Lately I’ve been working on a number of projects simultaneously, and finally the first of these has now been released.
On a trip to Amsterdam a while ago, the phrase “why can’t this noise” popped into my head. And as I began toying with the idea of building a song around it, I soon got the idea of turning it into a very long track – thus enabling it to stand on its own as an autonomous release.
This also solves an issue I became aware of when I released my debut album. As it was a semi-concept album, listening to the tracks in the right order would enhance the experience. However, when it was bought as a digital download (as most copies were) this was hardly a unrealistic demand. It appeared to me that the only way to “tell a story” in music in the digital age is to tell it within one single track.
The most obvious references for a work of this length are the old “one whole side of a vinyl album” tracks, pioneered by the prog rock bands in the seventies.
Still, I wanted to maintain the feel of it being only one song, not a medley. Works like Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother” and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Tarkus” are actually a series of songs of standard length strung together to create the illusion of one work.
I found more inspiration in Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” (the full length version) or another Pink Floyd track: “Echoes”. Both these maintain the sensation of being a single song – and could really be boiled down to verse-chorus-verse format. It is the extended sections between these verses and choruses that give the tracks their unique character. And what happens in these parts is never a complete shift of mood – instead they go off on a tangent, in the manner of a live band doing a free improvisation.
Of course, in both cases, the improvisational feeling was in fact carefully constructed in the studio. And with myself playing all instruments, that was exactly what I did as well. Creating a loose structure, trying out various ideas, keeping the best improvisations and finally editing it into a track that hopefully maintains interest through all of its nearly 20 minutes.
The final result can be heard here.