Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

For a Lark

So I mentioned before that there's some college kids in the US who fancy staging Nowhere Town with their theatre group. This, of course, appeals to me hugely; I'd love for the musical to be made flesh in an actual live performance, even if there's little chance of me making it over for the actual event. There's no guarantee that it'll happen, right enough. They've got to get a proposal together with, like, sheet music and all, and with the music constructed in GarageBand by yours truly, who barely knows a stave from a semi-quaver, getting that together is... a challenge, as they say.

(Come to think of it, anyone who knows a fast way to get the notation view of those "Software Intrument" MIDI files out into some sort of printable score form, lemme know; I'm fucked if I can find any such utility within GarageBand. Hell, any multi-instrumentalist musical geniuses out there who think it would be a piece of piss to score a song constructed by laying down up to Xteen tracks of spliced-and-diced loops of drums, piano, guitar, piano, piano, guitar, fiddle, piano -- when only half of them are "Software Instrument" Apple Loops that you can view in notation and the rest are "Real Instrument" audio files without even a clue as to what the notes are -- raise yer hand if ye fancy some completely unpaid practice in musical arrangement. No budding Sibeliuses out there? No? No? Hey, it was worth a try.)

Anyhoo, for all that it might come to naught, it's spurred me into action on the vocal front, crowbarring in every available friend who can actually sing to try and get versions of the tracks laid down with lyrics. The process is... heh, interesting. Stage one involved me laying down my atonal croakings over the instrumental tracks, singing all the parts badly. Stage two involved me swallowing my shame and actually playing these to aforesaid friends in the vague hope that there was enough of a melody there for them to get the gist of. Stage three currently consists of them recording their takes on it and me trying to explain how at this point or that it should go down instead of up, or up instead of down. This often entails me being completely wrong ("Those three notes are actually identical. I *was* going up before.") or further confusing it with my attempts to demonstrate ("You just sang three different versions.") Still, where it's worked out, it's exciting as fuck. I now have awesome versions of some of the tracks, courtesy of my good mates, Francis, Emma and pianoman Neil Williamson of the GSFWC, that is.

Anyways, it's looking like I've got (fingers crossed) the male voices I need for Jack and Puck, and one of them might well be able to double up as Chorus. But for a lark, last night, I decided to have another crack at a couple of tracks, abandoning all hope of singing in a normal melodic way and doing about the only thing I can do in music terms -- an impression of Tom Waits on a bad day. Cause Chorus *should* sound pretty raggedy-voiced, like he's lived more than a few lifetimes on a diet of whisky and cigarettes. And so for your amusement, I offer two tracks of torture in which Hal Duncan does a bad impression of Tom Waits playing Chorus in Nowhere Town:

Tango for the Dead



Welcome to the Hellhole



My throat hurts like hell now, by the way.

5 Comments:

Blogger Hal Duncan said...

And, no, I don't know why the embedded doohickey cuts off the last few seconds of the song. It's rather annoying.

6:05 pm  
Anonymous coffeedryad said...

Oh, man, great job channel Tom Wits on these. Sort of a Nick Cave vibe, too, for sure. Tango for the dead is great, but Welcome to the Hellhole is the one I can't stop listening to. You're right about your voice being rough and a bit unmusical, but oh, how it works here.

11:34 pm  
Anonymous coffeedryad said...

I could have sworn that looked fine when I previewed it. Teach me to post while sleep deprived, I guess.

11:35 pm  
Blogger Daniel said...

Speaking as another college student in America who'd be more than a little interested in seeing Nowhere Town put where it rightly belongs (on stage!) I'd like to lend my applause.

4:11 am  
Blogger Colin Meier said...

Kinda reminds me of Danny Elfman (the voice and the music). That's a compliment.

7:01 pm  

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