Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Song

So, I like to fiddle around with music. Might as well put the old guitars to some sort of use. What I don't do is write lyrics. Not my thing. It doesn't come natural to me, and it's just not a strong suit of mine. So, I say that to explain this: since my music is all instrumentals, I tend to have a lot of visual imagery floating around in my head as I compose something. This one is no different. But I'm getting ahead of myself. As far as the song itself, it's a mishmash of a lot of bands/styles/genres I love. Specifically (in this instance): Ennio Morricone/The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; The Charlatans from their Some Friendly period; The Church from their Starfish album; U2's Unforgettable Fire; Catherine Wheel's Ferment album; and even a little Depeche Mode and Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique in the intro and outro. So, back to the song: I thought of it as a soundtrack to a highly stylized movie from the late 60s, early 70s (not the music itself, just the movies imagery...although the hammond organ in the song is very retro sounding and that was intentional). The kind of movie Lee Marvin would have made or maybe George Clooney when he wants to be grittier. Here's the plot in a nutshell and how the song corresponds with the story (at least, in my head):

-The Lee Marvin/George Clooney character is a "fixer" for LA mobsters. He's very good at what he does, and supremely confident in his abilities. But, he's also grown tired, weary, bitter, and cynical...and is thinking of getting out and "retiring". As he sits alone in a dark downtown bar, he gets a phone call for a job. As he prepares for the job, and goes about doing what he does to complete it (let your mind wander as to what it might be), that's the first part of the song. It's the intro (prepping and driving to the scene), and the verse (doing the job, and doing it well). However, it dawns on the fixer something isn't right, and his "bosses" have set him up to take a hard fall. That's the short bridge after the verse...when it occurs to him he's in deep trouble and been deceived and double-crossed. The second part (or chorus, although it only occurs once), is his flight out of the city with danger close on his heels. He's heading to the desert where an old flame of his lives. She's the only person he can trust, and she's somebody he's never told anybody about in order to keep her out of harms way from his seedy life. He's had years of regret for walking away from the relationship years prior, as she was easily the best thing he had in his life. But, being who he was, he felt she was better off without him...but he's never gotten over the regret. The repeat of the bridge is their meeting in the desert, and her hiding him out until he can figure out an angle to clear his name from the incident. She agrees to go back to help him if he promises to leave the city and be with her (she still holds a candle for him too). He agrees. The repeat of the verse is them both going back to LA, and the fixer getting his revenge and the bosses getting their just desserts. The ending bridge is the fixer and the woman driving back out to the desert and never looking back.

Now, a movie like this needs a highly stylized poster, which i would imagine would look something like these:

Anyways, that's my musical process and some insight into my brain. I know...nerd alert. Oh, and the sound of the record skipping at the intro and outro was just an homage to the Beastie Boys Pauls Boutique album. I had fun making the recording sound like it was a record where the needle would get stuck and you had to bump it to get it going again, and then hastily dragged the needle over the groove at the end putting it away. The siren/car chase at the beginning was my idea of the "listener" of the record listening to another track on the record (say, the "chase scene of the fixer getting out of LA"), and the needle got stuck, so they drug the needle over to the next track, this song. Then song ends as it's the last track, so the listener drags the needle a bit as they put the spindle back in its cradle. No real purpose other than my own entertainment.

This song was a pain in the ass to mix and master. Different sets of headphones/earbuds would produce wildly different results, so I kind of had to make a compromise where it didn't sound perfect on any of them, but decent on all of them.

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