Posts Tagged ‘Věra Chytilová’

Thank you to everyone who downloaded my ’52’ album. It is now unavailable pending me figuring out what on Earth to do with all those songs. You have a similar conundrum in the form of 52 songs on your hard drives without a clue to their content and quality.

They may not all be up your alley… there is for example a nine minute long spoken word and dissonance piece called ‘The Devil’s Prayer’ which I recorded with the talented actor Jenny Mae Morgan for Halloween as well as the aggressive Omnichord-punk of ‘We Need To Talk’. There’s the sub-Warp dance-experiment of a track ‘There Is No German Word For Efficiency’ or the poorly recorded, jokey ‘Please Don’t Die, JB’ which was written to keep my housemate from losing consciousness after she sliced her thumb off at my birthday party.

With the hit and miss nature and obvious quality control issues of writing a song EVERY damn week I thought I would list ten of my favourites to give you a ‘crack’ into the album…

2. Meg Shelton, The Witch Of Woodplumpton
The tale of Meg and some of things that occurred to her as a witch but really more about how men will use the excuse of witchcraft to treat women horribly. Will eventually rerecord this with strings to have a real ‘Danse Macabre’ feel. [Side note – I did have a woman threaten to put a hex on me at a gig I played in Antwerp last year because she thought I was actually condoning the burning/burying alive of witches. Maybe I should stick to playing this song in countries where English is the first language or at least work on my Flemish…]

10. Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe (Rights Reserved)
Without a doubt this is the song that people seemed to like the most from my live sets last year. Based on the topic of ‘someone who sells things’ because I wanted to write my own version of Tom Waits’ ‘Soldier’s Things’. This was written bang on deadline because I had spent most of the week trying to find a suitable subject matter. I eventually found the brown and gold Mr Simm’s on the Wednesday morning when I wrote half the song before researching the Simm’s family history which took the song in a… different direction…

16. Marvel
I was given the subject ‘The mundanity of work…’ to write about and I thought I would write about an astronaut bored on a space station (even spacemen gotta get bored sometimes…) I like the pulpy, 50’s Bowie thing on this track and Mark Simpson from the Happy Soul helped me out with some handclaps too.

21. Paint It By Numbers
The half realised collaboration between me and Mark from the last track was fully realised here with Mark’s tremendous Harry Nilsson-esque backing vocals. I played all the instruments (hence the ‘special’ timing to the drumming) before he added his magic. The topic I was given for this song was ‘A maths professor who can only express his love in mathematical theorem…’.

31. Eurelian Circles
This is an odd one. Written by the seat of my pants, I didn’t really think much of this until someone else told me they liked it. Seeing it from their perspective has caused me to since re-evaluate it. I like feel and the space in it. It’s a mood piece rather than one of my usual story songs. This has been something that’s pointing the way for my future writing.

37. Please Write Responsibly
Another collaboration with Mark Simpson (it’s funny how often it happens when you live close to each other). This is one of my stream of consciousness tales in which a story I write comes to life and terrorises first the town and then the world. Inspired by the response to couple of other songs I had written in the month before it where people had been offended or upset by my song subject matter. I am very much of the opinion that just because you *can* write anything that doesn’t mean you *should* write anything. Humans are humans wherever you go. However the damage had been done and this song was my apology.

39. Bee On A String
Another favourite from people who have spoken to me about this album. This track is about someone who traps a bee in a tupperware box and sticks them in the fridge to put them to sleep so they can tie a piece of thread onto their leg and take them for a walk. I actually knew someone who used to do this as a child (they were a child – don’t judge!). It was the first track I got to use my new Series II Omnichord George on.

41. RUExperienced [with Natalie McCool]
Natalie and I played a Manchester Sofar gig together and I discussed the idea of writing one of the ’52’ with her. She gamely agreed and I went over to Liverpool for a day of writing. She’s on guitar and vocals, I’m on Omnichord and vocals (George is getting a lot of use by this point).

43. Vadí Nevadí
This track is inspired by Daisies – the 1966 Czechoslovak film written and directed by Věra Chytilová. I watched it at a music hall in Aldgate in September. Would really like to get some violin on this track. Any gaps you might hear in the instrumentation here are definitely crying out for a violin part.

49. Merry Bloody Xmas
What do you know? I wrote a Xmas song. That I like. Inspired by blood sacrifices and orgies (the true meaning of Xmas). Writing and recording on a little Casio keyboard and using crappy drum machines was extremely enjoyable and has in fact been highly influential on how I am writing my next album.

Special mentions go to ‘The Man Without A Voice’ (strange as it is), ‘This House Has Eaten Us Alive’, ‘All My Old Lovers (Live On The Same Street Now)’, ‘A Year After The Party Died…’ and ‘Seven Veils’. Let me know if you have any favourites as I am still trying to figure out how to release this album or what form it will take. I hope you enjoy some of the ’52’ at least.

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Vadí? Nevadí.

Vadí? Nevadí.

With that first album ‘Down There For Dancing’ coming out this month there’s not been a chance to post here about any of the ‘Project 52’ shenanigans but they’ve still been happening.

Recently Ben Hayward of Mancunian Matters interviewed me about the project and you can read all about it here:
http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/161171543-project-52-manchester-musician-writes-and-records-song-every-week-one-year

So I haven’t really posted the last few as I didn’t want to swamp you all with ’52’ music at the same time as relentlessly pummelling you with the ‘Down There For Dancing’ album, the new videos for ‘Wag…’ and ‘Illya Kuryakin’ and forthcoming live dates.

Here’s a quick catch/round-up of all the previous ’52’ tracks I haven’t posted about…

O Joyce
Around Springtime I remember somebody (I can’t remember who) talking about a macaw owned by a friend of theirs.

Apparently macaws live for a very long time and this one had been around for donkey’s years (or macaw’s years I suppose).

This macaw used to say often the phrase: “Make us a cup of tea, Joyce!”
Not unusual for one of these birds to mimic human speech however what interested me was that Joyce was apparently the long dead grandmother of the current owner and that the mother remembered her grandmother (Joyce’s mother and the current owner’s great grandmother) saying this to Joyce.

The bird was quoting the matriarch from beyond the grave.

Quite pleased with Harry Nilsson-esque mouth-tuba backing vocals on the choruses. Definitely more than a little bit of a Kinks vibe as well.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/o-joyce

Fudge Mountain
An excellent topic suggestion from my old Johnny5thWheel collaborator Andy Lyth. The song ‘Pure Imagination’ from the Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory soundtrack  was written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and has long been one of my all time favourites. I’ve covered it in my live sets with Johnny5thWheel and on my own for about 5 years now.

When a lost chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was recently uncovered Andy suggested to me that I write the song Newley and Bricusse might have written had this chapter been made into a scene in the WW movie. Newley is a huge influence on me (and others… think no one ever sounded like Bowie before Bowie? Check out Newley.)

It was a tantalising suggestion and once I had started working on it I got chatting with Mickey Van Gelder (wonderful songwriter and fellow Newley enthusiast). We discussed and swapped the sort of chords Newley used to like using and I asked Mickey to come and help me record the song. He is playing playing and providing backing vocals.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/fudge-mountain

Vadí Nevadí
This track is inspired by Daisies – the 1966 Czechoslovak film written and directed by Věra Chytilová. I watched it at a music hall in Aldgate in September.

Would really like to get some violin on this track. Any gaps you might hear in the instrumentation here are definitely crying out for a violin part.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/vad-nevad

RUExperienced?
I recently played a house show with Natalie McCool and we thought it would be fun to meet up and write/record a song together. It was. Lots of fun. I went over to Liverpool and we recorded it onto my phone at her rehearsal rooms. Then I made some overdubs when I got back to Manchester.

Listen here: https://richardlomax.bandcamp.com/track/ruexperienced-with-natalie-mccool

Like every track on the ’52’ page so far these are all demos but I have just started to pick through this collection with The Tontine to figure out which ones we would like to record for our next album. This project has been mammoth, maddening but ultimately very rewarding. There are only SIX songs left to write before I complete my challenge. I remember vividly being six songs into to the challenge and starting to realise what I had let myself in for. Anyway six left and I’m still taking topic suggestions. Not only that if you wanted to add any additional parameters that might be interesting as well. Just tweet your suggestions @LomaxRichard on Twitter (https://twitter.com/LomaxRichard) and add #p52.