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August 11, 2008

Everything Old Is New Again

So, I was sat in the Southwark Tavern on Saturday night, sipping a pint of merlot and mentally jamming along to the surprisingly groovy soundtrack they had blaring from the PA. Loads of song ideas were coming to me. I think it was a combo of the slight wine buzz and the fact that the music was blurred by the chatter from the inebriated punters.

I had all kind of stuff bouncing around inside my head. Dance tunes, angry rock 'fight' songs... all kind of off-the-wall ideas. At some point, though, I remembered an archive of old songs that I'd recorded back when I started playing guitar 'for real' again, some 4 years ago now.

The songs were really nothing more than random chord progressions over which I'd jammed a little. At most I might have written a basic lyric and recorded that, too. And they were all taped before I had anything even vaguely decent for laying down a drum track.

After The Tavern, we stopped by Shunt Lounge again, just to see what was going on. It was all very 'London Underground' themed, with lots of tube memorabilia hung up around the place. For the first time I noticed an old piano, abandoned in one of the corridors. Recalling my childhood I bashed out a version of "Chopsticks" that my mother had taught me. I then started screwing around with building some triads, 7th chords etc. Man, it was fun to play that thing, even though about a quarter of the keys were missing and not all of the remaining ones worked.

On Sunday I spent some time delving into our archived computer backups to see whether any of my early recordings still existed. To my surprise, quite a few of them were were still there, saved for posterity. I say 'surprise' as we've not had much luck with computers over the last few years. All the PCs we've bought have suffered hard disk failures. During one particularly bad crash we lost so many of our digital photos that it was a bit like having visual Alzheimer's.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that I dragged out a few of the old recordings and had a listen. What surprised me was that despite being really simple, some of them were really quite good. They actually sounded like songs. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that perhaps they were good because they were so simple. They had an openness to them. A naivety, even. I even found one cut on which I'd sung. The lyrics were terrible, but even so I didn't hate it. I think I'm going to work the old stuff back into my 'to be developed' pile.

Shake the tree, see what falls out...

5 comments:

Istvanski said...

I think keeping it simple means that it makes the songs more memorable. Only the artist will really get something out of a self composed song that is sonically complex and that is to do with the alchemical process of scribbling it all down from scracth to hearing the final recorded version being played back.
Some say it's better than sex.

Kenski said...

Sex in general, or specific acts? Enquiring minds want to know..!

I mean, I can imagine it's better than [CENSORED], but, really, how can it be better than [CENSORED]?

Oh, hang on, what if you're listening back to the recording for the first time whilst having sex? That'd surely be a 2 cigarette shag?

Axe Victim said...

It's better than sex.

Axe Victim said...

BTW Rump Ranger?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where's the comedic value in that?

Kenski said...

Hey, look it's not about being comedic... ever since, you know, we went 'legit', The Board decided that the word 'bandit' seemed a little too illicit. Thinking back to the old western cowboy days we came up with the idea of a 'ranger', to promote a friendlier, less intimidating image...

:-)