Last modified: Saturday, 7 June, 2008, 4:47:42 AM
A few weeks ago, I happened to listen in to an interview on the radio while I was driving. I couldn’t tell who the person was, or why this individual was being interviewed on the radio show, but the gist of the conversation seemed to revolve around the process of creation (or rather, innovation). Essentially, the interviewee had divulged to the listeners the key steps (in her opinion, I would think) in one’s attempt to create something: step one, take an existing idea or product; step 2, add to it your own ideas or reinterpret it according to your own vision; step 3, repeat step two until the new item is distinguishable from the original. Voilà. As I recall those steps in my mind, I realized that this is a no-brainer for anyone who has attempted picking up a new creative skill, like song-writing. Basing an idea on an existing work does not only provide a reference point, but it also provides an understanding on why and how the original idea works.
On that note, the second song under the Ramandu moniker was formed under similar circumstances, having been influenced by another of Eisley‘s demo tracks (if you are slightly confused, ‘Magnificence’ was completed two days prior to ‘Fade Away‘, but I felt it worked better as a second track). Originally titled ‘Peter The Magnificent’, the song was inspired by the character Peter Pevensie from the Narnian novels (yes, I am a bigger fan of Lewis’s fantasy series than I am of Rowling’s). I remember being so in awe of the character’s integrity, bravery and brotherly kindness – even after death, as he led the Narnians to rapture – that I was moved to create a song. In 2008, the track also received a makeover; it’s gotten a little faster, a secondary guitar part and less abrupt transitions between the loud and quiet(er) parts. In the process, the track felt like it was no longer informed by a single character, but rather by the magnificent parallel world in which he resides.
Last modified: Monday, 9 June, 2008, 1:48:44 AM.
In 2006, my drummer friend A’aqel and I found ourselves wanting to be in a band. Like any other bedroom musician, we practiced and sharpened our instrument-playing skills by covering songs by our favourite musicians and bands. In doing so, we relied on a piece of tablature software that presents musical arrangements as numbers instead of musical notations, with each number representing a fret on a guitar or bass guitar fretboard. As we accumulated tabs to learn from and practice with, we realized that the software provided a platform for creating our own music. Granted, we lacked in our understanding of music theory and musical arrangement, and it shows in our early song-writing attempts. However, the attempts provided the understanding we sorely needed, which matured noticeably by the end of the year when we formed Ramandu, named after a character in C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
‘Fading Into You’ was the second track written as Ramandu, a slow-burner composed around the idea of gradually becoming a victim of attraction while losing one’s sense of self or responsibilities along the way. Musically, the track was heavily influenced by a demo from Texas indie rockers Eisley; two years later, I revisited the track and revised it in an attempt to distance it from its source of inspiration (although I did choose to keep the guitar melody I lifted directly from their demo, which can be heard at the 1:29 mark). The tempo was bumped up several notches, the arrangement was made punchier, and a secondary guitar part was added to the mix. As these changes were made, the idea that informed the original work changed, as well: instead of losing one’s sense of responsibility to lust, the revised track toyed with the notion of fading away as a result of overbearing responsibilities, an all too common scenario which also gave the song its current title.
If you were able to get your hands on my laptop and loaded up iTunes, you would find yourself looking at the following view:
What you are looking at is a list of some twenty-odd instrumental music tracks with a familiar name clearly stated under the ‘artist’ column, and a few more hidden just out of sight. The list is the result of musical ideas accumulated between 2007 and 2010, that were then refined and generated using a tablature software. A glance at the ‘album’ column might give you the idea that tracks composed from the same time period are grouped together into its own batches, producing a rather crude discography (for a lack of a better word) of my musical pursuits. Unfortunately, the list had not seen any new additions over the past four years.
During the days preceding this post, I entertained the idea of uploading most of the tracks online. Throughout their existence, the tracks had only been heard by a handful of people – co-writers, close friends who knew of my musical pastime, and family members. This website is thus created – revived, to be precise – simply to share those tracks with more listeners. Each track is accompanied by brief insights into its inner workings (which may include ideation processes, influences and interesting bits of trivia, if any). In return, I am hoping for you to put forth your honest comments and constructive criticisms that will allow me to not only rekindle my drive to create music, but to also be better at doing so.