Monday, 24 June 2013

Minneapolis Blue

Previously on  this blog I mentioned that it felt like September 1995 - and it got me thinking, what exactly was it about that  time that I can feel?  I  think it was the atmosphere - it had been a long hot summer, I don't remember a bad day and I was outdoors for most of it.  Then when the autumn came it was quite harsh - lately we've had some mild September - November bits but not 1995.  It was cold.  All the time. 

I spent lots of time in the 'studio' writing the 'Intermezzo' album and a lot of time between lectures at univeristy in Sunderland Museum.  I wrote the lyrics for 'Shame' in there, one of the only songs that I wrote entirely on that album - the rest coming from Douglas and his temporary exile in Ilkley.  The song I have most affection for from that period (apart from Demons and Angels) was Minneapolis Blue and although I remember it coming to the fore in one of the song writing sessions I had with Douglas, he assures me 'Minneapolis Blue' was hanging around for a few years beforehand.  A love story, the guy in the song had planned to spend Christmas in Minneapolis with his girl, but the song tells of the breakdown of that relationship.  The depth in the lyrics made it feel like Douglas had actually been there himself.  In another creative lapse for this new album I've dug out the old C90 hissy recording and 're-done' it - there's two versions - an uptempo bass driven introduction and a melacholic airy double bass and flute lament.

They'll be up on soundcloud before you know it along with another song I've been meaning to re-do since it was first recorded in 1996.  It's called 'Belong to me' and hopefully it'll turn out how it was intended.

Then back to the new album.  I promise.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Promises are snowflakes

It's really hard sometimes, moulding what you hear in your head with the sounds you have available.  I don't drum and I don't play guitar past grade 2 standard (probably not even that high) so I find my expression limited.  I feel a bit like Brian Eno in the early 80's when he did that 'atmospheric' album - stuck with whooshy synth sounds and metallic pads.  However, sometimes, those sounds and atmosphere sit perfectly.  As proved by 'I'm sorry I haven't a Clue' when they do the 'one song to the tune of another' - the connection between the words and the music is so important.  It doesn't seem so I suppose when you're listing to a song on the radio, it just kinda goes but when you try and sing the lyrics of 'Girlfriend in a coma' by The Smiths to the tune of 'Tiptoe through the tulips', you get what I mean.

Promises are Snowflakes is one of Doug's gems.  In the lyric it states literally that 'your promises are cold' but it goes deeper than that.  The promise is made, and it seems so robust and heartfelt until time causes that snowflake to fade and melt and dissappear - the meaning all but lost.  That's where Doug excels, and I managed to get a rough demo of a couple of verses and choruses down this morning.  At the moment, you can't really tell where the bridge and the chorus meet - you'll be able to with the vocals on  top but I think the 'segway' itself needs to be more prominent.  I'll just give it a whirl and see!

Ten contenders now for the final cut and another fifteen bits and peices which may or may not be developed.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I've got ISSUES

I have a foible.  I can't think of another word for it - a sickness? a deep issue? Whatever it is, I am obsessed with hearing a song and going 'that sounds like...'.  I do it all the time - there are at least six songs in the charts right now that sound like 70s or 80s songs - which either means there's a finite combination of notes and they're bound to come back round or they're blatantly stealing stuff without giving the original artist credit. 

I once posted on a forum about a song that sounded like something else and everyone went ballistic saying it wasn't stolen, it was a 'homage' to the original.  I have a huge bugbear(?!) with that Christina Agui-lost-it song she does with Pitbull (Don't get done, get Dom) which has a sample (I say sample, it's actually played by a 9 year old on a broken bontempi) of the intro to A-Ha's timeless classic 'Take on me'.  Not only does it destroy any affection I had for the original, it does nothing for the pathetic attempt at a GCSE music project that these two 'great artists' are vomiting into my living room. 

Christina has turned into a parody of herself.  She's singing the chart equivalent of 'tune a day book 1, The little F and G march' and she's singing it like her life depends on it.  Oversinging the entire seven notes, trying to infuse each one with the depths of every emotion she's ever felt.  It's embarrassing. 

Anyhoo - I've been writing a song this morning called 'The dreamers' and it just ended up sounding like a Gary Numan out-take mixed with that Visage song 'Fade to gray'.  The difference is, I'm not fleecing people out of money and parading my music as high-end Radio 1 song of the week - I'm just arsing about in my studio doing what makes me happy and hoping if you listen, it'll cheer you up too.  The music industry needs to get a grip honestly.

Having said that, I recently heard one of the greatest songs of the last ten years in 'Duet' by Everything Everything and that band 'Lawson' aren't half bad, even though they sound a little like Louis Walsh told them they'd never make it unless they learned guitar and came back next week.

That's all.