Sunday, February 26, 2012

revisiting 3 - march 2011

Our March 2011 tune, "hours are seconds", used Paul McCartney's 1971 song "Ram On" as a model. I had been listening to McCartney's album, Ram, and loved how simple that song was. Not surprisingly, the tune has this great singability, with a lovely giant melodic leap in the middle of the phrase on the word "soon", which ends up kind of high in his tessitura, and he holds it a long time to give more emphasis to the word. Then the line dies out with a repeat of the last words "right away." After a little instrumental turnabout, the whole phrase repeats a few more times.

Using "Ram On" as a reference point, I set about trying to create a monks tune. I don't think our song really sounds much like McCartney's, but if you listen to the melodic approach to the verse it's in there, with some similar chords and melodic contour, and even a little tag at the end of the verse that's reminiscent of "right away". At our behest, Heidi wrote the lyrics for "hours are seconds", replacing the lyrics in my demo. I like Heidi's lyrics, as she thinks about things very differently (and more poetically) than I do. But it was also eye-opening to experience the effect it had on the song, as some of the lyrical patterning that I had based on the emotional impact of the McCartney tune was changed to fit these new words that didn't bear any relation.

Not that Paul McCartney needs the additional business, but you can pick up Ram here if you'd like to check out the whole album:

Friday, February 3, 2012

revisiting 2 - february

"east of the lake", our 02/11 february tune, ended up being one of our best 2011 songs to perform live - the others are probably "outer darkness" and "waiting for you to return". It's funny how some songs immediately come together with the band while others never work after loads of effort. We often have problems with live translations of these songs because they have so many layers, but sometimes they just work anyway, while others don't. I've given up trying to predict it.

This was a fun video to shoot with Anna, traipsing around in the cold frozen marshes at the back of my university campus.  Most of our videos don't include us in them (in fact only two of them do), but I think the addition of a person added a nice touch to this one. Of course, since we had to get up at an absurd hour to shoot it, I certainly hope it was worth the effort! that's me walking around at the end of the video:

I had a pretty complete demo of "east of the lake" when we started the month, so we created "across gelid waters" in inverse process to how we'd created "adrift in white" in January, with Eric coming up with guitar parts that fit over top of my demo.  Then we separated out those guitar parts and turned them into their own song. The "ahhs" that got added to this always made me think of the vocal parts in this Ulver tune "Eitttlane", from one of my favorite quirky albums of theirs "A Quick Fix of Melancholy".

You can read more about ulver here: