As mentioned in the last post, ‘Quai Ensoleillè’ is essentially one track split into two. Part two continues with the same chord progression, but the time signature changes, Camus stops talking and the energy levels increase. I felt there was no other place to put this track than at the end, especially as I feel the final part has an atmosphere of looking to the future in a bitter-sweet kind of way. I thank those who have taken the time to listen to this album and would greatly appreciate any feedback on it. It would be great to hear which tracks stand out for you and which ones shouldn’t have seen the light of day. Thanks again.
The last two tracks of the album are essentially made up of one idea split in two. In September last year I found myself at Monte Carlo train station, where there was a piano lying near the platform, free for passers-by to play. Despite my scarce playing abilty, I sat down and played a couple of chords I liked and felt that I could make a track out of them and this is the result. The title in English is ‘Sunny Platform’ and to add to the French theme, I thought I’d slot in an old interview with Albert Camus underneath it, which I feel suitably fits the mood.
After making long drawn-out tracks like ‘Engage’ and ‘Comfortably Unknown’, I felt it was time for some light relief. I didn’t see why I couldn’t sneak in a quirky little punk number to add to the unpredictability of the final quarter of the album. While writing the lyrics, the only words that seemed to fit were in Italian (my second language), so that’s how it ended up being. A rough English translation would go something like this…
“I go out one evening, the darkness captivates me. I can’t see anything, but I’m not worried. I go running in the rain, but I don’t care if I get lost or fall in the water. Then there’s a puddle, exclusively mine. I can spend the night down here in my puddle. It’s just my size, exclusively mine. Nobody can disturb me down here in my puddle”
The song is about those times when you detach yourself from reality and immerse yourself in your own thoughts. Those times when you feel nervous and vulnerable while at the same time strangely enjoying it. It’s not a favourable state to stay in for long, but one none of us should fear falling into from time to time.
For the final part of the album, I decided that I wanted it to be full of contrast. I remember listening to albums from the late 90s and early 2000s, which left the listener constantly wondering what was going to come next. For this track I decided to go for a raw live sound like the one I had achieved on ‘The Gutter’ using live guitars and drums. I’ve imagined this track and ‘Engage’ being played live with a full orchestra and believe the results could be spectacular. Do you think so too or is it just me?
The theme of the song is about the futility of arguing about the origins of the universe and our purpose in it. Maybe instead of falling out over such arguments, we should learn to marvel at the wonders around us and not let the mysteries of the cosmos cause us anxiety and unrest.
Just over a year ago, I came back from my holidays hungry for fresh ideas for new songs. I therefore looked to move away from the conventional song structures implemented in Signs of Purity and set my sights on trying something new. Some ideas began circling round my head and I was curious to see if they would work. I then started to piece them together and realised that the track was turning into something more like a film score. I then thought that for the new album, I could make just five or six of these long tracks, but in the end, the other ideas I had later on were more suited to shorter songs. I did however, decide to keep this one in as it doesn’t feel completely out of place in with the other tracks and has a piano lick that isn’t dissimilar to that of ‘The Gutter’. It also certainly needs more than a few seconds to be listened to!
The theme of the song reflects the length of it, suggesting that more time should be spent attempting to understand and therefore appreciate something. I had previously been to a couple of museums where I had seen people jumping from one exhibit to the next without taking the time to stop and really take in what was on display. If we stop to ponder, digest and analyse what is presented to us for just a bit longer, then surely we will become more knowledgeable, patient and more appreciative of the world around us and its history.
By January this year, I had reached a point where I wasn’t going to musically restrict myself any longer. This is surely healthy, especially as the ideas floating round my head don’t always accomodate guitar and live drum sounds. As with ‘Glad to be Grey’, I started working with some ideas and in the end, I found that synthetic sounds were far more suitable for this particular track.
The lyrical content is about how we think we are as people doesn’t always match our actual behavioural traits. How many times have you met a person who says things like how important punctuality is to them and then the next week, they turn up late? This isn’t preaching, it’s just a gentle reminder that if you are going to say righteous things about yourself, just make sure that what you actually do in practice matches them.
As I mentioned last week, when you use a DAW, it’s impossible not to explore the various sounds it has to offer. This next track came together by chance after finding a beautiful string & synth pad, which I simply had to use in a song. I therefore had to find sounds and a song structure to compliment it and this is the result; a song about finding peace and quiet in an unlikely place.
While making this album I decided that I wasn’t going to limit myself by staying within a certain musical genre. So far most of my music (especially what I’ve posted on here) could be described as 1990s influenced indie rock. This hasn’t been particularly intentional, the songs just seem to have developed in that way. I have made electronic music under different pseudonyms but previously never felt it to be suitable for the Henry of Wall project. For this album though, I decided there was nothing stopping me and from this point of the album, the tracks become less generically predictable. For anyone familiar with DAWs, you will know that there is a cornucopia of electronic sounds available and it’s impossible to resist dabbling with them. Unintentionally, this track ended up incorporating a mid to late 80s pop sound and I didn’t see any reason not to leave it that way.
The theme of the song is similar to that of “Lonely Quadrant” and expresses again the experiences of not committing oneself to one set of ideologies. It acknowledges the fact that while we can’t please everybody, it is vital that we weigh things up rationally and think for ourselves instead of being easily swayed by empty soundbites and throwaway terminology.
Most songs I’ve made so far follow more or less the same process. An idea pops into my head sometimes first thing in the morning when I wake up or when I’m out and about. I hum the melody into my phone and later sit down and arrange it on my DAW. The theme and lyrics of the song are the last things to be decided upon and are created according to the mood of the song.
This one however, came about more unconventionally. I programmed a series of unrelated beats together from scratch and then built the song around them. As a result, I feel that the song is more unusual sounding than others as it does not have lyrical structures you would call a ‘verse’ or ‘chorus’. I had a lot of fun making it though and will definitely try this method again for my next project.
The song expresses the increasing difficulty in taking a well balanced rational view of certain issues while referring to the ecomonist and mathematician Eric Weinstein’s four quadrant model. It seems to me that if you don’t blindly commit yourself to an entire set of ideologies nowadays, you will find yourself in a sort of ideological no-man’s land, facing animosity from both the left and the right.
This song was conceived after watching videos and listening to discussions about the universal basic income. Most people I’ve spoken to about this seem to have an opinion for or against it immediately without actually thinking more deeply about it. There are so many things to take into consideration, I still haven’t figured out exactly where I stand on it. Whether we like it or not though, we really have to start thinking about the effects artificial intelligence will have on work and accept the fact that in the future there simply won’t be enough of it for everybody. This is an enormous issue and one which is sure to be the centre of many debates in the coming years.