Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Nature of the Sea

CD - “Quantum Nature”

I'm not sure what made me include this tune on Quantum Nature. Of all the songs on this album, this one probably diverges the most from the basic concept. It was written before all of the other songs, when I was much younger, possibly still in school. And the sources for inspiration for this song came from very different places.

I had this idea to record several ecological pieces told from the perspective of intelligent whales or dolphins. So I started writing. All of the lyrics were finished along with a basic musical structure for each song. The whole thing was going to be about 45min long. At the time, I was only working with an acoustic guitar. I had no way of recording any of the musical ideas, so I had to write them down in some sort of guitar tab short-hand with the occasional musical staff notation. The album would start with ocean waves sound effects that changed acoustically as the listener sunk beneath the waves. That's when the music would start. The album would end with the enlightened listener rising back up above the waves using the same sound effects. It was all very grand and ambitious, but probably not practically achievable by a kid with little experience and no equipment.

Around the same time as this idea, I was reading Voyage to Venus which is part of a trilogy written by C.S. Lewis. The books are in reality an allegorical justification of the Christian faith. Sounds kind of annoying when it is said that way. However, Lewis is a good writer who never allows his motive to over-shadow his means. It is a solid story of its own that happens to have biblical parallels. By the end of the tale, the reader revels in the joy of a new intelligent life-form making its start on Venus. As angels sing to God after the successful expulsion of a Satanic tempter at the end of the book, the reader sort of feels inclined to sing along.

A year or so passed. I was still working with the whale album idea by practicing the songs on acoustic guitar, mainly to avoid forgetting how they went. I read the Lewis trilogy again and got the idea to combine the two concepts somehow. I took short excerpts from some of the the whale songs and worked them into one single tune. For the words, I took excerpts from my own lyrics and parts of the angelic song from the last part of Voyage to Venus.

The first try at recording this tune on a 4-track machine was pretty bad. The timing was terrible. It sounded very disjointed, probably because of my inexperience at recording and that all of the different parts started out as different songs. The version of the song in this post was recorded years later on the computer. This process helped to stabilize the tune and improve the transitions between the different parts.

This big long story will probably build the reader up into thinking that this is an incredible song. That would be a gross exaggeration. However, it is somewhat satisfying to have a song written years ago as a young person eventually turn out to be somewhat like the original vision. Whether or not the original vision had merit, is another story.

Whales - http://www.songzmp3.com/photos/details.php?image_id=66&sessionid=3eb1354bd4691e2ba8b6b1035fce9c86

Sun picture - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SDO's_Ultra-high_Definition_View_of_2012_Venus_Transit_(171_Angstrom_Full_Disc).jpg

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