Hardcore Tetralogy

 

The Phantom Zephyr
A bit more hard-edged than most tracks I've written so far, this has been simmering in my head for a few years. I made a shortened version of it for the soundtrack of the film A Humble Station?, but always intended to record a full version, and here it is. It's inspired by two somewhat insignificant notes in John Adams' Hoodoo Zephyr, and more substantially by Terry Riley's Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band.

It features yet another experiment with time signatures. In the middle of the piece, and again near the end, a saxophone plays in 7/8 time over the track's regular 3/4.


© Alan Wrigley Jul 2018  

 

Jump (from a broken country, without a parachute)
A song which is the musical equivalent of brutalist architecture. It has an industrial flavour and is something of a departure for me.

I still can't sing. But someone has to do it.


 

We used to live in another time,
A time of rhyme and reason.
But Captain Sensible has walked the plank
And the clowns have put the squeeze on.

Into the fire, into the fire
Into the fire, with unbridled desire.

You ask me how it came to this
This cold, unforgiving place.
We've taught ourselves to sacrifice
The common good for our selfish space.

Jump... jump... just believe that you can fly.
Jump... jump... worst case, you'll just die.

Forged in our own factories
Are the tools that will destroy us
We're eaten from the inside out
By our own deluded paranoias.

Into the fire, into the fire
Onto the pyre, we can't climb any higher.

Now the universal energy
Has traversed from plus to minus
And we've lost all sense of synergy
That we once hoped would define us.

Jump... jump... you don't know how far you'll fall.
Jump... jump... if you die you'll take us all.

Jump... jump... jump... jump...
Take a flying leap...

© Alan Wrigley Apr 2019  

 

Dulvanger Curve
I can't really explain this one. Initially it was a bit like a nightmare but as it progressed it lost its menace and just became strange.


© Alan Wrigley Jun 2019  

 

Occam's Stubble
This piece has been in my head since 1996, when I bought a Yamaha DB50XG synth card and played with it for a while. This started as a doodle based on a riff from Soft Machine's Facelift and expanded in my head into a complex piece of music built on overlapping tempos of five and seven beats to the bar.

Occam's Razor suggests that you should not choose a complex solution if there is a simple one that meets the criteria. I prefer to not choose a simple solution if I can find a more complex one, so this piece therefore stands in the way of Occam's Razor, hence its title.

It's in several sections. The first has 5-beat and 7-beat themes overlaid with equal beat lengths, so that the bars are of different lengths and the downbeats are only in sync every 35 beats. Section two is mostly in 7/4 time with a few brief bars at the end where again the two time signatures overlap out of sync. The third section is nominally in 5/4 time but there are several places where a 7-beat theme is overlaid, but in this instance the beat lengths are changed so that 5 beats of one equals 7 beats of the other. This leads to some complex juxtapositions of notes which can sound strange if you don't know what's going on. The fourth section reprises the first starting with a slow variation on the theme, and the finale is one long bar of 70 beats, which is of course a multiple of both 5 and 7.

I had great fun doing all this. I hope I've blunted the Razor.


© Alan Wrigley Jul 2019  

 

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