Posts tagged nickfuckinggill

Short scores

I’ve been working on a new idea. It’s taken a while to get there, but the journey has been quite fun and I’ve seen a few cool things along the way. Here’s roughly how it went:

  1. I like my 12-second songs. How can I make something cool with them?
  2. Blog them. Write and record one every day.
  3. Jan 1st: Started writing a 12-second song lyric every day in little notebooks. Recorded a couple.
  4. Jan 4th: Realised recording them every day would take too long.
  5. Not long after: Realised I’d missed loads of days.
  6. Recordings of 12-second songs are a bit pointless anyway - where do they fit in someone’s life?
  7. Instead of recording them, why not make scores like I did for 12×12?
  8. Even better, score them for full orchestra and make very tall, narrow prints.
  9. Started orchestrating a few recent songs on the plane to Phuket.
  10. While I’m at it, why not learn traditional music engraving?
  11. Asked Nick how that works. It’s quite complicated.
  12. Realised 12-second songs don’t have a lot of gaps in the lyric for interesting orchestration.
  13. OK then, how about piano/vocal/guitar editions? I grew up playing those.
  14. A p/v/g edition of a 12-second song is very small. I’ll need lots.
  15. I’ll make a book of 365 - a song a day.
  16. That’s insane. I’d have to produce 3 a day for the next 122 days to have it ready for 2012.
  17. Who’s this actually for?
  18. OK. How about a little spiral-bound book, like a busker’s book, of 100 or so 12-second songs that you can keep by the piano?
  19. Almost, but why 100? Why not 50 or 200 or 144? That’s it! 12×12 = 144… A score of short scores!

When I was young, I’d always have these busker’s editions lying around - 100 Great Pub Songs, 100 Hits of the 40s and 50s and so on. When I sat down at the piano to play I’d grab a book, flip open a new tune and play it. It would take a couple of times to work out how the melody fit over the chords, and to get it up to speed, and then I’d be rocking through Downtown or The White Cliffs Of Dover. After that, I’d think of other songs to play or just start making stuff up.

A little book of 12-second songs would be a great thing to have around. It’s a warm-up or a sorbet course between serious practice sessions for musicians. And I can always orchestrate a few and make some quality letterpress prints too.


The Peoples Princess Christingle Special

Nick applies for a job as a reindeer, Ben is convinced that The Christingle Orange is a real thing, and Nick retaliates with Candlemas.
[D]o you know William Basinski? He makes very long things of just piano tape loops decaying.

Instructions for Empathetic Living audio guide, Exercise 1, festive edition (artvehicle 46)

Nick Gill is a genius. We know that. His band, The Monroe Transfer, are great. We know that too. Christmas music sucks.

Which is why I can’t stop listening to this. Disguised as a Yuletide meditation tape, narrated by Rhiannon Armstrong (who plays viola? in TMT), this is the slowest, most confusingly wonderful version of Silent Night ever. There’s a little bit of Noël, Noël thrown in there too, but only a bit. And it’s right near the end. Just before the 4-minute single-note outro.

I think what confuses me is that it sounds like it should be dark, and it’s not. It never swoops away from the pastoral Is and IVs of the carol or breaks into a heavily distorted saw solo. Not that it should but, y’know, it could if it wanted to. I guess that’s what the perspective shift is all about. Empathetic Living. Allowing people to surprise you with how cool they are.

FYI I have a thing about heights (sometimes), so I lay on the floor. ;)