Friday, January 13, 2012

recording everyday!

Been working on this "musical/rock opera" thing just about everyday for the past 3-4 weeks. It's called ORESTEIA FRACTUM, and it is an adaptation of the Oresteia by Aeschylus, written in...oh i dunno - here go check wikipedia for more information. Anyways, the long and the short of it is, back in October of last year, my acting teacher John Wilk mentioned that he would be putting together this big multi-media stage adaption this spring at the city college here in SF, and that he wasn't sure if he had found the right person(s) to do the music. On a lark, and because I needed something to do, I offered my services and quickly wrote and recorded demos for two songs using mostly lyrics that he had initially adapted from the text. While he did say that he liked them, he decided to go with someone else. Fast forward a couple of months later, and I get an email about a week after my last class asking if I would be interested in writing more pieces for the project.

I let the gears turn a bit and then started churning out songs that night. The project was designed to have twelve "songs," plus ten instrumental dance pieces (as there are to be dancers involved) which would still be handled by someone else. Oh, and there's an overture too. So after two and half weeks, I managed to pull together demos for the remaining ten songs, and that was with me being sick and out of commission for five days. I ended up salvaging one piece from this past summer from right before Jimo stopped rehearsing with us, and another was pulled from a scrapped intro to a newer PARAE song I had written back in August. Everything else was pretty much written in five minutes.

For the lyrics, I initially used my acting teacher's original script adaptation as a very basic guide, but I quickly located an online copy of the 19th century English translation of the original plays to directly pull lyrics and ideas. It has definitely been a very different experience to "adapt" lyrics rather than my usual routine.

Anyway, as soon as the songs were done being written and were ready to go into full production and recording, two things happened. Tommi got sick with a cold (which was then passed back to me, boo!), and then John asked if I could now do some of the instrumentals for the dance pieces, cause whomever was supposedly doing them got eaten by hamburger monsters. Now, John had already selected some "new agey" material as backup selections just in case, but after talking about it, we both agreed that if I went ahead and did the dance pieces as well, the entire piece would have a more unified feel. So I started churning out various instrumentals. About half are figured out, and Tommi and I are now working on the percussive based pieces. Still have no idea what we're going to do for the Overture. Anyway, it seems like every time I've got a handle on what needs to get done for this thing, and another element pops up! Right now, I think we're gonna end up with maybe up to 75 minutes of music. But the whole thing is pretty wild, and it's cool to be adapting a classic work (and I've always liked Greek mythology), though I certainly wasn't expecting that we'd be doing a musical/rock opera anytime soon! Oh well, the story certainly is bloody. Oh and while the whole thing is being done for a stage show to performed the 2nd and 3rd weekends of March, we're also treating it like an album, and we're going to have some of our friends and associates sing for each of the different characters, so as each character in the songs will have it's own singer for the album.