A blorg about brewing beer and writing songs

30 Mar. 2010

Low down disco

I know you've all been on the edges of your pant-seats*, waiting for a new Meat Pig song. The wait is over and the song is here. Near. Dear. Beer. Mmm, beer. You can listen to it online or you can keep it for your very own by downloading this mp3.

Back-story

A few weeks ago my brother and musical co-adventurer, El Cucurucho, expressed an interest in making a disco song. It seemed like everything we had done up to that point was clearly pointing to the genre. I remember feeling surprised that we had not already sunk our canines into some disco flesh while a relentless strobe light made our feral blood sport appear artistic.

In preparation for the song, I listened to Diana Ross's Love Hangover repeatedly over weeks. This is a song that took a fine lady of soul and transported her into the majestic disco matriarch that we all remember her being. We followed the basic vibe of this song; slow to fast with an excited squeal at the transition. The Wooo, in my opinion, is an important aspect in a transition of any kind.

Despite my love of Wooos, we added a third, woo-less transition. This marks the dark change to the theme of the track as we descend into a kind of tonal chaos of despair.

Song Form and Stylings

I've been lusting over the idea of a through-composed song for a long time now. I'll basically talk to anyone about it, and I have. If you've been around me while I've been beered up you probably got an earful of through-composition and how much I wanted to try it. Anyway, this seemed the perfect opportunity. The song is in 3 acts, the first being the kind of generic slow-funk that any whitey can pull out of their trousers. It's just a teaser, but it establishes the setting: a local food court, tilled and echoing, a range of international cuisines on offer united by their general lack of nutritive value.

The second stanza simply kicks the first up a notch. Here is where our disco balls start spinning as we begin to sample the local wares. The bassline jumps down an octave, symbolising that we are descending to new lows as we dine in this underground eatery. The keyboards tighten up to keep the rhythm on the dance-floor smooth and consistent. Hand claps find their way in to enhance the authenticity.

In the final stanza we break it down Sun-Ra style. Proper free jazz with space effects and atonal chords. There may be a bit of walking bass in here. This is where the true horror of our dining experience is revealed as the constant vibration of consumption shatters our illusions and we can no longer hide the raw human ugliness that surrounds this cursed meal. This part is the hardest to dance to, but the most rearding if you can pull it off.

Technical Musical Elements

The entire song is in the key of G and contains uses of the dorian mode while mostly leaning heavily on a minor pentatonic scale. This is not really so different from most of our songs.

Concluding Thoughts

I'm really happy with my brother's work on both the keyboards and the drums. I think his drumming ties the whole song together in what might have been (although you may consider it still to be) a disjointed mess.

Recording
El Cucurucho rocks the Ardour

This was one of the smoother experiences thanks to El Cucurucho's increased aptitude for the equipment we were using. I really got to see the Ardour audio software shine. I'm increasingly amazed at the times we live in, where this kind of technology both exists and is available as free software for anyone to use. Powerful times call for powerful music, so we do our best to deliver.

I actually really expected this song to have been a failed venture since I came to the session completely without inspiration or direction. My brother provided most of these energies. My main contribution was to somehow come up with a concept and then actual lyrics while he was experimenting with audio effects and timing. I wrote all of it in about 15 minutes from concept to stepping up to the mic. For this gift, I'd like to thank Frank Zappa. I've been listening to Overnight Sensation a lot lately and the following lines (from Camarillo Brillo) form the prototype for this song's entire lyrical dimension:

She stripped away her rancid poncho
And laid out naked by the door.
We did it till we were unconcho
And it was useless anymore.
* Pant-seats are a pair of pants with fold-out seat legs that you can use as a seat whenever and wherever you want. They don't actually have an edge as such but I trust that you, dear reader, will indulge me in this exercise of creative license.

9 Mar. 2010

Where's all the song?

Looking over my recent entries, I see there's a whole lot of drinking and very little singing. My family's move to the suburbs has put a big wedge of space between the two members of Meat Pig and we all continue to be poor in time. So little music has been produced, however I've been getting a lot of input into my music-brain.

Last night was a great example of nodes forming in the chaotic mess of Sydney's music scene. My wife and I attended Kino Sydney #34, a local independent film-makers event known for its ability to connect with all manner of creative forces in the city. This particular night was themed to help launch a new album of remixes by MA, an upcoming Sydney electro outfit (and might I add personal friends of Meat Pig ... yes, I might)

victoria
Victoria White from MA

What we got out of the night was a live performance by MA, and a great set of films made by kino participants, set to remixes of song's from MA's first album. I also got a chance to chat to some of the DJs and in particular members of Neon Hearts who have an eclectic mix of influences and are involved in various venues and radio shows as well.

I'm a bit of hermit when it comes to music, and not really well versed on what the kids are all up to these days. I tend to look backward for inspiration, but every now and then I think it's healthy to get a dose of what's happening out there in the world. To feel out where people's heads are floating. Basically I'm always in need of inspiration, and sometimes I need more than just listening to howlin' wolf over and over.

So if you're like me and interested in something you might have heard of yet, I'd encourage you to check out all the above-mentioned acts. And if you live in Sydney, I urge you strongly to get involved in kino, cause that's where it's at.

5 Mar. 2010

brewshare at the local

When you invite people into your home and ply them with alcohol, it's very unlikely they're going to say anything negative, or even particularly critical, about the experience. So I was scared but also drawn to the brewshare night at the local taphouse in darlinghurst like a fat blowfly bouncing into the deadly blue light of a mozzie zapper. I was daunted, walking into a room full of 30 or more strangers to have my beer tasted and dissected by a group of people who mostly know more than I do about beer. The daunt was literally flaking off my arms leaving a mess all over the floor (it smelled like gruyere)

Brewsharing

It turned out I was among friends. What unfolded was a night of civilised drinking, tipsy conversation and all-round good cheer. I tasted a lot of beer and still had a hoppy flavour in my mouth a day later. There was some stand-out entries, including a mango beer, some kind of crazy belgian raspberry beer and some american pale ale that was so strongly hopped it made my eyes water, with beer tears, which is more pleasant than it sounds.

The next brewshare is on the 18th of may, and it's worth going to even just for the experience of not having to share the local with after-work-suited-wankers. I love the vibe and the thing of the place and getting to hang out with beer nerds drinking bubbly grain alcohol in there is one of those experiences ... do you know the kind I mean? When you're right at the point of drunkeness that you mostly have bodily control but a pleasant layer of cheer and goodwill has settled on your brain. You're losing the ability to speak but you don't need to cause everything mostly makes sense, people are smilling at you and you have a comfy couch under you, keeping you stable. That's the moment that I love and being in a pub like the local, with it's dark wood and tarnished furniture, it's uncountable rows of condensationed taps*, I can just sink, comfortably, into it and let the conversations flow right through me.

*ok, someone's probably counted them