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Strange Costumes Part III: Playing the Field

Kev cradles his bass paternally.......

Kev cradles his bass paternally.......

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally found some time to put the finishing touches to the third instalment of the Strange Costumes ‘Altered Book’ project that I’m working on in conjunction with Atlanta-based artist and writer Shelley M House. There will be a video version of it later.

As with the previous two, the rhythms are very African influenced. To create the rhythm track, I recorded four or five ‘live’ drum parts using a multiple drum pad module that you play just like a normal kit. for each track, I altered the parameters so the pads triggered different drums and percussion effects. The final, multiple drum track is quite insistent and chaotic, so I opted to overlay a vocal in a sixties, psychedelic ‘lazy’ style, to balance the speed of the piece.  The lyric is dictated very strictly by the words Shelley gave me, in her meter and order, and this, above all else, gives these musical pieces their unusual structure and form. I cannot escape into a chorus, and I have to find ways to fit words in that may conflict with the rhythm. It’s a lot of fun!  You will notice that some of the lyrics are hard to understand. That is because I have gone for an overall feel for the track, and to clearly enunciate them may have compromised that. The music is designed to be listened to in conjunction with reading the lyrics within Shelley’s art pieces. I’ve reproduced the lyrics below, with the small changes I made highlighted in blue:

Fantastic information we find in the field.
Tasty instrument, hear it play, food he likes. (Tasty instrument, hear it play)
Searching shallow ends for frogs and fish, we get too close and find that edges have snapped.
In scenery sharp and strange we play;
very vivid, very thin, and very fond of fruit.
I hope the tree-top toucan can support all the weight.
See the colorful two, overlap and sway,
planting the seeds of the future.
Penknife and pine, the hungry fulcrum faintly tips.
Our friends are prying and peculiar. Stories are told. Perfectly attractive, bold and yellow, red and blue.
We pick out our decorations so carefully.
We find seeds and weeds for large appetites, all of them eating out of habit.
Muddy mouthfuls make it difficult to speak.
Entire worlds are reduced to hums and beats.
Hands and arms, legs and feet, tiny twitters, a deep low beat. (tiny twitters in a deep low beat)
Graceful games turn frantic in a storm.
Run and frisk, high and low, coming in and out of sight. Quick and urgent, they cry, they cry.they cry, they cry…cry…

Words by Shelley M House, Music by Kev Moore

The breakdown in the middle begins with the gradual layering of sampled African choral vocals, mixed with tribal drumming and nature samples steadily building in intensity to re-introduce the main theme.  As the track fades, it departs a little from the trance-like single chord structure and I introduce some changes in the synth chords underneath, so that the lead guitar can be more expressive. The bass line remains the same however, and its always a nice effect, to keep the bass the same and change the underlying chords.

So there it is……enjoy!

You can listen to the first two parts of the series by clicking on the links below:

Strange Costumes

Draped in Strange Feathers

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Home Studio, Music, Recording, Rock, Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Strange Costumes – A new Collaboration

Words can’t express how exciting it is to create with my friends in Cafe Crem!  Certainly, from my perspective, it affords me a wonderful new window on my work, and how I approach music making and songwriting. This latest project was inspired by the haunting words of Shelley M House, an American artist and writer who I’ve come to know through Cafe Crem. Her latest piece, shown here, is the beginning of her exciting “Altered Book project” – and I believe it is alive with possibilities. The song you will hear when you click on the link is my interpretation, word for word  – of Shelley’s piece. Enjoy!

Strange Costumes – The Song

© 2009 Music by Kev Moore, Lyrics by Shelley M House


January 26, 2009 Posted by | Home Studio, Music, Recording, Writing | , , , , , , | 4 Comments