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


On May 14, 2009 at 9:07 PM , Jenny said...

This sounds fabulous! Every time I talk to you or Kim or Mike I am so happy to be collaborating with you. You are all bringing extra dimensions to the piece, ideas I never would have come to on my own.

For the ATM guy, I think the fragmented idea would be better - I'm imagining him as kind of disillusioned/crazed. This character is drawn from an actual article I read, where a man's car was struck while he was using the drive-thru ATM. The article said "the ATM was severely damaged" but didn't mention if the driver was ok or not (presumably his body was the conduit that sent the lightning from his car roof to the machine - ouch.)

My idea is that every time he goes up to an ATM machine, it either starts shooting money out at him, or it won't allow him access to his account, or it shorts out - he never knows which will happen when he approaches one. I'm envisioning him being followed by a cloud of $20 bills (maybe attached by tiny strings, or constantly falling out of his clothing.) Almost like Greek mythology, something you think will be a blessing turns out to be a curse.

I love the idea of the ballad for the fridge-lady. Once fat and lonely, now thin and obsessed (probably still lonely).

For the woman who has the near-death experience, I think there could be a bit of dark/creepy sound as well as beautiful. She wants to get back, but she's also kind of scared.

I hope this helps. After Kim & I get together to brainstorm more, I'll post a character sheet and hopefully we'll start getting more of an idea about the order/flow of the piece.

On May 14, 2009 at 10:51 PM , AtticusMusic said...


Thanks - and likewise. I couldn't be more pumped about this project, and continue to find that your concept for the piece is a creative lotto ticket. Seriously, I'm really loving all the different angles and directions the music is taking.

I need to get you something soon that you can hear - I'm shooting to get you very rough demos of at least 3 tunes or so by end of next week. If we're all cool with the general vibe, sound, etc - then, we can start getting very specific on times, lengths, transitions, etc.

If you and Kim get a character sheet going that'd be great. Right now all these characters are little figments of my imagination singing some bizarre off-off-off broadway show...