Archives For original music

count-of-monte-cristo-caviezel-and-harris

From, The Three Musketeers, to The Man in The Iron Mask, to The Count of Monte Cristo; in the novel department only Clive Cussler’s, Dirk Pitt fiction series comes close to how much of a fan I am of Alexander Dumas.

If there’s a movie made available about either, I’ve probably seen it, or would sign petitions for more to be made.

I would have to say that outshining all three of Dumas’ works listed is The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s my affection for this book that’s applied to the new instrumental below. The story of Edmond Dantes, betrayed by his friends in their quest for power and privilege. Imprisoned falsely and lost to the world he once knew. Stuck in the depths the Château d’If, the now, number 27, Dantes ‘ desperation drives him back towards God.

Praying for deliverance, he meets Abbé Faria (#34), a priest, who while attempting to escape digs up into Dantes’ cell. From this meeting comes the revolution of Dantes.

“[For] Dantes was a man of great simplicity of thought, and without education”.[i]

Dantes reflects on the limitations of their imprisonment and wonders how the Faria came to still be able to read, when no books are allowed, let alone light to read them by:

“I had nearly five thousand volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with one hundred and fifty well-chosen books a man possesses, if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know – [recall to memory].”

From here, Dantes asks to be taught by Faria. He subsequently goes from being a naive simpleton to an intellectual giant. Dantes learnt to “see in the dark.”

In the final scene between the two, an unwell Faria farewells Dantes by giving him the treasure of Spada’s location; hidden in the rocky island of Monte Cristo:

“This treasure belongs to you, my dear friend,” replied Dantes, “and to you only. I have no right to it. I am no relation of yours.”
“You are my son, Dantes,” exclaimed the old man. “You are the child of my captivity. My profession condemns me to celibacy. God has sent you to me to console, at one and the same time, the man who could not be a father, and the prisoner who could not get free.”

Through prayer, a teachable attitude and education, Dantes started a personal revolution that would take him further than he probably should have gone.

The Count of Monte Cristo is the story of the salvation and dark revolution of a man sold by his friends into the abyss, in exchange for power, money and privilege.The path is mixed with tension. Full of ethical dilemmas which permeate action and decision, each moving through complex relationships built on a web of deceit. Something Dantes carefully unravels as he seeks justice for the wrongs done to him.

I think the instrumental captures that tension. The joy of freedom, of learning new things, of hope, of wrestling with wrongs done to us, and awakening to the knowledge that we all have to be responsible with that freedom.

For the physical side of the creative process. After finishing, I decided to redo the lead guitar part.  The low quality of the work reminded about the importance of having a determined melody. I am doing this as much for practice as I am posterity, so if I’m not being challenged to move beyond what I’ve already created then, as can happen, the art will stagnate.

Instead of having a wandering lead solo that does nothing but show off my flawed run up and down a fret board, having a fixed lead part works to launch the fillers (& all the frills which snap to attention with it).

The hardest part was mixing the layers. There’s an improvement between my earlier recordings and the more recent ones. I’ve pushed Audacity as far as it can go. Although, it has it’s limitations,  I’ve appreciated being able to work with a program that works. The next level is Pro-tools or an equivalent. If I was going to follow that road, I’d be looking at making that kind of investment pay for itself.

 


Source:

[i] Dumas, A. The Count of Monte Cristo Acheron Press. Kindle Ed.

Music is my own.

Image is from The Count of Monte Cristo, 2002 Jay Wolpert & Kevin Reyonalds, (source.)

13th August 2016 2 002The theme songs from Ulysses 31 and Star Blazers form part of the inspiration for this new composition.  Both are anime’s from the late 70’s early 80’s.

When I reflect back on both Ulysses 31 and Star Blazers, they hold for me more than just great art or an interesting story.They remind me of a time when my childhood was a lot more stable, and each show had epic theme songs: {U-31} – {SB}.

The theological use of light in metaphor forms the second part. God’s word is presented in Psalms as a light bound up in promise and fulfilment; giving reason for hope, guidance, protection, freedom, deliverance and an equipping for life.

Psalm 18:28-30:

‘For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.This God-his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.’

Psalm 119:105:

‘Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I will hate every false way. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’

John 1:4-5 (speaking in terms of Jesus Christ)

‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men [humanity]. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

For those who’ve ever really heard them or even just heard of them, these words bring comfort, conviction and counsel. Through trials, they’re reminders worth reaching out for. The title, ‘Running Lights’, seeks to embrace this. For example: the running lights fitted to a car for use during fog, a lighthouse, or the runway lights at an airport. They all point to a universal human consciousness that sees light as the representation of safe harbour, safe passage, rescue, or home. In sum, Running Lights is about hope and resistance.

Drawing from a melody I created earlier this week, I was able to bring the music together fairly quickly. I sequenced the drums over the raw keyboard melody, then created some rhythm guitar and a bass line. I wasn’t completely happy with the timing of the keys, so redid them. Adding another layer of keys timed at different intervals to create the robotic sound. This allowed me to generate the verse/chorus/verse/chorus pattern. I left out the bridge because I didn’t think the song needed one.

Once this was completed, I looked to the lead guitar. I was tempted not to run any lead, but after a few attempts was convinced that it gave more gusto to the melody. I spent more time working the lead, than any other part of the song (*I don’t quite yet have that perfectionism licked*).

My goal there was to push myself beyond what I’ve already been able to achieve;to learn from the mistakes and improve on what already exists. One of the biggest struggles for most of us, when it comes to being creative is not letting our attitude undermine our ability. Whether that is in regards to being humble with our talent,  feigning humility by putting ourselves down all the time, or listening to the put downs of others.

What I like is the structure. I’m also finding that the more I use Audacity, the more I am getting used to its idiosyncrasies. With that, each song seems to be improving on the production front. As for dislikes, currently I have none.

If you’re looking into checking out Star Blazers or Ulysses 31, be sure to check out the remake (here) and the excellent, 2010 live action feature film, Space Battleship Yamato.

 


(RL2016)

Surreabral Footnotes

June 10, 2016 — 2 Comments

Musical notes project_squareThis particular song took a few weeks to put together. I had a sound in mind and decided to take the time to flesh it out. Usually I’m able to put a three-minute song together in a day and polish it (as best I can, with the basic tech that I have) over a week. This one was tough.

I started with a constant rhythm running in the background with two layers of drums, both sequenced to correspond with the consistent rhyme of the rhythm guitar. The intro is a reworked piece of the drum line and the lead guitar. The bass line was played on using keys and guitar.

The latter is dipped in reverb to better introduce the tune.

The title reflects the surrealist art. The picture looks like a brain walking around with crotchets as legs. If you stand back from it you’ll notice the two double crotchets that the form their own framework around the piece.

I’m content with the overall sound. I’m very fond of how the drums turned out. The lead was a bit touch and go. I had trouble getting the right tone and finding a melody that complimented the mood. One other thing I’m not 100% thrilled with, is how I ended it. The fade out works, however, it’s too easy of a fix.

Of course, the perfectionist in me would have liked to have had the time to tighten it all up a lot more, but it’s time to just post it and leave it for now.

There isn’t a lot of depth to the meaning of this. If I was to put a description to it, I’d go with “faith seeks understanding.”

On the spot, I’d say that ‘’Surrea-bral footnotes’’ are what we are left with when we are encountered by God, His Word, His promise, His presence. We wrestle with the cognitive challenges of our day; the abrasive questions about the realism of it all. Similar to those, who after Jesus encountered them, faced a hostile interrogation from those around them.

Karl Barth pointed out that joy is the radiance of God’s glory. That joy encapsulates the point: we march on, even when the world (sometimes those about us) are all to happy to mock and tear down.

it is a glory that awakens joy […] God’s glory radiates it […] because it is God who Himself radiates joy […] His glory is radiant, and what it radiates is joy. It attracts and therefore it conquers.’ (CD. II:1, pp.655, 654, 661) (Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 30:5; Isaiah 55:12; John 15:11)

May the radiance of God’s glory warm you, comfort you, counsel you and be more real to you than just a surrea-bral footnote.

 

 


(RL2016)

In a letter, dated December 23, 1955, Barth sets out to (reluctantly) esteem one of his musical heroes for a newspaper. The letter speaks for itself, so there’s no real need for a deep exposition. The only thing that needs qualifying is the concluding statement by Barth, where he speaks figuratively of imagining angels worshiping with Bach, while at work, and then later Mozart, as they gathered together. Barth writes,

‘Mozart’s music is not, in contrast to that of Bach, a message, and not in contrast to that of Beethoven, a personal confession. He does not reveal in his music any doctrine and certainly not himself […]
Mozart does not wish to say anything: he just sings and sounds. Thus he does not force anything on the listener, does not demand that he make any decisions or take any positions; he simply leaves him free. Doubtless the enjoyment he gives begins with our accepting that […]
He thought of death daily, as his works plainly reveal. But he does not dwell on it unduly; he merely lets us discover it. Nor does  he will to proclaim the praise of God. he just does it – precisely in that humility in which he himself is, so to speak, only the instrument with which he allows is to hear what he hears: what surges at him from God’s creation, what rises in him, and must proceed from him […]
Mozart’s sacred music, too, is heard to originate in a region from which vantage point God and the world are certainly not to be judged identical, but which does allow the church and world (these are not to be interchanged) to be recognizable and recognized in their merely relative difference, in their ultimate togetherness: both emanating from God, both going back to God.[i]’

Out of necessity, I’ve redacted some of his letter to fit the 3:22 min instrumental. In doing so, I’ve stuck to Barth’s main theme: gratitude for Mozart. As it is, it’s neat and, I think, communicates well. Barth might not have been a musician, however, it’s clear from the melody and rhythm in his own writing, that he had the ear, heart and mind of one.

Can Karl Barth’s words to Mozart be put to music?

My tentative answer is, yes.


Source:

[i] Barth, K. 1956, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Wipf & Stock Publishers (pp.19-23) & (pp.37-40)

Music is my own.