the terror dactyls take their time
This project has some obvious - to me - difference from the previous one. First among these is how vocal-driven most, if not all, the songs are.
The words were always of high importance before, but my writing and "singing" confidence levels were such that I tended to want the music and the guitar playing to take the lead role in propelling the songs. (However, the last one I composed for it, "Stupid Global Village", showed a smal move away from this - I knew how I wanted to do the vocals, and then chased down music to back that up.)
With this album, so far, the singing, such as it is, is way out front. It leads and controls the songs, with the music serving to do do little more than support me harmonically and rhythmically. This is pretty scary, since it seems that the one thing I have not come even close to mastering is actually "singing". I can do a lot of things with my voice, quite a few of which can be melodic and interesting. But when I simply try to sing, with an open throat and relatively clear tones, I have a lot of trouble controlling my pitch.
On about February 12 2018 I felt like writing. Actually, I felt like working. And I had some material I had created from late Summer through the end of 2017 that I knew had potential, but that was rather difficult to work on at the time.
So I went to the pile I had put it in and chose a few easier pieces to deal with, and one harder one that I was most sure was worth the effort.
First I tinkered with the poem that was to become the song "Lighthouse (You Will Find Your Way)". I easily did something simple I liked with it, so I took a big gulp and sat down with what was to become "Winter (Lost You To)" (and "Winter (Lost You Two)", of course). After working on it for a bit, It rapidly became clear that it could make a decent song. So I messed around with it a bit with my acoustic guitar with fourteen-year old string on it, rewrote it a bit to make it work better, and...
From that day forward I have been playing every day, writing, trying to sing better, and forging ahead into a complete unknown - what this album will actually become. And also, what directions my writing in general will take from this time forward.
Some obvious gimmicks developed - for instance, every song name has a parenthetical subtitle. So does the album itself. That sort of silliness is fun.
The (current) title came to me when I was thinking on a long, sunny drive in mid-May that I might make this a concept album of sorts, keeping the whole thing as a chronicle of, well, a time of great highs and terrible lows in my life. But that would have required spending huge amounts of time and energy dwelling on the past, turning some existing poems into songs, writing a few more perhaps, and confronting the most difficult one of all - a love poem/song I drafted in late April, of all times. (That piece would be required as a sort of justification for all the struggle and pain so apparent in many of the others.) At the time I had this idea, even that latter task seemed reasonable, which meant a lot to me in terms of the state of my healing from the deep wounds I had been working on. I even roughed out some ideas for a title track, to be called, of course, "Lost and Found (Title Song)". I largely discarded this idea as a direct goal, but it may still come back to be toyed with. It could be that there will be a simple and natural progression of newer work echoing the changes that I am going through, from deep in the terror of "Lost You", through aspects of healing, and on into - something else.
As it is, there is somewhat of a "feel" to the work so far. Some of this is because I have been practising - and writing - mostly using the acoustic guitar, which tends to push things in certain directions. However, several of the works have clear aspects in my mind that will involve a more electric mode when they finally go to multi-track. For instance, there is no way Lighthouse will work as a purely acoustic piece - it needs the chaos I can readily create in the interaction somewhere between razor wire and hot glass. Even so, my writing has changed, I think. There is a rawness that was always present in some ways before, but coupled with a tenderness and vulnerability that may have been washed over with wry observation and self-deprecation on the last album.
For a while, and perhaps still to some extent, the working title was "Skywash Blues", after a mixed casette I made back in the 80s. But I do like "Lost and Found".
© Huw Powell