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Five Inch Step

from by The Pawnshop Manual



Although this is the shortest piece of music I’ve ever written, it continues to be one of my favourites. It is by far the oldest song on this album, recorded more than four years ago. Written, recorded and mixed in one day, it’s a combination of several ideas I had at the time: Sampled Gagaku (Japanese Imperial Court Music), sampled radio signals from Saturn, Dostoevsky, and polyrhythmic ingredients that play differently depending on how the piece is played. If you play the song regularly, it asks a question in 4/4 time – but if you play the track in reverse, the answer is given in 3/4 time. The frustration of being unable to change the world, as well as feelings of anger and defeatism are the central themes of this album, so I see this song as a fitting opener. The first step to a solution is within the question, but only if we approach it from a different angle.


“We wish to, and can, move mountains; from our hearts flows the purest well-spring of love for all humanity....It’s impossible to take a five-inch step when we wish to walk in seven-league boots! Can a giant teach a child to read?” To which Dostoevsky replies in his own voice: “There it is: sacrifice all your titanism to the general good; take a five-inch step instead of a seven-league one; accept wholeheartedly the idea that if you are unable to advance further, five inches is all the same worth more than nothing. Sacrifice everything, even your grandeur and your great ideas, for the general good: stoop down, stoop down, as low as the level of a child” – Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time


from Parcels & Polaroids, released February 10, 2011
Written and Performed by The Pawnshop Manual

Artwork and Design by Eric Anderson (




The Pawnshop Manual

The Pawnshop Manual make intellectual and infectious pop that satisfies the listener's yearning for music that asks big questions and mulls the answers thoughtfully and creatively.

To express these complex themes, The Pawnshop Manual draws from musical influences ranging from world music, rock, pop, folk, electronica and classical music. One could say Radiohead meets Björk meets Arcade Fire.
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