red faces devoured by the night
shattered laughs in the vine
and glowing melancholy
spirit torture! a stone falls silent
blue voice of an angel in the sleeper’s ear
This an abridged translation of a poem without title from Georg Trakl, an Austrian poet of the Expressionism Era. At a certain point in working with the music of this tune, the need for some spoken lyrics appeared, and by intuition I took out this book of poems. In my younger days I would read Georg Trakl every year in the season of fall, but this time it was neither fall nor did I feel the need for some more melancholic or dark and dreary feelings. This time the overall surreal atmosphere of the music required such a poem…
The instrumentation is different in this tune, with the first obvious appearance of violin along with mandolin, xylophone and dark vocals without words. Then suddenly you know something will happen, and there is this spoken poem above, embedded in shivering sounds to make your blood run cold. Strangely enough, the meter is 4/4 this time!
Somehow this sounds like a fiddle tune minus a fiddle. It’s my Les Paul Special. Added jaw harp, triangle and some more guitars contribute to a funny feeling of exuberance, growing towards the end. A sudden break lets you fall into a repetition loop, and then fade out.
Although less than perfect, I like this tune in particular for its ending, where we are getting lost.
Do we still reside on top of a mountain? Have we found the way down in daylight?
Steve from England has sent me yet another keyboard track with cymbals, named “dark”. This was one I felt challenged by. In order to surprise him (or maybe myself or you), I added things with no apparent connection to the original track. I wanted it to sound even darker than it was before. This is the first time I tried to record a wall of power chords plus bass in a unison. Although there have been level problems due to so many different instruments, I think the track conveys the original idea.
Thanks again to Steve, who’s track I found inspiring. So inspiring I apparently couldn’t stop playing, and had to add a coda. Stay with the track after the keyboard has ceased – it reminds me of my experimental teenage days, when me and some friends recorded music improvised on self-made instruments. In some respect, it was pure noise, but it had a dense atmosphere… Sadly, I lost the tapes, so I take this ending for a substitute.
All in all, “Darker” may not be everyone’s favorite, but it even contains traces of melodies…
Finally I’m back, finally my health is better, and here is the next co-production with Steve:
Steve from England had sent me a keyboard track that constantly changes between major and minor of the same root, with some percussion added. He told me he had been playing around with the keyboard lately – and that was a surprise to me, for I knew him as a guitar player.
I liked the feeling of the track with the working title “Latin”. Of course it is a so-called Latin rhythm; only I don’t like the term and so decided to add some sparkle from another one of my son’s pictures.
Steve agreed with my proposal to add some more percussion to make it sound more lively. It was pure fun to play these instruments, but my personal highlight was the guitar solo I recorded immediately afterwards. This was the first time I achieved a sound with a Santana-like sustain and a similar character, and ironically I achieved it with the Jaguar, the good old tube screamer and my Vox AC 15. Not at all the kind of tools one would expect, but I had often tried it with Les Pauls or SGs and never succeeded! The Jaguar has a more nasal sound quality to it (which I like), and I consider my sound not a copy (which it isn’t and I couldn’t) but a parallel.
Anyway, this is not a bad one, and I wish I could have presented it earlier. I would like to thank Steve for giving me this opportunity with his inspiring track. In my earlier years as a musician I never came much forward with soloing, being mostly the bass player. So in a way, this track is a dream come true…
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Vox AC 15 Heritage, BSM Spectrum fuzzbooster
So this is the last installment of a trilogy my son illustrated so wonderfully.
This time he even accepted to give it a second try, and it was worth it, as you see. Of course I wouldn’t part with an illustrator like him, and there is more to come. For example I will have a hard time soon, trying to compose some dragon’s music.
Thank you for your kind comments on our collaboration!
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Tweed Champ, Roland Space Echo
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, 1967 Vox AC 30 (brilliant channel), BSM treble booster (DM-T), Tube Reverb
Don’t be afraid, this time robot had a unpleasant dream (you can tell by the dark cloud in his thought bulb), but he is rescued and there is a happy ending!
He was sleeping in his iron bed, being recharged through several wires, when it happened. His friend who obviously heard noises from robot’s bedroom, opened the door to ask what was going on there – and so robot learned it had only been a bad dream. After hugging each other with some heart-felt robot hugs (bang!) they went to bed with relief, sleeping tight until the next morning.
Last post of this trilogy will be: “Robot’s Love Song”, coming soon.
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Tweed Champ, Roland Space Echo, Cry Baby Classic Wah (fixed)
What a splendid season! Short-lived, as it is some melancholic undertones creep in, but the overall image is pure beauty…
guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, 1967 Vox AC 30 (brilliant channel), BSM treble booster (model DM-T), Tube Reverb
mikes: Electro Voice RE-20, Neumann KMS 105
Back in 1966, when psychedelic art was about to embark.
Two seminal songs: The above mentioned by the Rolling Stones (which I stole the title from and made up a new music to accompany it), and the undeservedly overlooked “Rain” by the Beatles. The latter being published only as a single (not found on an original album), contains the first backwards recording ever and Ringos best drumming ever.
These songs are extreme in a way, as is the track above (coming in three movements) in another. It’s a different time, and a different player, who doesn’t want to compare to those giants…
A snapshot from inside a train, the photograph below simply made me think of “Paint it black”, whereas the music was cut on a different occasion and originally called “Scary”.
guitar & gear: ’67 Stratocaster, Vox AC 50, Gerd Schulte Phaser, Tube Reverb