Aqueous Transmission

Album: Morning View (2001)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • In an interview to promote the Morning View album, lead singer Brandon Boyd said "Aqueous Transmission" was "perhaps our most ambitious work to date."

    "It was first conceived with an instrument quite alien to Incubus and all of rock music to be precise," added. "A 'Ko-kyu' is what was used here and it was donated by a very generous and talented man by the name of Steve Vai. One late evening we began conjuring and experimenting with this track and it quickly brought to mind the image and analogy of floating freely down a river; hence the content of the song. Our friend Suzi Katayama, who has in the past worked string arrangements with the likes of Björk, Madonna and even Yours Truly for an acoustic performance in LA, lent her classical finesse to this story. And in doing so helped it become exactly what we envisioned; a song so atmospheric and vibratory, it would make those who listened to it doze off into a land of rivers, kung fu and unicorns, eventually making the listener pee in her/his pants. (Attainable goals I think, but please don't operate any heavy machinery while listening to this one.)" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Landon - Effingham, IL
  • The noises at the end are thousands of frogs that were recorded outside the Malibu mansion where Incubus recorded Morning View. It wasn't easy to get the sound - every time they'd come out to record, the frogs would shut up. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Pittsburgh, PA
  • The slow and mellow track was not anything like the band had ever done before. Mike Einziger played the pipa, which is a traditional Chinese instrument and a Japanese orchestra accompanied the band.

    Boyd told NME he and Einziger grew up mutually obsessed with Björk's music. "There was so much we loved about it: the weirdness of it, the instrumentation, the arrangements, the choices that she was making and that the producers were making," he explained. "So we were like, let's make a super Björky sounding breakbeat that's really cool and eerie and mellow."

    The two made a beat together, then Einziger started playing the pipa. "I don't even think it was tuned properly," Boyd said. "I think he tuned it to just a D. And it sounded awesome."

    He continued: "From there, I started messing around with the lyrics, and I remember when he started playing that little riff over that kind of trip-hop sounding beat, I just started singing: 'I'm floating down a river.' That's what it sounded like. To me, it sounded like we were on this psychedelic river cruise somewhere. It was heavily leafed and wooded with the sound of nature around us."

Comments: 26

  • Jen from Sherwood ArkansasOnce upon a time I was madly in love with a man, this was OUR SONG. So hypnotic, I cry just typing these words remembering the beautiful times together listening to this song. People talk about how a song changed their life, well this is the song that changed 2 people's hearts. One night we put this song on repeat for what seamed as if it faded into an eternity of bliss. I wish I could say we had a happy ending but drugs overruled those emotions, I can say we saw each other 1 night and ended up listening to that song, hugging and crying all the way through. So much emotion in that song, I absolutely love it even if it hurts my heart now. Let's float on down the river.
  • Lizs from Baltimore I was lucky enough to meet incubus in 2011 and all I wanted to talk to Brandon about was this song. I had painted something that depicted to me in my mind what the river looked like at night… anyway, he told me he wrote it while going through one of the most emotional breakups of his entire life and it was like a way to help him let go. He’s amazing in person, they all are.
  • Paul from Jacksonville, FlI like that Brett from Watertown referenced the Beatles lyrics from Tomorrow Never Dies, which are in an idea Lennon had from Dr. Leary's The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I definitely think that the two songs are ideologically connected.

    "Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream,
    It is not dying, it is not dying."

    It's also interesting to look at another Beatles song Within You Without You, written by Harrison. He sings that "and the time will come when you see
    we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you."

    The motif of the flow or flux of energy/connectivity and the way in which it is frequently compared to water's passage is something that comes up in a lot of music. Incubus has done a great job with this song.
  • John from Tomball, Txthis song chillaxes or relills(whichever one u use) me to sleep.....
  • Timmy from Mukilteo, Waone of the most genious songs ever written
  • Phil from High Wycombe, United KingdomI think the voice at 2:50 represents the radio signal of the antenna that brandon is building.
    This song is musicaly & lyricaly genius.
  • Josh from New York, Nygreatest. stoner song. ever
  • Diane from Orlando, FlI love this song, my son suggested I listen to it, said he thought I would like it. He and his friends agreed you can't listen to it while driving a car... unsafe. I listened and was hooked. I use it for tai chi and also for just relaxing. I get terrible migraines and it seems to be the best way to transport me to a painfree, peaceful place. Amazing, really, beyond music. To me it completely accomplishes the ambitious goals dicussed above in a way nothing else does.
  • Emma from San Deigo, Cai looooove this song it is truly amazing!
    everything about this song is perfect!
    this song makes me forget everything around me and just go into some kind of trance !
    Brandon was right it always makes me think of floating down a river...i also think it is pretty cool that they recorded the frogs outside of where they were recording!:)
    p e a c e
  • Gabby from Winston Salem, Ncif you listen really carefully you can hear the band talking at the end of the song. i love the part where brandon sings "will i make it back to shore or drift into the unknown"
  • Poop from Poopville, Moperfect ending to a great album.
  • Audrey Jennings from Chicago, IlI fell in love to this song.
  • Doug from Balintore, Scotlandthe only complaint about this song would be that it's not long enough
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaI love the instruments in this song. I love the line "further down the river"
  • Joe from Charlotte, NcYou can almost feel the relaxing high that the "river" brings. This song is about 2 people who start an addiction together from a first person perspective. He marvels at the stars and feels his heart overflow. "Maybe we can meet again, further down the river. And share what we both discovered, and marvel in the view." Incubus rarely sings about hard drugs. This is the exception.
  • Dave from Philadelphia, PaThis song will put you right to sleep..it's so relaxing. The frogs at the end really tops off the calmness of this masterpiece.
  • Russell from Scotland, United Statesat about 2:50 into the song there is a quiet voice in the background, anyone know what it says?
  • Tim from Pittsburgh, PaEven compared to some of their acoustic songs, this song, in my opinion, is their most relaxing and ambient one.
  • Dan from Tacoma, WaAqueous Tansmission is a beautiful song. Very interesting Asiatic touch with the string instrument. I cannot wait to have a child and play this in the baby room. Soothing, relaxing and innovative! I heard this song once and I had to buy the whole CD!
  • Erika from Yuma, Azthis song should be yused in yoga classes ive driven my familly insane i play it every time im stressed out about anything and thats pretty much 12 hours of the day!
  • Brett from Watertown, Sd"Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream" -Beatles
  • Amanda from Waurika, Okthis song i among my favorite of Incubus... the song is soothing and graceful and relaxing and elegant and beautiful....it is great to give massages to and great to fall asleep to as well
    hey this song would be good to have an orgy to and Are You In would be good to since that is what it is about but it would just because they are so slow and brandons voice is so sexy and smooth, just like him...I love this songs range as well...it is such a different song than all the rest of their songs...
  • Jess from Springfeild, IlThis song is a perfect song to smoke to. It is so chill.
  • Desirae from Harrison, OhIncubus is one of the best today, that is one of my favorites, Brandon Boyd has a awesome voice and the song is very relaxing to listen to and of course he is very relaxing to look at!
  • Alan from Delray Beach, FlWonderful song. Lasts around 7 minutes, and delivers such an ambience and atmosphere that many songs have failed to do. One of my favorite from Incubus.
  • Alatriel from Lothlorien, OtherI love this song. So soothing and quiet...so different than myself.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Actors With Hit Songs

Actors With Hit SongsMusic Quiz

Many actors have attempted music, but only a few have managed a hit. Do you know which of these thespians charted?

Michael Sweet of Stryper

Michael Sweet of StryperSongwriter Interviews

Find out how God and glam metal go together from the Stryper frontman.

Songs About Movies

Songs About MoviesSong Writing

Iron Maiden, Adele, Toto, Eminem and Earth, Wind & Fire are just some of the artists with songs directly inspired by movies - and not always good ones.

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.