on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 25 Dez


von: Jochen Siemer Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags: , Comments off

„Messages ran all over town,
words without sound
condemned me
and left me for dead …
Ride, ride the very thought into the ground,
in the church of lost and found
the angels cry.

Ride, ride until the darkness closes in,
until the ravaged soul begins
to reflect the open skies.“

(David Sylvian)


To analyze and imitate music makes fun: music that I like the most, miss the most or that accompanied me for a long span of lifetime as part of a personal, biografical soundtrack. In the present I rarely listen to tracks or albums of David Sylvian exept they attract me as a kind of „re-entry“: recall, repeat, rework. The ghosts of my life then become wild again, so to speak. Examining „Ride“ now after years of beeing addicted to it manically in times of Everything and Nothing reveals some compositional habits. Putting the Kapo on the second fret (means C Major sounds in D), playing the guitar (not necessarily a red one), starting with the chords F#m, E, C#m, B#m, C# running along the verse works all quite easily. When moving to the chorus something typical in many songs of this special artist happens: a surprising, unusual change into another tonality. This gives us the impression of stepping from one plateau to another, somehow simular to the music of canadian trumpet player Kenny Wheeler. „Silver Moon“ from Gone to Earth might as well fit into this pattern. In „Ride“ it perfectly emphases the uplifting from a depressive mood to some kind of relief. The key change goes from F# minor (verse) to A minor (chorus) which means: three semitone steps up. The chorus follows with Am, G, F, Em, Dm, Em, Dm, C … (Esus4/B). Here comes another typical element of Sylvian´s songs into play: the quality of his voice on one hand disguises and upgrades quite trivial chord progressions (time and again also spiced and saved from pure boredom by the fine drum work of Steve Janssen) and on the other hand connects the different plateaus with tricky and beautiful melodic guidance.

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