A sort of update on the doings in atFulcrumania, and something that surprises me as much as it might surprise you: a new song. An ass-kickingly good song if I’m allowed to say so myself!
The Arc II mixes are good enough now that I feel comfortable presenting them to the various players I have in mind to replace certain of my tracks: guitarists, drummers, and bassists mostly, and! and! one other boards basher too. I still count on releasing this to the same three storefronts at some point during the winter or early spring of 2014.
Meanwhile, Elaine and I had been sufficiently jazzed with our work on (and the reception to) How Can I Hold that we almost immediately set about planning a more ambitious project: an entire album of thematically-related material, quite possibly also involving a plot. It’s been slow going for the last five-months-plus of trying to work our ideas into the fabric of the thing while one of us got slammed at the day job and the other was hauling his mortal coil across the continent, but I think we may finally be at a point where the album might begin to gain some traction even with that distance.
This may be a reason why: insofar as I was in her neck of the woods for the Thanksgiving holiday and we’d planned to get together anyway, she surprised me with a short-term project into which she felt we could both sink our teeth. You can find out more about Song Fight! by clicking the clever-clever link, but in essence, every week the site gives songwriter members a week to come up with something based solely on the song’s title—among the titles in their archive I see several that pique my interest, including That’s The Joke, A Map For Your Wall, I Blame You Entirely, and What Kind Of Love Are You Looking For?. The panoply of ideas that come out as people interpret, re-interpret, and misinterpret the given title is fascinating to observe. When the week is up, all the submissions get posted at once, and the next week sees the Song Fight! denizens voting on their favorites. Winner pretty much gets bragging rights from what I can see—no cash prizes; no prizes at all except the opportunity to learn and practice the craft and to show their work.
A friend of Elaine’s happened to post an invitation for this week’s Fight! on Facebook. I’m guessing she thought it would be a way to strengthen our musical connection further (not that it needed it IMNTLBFHO—I think part of us is still a touch incredulous as to the extent to which we’ve fanned one another’s work), maybe break the log jam surrounding our approach to our album—and an opportunity for her to watch me engineer something from the ground up—so she invited me to the FB event and e-mailed a shot across my bow about how she interpreted the title to which we’d be working.
From a standing start Friday afternoon batting ideas back and forth and starting the foundation of the chord progressions and the lyrics, through a marathon writing/tracking/mixing session Saturday (and a few touch-ups Sunday), we had us a track that made us both cry not just with joy at hearing what we’d done—like How Can I Hold, this felt like it was bigger than both of us—but also out of empathy for the characters we inhabited as we cut the vocals. We both know people who’ve either disowned their parents outright or at least often wondered how it could have been possible that they sprang from the loins of people so ideologically different from themselves. Elaine wrote in the Song Fight! fora: “Rick and I wrote this piece for every artist (or, everyone) who’s run away from their parents; and also for the parents, who may have realized what they love and be wishing them well too late.”
We also stumbled across a new name for our joint collaborations. On reflection of the thematic material toward which we tend to gravitate when we get together, the name Chiron Return seemed appropriate to us both, so that’s us as a musical unit. I’d wager it’s maybe a little less unwieldy than calling us Genus Capra/atFulcrum as we’d been.
The song? It did strengthen our respect for one another as fellow wizards and fellow travelers—again, not that I felt it needed strengthening. It seems to have helped us free up our thinking about how to proceed with our album. And Elaine got to watch me assemble at least the foundations of a mix. It was my first protracted experience working with Pro Tools—I know, right?—so I learned something in the process as well.. and lest anyone think I did it all myself, Elaine waved her magic wand over what I’d done after I’d left there Monday morning, providing more than a few tweaks to sweeten the sound considerably.
Let’s just leave it at this: those initially floored by How Can I Hold may find themselves even more plastered to the floor by Art Bomb. The lyrics are here.
Give it a listen: