Friday, 21 December 2012

Gannin' down the Scotswood Road

Well it's been quite a while, but here I am back again in music-making mode.

About 18 years or so ago I was in a band. I've been in several bands of various kinds - this was a Soul/Rock band called "Heart & Soul" and I was mostly the bassist, but occasionally I fronted it and sang. I wrote a few songs for it too.

I wrote this one song, called "Guilty" - it was about being trapped in behaviour patterns you cannot break even though you know they are wrong, and unhelpful. Musically it was the source of many arguments between myself and our drummer. I wanted it to be in "a very fast 6/8" and tried to describe what I wanted. He claimed it was impossible. I claimed it wasn't and eventually in frustration played him a live version of Shadows In The Rain by the Police which had exactly what I wanted. He muttered something non-commital and continued to claim that it wasn't possible. We did eventually master it, a breathless rolling train of a sound with a very particular bassline.

And now the rythmn and the bassline are seeing the light of day again. And probably the tune.

I have been working on the last section of the album, which represents my commute home. I had had a crazy plan which was to strap a video camera to the bonnet of my car, and film my commute home. Then I was going to speed up the video until it was 4 minutes long, and then I was going to set it to music.

Instead one day I decided it would be nicer to use "Guilty" - it has a frantic urgency, and it's not a bad finisher for an album, rollicking with high energy. I would also reprise some of the ideas from teh album, and maybe a motif or two from previous albums. I would finish with the sound effect of going over the bridge that the album opens with.

So I've found the speed, worked out how long it is (12 bars) and therefpre how many times through teh pattern I can go (8). I have a snare roll introduction and then it breaks into the frantic hurrying. So far I have programmed the drums (probably needs humanising) and I spent a long time doing the bass. My fingers are a bit sore. I'm quite happy that there is a bass focus again, this seems to be a feature of this album and I like it - given that it is probably my best instrument.

I have also added some electric guitar, following the same pattern. There is one section which will be electric guitar soloing, and I have done 4 bars of that, which is identical to 4 bars used a few times in the "Electricity" section on teh last album - a bit of a cross between Jesus Christ Superstar, The Magic Roundabout and something by Thin Lizzy, and uses three guitars in harmony.

So after the guitarring my fingers are even sorer. Oh how I suffer for my art! Still, that's most of the rythmn track down now, tehre's more guitar, some piano and some trumpets to go. I think.