Sunday, January 17, 2010


Track Analysis:
Eager after both gain and dominion

This entire album has probably been undertaken far in advance of the capabilities of its composer, for whilst the pieces can be written and the notes organised into various arrangements, there stands no virtuoso behind the instrumentalisation thereof. But that was always at least part of the experiment. Of course, as a performer, more fluency would most surely advance the music’s voice.

(Unfortunately, in the opinion of some) I have a tendency bordering on a penchant for releasing material which, although constructed according to both thought and intention, is perhaps poorly executed. Perfection be damned though, for I’d rather a swift turnaround of concept than teethering the work to a stake until its toiler becomes proficient.

Those same naysayers probably hate paragraphs starting with an open bracket too ...

And so it is thusly, with a swipe of Apollon's righteous indignance, that my invitation to burn with the others in the sixth bolgia of the eighth circle of hell is heralded ...

For, whilst on one level I covet the romanticism of living in a realm of suggestion - where the most important considerations of any artistic endeavour are the underlying ideas of its creator, (a concept that’s almost exclusively based around my own selfish convenience), on a second, and much deeper level, I secretly hate my own apology, for it makes me a hypocrite; I’m justifying my lack of talent with an abundance of talk disguised as reason.

So I long for times past, wherein Dante fretted over thirty-four cantos of rhyming Latin, those centuries lost where composers could write symphonies without midi files, and the decades recently faded in which it was imperative that musician’s knew their craft thoroughly ... and yet I’m equally enthralled with the luxury I’ve been afforded to simply plug my Ibanez TCY-10 into my Audigy2ZS, record several different takes to a click track, manipulate the results accordingly, upload the files to Mediafire, and call myself a musician.

At which point some ill-defined solace is rudely syphoned from the fact that Virgil’s The Aeneid (which he spent eleven years writing, occasionally at the pace of a single perfectly-phrased sentence a day) was itself released unfinished. But it’s a decent stretch to get there ...

Another disclaimer could proclaim that I’m more architect than artist.

And still, even then, The Manic Street Preachers said it with far more conviction than I, with Faster. And I’m sure they’d be properly appalled at my improper alignment with it ...

So my philosophy with regards my own compositions is suggestive of ideas being rather more interesting (though not necessarily more important) than precision. There’s a time and place where both can be successfully sated I’m sure, but a champion of this I am certainly not.

And on both counts.

I don’t have the patience, and time (as always) is an issue. I learnt this from the Beat Generation. I’m not sure in which work it was mentioned however, but the quote itself was something akin to one “knowing the value of time,” (perhaps it was during
On The Road in someone’s basement after an all-night discussion, maybe it was referred to in Allen Ginsberg’s Mid-fifties journals 1954-1958) - it was almost certainly attributable to him though. Possibly whilst bearing the alias of Carlo Marx.

It’s a virtue I long to embrace.

But again, this is something of a false dichotomy, because the transitional piece in question was actually recorded because I was able to play the section better than I’d done previously; the same melody appears elsewhere on the album as an outro section.

And this is where the ‘gain and dominion’ referred to in the title becomes relevant to this particular track. Although, even then, it admittedly does so only in relation to the general horror of my initial takes. I could’ve re-recorded them, I guess, but doing so would pose the added complications of trying to get the same sound with possibly different strings and settings in an effort to have it all still fit comfortably in the mix without destroying the elusive ‘emotion’ of the first capture - a bit like taking a surprise photograph of your family at a picnic only to re-do the same shot with everybody posing in the same manner because an unsuspecting Aunt Polly had her eyes closed. You’d never get that same shot again. Even if everybody played their role to perfection.

And I guess that’s what I aim to capture during my recording sessions.

Further notes:

The actual title of this track is a portion of a quote from Geoffrey Malaterra, an eleventh century monk and historian, with regards the Normans, from whence my line originally is said to stem ....

"Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, that is, perhaps uniting, as they certainly did, these two seemingly opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report. They were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the very boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held firmly down by the yoke of justice. They were enduring of toil, hunger, and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, and of all the weapons and garb of war."