Monday, 18 August 2014

The Final Furlong.

So, it's just finished. My story, "Heresy", is complete and my grin is wider than it has been for a while. The middle eastern music crossed with the rock music idea has given it an unusual yet not unfamiliar vibe and I'm pleased with the result. There are parts of it I feel I could improve on but when I do try to, the results displease me more. So I am pleased with the finished product to a degree, I'll just have to embrace it's little imperfections. As the creator of the pieces, I of course, would notice them and it's likely that only the most ardent listener would notice them from me apart. But it's an achievement and one I'm proud of. The e.p. tells the simple story of a man who questions his faith and his place in our world so much, he isolates himself from all society and in the process loses his mind. I do plan to write the story to follow the songs and leave it as an insert.

Of course this is all that is left to create and thanks to a gifted and highly visual photographer friend who has a stunning setting idea, we will eventually have the entire package. Work and other obstacles (see "LIFE") have hindered us for the moment but we will eventually get around to it. The recording is done, I have just completed the mastering, in my best amateur capacity and now we look forward to the last step in what's been a trying yet blissful, difficult yet wonderful musical journey for me. Thank you reader for taking it with me.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Hi, I'm Phil. And today I'm going to be Freddie Mercury.

Vocal harmonies. They are fun when executed right but sometimes they can go horribly wrong. Freddie Mercury is a name synonymous with lavish multi layered vocals, not to mention the equally intricate harmonies from Brian May. But as an amateur who was given a workman like voice as opposed to a gift from the heavens, can I really expect to produce anything near the level the likes of Queen could do in their sleep? The answer is a resounding "no". But I do harmonise pretty well and have attempted a pretty lavish arrangement on "At the End of the World". The song itself was initially a minimalistic idea based around a delayed guitar pattern, I composed some years back. I have recorded multiple versions of the song which has gotten more layered every time I record it and true to tradition, the e.p. version is now a full blown rock opera-esque beast.

The chorus is accompanied by multi layered vocals, sung in different pitches and tones by yours truly, to attempt to give it an other worldly atmosphere and now, along with a very sore throat, I can feel a little smug and pleased with myself, that is once I get the thumbs up from my co producer later, who should be receiving a message containing the final master in a few hours......  

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Evolving Ideas!

First of all a big thank you to The Shape for the shout out. Very much appreciated!

A story is a collection of ideas and when it's coming together in one's head, those ideas evolve.
On reflection of the story behind "Heresy", our priest is pointing the finger of blame at others whilst apart from secretly harbouring love for a women, which is not technically a crime more a symptom of the human condition, he is quite guilt free. Which bothers me so I have remedied this somewhat by adding a sixth song. It's my e.p., I'll do what I wish! I wrote a song recently, sort of a camp ode to the gay community in response to the Russian government's stance on homosexuality, particularly during the Olympics called, in very tongue in cheek fashion "We Ride By Night" and I realised it belongs, sound and mood wise in this story. The e.p. is quite dark, but it's not downbeat, there are going to be some rocking songs on it of which I'm very proud, but this has a delightful wonderfully camp, almost Polka-esque feel to it. Which is at odds with the tone of the entire work and here is the story behind it........

The priest is guilty of disowning his brother, his flesh and blood as he did not, in all his previous catholic piousness and holier than thou attitude he did not want to be associated with a gay drag queen..... Interesting right? But what's even more interesting is that his brother also had an unhealthy heroin habit which eventually killed him. So the priest having spilled his water and having only whiskey to drink, is driven mad through dehydration, having visions of his brother in drag and a host of other drag queens who perform and dance around his tent and slowly but surely start to morph into grinning, gleeful, demons. They are dispersed by the arrival of The Almighty who then proceeds to argue with The Dark One. So this will be just before "At The End Of The World."

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Duduk: First Impressions.

Well, the duduk arrived today! So excitedly, we opened the package and after much effort trying to get the reed to stay open, we succeeded by resting it in a cup containing a quarter odd inch of water. We eventually got down to the nitty gritty and figured out how to make a noise resembling a strangled duck. SUCCESS! Well, not really, but with a few hours of practise and half arsed guess work, I managed to produce a resemblance of the melody I planned to play on "Empty Quarter Pt. I", though not without it's problems.

I was previously a moderate to heavy smoker a couple of years ago, so my lung capacity, though greatly improved, is still a long way off impressive. My better half, The Magpie, was also a big smoker and had a go herself, struggling to produce any noise at all. It took me a bit of work to do the same but slowly and surely I was rocking. I have sore cheek muscles and badly chapped lips but it has been rewarding. I am incapable of producing the cyclical breathing, (drawing air into your cheeks to prolong a note, whilst inhaling) due to my previously mentioned vice, that is generally employed with performing on the instrument but I have figured out the legato technique that makes it so expressive though I am far from being Djivan Gasparyan!.

The other issue I have is the sharp and flat tones are generally effected by how hard you blow or how much you press down on the reed, but I am getting there, albeit full of bum notes. The sound itself is beautiful, there's something very cool about playing an instrument whose very origin pre dates Jesus by about a thousand years. True, I didn't break the bank to get it but I am thrilled with it and am practising hard when I get the chance. At the moment, I'm taking a break as the muscle behind my left jaw is spasming with the pain. Going straight back at it tomorrow and looking forward to recording the intro then. Thanks for reading.