Batch 4, Track 1 – The Fall

Last modified: ‎Tuesday, ‎16 ‎June, ‎2009, ‏‎3:42:36 AM.

When I first toyed with the idea of creating new tracks that would later make up Batch 4, I was already experiencing some difficulty in coming up with ideas that, at least to my ears, were fresh. It felt as if the previous three batches have already exhausted any musical curiosities that I have had wanted to explore or attempt to emulate. So, as a remedy to this creative roadblock, I approached the tracks of Batch 4 differently, opting to keep things simple and restrained, even if the end results might appear to be repetitive and bleak. Of course, when one speaks of bleak music, the sounds of post-punk often comes to mind. In my entry for ‘Movements‘, I’ve hinted at upcoming tracks that bore further influences of the genre; ‘The Fall’ is one of those tracks. Granted, this track is a little more accessible than the typical offerings of the genre, but I guess it’s still a dreary listen. There’s no real story behind the title, other than it being a throwaway reference to how I felt at the time.

Batch 3, Track 9 – Midnight Train

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎11 ‎October, ‎2008, ‏‎11:23:55 PM.

‘Midnight Train’ is the ninth and final track from Batch 3, an exercise in creating music within the framework of an album (one can dream, yes?). The track was not inspired by anything in particular, so it did not have an idea or a story attached to it, initially. However, as I was working on the arrangement, I realized that the opening jingle (though repetitive) is reminiscent of the short announcement tone you would hear on train rides as you are approaching the next train station. From there, I sort of developed a loose story that would then inform the rest of the arrangement. Out of all the songs that made up Batch 3, ‘Midnight Train’ is a definite favourite of mine.

The accompanying plot begins like so: A young man, whom I like to presume is in his twenties, gets off work after a long day. Wanting to be home as soon as possible, he rushes to the nearest train station and manages to get aboard the last train scheduled for the day. Despite midnight approaching, the compartment he is in still has a fair number of commuters, in varying stages of fatigue. There are still many stations to pass before he gets off. Little by little, he observes as the compartment’s occupants reduces in numbers. Eventually, he finds himself alone with just one other passenger, a young woman so engrossed with her phone that she doesn’t take note (or maybe, pretending not to take note) of him. As the train passes the next few stations, he finds himself stealing glances at her, and wondering about many things, like “What game is she playing?” or “What’s her name?”. He suddenly finds himself broken out of his reverie by the sound of doors opening. She steps onto the platform, oblivious. The doors close, and the train resumes its schedule, carrying him within it as he wonders if they’ll ever cross paths again. *cringes*

I once presented the track to my classmates during a presentation, but their thoughts were a little difficult to read (that’s to be expected I guess). And on that note, we have come to the end of Batch 3. The first of four tracks from Batch 4 will be up this Saturday.

Batch 3, Track 8 – Movements

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎27 ‎September, ‎2008, ‏‎2:21:40 AM.

‘Movements’ is the eigth track from Batch 3, an exercise in creating music within the framework of an album (one can dream, yes?). The track’s title was informed by the arrangement which, to my mind, gives off a film-noir-in-Manhattan kinda vibe. The film noir genre typically revolves around a character or characters that indulges in the act of sleuthing (or spying… maybe even stalking?), moving silently through the shadows and staying out of sight as they hunt down leads that brings them a step closer to their objective. Musically, this track’s probably the most post-punk I’ve ever been (if I could say so, myself); some of my friends know that I have love for the genre and any contemporary band with even the slightest shade of Joy Division, but prior to ‘Movements’, I’ve never set out to create something along those lines (at least, not on purpose). Having said that, this track definitely isn’t the last to bear any instances of the genre, as you’ll soon find out.

Batch 3, Track 7 – From The Distance

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎27 ‎September, ‎2008, ‏‎2:21:10 AM.

‘From The Distance’ is the seventh track from Batch 3, an exercise in creating music within the framework of an album (one can dream, yes?). The track’s title was taken from a line in Interpol‘s ‘Slow Hands’ (“We rejoice ’cause the hurting is so painless / from the distance of passing cars”), which I figured would make a somewhat suitable reference to, of all things, puppy love or the act of having a crush on someone… and stuff. Wikipedia seems to think that it occurs more frequently in younger people, typically directing their adoration (from afar) towards someone of a similar age or older. Naturally, a different scenario comes to mind when I first listened to the completed track. At the 2:20 mark, I tend to see an image of a mountain skier skiing down a snowy slope in slow motion, only to tumble and roll his way down when the beat kicks back in at 2:50, before concluding with the skier’s point of view as he plunges into the rocky depths below. Tragic, if a little sadistic.

Batch 3, Track 6 – Failure

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎11 ‎October, ‎2008, ‏‎3:38:34 PM.

‘Failure’ is the sixth track from Batch 3, an exercise in creating music within the framework of an album (one can dream, yes?). The track was inspired by, well, failures; more specifically, I worked on the track as a way of venting out my disappointment for not being able to cope with my studies at the time, as well as my frustrations for not being presented with an opportunity to pursue other avenues of interest. As I have hinted in a previous post, having to work on something you’ve lost interest in on a daily basis is futile; nothing you work on is any good, and the only outcome is an overwhelming sense of failure (or at least, a sense of gradually underperforming to the point of failing). For some odd reason, the track often brings to my mind the image of Usher kneeling on top of a crumbling mountain. I don’t know if it’s because I had been subconsciously exposed to his song too often at the time I worked on ‘Failure’, but it’s definitely an odd image to pair with the track.

Batch 3, Track 5 – Circus Mirror

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎27 ‎September, ‎2008, ‏‎2:20:54 AM.

Batch 3 was an attempt at creating within the framework of an album, with emphasis on the listening flow from one track to the next; whether I had achieved this or not is obviously up for debate (which I highly welcome). ‘Circus Mirror’ is the fifth track from the batch. The track’s title is a reference to those weird mirrors you would find at the fair or in fun houses: a regular person standing in front of a circus mirror would see him or herself stretched or squashed out of proportions (you could say that it makes wrong what’s right, and vice versa). Growing up, I suffered from really terrible acne, and I still do. There were many, many times where I find myself not wanting to leave the house because of how hideous I looked, and instead wanting for some version of the mirror that will allow me to see myself in a positive light. I guess that sense of wanting to escape the world and its (occasionally) frustrating norms are quite apparent in the track’s arrangement.

Batch 3, Track 4 – Untitled

Last modified: ‎Wednesday, ‎29 ‎April, ‎2009, ‏‎11:08:07 PM.

Batch 3 was an attempt at creating within the framework of an album, with emphasis on the listening flow from one track to the next; whether I had achieved this or not is obviously up for debate (which I highly welcome). ‘Untitled’ is the fourth track from the batch. The absence of a track title was probably because the track came about pretty much simply as a collection of musical ideas, as opposed to it being inspired by a book I had read or a film I had watched. However, I remember that I did attempt to include lyrics to the arrangement, which vaguely tells a story of my deceased younger sister (who passed away a few days after her birth, though due to what, I can’t recall). I remember typing the words out in a Notepad document, but I must’ve deleted it back when I was transferring my files to this three-year-old laptop I’m using. I could’ve named the track after her, or some quality of hers, but leaving it untitled essentially allows the track to be whatever one wants it to be.

Batch 3, Track 3 – Whenever You’re Ready

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎27 ‎September, ‎2008, ‏‎2:20:18 AM.

Batch 3 was an attempt at creating within the framework of an album, with emphasis on the listening flow from one track to the next; whether I had achieved this or not is obviously up for debate (which I highly welcome). ‘Whenever You’re Ready’ is the third track from the batch. I don’t remember how the track’s title came about, but it basically references the preparation that takes place prior to any demanding act or endeavour. Musically, it was influenced by some of the more prominent indie bands of the early 2000s: take, for example, the alternating, percussion-like guitars and drumming taken straight out of Bloc Party‘s song-writing book. Additionally, the arrangement also saw a middle-eight (for a lack of a better term) section that could have been inspired by the sci-fi television series ‘Stargate’, and a stereo-panning outro section that slightly heightens the “spacey feels” of the track (the melody of which was actually a rework of an older idea that I had).

Batch 3, Track 2 – First Days

Last modified: ‎Saturday, ‎27 ‎September, ‎2008, ‏‎2:20:10 AM.

Batch 3 was an attempt at creating within the framework of an album, with emphasis on the listening flow from one track to the next; whether I had achieved this or not is obviously up for debate (which I highly welcome). ‘First Days’ is the second track from the batch. Initially, it was inspired by a scene in the first (chronology-wise) of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia novels, ‘The Magician’s Nephew’, where readers witness the first few hours within the magical land as Aslan sings it into existence (which would’ve made for great cinema had Disney not mess up the franchise). In the years after I’d completed the track, the title took on a more realistic sense. ‘First Days’ felt more suited as a reference to the early stages of any lengthy process (like life, for example), as loosely represented through the arrangement. A pursuit of something often starts out slow and calculated, but eventually a rhythm is gained and, before you know it, you’ll find yourself right in the thick of it.