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Decent day today despite the occasional intrusion of the odd crisis requiring calm management.
Foss finally arrived, yours truly still in a dressing gown after 2 hours ensconced behind a monitor screen playing ping pong on e mails, fielding calls and texts and a surprise drop in from my parents. Something quite bohemian and seemingly relatively eccentric to herald a writing session. Foss was however nonplussed as we sipped our Costa Rican arabica fire juice and discussed the prospects of a major European tour in front of the extended scawl on the notice board in the office. Impressed by the expanse of the decluttered control room he was seeing for the first time he loaded in as I showered and we sat down to listen to the Leamington live versions of the new material and the recent demos Steve, Robin and i had put together in the last week. He was duly impressed but like me shuddered a bit at the live renditions which didn’t sound like that on stage on the night. It was obvious that the new demos had acceded the earlier incarnations and the cuts and add ons met with his approval. the soundscape of “Perfume River” drew the best reaction and pointed us in a direction we needed to follow with the “High Wood ” suite in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the album.
I needn’t have worried and like a magician he pulled a few ideas out of the hat right from the start that got me excited. We decided to start with ” the High Wood” which requires a delicate melodic piano motif for a vocal to thread a lyric within and around setting up the song for a move into a repeating theme and then towards something broody and heavy that gets bigger and climaxes to leave us with the plaintiff vocal of the the opening to “Crucifix Corner”.
As always with Foss I sit down and describe the “movie”, the images and lyrical themes I want to emote with the music.
The idea is to open with the High Wood now as a site in the modern age with battlefield tourists and locals going about their business and lives in a place that was a scene of carnage and that has continued to grow as time passes, healing it’s wounds and carrying on as it has done for centuries. Mixing those images with a more global perspective; human achievements, destruction and conflict; against the eternal nature of the wood all the time referring to it’s passive place as a witness to the grand scheme of things.Nice and simple and easy to rack up in about 5-6 minutes! 🙂 That’s the movie!
We found the geography albeit from a satellite position which we need to zoom a lot closer in to discover the detail and the routing.
Themes were looped to hypnotise me into finding the vocal melodic thread and I spent most of my time scribbling and taking notes like setting the clay correctly on a potters wheel and getting my hands dirty trying to find the first recognisable shape from the words.
And this is what I managed to conjure up myself, the next trick being to find a phrasing that weaves inside Foss’s piano melody. It’s going take some heavy whittling and maneuvering to make it fit and at times like this I sometimes wish I was just writing books rather than songs! :-0
“air conditioned coaches glide on soft suspension, foreign faces stare through dusty windows trying to close the distance on a long lost generation they barely knew, who never talked about the horror and faded into silence leaving ribboned letters in the attic and campaign medals in the sideboard for the kids to wonder over and decorate young warriors in the garden, or to be glanced at by browsing strangers with no more than a passing interest as they lie in rusty tins on antique market stalls.”
“pretty young girls with auburn tresses, their mothers in Laura Ashley dresses, corduroy dads with sensible shoes, moderate souls with conservative views, uniform sons who dream of soldiers, academy fodder who’ll follow orders till they day they die”
It’s a long dizzy meandering melodic line and the sections above will have words added and removed to snake them along side the keyboard melody and movement.
A brain frazzling challenging episode but in the end it’ll be something to be proud of.
The assault on the High Wood continues tomorrow. Hopefully this will be over well before Christmas! 🙂