I wanted, at the beginning, to sound like English New Wave from the eighties, but I added some percs, and a piano, and I lost everything about this, so there.
I tried many ways to sing the words, then the “Watch it drip, wait for it”, and failed. This is why I whispered all of it.
Really, I like to destroy the usual structure of a song. This is why it doesn’t verse/chorus. This is why I changed the beat in 1’44”, mutation, towards a “walking thing”.
It’s again about “modulation in the 4th bar”, and I think the reason this song exists is in the two guitars in the end.
I used old picture of my mom’s garden in the rain.
Eventail means “fan”, it’s a very complex poem from Mallarmé, which is really funny to interpret. Again, the usual song structure is melted. I added some tunnels with rockets of sound, which lead to this synth sound I love.
I tripled my voice I had to sing very low. The end brings a sweet chaos.
Same garden, another year: rain, birds, insects.
De frigides roses pour vivre Toutes la même interrompront Avec un blanc calice prompt Votre souffle devenu givre
Mais que mon battement délivre La touffe par un choc profond Cette frigidité se fond En du rire de fleurir ivre
A jeter le ciel en détail Voilà comme bon éventail Tu conviens mieux qu’une fiole
Nul n’enfermant à l’émeri Sans qu’il y perde ou le viole L’arôme émané de Méry.
Frigid roses to live
All the same will interrupt
With a white prompt chalice
Your breath turned to frost
But let my beat deliver
The tuft by a deep shock
This frigidity melts
In the laughter of blooming drunk
To throw the sky in detail
Here is a good fan
You are better suited than a vial
No one enclosing with emery
Without losing or violating it
The aroma emanating from Méry.
Someone tries this:
Belonging to Méry Laurent
Frigid roses to exist
all alike will interrupt
your frosted breath
with a quick white calyx
but should my ﬂuttering liberate
the whole bunch with a profound shock
that frigidity will melt into the laughter
of a rapturous blossoming
see how like a good fan
you are better than a phial
at carving the sky into fragments
no ﬂask could be stoppered
without losing or violating
the fragrance of Méry.
Again, a walking bass. I love them! Dong dong dong dong dong. I tried to add less mechanical music. I added string chords, but interrupted them sometimes. I tried another style for the end, a long stroll of bass string going nowhere…
The pictures I took along a long walk strangely fit the song: creatures. Birds. Drawings. Things.
For this one I found an old voice from the London docks, with a bell, announcing something.
The game is the Moby one: add drums, JP, bass, strings, saxes and whistles. Then it’s a puzzle around this loop: adding things/cutting things. I should chorus but nope. I should double the bass with somme upper pianos… maybe.
I’m casual, I know. When I compose I don’t finish. I draft. I need a producer!
Also, I sing and I shouldn’t. But well, I’m the only singer around 🙂
Also, I build films with a few pictures and the Ken Burns effect. I don’t want to finish, it’s boring. Voilà.
These days I have fun with poems.
“Aimez-vous le passé ?” means “Do you love the past?”. I googletranslated the poem for you:
Do you like the past And dream of stories Evocative With erased outlines?
Old rooms Widows of steps Who smell all low Iris and amber;
The pallor of the portraits, The worn-out relics That the dead have kissed, Dear, I would like
May they be dear to you, And talk to you a little Of a dusty heart And full of mystery.
“Veuve de pas” : widowed of steps, meaning “deprived of people walking in these rooms”.
I found pictures I took in Cabourg ten years ago in Normandy (yes it’s near the D-Day beaches), hop, iMovied.
The music is an exercise about obsession: there’s no change, no chorus, it “walks” all the time.
I wrote the bass after hearing “In the Army Now” by Status Quo : dong, dong, dong, dong, adding a tatatatata guitar over it.
The game was to weaveknit chords under this walk. I added little dissonnances in the piano, it’s a bit irritating for ears and all – but now so much. Here it is:
Aimez-vous le passé
Aimez-vous le passé Et rêver d’histoires Évocatoires Aux contours effacés ?
Les vieilles chambres Veuves de pas Qui sentent tout bas L’iris et l’ambre ;
La pâleur des portraits, Les reliques usées Que des morts ont baisées, Chère, je voudrais
Qu’elles vous soient chères, Et vous parlent un peu D’un coeur poussiéreux Et plein de mystère.
Paul-Jean Toulet, Chansons
I wanted to try another one, so I googled “dance in poetry” to find this “Dansez, Petites Reines” (Dance, Little Queens). I found a possible translation (I did not use the whole poem) which changes things a bit:
THE GRANDFATHER'S SONG.
Dance, little Queens,
All in a ring ;
Loves to Lasses
Sweet kisses will bring.
Dance, little Madcaps,
All in a ring ;
The crabbed old mistress
Will grumble and fling.
Dance, little beauties,
All in a ring ;
The birds will applaud you
With clapping of wing.
Dance, little Fairies,
All in a ring ;
With corn-flower garlands
And fair as the spring.
Dance, little women,
All in a ring ;
Each Beau to his Lady
Says some pretty thing.
The game here was to alternate a crappy vintage sound and a more luxurious one in the choruses (voices and instruments). I had fun with the bass line, and linked parts with a golden trumpet.
I found images with ducks for YouTube, because why not, right?
( thequietus.com ) is a magazine about intelligent music, movies and some other arts like graphic novels or architecture. It’s typically the chest-like website, full of possible discoveries.
Many (most of the) musics I don’t like here, but it’s always interesting, even when it’s awful or ridiculous. My brain is playing like a kid with colorbricks, analyzing how the artists push the cork a little or much too far.
Even the texts, the critics, are cool. Vocabulary gives a hint for each musician. “an album designed to both inspire calm as well as disrupt it” makes me want to listen.
What I selected here is, I agree, the less avant-garde possible. My pearls, emeralds and nuggets come often like this, digging, finding
I’ve been amazed by Hen Ogledd (26), who begins like Robert Wyatt then develop a… splendid pleasure of making music (I’m probably influenced by his great eyes). The most adorable guy of the list?
Katie Gately (49 )surprised me with her Waltz. I loved, immediately, the way she marked the first beat of this dance. Then, it’s a crescendo, weaved with surprises, sounds, breaks. It puts her into the territory of Björk, Kate Bush, even Dead Can Dance. Lyricism! Modulation under a bridge, responding voices, changes, this climbing. Fascinating, right?
I found another clip (same musician), which frightens me a bit more, but the clip is so fantastic that I had to keep listening. She explores limits, between pleasure and chaos. This music is like… growing like she’s alive.
I listened the broken things of Malibu Liquor Store, the swarming The Homesick (try The Pawing), the floating pedal steel guitar or Susan Alcorn, the acid synth loops of Lorenzo Senni, the rotating sickness of Sex Swing, the laments of Keeley Forsyth, Nadine Shah, the strange clips of UKAEA, the silly repeats of Horse Lords.
Then Memnon Sa (76 ), an insisting music with synths. Simple and haunted.
Mary Lattimore (35)? Quiet, but neve too much (which is always hard to achieve). Try Ana Roxanne too.
Thanks for reading!
Next to this I found two names you can explore : Chapelier Fou & Olafur Arnalds. Good day!
It is the moment to explore Japanese Post Rock because why not.
So what is “Post Rock”? Let’s Wiki:
Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock instrumentation with electronics.
Good! The tool here is easy:
Find a field you don’t know at all
Explore a micro-part of it
It can be Hungarian jewelry, or Italian photography, and then you choose a century, or a single artist…
The game here is to listen to things, randomly, like a kid picks up shells on a shore. Here we go:
A Picture of Her is a bit boring with their jazz-rock, technical and with a always-the-same guitar sound.
Anoice: Quiet music with piano, sometimes a little dissonant, sometimes a little “japanish”. Climates, like sad movie music. Some violin. I like it, and some colors are interesting, but… too shy.
Behind the Shadow Drops: simplistic naive melancholia is terrible, right? It is! There’s a laziness, here. Dumb ideas stretched for too long. Not a single harmonic spark. Shame!
Floating in Space has the same problem, but it’s a little better. Too much sugar, and no colors. I couldn’t find a single good track.
Gargle is mildly more interesting, because of the accordion. But, well, sigh…
Kukangendai is Math Rock (a subdivision of Post Rock, more complex). This music is pulsating, it’s like watching fabric, or machines. I find it boring but interesting. Brain, brain, brain. No body.
Lite is much, much better. They’re good, fast, intellingent, complex :
Mono seems the most prolific band on this list. Plenty of albums, between prog rock and film music. They take their time, and they like big badaboum crescendoes. It sounds sometimes like Joe Hisaishi. It’s too conventional for me, but many people love them! Here’s a best of :
Mouse on the Keys, two keyboards and a drummer! More dynamic, more jazz, I like it with a but, always. A bit too… disheveled, maybe?
Nabowa? Cool! :
Ovum seems to like loud music and electric guitars, hmmm.
Qujaku, dark, intense, too much.
Toe, math rock, it knits! :
World’s End Girlfriend, the lone young genius type. First album, 15 years old. Devilish energy in the 1st vid, and a cool waltz to finish this page.
Thanks for reading! What did you like here?
(For this last one wait until 5:20 for a cloud of fantastic harmonies)
Most of the time, I don’t listen to my Shazams afterward. I did it because of “an element”, a sound, an idea, something which made my eyebrow upping up. If I “like” the YouTube film, I’ll find them back one day. Maybe.
S. Decoster, because it was the end credit music of a great quirky French movie called “Perdrix” (“The Bare Necessity” in English). Nothing great here but I Shazamed it though, probably because the movie was hilarious and balanced.
The loopy “Je veux être à vous” means “I want to be yours”, BUT as you know, French has two “you”, the you for the persons you know well, and the you for the persons you don’t. Thus “I want to be you” with the “polite you” is charged differently, because it’s adressed to someone you don’t know from a long time.
Poltrock, Mute #2, navigates in interesting waters. Quiet piano music can easily be sugary – here it’s not because of the modulations of course :
Bon Entendeur, Basta Cosi, a sound, and a singer who does not sing but speaks.
Portugal The man, Fell it Still, the groove?
Lana Del Rey, For Free, a Joni Mitchell cover??! The song is splendid, and Del Rey has a good idea to sing un-reverbed, it whispers in ears. It modulated all along like smoke. Joni’s version stays much better of course. Here are some of the lyrics:
I slept last night in a good hotel I went shopping today for jewels The wind rushed around in the dirty town And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner Waiting for the walking green Across the street he stood and he played real good On his clarinet, for free
Nobody stopped to hear him Though he played so sweet and high They knew he had never been on their TV So they passed his music by
Sting, Mad about you. Great song, right? Production is strange, it’s like… rustling, quivering:
Mahsa Vahdat & Mighty Sam McClain, Ambassador of Hearts.
Naïssam Jalal, Un sourire au cœur.
Duran Duran, Save a Prayer, and old thing I listen today with new ears, the bass line, the attemps for vocal harmonies, the chorus which climbs then falls back, modulations like stairs.
Mansfield. TYA, Ni morte ni connue, for the “old French new-wave” sound. Neither dead neither well-known.
Celeste, Love is back, because the vintage sound, the smiling desire to compose a similar base, and the broken Amy-like voice.
Colman Jones, Kiev, a dreamy walk in an unknown city under lukewarm clouds:
Ophélie Gaillard, Dos Gardenias, makes me ask someone to dance in the dark:
Have a nice day! Je vous souhaite une très belle journée.
I heard some music from Brazil, but I did not want to learn about their rhythms or about their scales, thus I wrote stupid lyrics about a guy in love with a contrary of a Brazilian girl : slow, pale, with a small behind. Found a beat, a big Liverpool bass (because why not) and played with bars where the 2nd bar is dissonnant.
I added “my idea” of an Elton John’s piano, sang (4 layers!) in Portuguese (like a Spanish cow), added a storm, a crowd, whistles, and voilà!
I saw this violonist, walking, a sad Hungary figure, on a Sabine Weiss photography. I wanted to build a Tom Waits’ like waltz, a slow one. I sing very badly, so I added this sad harmonica, a crazy fly-like Chinese violin, and silly noises of a dog and cars. The waltz itself is broken, not following the 3/4 at times.
Totally drafty, but I posted it eventually. Non Finito.
I downloaded French magazines like “Best of Music 2016“, and I dig, je creuse, through torrents or YouTube. I trash everything (rolling my eyes), but, well, I keep digging.
There’s a very lazy Radiohead album (A Moon Shaped Pool), an “I see what you’re doing, sillies” with rolled-out vowels I pfffed all along. But there’s this one: Burn the Witch, propelled by unstable harmonies, I found it… interesting (I try to forget the rolled out vowels). It floats in some uncertainties.
So there’s a lack, everywhere, I think, in the pop-rock field, of a producer saying: “No, dear, this is not good enough”.
This morning I listened to Paul McCartney’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which is curiously entirely good. It was produced by Nigel Godrich (the, hmmm, Radiohead producer), who was tough enough to fight the myth, to push and jostle the singer:
According to McCartney, Godrich was at times blunt in his appraisal of McCartney’s songs-in-progress during the making of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:
“Nigel… refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn’t like, which was very cheeky of him.”
Ah ah! I like this! Well, today (and then), the whole profession says it’s a masterpiece, an instant classic.
So I played the game of listening to the previous album and the next, entirely, and hmmmm, nope, it’s not that good, by far (but there’s one exception, a song named : “I do”).
I know exactly what Godrich did. Because what he got in “Backyard” is… harmony complexity (and surprises), which come from risky suites of chords and the subsequent modulations he has to make to follow).
Cf Friends to Go, very John Barry-esque (and oh, the lyrics!)…
This is such a good lesson. Good things appear when sometimes… we need someone we trust to say: “Hey, silly: not like that!”. Cheeky but lovely, right?
How do we find someone like that? Someone we trust enough? And more: when do we need this “coaching”? What kind of “producer” relationship is it? A superior? A lover? A Friend? A collaborator? A “push-me-out-of-my-comfort-zone” guy? What if we need this and we don’t know it?
“Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” is a Paul McCartney’s song from the album RAM (1971). Here’s a little text I found on songfacts :
McCartney combined pieces of various unfinished songs to create this; in the later years of The Beatles, they did this a lot as a way to put unfinished songs to good use. As a result, “Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey” contains 12 different sections over the course of its 4:50 running time. This jumble of musical textures, comic character voices, sound effects and changing tempos turned off a lot of listeners, but many others thought it was brilliant. The song wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but in America it became McCartney’s first #1 hit as a solo artist.
Oh, lovely, isn’t it?
I love this song, because it prevents you from drowning after one minute of a “cool seventies slow” with noises, surprises, changes. A big smile gets bigger all along : “Is Macca silly?”. Yeah!
There’s a famous Medley at the end of the Beatles album “Abbey Road”. McCartney says that they wanted to create a sort of “opera structure”. Lennon despised it, though. It’s considered today as one summit of the group.
When you listen to that (structure, noises, guitars), you think about Pink Floyd, who created in the Seventies like the epitome of this structured, fractured tracks sticked together in long classical-music-like “movements”.
Some examples : Pink Floyd “Pigs” (11 mn), Supertramp “Fool’s Overture” (11 mn), Genesis “Firth of Fifth” (9 mn).
The pleasure is bigger than the juxtaposition of tracks, you get pleasure in transitions (closing door, opening door), in contrasts, you get it in subsequent modulations, you build like a “little travel”, like through the rooms of a big surprizing house…
Lennon is funny, when he says it’s a very practical to dispose of music you don’t know what to do with!
Lennon is COOL because he uses this game, in a fractal way, in other songs like Did A Pony, sticking words together (like Dylan, he says) to see if something appears, AND sticking two different song together to make a new song.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juxtaposition : Throughout the arts, juxtaposition of elements is used to elicit a response within the audience’s mind, such as creating meaning from the contrast, an abrupt change of elements. In film, the position of shots next to one another (which montage is) is intended to have this effect.
So here we are, on the path of Progressive Rock! But there are differences. Prog rock wants to build long pieces – maybe with “parts” -, and they are damned serious!!
McCartney and The Beatles constructions are more like… medleys. This + this + that. And they have fun!
Autodidact or else-taught? Rules or whatiffing things?
Big laugh hearing Paul McCartney he can’t read music nor name the complex chords he uses in music.
Explaining that he and John Lennon learned a bunch of new chords (and some complex ones!) watching other groups in Hambourg, or the guitar salesman’s hands in a Liverpool music instruments store, or playing other groups music.
They made a “chords stock” – and more : learned how to combine them into songs!
Lennon is said to be a composer who were used to “stack bits of songs”, even dangerously.
How does this evolve? What’s the structure of A Day in The Life? How many songs here, into one? :
Macca helped creating an Art School called LIPA in Liverpool, where he “teaches” music sometimes to some luck students.
He said in this conversation that he can’t teach music, because he knows no “rules” in making a good song – that makes people smile! He just helps the students to quit the normal, ordinary, boring, predictable ways.
Here’s a cool example, an ordinary Macca song, not a hit, it’s the first song from “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” (which is a title I love). Fine Line :
Boring ordinay until 1’06”, where the piano wrings the song in risky harmonies like in a bridge (that soon?). When the second verse begins at 1’19” the rhythm is slowed down already. Strings come, and at 2’09” there’s another cool part, before coming back to the strange piano pulsation, ending in an oblique obsessive modal repetition…
It’s not even a great song! But I find it elegant, casual, there’s a freedom here, in the way the song unfolds into unexpected little ideas. I can almost find the “what if I do that?” pleasure into this music…
All this not in avant-garde craziness, but in a small song!
The tool is structural : Follow rules or try things? Stay on the road or try little paths? Go on a line, or draw yours? Where to do that : life, love, poetry, writing, marketing, photography?
Sorry for my frenchy English, sorry for the Beatles obsession, it’ll go soon, probably. Have a nice day!
For No One, a strange discarnate and quiet 4/4 waltz-like song written by McCartney for Revolver, to describe the end of a love story. Everything seems perfect in this song : the piano, the drums, the chorus modulations, the French horn, very little reverb (giving an intimacy), the non-ending end…
It’s a jewel, and one of the favorite songs of Lennon, who adored it.
Your day breaks, your mind aches You find that all the words of kindness linger on When she no longer needs you
She wakes up, she makes up She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry She no longer needs you
And in her eyes you see nothing No sign of love behind the tears Cried for no one A love that should have lasted years!
If I Fell is a Lennon song I adore because of its brutal modulations : it’s clearly a “chords game” – they change all the time!
If I fell in love with you Would you promise to be true And help me understand ‘Cause I’ve been in love before And I found that love was more Than just holding hands
Because, By John Lennon, on Abbey Road, has harpsichord and Moog (!), and splendid “three-parts backing vocals”.
Because the world is round it turns me on Because the world is round, ah
Because the wind is high it blows my mind Because the wind is high, ah
Love is old, love is new Love is all, love is youBecause the sky is blue, it makes me cry Because the sky is blue, ah
Watched a duo, great movies : The Post (Spielberg – 2017), and All the President’s Men (Pakula – 1976), same newspaper (Washington Post), same executive editor (Ben Bradlee, by Tom Hanks and Jason Robards). Interesting concepts (freedom of the press, sources, decisions, investigation methods), strongly increased by this pleasure : comparison between the films. The bonuses on the Blu-rays are fantastic!
In a way, the second movie is the following of the first, though it’s been directed 40 years before. I LOVE to couple movies, like Fellini‘s 8 1/2 and Allen‘s Stardust Memories. It can be a remake, or a ‘connected’ film – which is the case here.
When I was a teenager I suddenly understood why music was so… pleasantly toxic to me sometimes, with Ennio Morricone or Mike Oldfield for example. I know people love music for different reasons – energy, memories, genre, a voice, virtuosity, lyrics. My reason is the pleasure given by modulations.
I found an article in French, you don’t have to read it, just click on the two YouTube movies. The guy gives examples of typical “Floating Harmonies” invented by John Williams in Harry Potter or Indiana Jones. It’s here : https://compositiondemao.com/harmonies-flottantes/
You have have an… unexpected torsion in the middle of it, before it goes back to normal.
Williams does this all the time, it brings magic to a melody, therefore you can’t forget it. The Vader (The Imperial March) theme is based on this trick :
Of course I’m interested in… what would be a modulation elsewhere, in poetry or architecture, literature or blogging…
So I read that Miles Davis is the PabloPicasso of Jazz, like FedericoFellini is the Picasso of movie makers. If you’re bored, this is a trio : there’s material here for a couple of months.
Agnes Obel, again. In the vast terrible ocean of soft female voices with a piano, she’s with her cousin Vienna Teng. Here she sings with a male voice (which is herself with treatments), it’s delicate and sophisticated, and I love the mysterious lyrics…
Hmm, there are floating harmonies here, right?
For our love is a ghost that the others can’t see
My godfather passed on this week. It is a mess for the funeral (only 20 persons allowed). He was in his nineties, and he sometimes talked to me about when he was a kid when Germans occupied his village, the coming of the Americans after the D-Day in the summer of 1944. My father was an orphan when he was a little boy, and Ernest was next to him for years to help…
“Third Stream is a synthesis of jazz and classical music.”
Critics have argued that third stream—by drawing on two very different styles—dilutes the power of each in combining them. Others reject such notions and consider third stream an interesting musical development. In 1981, Schuller offered a list of “What Third Stream Is Not”:
It is not jazz with strings. It is not jazz played on “classical” instruments. It is not classical music played by jazz players. It is not inserting a bit of Ravel or Schoenberg between bebop changes—nor the reverse. It is not jazz in fugal form. It is not a fugue played by jazz players. It is not designed to do away with jazz or classical music; it is just another option amongst many for today’s creative musicians.
I’m interested because I love classical music and I don’t know contemporary jazz very well, but I think the “melting” genre can give interesting things, I’m excited by this personal uncharted territory (as a French, I always want to write “unmapped territory”).
I think about progressive rock (who probably encroaches upon this genre). The first label I thought about was ECM, but I found Rune Grammofon too. Of course, I find everywhere the reference of Bela Bartok, who collected and used old Magyar folk melodies…