Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Song #224 of 9999 - Sleepwalking by Frankie Big Face

As mentioned in my post of July 20, I'm going to write about my own music for a few weeks as a way to get some song comments together for an updated website. My goal is eventually to have a few paragraphs written for every song on my website and I figured I'd start with all the Nur Ein songs I've written over the past six years. Nur Ein is a songwriting competition in the same vein as Song Fight!, wherein a title is presented each week and participants must write and record a song using that title. The songs are posted and listeners vote for their favorites. In the case of Nur Ein, there is a judging panel that ranks the songs and participants are eliminated each week until "only one" (nur ein) remains. There are also additional challenges that must be incorporated such as "lyrics in the form of a sonnet" or "guest rapper." Nur Ein has been around for seven years and I've entered four times and won twice. NBD. :D  This is post #9.


Song #224 of 9999 

Title: Sleepwalking
Artist: Frankie Big Face
Year: 2008
Album: Nur Ein 3

Click here to listen! 

I have hits and I have misses. Sleepwalking is a major miss. I was really obsessed with Mahler symphonies during this time, especially his so-called "Symphony of a Thousand" (No. 8). I had recently seen it performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and immediately had this idea to sample the pizzicato section that opens Part 2 (Poco adagio). I thought this title was a good opportunity to use it because it seems to fit so well with the concept of sleepwalking, like footsteps in the middle of the night.

Good idea, poor execution. I had trouble syncing a drum track with the Chicago Symphony sample, which probably has some natural flexibility in the tempo. I worked on it really hard but I just didn't have the time or skill to make it work. I do like the lyrics, about the stagnation that can result from a relationship that has grown stale, but the vocal phrasing does not fit well with the tempo, which I think is several clicks too slow. (It's painful to listen to me struggling to stretch the lyrics to fit these ridiculously long phrases.) The track was also impossible to mix because I was at the mercy of the sample which has the orchestra balanced in a way that made sense for the symphony (woodwinds bright, almost strident at times) but didn't really work in this context. 

Oh well. Lesson learned. Mahler 1, Frankie Big Face 0.

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