Posts Tagged ‘hand and brain’

Detholz! demo – Hand and Brain

April 30, 2008

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXV!

This week, I’ve scrapped “Attack of the Synthestra” (for which many of you are grateful, I’m sure) and have returned to the Detholz! drafting table to finish off writing songs for the forthcoming record, which is 2/3rd’s complete.

I’d strongly encourage you to listen to this track BEFORE you read the blog below. We need some objective opinions this week:

HAND AND BRAIN

So. This week’s installment was enthusiastically rejected across the board by the band.

Andrew (drummer) cited the lyrics as the primary culprit, while Ben (bass player) said that he had a hard time keying into the harmony, even after multiple listens. He likened it to an exhausting swim to shore from far out at sea.

Ha!

It’s impossible to be entirely objective about one’s own material, but after so many years of writing for Detholz!, I can usually tell which songs will “take” and which ones won’t. It’s nothing scientific– just a gut feeling. I knew before I completed this track that it would probably crash and burn into the B-side bin, but I decided to complete it anyway.

1. SONG CONCEPT

In the wake of my friend Kurt’s demise (see previous post), I’ve been thinking a lot about physical and psychological limitations and cognition; how the mind interacts with the body and vice versa– if, in fact, the two are separate entities at all.

A few years ago, I attended the “Body Worlds” exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago — you know, the crazy German exhibit of “plastinated” corpses in various poses– and was struck by a cross-section of a morbidly obese person. There was a thin man hiding in that body the whole time, encased in a thick layer which his body carried around!

Perhaps it’s over-simplistic of me– I’m not a scientist, I’m just the entertainment, after all — but I think that people with certain psychological dysfunctions operate in a similar manner. There’s a regular person buried in there somewhere but often it takes extra measures of patience and/or medication to get to him/her.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

Since I’ve been listening to a lot of cell compositions recently (music that is composed using tiny fragments of melody or harmony that are stretched and molded to form the foundation of the piece), I used some of those techniques here.

The very first bar of this song introduces the harmonic cell that runs throughout the “verse” sections — an augmented chord –> quartal (chord built of fourths) –> cluster. The bass line, melody and rhythms were all crafted around those harmonic changes.

I chose purposely “spacey” patches for this song given its scientific bent. Perhaps this was overkill — funny, I was stuck in a time warp as I wrote this and felt like I was writing “Scientific Eye” (from the DH! first record) all over again.

The melody is largely static and the harmony remains in one key throughout the chorus. I did this to focus the attention of the listener to the lyrics at these points in the song.

Also, as a nod to Bernard Herrmann, the great film/TV composer of yore whose trademark was cell composition, I added an electronic vibraphone patch to accentuate harmonic motion.

Overall, I felt pretty good about this when it was finished– didn’t think it’d land on the record, but maybe in a set list or two at a show. I did not anticipate such a strong “4 thumbs down” from the rest of the band.

What do you think? Redeemable? Is this a song you’d like to hear us play? Or is this one for the cutout bin on a par with our B-side elephant in the room, “Time Traveling Peterbilt Semi” (see previous post)?

Tune in next Wednesday for a brand new track!

3. LYRICS

HAND AND BRAIN

TV is hard on the eyes
TV is making you cry
That world is a dangerous place
Blips on the screen spatter blood on your face

Reach in
Inside your space
Reach in
And stir up the place
Reach in
Hand and Brain

Reach out
Don’t you understand?
Reach out
As the world demands
Reach out
Brain and Hand

A body of work
A body at work
Is overworked, work after work
A clasp of the hands
Is the work of the hands

Mind over matters
Matters on the mind
Are looped by loop, loop after loop
An ache of the head
Is a body at work

Reach out
And kiss that ring
Reach out
To the sound of the train
Reach out
Hand and Brain

Reach in
Through the membranes and glands
Reach in
To find the man
Reach in
Brain and Hand

Reach out
From your heart and veins
Reach out
To the body in pain
Reach out
Hand and Brain

Reach in
Reach out
Hand and Brain

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