name: One More Time Forever
Rioting quietly. We started fires and threw bricks.
Ignition. The rubbing together of two sticks.
Dead dog. New tricks. Left alone. Keep this right.
Looking for the cheapest flight and yet another sleepless night.
Bad dreams - the deepest fright. Endeavor through hallways.
Pitch-black, endless. Saying 'never' to always.
Once the doors open, the audience will file in.
Then you piano and I try to violin.
I fall to the floor in dementia and protest.
My job is to translate into a language that's grotesque.
Drowning in the open waters of frustration and frank rage.
It troubles the heart and I'm left staring at the blank page.
The distorted floor beneath me and blurry skies.
Hands that are on fire can't hide worried eyes.
The cold sets in, in the autumn of a hell
And I concentrate on the answer at the bottom of a well...
In exile...
In exile...
One more time forever for the mourner
Dressed in all-black and painted into a corner.
Rock-hard weeks compared to the soft minutes.
The few and far-between and words that are off limits.
The horses all ran away. They ran away. The birds dispelled.
Eyes that may never make contact and words withheld.
All the cats are black and the sidewalk's cracked.
I've been down so long, I don't know how to act.
Appearing real. Strangling the steering wheel and choking throttles.
Thinking the worst and drinking from broken bottles.
The deepest breath: held it in. A skeleton that grows twisted.
Are we reading from the right script? Tight-lipped and closed fisted.
Bearing a task. All the questions we're caring to ask
While keeping our guards up and wearing a mask.
Making art. The war being waged and taking part.
Seeing the stars fall and the sound of a breaking heart, like...
Track Name: Let's Never Meet
Somewhere unseen and under the covers deep.
The edge of a cliff. A burning circle. A lover's leap
And the unmade bed. Two of us dying silently.
Voices that barely exist crying violently.
Speaking an unknown tongue, we listen oddly.
Watching you tremble as my needs are disembodied.
It's shocking. The way you make me feel is my sovereignty.
Figments of my imagination and it's poverty.
A double-edged sword that chooses with cold desire.
Well acquainted with pain, I want to hold your fire.
Unfinished artwork, you're perfect. My mouth hurts.
Aggravated and jealous, I navigate the outskirts.
Stresses. Second guesses are a fact of life.
Sometimes we go to the altar for a sacrifice.
Telling each other what we want to hear - ignore the rest.
Then again, maybe we should never meet - it's for the best.
Let's never meet and regret a past endeavour.
What we have is rare indeed and guaranteed to last forever.
We'll always wonder but the truth is irrefutable.
The way it is now is so painful and beautiful...
Maybe there's a place we can go that's behind doors.
A place where you could shelter my body with yours.
Sorry for so long and wanting to be sorry-er.
Young gun. Sleepless, the unsung warrior.
A button that erases history. Words that nullify.
Infidelity and the melody of the lullaby.
Jealousy. Exile. Handcuffed and blindfolded.
Reckless. One thousand kisses as a necklace.
X's and O's. Bad habits that rose to fashion.
Whispers turn into screams in the throws of passion.
The blood in my veins and part of me is dead still.
My muscles are tired from running on this treadmill.
The sun don't shine. In the sky is a sleepy storm.
In the room, under a blanket, keep me warm.
I'd cut myself in half if it made sense to.
I run from myself and trespass against you.
And as love desires we wait until the very end.
You're a dream I had, an imaginary friend.
The dangerous angel. Kisses denied me.
But somehow I'm awake and your breath is inside me.
Nowhere to live, I'm much stronger than before.
Still though, I don't want to be strong anymore.
I'm preyed upon and followed. I move to survive.
She hunts in the fall. Once and for all - prove you're alive!
Love stays away from me. I'm out of breath generally.
Damned if I do and I face the death penalty.
The walls may come down but the flames climb.
Maybe if we both let go at the same time.
If only just once we can withdraw in private,
Hurricanes will come but maybe we'll survive it.
And if nothing kills us now, then surely something later would.
Let's never meet - it's probably for the greater good...