First thoughts on music
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hey Jenny

So, I'm really taking the song-cycle idea and running with it. My challenge is to get it far enough along so that I can share a representative feel for the ideas, without spending a ton of time, in case this isn't the right path. I'll describe it here, with "ballpark" references...

Style-wise - the tunes (at least to me) are coming across as if the following had happened: Damien Rice meets Fiona Apple, and they write something that is a cross between The Who's Tommy and Paradise by the Dashboard Lights. How's that?! Basically, amped up singer-songwriter in feel, but with more rhythm and a sense of musical theater (ala Meatloaf, but not THAT theatrical). Lots of harmonies and/or dual vocal lines that can get pretty gritty.

I've lined up a female vocalist to collaborate with on the vocals, as I want some of the songs to be back-and-forth, others - either the male or female voice will take the lead. All the lyrics will tie in to the central theme, and our characters- but have enough gray area that they aren't too literal. As I'm writing, I'm almost imagining as if the characters were also singing the songs in addition to dancing. Who knows, maybe we'll blow this out to "Lightning Strikes: The Musical" next year... :)

Having the lightning strikes as metaphors for change, crisis, chemistry, lust for life - basically energy - really opens up a lot of thematic ground.

I was kind of hearing the voice-over happen before and after songs (with the exception of song 4), and I'd have transitional background underscore to go from one tune to the other while the VO was heard. Do you think that as well?

For now, I'm working on a 6-song idea:

Song 1 - the couple (moody intro, builds, lots of dynamics)

Song 2- near-death woman (up tempo, major key)

Song 3 - fridge woman (I'm hearing her as a sympathetic character, and perhaps the one "ballad" of the piece)

Song 4 - ATM guy - very campy doo-woppish tune, with no real verse. Instead the VO could happen there, and just have chorus fragments. This could be a cool way to integrate the VO into the music for one of the tunes.

Song 5 - Couple song 2 - very up tempo, a bit more humor than song 1

Song 6 - transcendent - to mini-epic vibe, (think Snow Patrol or Coldplay, kind of) big energy, ensemble climax

What are your thoughts on all the above, without hearing a note of it?!! What I'd like to do is get you demos of at least 2-3 of the songs that hopefully help us determine if this is the way we want to go. These probably will be VERY rough, and require you to connect many dots! I'm shooting to make that happen by Memorial Day.

let me know your thoughts - C
Lightning Strikes!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The San Francisco-based dance company Huckabay McAllister Dance, led by company Artistic Director Jenny McAllister in creating an original work, tentatively titled Lightning Strikes Anonymous.

HM Dance is known for creating some of the most creative and adventurous programs on the West Coast, and the new piece seems destined to follow in that tradition. The piece is scheduled to be performed in full (~25 minutes) in early 2010, but the dance company will begin workshopping and presenting excerpts this summer.

This blog will offer a behind the scenes look at the collaborative process...