Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stop! I Want That Painting!

Friday 30th January 2009, was the Black Tie Art Auction in our school and it went fantastically!
We think we've earned about $2,000 from the tickets, art, and wine sold, and it's all going to the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation in Vietnam. I think we're all pretty proud of ourselves. It's always a surreal emotion to know that you're doing something really important for other people our age who are far more disadvantaged.
I always try and make it a note to myself that my personal crises are extremely minor in comparison to many other people my age around the world. It's not worth making a big deal out of my complaints, other people should follow suit, and instead we should sing and parade down town to make that a permanent point. Get off your weary heads you well-off people! There are people who would give their lives for a plate of your food and yet you complain about the price of cabbage going up 10 cents.

Anyways, I will use this post to also show-off - come on, one must do it sometimes - the song I composed for the auction. I titled it "Stop! I Want That Painting" and costructed it to revolve around the thickset chords of the piano with the sweet sound of the flute.
I discovered that Dylan had been playing the flute for 3 years but had stopped for a year once moving to Singapore, so I figured it was my chance to get her to take it up again. She was worried that maybe she would not be good enough, but I tell you, she better make sure to keep playing that instrument because she makes it sound gorgeous.

I knew that the piece I had to compose would have to have some sort of relevance to the night. I couldn't just rock out post-rock mentality, or decide to go techno on everyone's sophisticated evening. So I thought the piano had to be the basis to bring a song to life. I had a long, isolated and quiet contemplation as to what exactly people's mindsets would be on the night. Art, bargains, food, wine. Ah! I know! They are going to be running into some fantastic pieces of art, they are going to fight over these fantastic pieces of art, and if not I will make them fight over the fantastic pieces of art. STOP! I Want That Painting! It hit me! It's unusual for a song title to come to me first before a song had been created, but it definitely did help.

I sat at my piano, in the wee hours of the night, and played around with it until I found a beautiful chord progression of A major to C major. Oh it felt so emotionally complex, like how you would feel if you really had interest in something or someone, but you just don't know when to jump in and grab it. Oh, but I needed a monumental chorus, one that lifted it, a G major! It all arrived so combined!
So I recorded what I had on Garageband and then used the piano to construct a flute melody - with the help of the synthesized pop flute!
I wanted full sounding piano chords but a sweet, windy sounding flute. The traveling eye of a human [flute] with the intricate emotions of need/want/a heavenly must have [piano].
And I had it!

So here's a video of us performing on the night. It's recorded on Tanya's phone so, forgive the darkness and low quality sound.

I did record a rough-ish version to send to Dylan to practice with the flute, you can find that on my page here
forgive the pretentious biography, the writing had to be in third person.

I also had the privilege of controlling the music on the night, here's the playlist :

  • Bittersweet Symphony [instrumental] - The Verve
  • Trainspotting - Primal Scream
  • Christmas Song - Mogwai
  • First Breath After Coma - Explosions In The Sky
  • Last Ride In - Green Day
  • Year Of The Ox - Sufjan Stevens
  • Feeling Good - My Brightest Diamond
  • Audrey's Dance - Angelo Badalamenti
  • Year Of The Dog - Sufjan Stevens
  • The Winner Is - Mychael Danna and DeVotchKa
  • Redford (for Yia-Yia and Pappou) - Sufjan Stevens
  • Twin Peaks Theme - Angelo Badalamenti
  • Sé Lest - Sigur Rós
  • Stupid Prick Gets Chased By The Police And Loses His Slut Girlfriend - Mogwai
  • Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run - Sufjan Stevens
  • Dance Of The Dream Man - Angelo Badalamenti
  • The Vivian Girls Are Visited In The Night By Saint Dargarius And His Squadron Of Benevolent Butterflies - Sufjan Stevens
  • Stamping Ground - Moondog With Orchestra
  • Seven Hours With A Backseat Driver - Gotye
  • The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or...- Sufjan Stevens
  • Starálfur - Sigur Rós
  • The Supine - Andrew Bird
  • Prairie Fire That Wanders About - Sufjan Stevens
  • 7:25 - Mogwai
  • To The Workers Of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have An Idea Concerning Your Predicament - Sufjan Stevens
  • Andvari - Sigur Rós
  • The Undivided Self (For Eppie And Popo) - Sufjan Stevens
  • The Eraser - Thom Yorke
  • Year Of The Dragon - Sufjan Stevens
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham!
I could go on about how I chose each song, but I wouldn't want to bore you so I will mention some highlights. I did not want to go with the typical classical music which I'm sure I would have gotten away with easily with some Mozart. I decided that a mix of Soundtrack, Post-rock, some Electronic instrumentals would go along nicely to coincide with the range of art pieces on auction. I, of course, couldn't help myself with My Brightest Diamond's cover of "Feeling Good" as I am extremely euphoric about the Red Hot compilation coming out this month [definitely on my list]. You can check it out here. Great music, important cause my friends.
Sufjan Steven's instrumentals that he adds in his State albums, in between longer songs, are extremely over-looked, as well as some of his Electronic stuff. Sigur Rós and Andrew Bird - both underrated artists. And do ignore Wham at the end, it was just in case the wine got to anybody.

So, the night went well, I was happy, people were happy and we've made a difference!

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