Almost six months since the last post… I’m really incorrigible and I won’t even bother giving you an excuse.
There is a number of songs rounding my head lately, in which I’ve actually been working less than I should, that I have started calling “motivated sounds”. It is not a new, groundbreaking idea, it has been running around for ages: using everyday sounds as music. You only have to think about that piece from Pierre Henry with a squeaking door, Harry Partch’s instruments o these two wonders of modern music, very different from each other but nonetheless interesting:
The difference between my songs and these masterworks is that in the minimal universe that each of my songs present, the objects and sounds are used to recreate (not melodically but almost always in a rhythmic and atmospheric sense) a precise situation, a certain secret and inner world, the key to what the song is about. The sounds are there because they are motivated by the theme, and not merely because they sound great and interesting.
Like Cristobal Tapia de Veer does in his soundtrack for the British Series UTOPIA, where you can guess medical equipment, respirators, tubes, and a long list of medical violences – just like the story of the series:
Maybe it would be best if I explain this with a clear example, and I guess I should start at the beginning, with the song that started this “motivated sounds”-notion. It is called The Housewife’s Bliss.
I encountered a video on YouTube that fascinated me. In it, a housewife, very 50s, takes a huge dose of acid and is interviewed later, in the midst of her trip, by a psychiatrist. The reactions of this woman intrigued me and I started fantasizing: Who was she? What was her life like? How did she understand this experience? How was her life after that? In my mind there was a very clear (and fictive) picture of this woman: her home, maybe a son, waiting for her man to come home from work, cooking and cleaning… That tyoe of tacit violence against women that I assume was common in the 50s and is still common nowadays.
When I started working on this song and its lyrics, which are a re-telling of what she says during the interview and a couple of impressions of mine, I realized that the home sounds were actually helping to paint this character and her situation, to actually situate her in her world, to recreate that known and menacing atmosphere: washing dishes, slamming doors, glasses breaking on the ground, cigarettes, the sound of the fridge…
And this way it started – I’ve been assembling a number of songs that toy with this approach which I hope to publish sometime soon. There are things going on, but I will tell you when I’m, certain. Keep you posted.
I also leave you here a couple of new songs, ones that have nothing to do with motivated sounds, and are probably not going to be published and very rarely played live.
See you soon.
What exactly is a song? I’ve been thinking about it for some time an I seem to be getting nowhere. Everybody has some kind of opinion about it (if you don’t, take a look at the Wikipedia) – there’s music, someone singing and a pretty clear structure which don’t allow much deviation or improvisation. And there, exactly, starts my dilemma. When does an innovation starts being tradition? When is the next step accepted and becomes part of a canon? Because it is clear that many things that are understood as songs don’t fit in this structure, canonic interpretation of what a song is.
It all started with a remark from Anne Levke about one of my songs, Dark Cloud:
She was annoyed by the fact that this song, and another snumber of songs of mine, did not have a chorus. I never even thought about this before, for me, this song was as valid as any other. I don’t share the opinion that a song NEEDS a chorus to work, neither did I think that someone would be annoyed because of that, or beacuse a canon was being bent. In fact, I don’t think that anyone would deny that something as beautiful as this:
cannot be considered songs because they lack a chorus. The list of songs (hits or misses) without one is actually long.
I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. What makes a song a song? Is it the its structure or the theme of his lyrics? O.K., structure seems to have a role, but like I hope I just explained, it is not essential. The themes have not been significant for ages. It is actually quite common to find song which are completely devoid of any significanes. I Zimbra from Talking Heads or the whole Lp Danç-Eh-Sáh of Tom Zé are maybe easy examples, but many hits of Lady Gaga or Rihanna show no other language function than the imperative or merely referential.
I keep thinking about it but I don’t reach a conclusion. I think emotions play a big role, but an emotion doesn’t make a song, it just makes it bug, intense and good.
I guess I’ll keep thinking about it.
In the meantime, I leave you here two of my new songs, which will probably be included in my next EP, that I plan releasing in January or February 2013. It dependes, like so many things, on the money. Ah the glories of self-production!!
- Anybody going to see Savages @Lido Berlib on Friday?2013/05/15 18:49
Hi Gilmer!!2013/05/15 15:24
Seducir? Que est que c'est ça? Psycho Killer fafafafafaf far better...2013/05/08 14:58
Me da que no sirvo ni para oír techno y cascar al ritmo del bombo. Espero sobrepasar la marca de los 100bpm en breve. Entrenaré.2013/05/08 14:31
Ya, pero yo sigo sin ser multitarea... Y eso en estos tiempos que corren! Espero que al menos lo del talento me lo diga en serio2013/05/08 14:24
- Anybody going to see Savages @Lido Berlib on Friday?