Chemin Des Dames

October 8, 2009 3:07 PM

An ancient and extremely rough instrumental demo. Written after a visit to the battlefields of Flanders. It's not scary.......just a little bit haunted........

Dedicated to the memory of Cpl Donald White, 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and Pvt Archibald Main, 4th Canadian Infantry - my great uncles.

posted by MajorDundee (7 comments total)

This sounds pretty finished to me.. How did you get the ideas to record this?
posted by dobie at 4:30 PM on October 8, 2009

This is neat. I dig the little swells in the background, and the use of the guitar as a percussive element, with the delay.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:16 PM on October 8, 2009

dobie - I don't quite know what you mean re how I got the ideas. Can you explain?

Believe me - it's a long way from finished. This is dog rough. I've thought now and again about doing a vocal version, but the sound I have in mind means it needs a female singer and, well, I don't know any.
posted by MajorDundee at 12:51 PM on October 9, 2009

Heh, I really dig this as instrumental and without vocals. It seems like the guitar says it all. Sometimes less is more. No need for a battle cry, it's enough to feel it, and I do.
posted by snsranch at 7:19 PM on October 9, 2009

Major, I just meant to ask about the inspiration for the parts. Were they floating around in your head before hand or were they evoked by your visit? For me, I can be walking down the street and then just start singing a song, get home and pick up the guitar and bang it out. I'm curious how the creation of a tribute happens.
posted by dobie at 10:12 AM on October 13, 2009

dobie - I can't remember to be honest. I don't usually "hear" all the parts before a recording. I generally have a melody line that sparks everything off and everthing else is improvised round that on the spot. The way I do things is that there's no real distinction between the writing and recording phases - it all melds into one thing. I have a rather weird attitude where I kind of see these things as just a big improvisation which sometimes works and more often doesn't. And I have an aversion to revisiting something - so even though I know I could do it better I'll never re-record this track. I think it's because I'm primarily a lead guitarist and I was schooled as a youngster in Yes-derivative prog bands where a high cachet was placed on improvisation, cliche-avoidance and not repeating oneself. Basically a jazz aesthetic, I guess, although I don't have the technique or musical knowledge to class myself as a jazzer.

Where the melody lines come from is anyone's guess. I might have had the line for this one for a while before I went to Flanders and I guess the actual sound of the recording might have been more of a deliberate attempt to capture the emotional resonance of the place. Sometimes it can take some time for an emotional experience to seep through into a piece of music - to the extent that the original inspiration is not that easy to pinpoint. Sometimes it's more directly attributable - I have a song called "Battery Park In Blue" that draws its inspiration from my first visit to the USA. Which was fantastic. I haven't uploaded it though because the lyric might be offensive. It sets out what, at the time (during George Bush's reign), was my rather contradictory and ambiguous attitude to the US. Not love/hate, but more love/I'm not that comfortable with some aspects...... Could say the same though for the UK.
posted by MajorDundee at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2009

You should ask nosila if she'll contribute vox for this. Having just gone through her entire Voodoo Economics discography, I could absolutely hear her voice delivering lines over this arrangement.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:50 PM on October 19, 2009

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