Amends (lost-&-found home recording #4 & acoustic rough pluck) — in patterns
I’m noticing patterns now as I review past work as a whole for EXTRACTIONS. Over the decades, I’ve had finished songs that I’ve eventually realized were unknowingly based on previous writing. Sometimes melodies can feel singular, but there’s always a suspicion if one feels too noteworthy — as in, I’m possibly drawn to it because I’ve already used it. Some of us are always looking for familiarity, whether we know it or not. Or, even worse — maybe something about it seems under another influence. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought there was a similarity between a song of mine called Lucky from the 2006 album Meadow, & the I Love Lucy theme. The feeling generally comes & goes in whatever manner of the flower hybrid du jour. That’s always a buzz-killer, though — those accidentally exploited patterns — like I’ve lost a hopeful relationship — as if we had a real connection. Well, I did, anyway, but, it was actually just me the whole time. Maybe you should spend more time apart, then.
Should it be "myself the whole time?” What about “I the whole time?” Or wait — how about “my self . . . ?” — kinda secretive . . . Hmmmm. It’s black & white, but also a gray area — I like all of them except: “I the whole time” — it conjures Mr. French on Family Affair. As a child, I remember thinking that the Brian Keith character on that show looked like the smell of a cigarette with a note of aftershave. & while we’re off-topic, the British servant, named French, was just a valet, but always around. Where did he live? Also, what was the teen-or-something even doing there? — she seemed old enough to have a job & apartment of her own. . . . maybe because there was a servant . . . Why would a child name a doll Mrs. Beasley? One of the twins was a redhead — not sure why I pause here, but . . . I don’t know . . . to me, the whole thing just has the complicated hallmarks of a cult situation. . . . perhaps, even all of the "Family" were under the influence of this charismatic French (as he called himself) . . .
One way to break up a pattern in composition is to do it by accident. While touring, I’d discover other versions of songs simply by changing which guitar I recited them on. Randomly changing from acoustic steel string to nylon was always a good idea to find a fresh voice — plastic pick to fingerpick or a thumb-strum — maybe acoustic to electric with a few effects pedals to give it an unwonted twist — or pinch on a capo & play it with different chords altogether to make other sorts of performance accents happen — the subconscious kind which mechanically come with a certain key or chord structure.
When considering Amends as a newsletter subject, I found several interpretations. Most are built around the full arrangement track-stack spelled-out below, but with slight variations of words & instrumentation evolution. For instance, this particular edition has a phrase “shrouded expectation”, where a later vocal used “evanescent justice.” That later rendition is even titled “Justice.” — the word change affected the meaning of the whole — so much, I retitled. I almost used that version, but I like this older one now, when it was still called “Amends,” because of the earlier lyrics. Some text continues to change, even after recording & release. The second embedded audio included below, the demo, acoustic rough pluck, stumbles on that phrase section, singing a mumbled mash-up of the two words — probably because I hadn’t made up my mind yet. Turns out, I never would . . . I was never comfortable singing “evanescent.” It’s sweet to sound out, but it just didn’t come off as something I’d say naturally — I’d use, for instance, “fleeting” or something less aromatic. Plus, I’d already spent the word “shroud” in another song from the time & I wanted to change it, too. I was caught in a web. A web in a warren. Not unlike this one — as if a pattern. It’s those tiny dilemmas that will keep you up at night — Ah, where the imagination burrows & squirms! . . . Again, I was looking at the whole of the collection & little things like that stick out. Word change has also happened via uninspired flub, though: a wrong or mis-sung line unwittingly left in after mastering. Those situations will just always leave a bruise. Oversight-failure things like that do — kinda linger, fading, but never completely . . . Oh, our mistakes! Just how do we live with our selves, I arcanely ask . . . Again, maybe I should spend more time apart . . .
You arrive as a hovel in the distance calls to wane you through lying back with the shavings from the ashes of amended time for the razed successions stalled from ages set between the hands passing down the world that held you by the throat and still won't let you go back inside to find the strayed insisting that the lights stay low gazing off at the shrouded expectation locked behind your eyes: 1. marching drum-wool mallet/ev cardinal/grace 2. marching drum-wool mallet/ev cardinal/grace 3. univox sr-120-beguine-rhythm B/eh b9-fat&full/direct-roland/edit 4. cylinder/ev cardinal/grace 5. danelectro bender baritone (A)/direct-roland-w/t-6/line-1 6. danelectro bender baritone (A)/direct-roland/line double-1 7. ebow-harmony rocket-standard-lower/boss ch-1 super chorus/direct 8. ebow-harmony rocket-standard-higher/boss ch-1 super chorus/direct 9. supro baritone 4-string (ADGB)/direct-roland/roots-1 & 2 10. fender rhodes piano bass/eh b9-bell organ, organ=max, mod=ma/direct-roland/roots-2 11. suzuki qchord-ezplay, auto chord/eh b9, classic rock, organ=max, mod=max/direct-roland 12 suzuki qchord-ezplay,auto chord/eh b9-classic rock organ=max, mod=max/direct-roland 13. wurlitzer electric piano/shure sm57/grace-low line-2 14. wurlitzer electric piano/vibrato/shure sm57/grace-high line-2 15. danelectro black baritone (A)/direct-1-root double 16. danelectro black baritone (A)/direct-2-root double 17. vocal-main/rode nt1a/grace-1 &2 18. vocal-double/rode nt1a/grace-2 19. vocal-harmony/rode nt1a/grace-2 20. vocal-harmony double/rode nt1a/grace-2 21. wurlitzer electric piano/shure sm57/grace-melody fromT7 ebow-opposite pan 22. wurlitzer electric piano/shure sm57/grace-melody fromT8 ebow-opposite pan 23. X 24. X
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