For the last couple of weeks I've been working on something I wrote in late 2004 (!) that was always supposed to be some sort of song, and even half was, sort of - I know I did some work on it, but I don't think I ever really figured out how it was supposed to go.
Now, this is something I mostly assembled out of bits and pieces of actual dreams, and even at the stage it's at now, I think if I were in a band they wouldn't let me get to the second verse if I wanted to try to get them to play it.
But I sorta missed the work of songwriting, the endless wrestling with sound, its symbols, its execution, learning and pushing its limits, learning and pushing my limits. And so I pulled this out and, well, worked on it. And worked on it. And worked on it.
The familiar routine has been pleasant. Accidentally setting ridiculous challenges for myself and struggling to meet them at least half way. Slowly pulling the pieces together until there is at least some sort of internal world I shaped and grew, that arises organically out of silence for a few minutes, and then fades back out, leaving perhaps some echoes in its wake.
This song is tough. I have to get a lot of things right, most of them two or three at a time, and after and before doing a different combination of things right.
I have to do the vocals three different ways, and, ideally, the best way I have heard myself do each part so far. I have to get the guitar parts right, playing quietly enough during the verses to let the words float clear, and bouncing off the right strings in the choruses to emphasize the melody (I need a bassist!). I have to do just enough in the transitions in and out of the canyon (bridge ha ha) to have it flow just right.
I have to phrase and pronounce the words just right - that is, not too much emphasis or accentuation, but in some places, just that right small amount. There is a melody in the verses I have to make sure to allow to happen consistently.
I have to practice it a *lot* more. I think on this take - the 8th of a session preceded by practicing the intro chords for twenty minutes - I get about a third of it right. I think the verse vocals suffer the most. There's a tone I can get if I concentrate and work at it that is just right, but just like the singing in the choruses, it does not come naturally - at least not yet. I have to work at it.
While these are all very strong arguments for taking this thing "into the studio", where I only have to do one thing right at a time, and don't even have to do it all in a row, there is also an even stronger argument for being able to play it like this. It forces me to improve.
At least the words are in pretty good shape. I like them a lot, I enjoy singing/growling/whatevering them. I think they are very interesting, and if anyone figures out what they mean, will they please tell me?
Thank you for listening.
© Huw Powell