Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Running Easy

I have always loved to run.  This has got me into trouble in the past when I got lost.  This song says it all.

Running through the city with a plan on my mind.
It’s been far too long since I’ve seen my kind.
The business man is singing, the city is strained
at the pounding of the rhythm from my feet through the drains.

Speed is my friend
She is my friend.
I’ll love you to the end my darling friend.

Lightning speed is the thought in my mind
When my body moves it keeps the thinking aligned.
Feeling equilibrium’s the thing that I need
and it all comes down to that yearning for speed.

Running to the sun are you nearly behind
as the yelling in the background drives me totally blind
to the people on the sidewalk and the traffic on the street
but the speed I’m feeling in me helps me keeping the beat.

Don’t let me don’t let me scream the world down
as the lack of outer speed makes my inner world drown
in the buzzing and the tension that is filling my veins
gotta break it and release before they call me insane.

Got to feel the water and the feeling of pain
the only things I feel that tell me I’m here again
Sort of bouncing back to action onto the side of the street
I”ve got to get my body back from pounding my feet.

Speed is my friend
She is my friend.
I’ll love you to the end my darling friend.

Written 14 May 2012

The next video explains why I use the word "equilibrium".

(Video taken during a session with composer Harley Mead on 9 June.
See below for partial transcripts of three sessions with Harley.)

I met Harley Mead in 2012.  He used to teach music at my sister's school.  Working with Harley was amazing.  He listened to my thoughts and then he just played them.  The best thing was that he understood.

It would be great to hear this song recorded by a band in a studio.

Here are transcripts of the three sessions I had with Harley.

Partial transcript of first session with composer, Harley Mead, 26 May 2012.  (Not videotaped.)

Before Harley arrived:
Being decidedly annoyed with these crappy tics.  Really have to get it together.

(Cathie asked Ben what he would like to work on with Harley.)
What I want is help to get the sound of the tune on paper so that other people can really know what the idea sounds like.
(Ben was having a lot of trouble with tics and anxiety.)
Try to get him to see past this.  Good to try to get some new ideas.  This one will be great.

With Harley
To me the nice thing about music is the thing it does to your body.  It helps me to get the control I need.
(Discussing the lyrics “Running through the city …”)
This one is one of my favourites.  It’s like the rest about my body wracking my brain.
(Harley asked whether Ben wanted the song to be fast or slow.)
Fast of course.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
The beat underneath needs timing that is fast constant and pulsing like a beating heart that is filled to the top with fear.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
Yes you have the up and down beat perfect.
The chorus then needs silence or a long soft sound in the distance.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
Cool chorus the thing I want is not so many beats but you are close.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
The sound for the bass part should remind people of my stomping feet.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
Hold the chorus beat for twice as long.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
Beat feet is not about sound but is about the sound of the instrument.
The chorus and melody are great.  When you do the bass part make it sing like my feet.
Keep it the same as before just different instrument.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
That’s what I want
I want to get pumping rock and roll.
Thanks this has been fantastic.

Partial transcript of second session with Harley Mead, 9 June 2012.

Before video starts:
Great to see you all.  Ready.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
The instruments really need to be less busy.  There are too many notes on a piano.

(Listens to Harley on piano.)
The thumping bottom layer stays with a time a bit slower than the top section.
(Listens to Harley on piano.)
Yes but less hopping around just up and down like a fear filled heart.
(Listens to Harley on piano.  Harley asks if another word could be substituted for "equilibrium", which is hard to fit to the melody.)
That’s good and I think that it would sound better when played on different instruments.
They’ve got equilibrium in the science book ...
(Ben walks to piano - which is very overdue for tuning! - and closes the lid.)

(See "Equilibrium" video above.)
They’ve got equilibrium in the science books that talk about balance. Running gives me the feeling that my body is together and in nice balance. It is the time that I feel most in control probably to the disbelief of the onlooker. The word can be changed but the meaning needs to stay true.

How about we just work on melody for a bit.  My ears and head are letting me down today.
(Listens from next room to Harley sing.  Having difficulty with his "ears and head".  Harley asks him to come back and say what he thinks, and promises "ten more minutes and I'll leave you alone".)
I like what we do. Don’t think of it as annoying me.
The melody is great but it might need to be lower in the verses.

My voice would be low and it would be prickly to the ears. It’s that sound I want for the verse.
The chorus needs to have the feeling of relief in the voice.
(Harley demonstrates some different vocal effects.  Cathie asks Ben if he can name a singer with the kind of voice he is describing.)
Leonard Cohen has a prickly and low sound sometimes.
(Harley sings a verse with a very low voice.)
That’s really fine.  My thoughts are that it’s still not dirty enough but I am just being picky.
That’s called creative licence.
(Harley asks if he can get a friend with a gravelly voice to help him.)
The gravel friend would be great to hear.
(Harley sings with a gravelly voice.  Group discussion about artists with gravelly voice - Tom Waits is mentioned.)

(See video, below.)
(Harley sings a verse with a gravelly voice, and the chorus with a clear voice.  He talks about the verse sounding very intense, and the chorus reflecting relief.)
Great voice.  Yes, intense is me.
Good to get friends involved.
The important thing is to keep the message true which I know you will do.
(Harley records what they have worked on so far.)
That’s it.  You rock.
Every time it shifts that little bit closer to the image in my head.  Thanks.

Partial transcript of third session with Harley Mead, 1 December 2012.

(listens to Harley’s recording from previous session.)
It’s such a cool voice.
(Harley asks if he wants to work on the same or a different song.)
Lets work more on the same one.
(Harley asks “just the voice or the voice and piano?”)
With voice and piano.
What about the thumping bass?
(Harley plays and sings.)
I would like different competing speed between bass and voice.
(Harley plays and sings.)
(Harley plays and sings.)
It is good melody.  Can I have a listen to the fast bass.
(Harley plays.)
That’s the heart beat.
(Harley plays.)

The chorus goes slow.  Just long notes.  It contrasts the lyrics in speed.
(Harley plays.)
The piano should not dance in the chorus.
Harley: so you don’t like this?  (Plays.)
The melody stays up high but the notes go down for “speed is my friend”.  It does not stay on the same one.
(Harley plays.)
Getting there.  “Speed” and “is” are shorter notes.  Syncopate.
(Harley plays.)
Not jumpy but shorter as in notes not as long.
(Harley plays.)
Half notes not full notes “speed is my” notes go faster.  “Friend” is longer.  It is how you had it last time.
(Harley plays.)
It is very close.  The last part of the chorus goes perfect.
(Harley asks for yes/no.  Ben withdraws.  Harley plays)
I like how the start of chorus went the last time you were here.  It’s what has been playing in my head.  But I think I could go for the last chorus being low, like you just did.
(Harley plays.)
Good.  Do higher.
(Harley plays.)

(See video, below.)
How do you like the idea of the last chorus being low like exhausted and satisfied.
(Harley asks what the song is called, so he can label the recording.)
Not sure.  Its my unnamed baby.
(Harley plays.)
Thanks Harley.  It’s great.  That’s the backbone.  Now she needs dressing.
(Drums?) yes
(Base guitar?) yes
(electric guitar?) yes
(flute?) No
(more vocals) Yes
(On the chorus only?)
Chorus may need some soft vocals in background.
(Harley: Like some “ahhs”)
(One voice?)
Two in harmony
(Harley makes quip about earning money from the song.  Asks about harmony - going down or going up?)
Think harmony can go down.
If you play my song in a concert that is cool.  But I expect money.

Not sure but what do you think of last verse being spoken?
(Harley takes note.)

Bye and thanks.