Recently I read about a company that wanted something similar to this song by Aphex Twin and they were paying about $20,000. That’s Mr. Aphex Twin below (obviously at the beach).
I tried to portray the technique of the song’s structure and not rip off it’s melody.
What I submitted.
Later they sent me a note rejecting my demo and even supplying me with a score of 1 out of 5 so that I don’t get any ideas about trying to do this sort of thing regularly.
That part of the music business world where you are asked to imitate something but not make a copyright infringement is a very interesting place. The scientist in me likes figuring out what the ingredients are, what direction the melodies move, what rhythm is being used blah blah blah and stir.
But the criminal mobster in me wants to locate the agent who gave me the low score and, to quote a favourite moment in film, go a little Marsellus Wallace.
Next month I start teaching a course at Centennial College in songwriting and part of what I am organizing is a discussion about lyrics and why somethings are interesting and somethings cliche. These days often in the back of my mind is making lists of songs to detail style, structure, lyrics, rhythm etc. Predictable lyrics disappoint me. When we consume so many songs it is an extra thrill when a song has cohesion to it’s story but surprises us with the way it unfolds.
So I was driving and on the radio came side two of Abbey Road and coincidentally the best speakers currently in my life happen to be in my car and it’s alwatys a thrill to hear the 2cnd half of the Beatles catalogue loudly so I complied and soon realized my absolute most favourite moment lyrically is when McCartney adds “And so I quit the police department.” What a beautiful fulfilling rush.
I miss CKLN. I loved that radio station at the very left end of the dial and the people who worked it and they had many incarnations since my long ago era, still over years there was a regular thread of on air voices telling Toronto what it is or could be “should be” – more enjoyable listening than most everything else. Favourite memory – a couple years after Spike Lee’s Do The Right thing someone made the fund drive slogan Do The Left Thing. They lost their license, which is a whole other blog post the size of something by Tolstoy, and so they created a new station and name – Ryerson Radio – and had to fight for their existence at CRTR public hearings. Then a whack of other business interests lined up wanting the coveted available location on the dial, guess they don’t come up often. I was asked to be on the panel advocating for their vision to remain a community radio station instead of another commercial station. Something funny about those judges, maybe to be a CRTC judge you have to prove you spent your summers in the Borg. Now there’s a film by Werner Herzog called The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, a German folk tale about a guy raised in a barn later as an adult set free in the world, who confounds people trying to sort out whether he is a simpleton or a genius. There is a memorable scene where a logician travels from away to meet Kaspar and test is reasoning. In the hearing at one point one of the judges singled me out “Mr. Wiseman, there is another station applying who claim they will represent Indie Music, which station would you rather be played on?” It was a Kaspar Hauser moment. “Both” I said and there was some laughter. I tried to explain that the station calling itself indie would be swell to be played on but let’s get real, they have commercial funding and will never actually deliver the indie thing, seen this claim too many times before. But community radio will deliver and I’ll get played and I’ll be part of a wider community of interests. They didn’t want to hear that. So it goes.