17 Jul 2010

The Old Church

Back in the saddle again, after some days away from home and studio. I started off by finishing a piece that's given me considerable grief — although mostly in a good way. Musical transitions are fun. I might do an entire album called "Transitions" one day!

The Old Church by pethu

It started out quite sensibly, with the "choral organ" chord progression in the first part. I was sure that would be the base for a whole piece, but suddenly it had become merely the intro for an electronica-style part going off at right angles to the first bit. Well, the church in question was a disused one, modern times encroaching on its space. So, slightly mad but still logical.

Then I got stuck. The only thing I knew for certain was that I needed a third part. I could not go back to something based on part one, beacuse the energy built upp in part 2 would be lost.

Tonight, after several weeks, I came up with these punchy harpsichord chords which sounded a bit repetitive but worth exploring. It turned into not quite an all-nighter, but certainly two-thirds-of-a-nighter.

I wasted a few hours trying to come up with a new, proper melody to put on top, until the solution presented itself — just bring in the choir again and throw lots of symphonic instruments on top, Alan Parsons/Andrew Powell-style, until the the old church "reappears", as it were.

In the process, I think I reached the highest track count in any of my songs yet. There's about 21 of them:

Choir Voices
Gravel Steps
Choral Layer:
  • Positiv (Portable Pipe) Organ, holpijp register +
  • Bolivian Pan Pipes +
  • Novachord Marcato Strings
Metal Gate
Synth Harp
Wind Noise
Synth Bass
Distorted Harp
Synth Blips Sequence
Overdrive Electro-Acoustic Guitar
Tubular Bells
Bubbly Synth Sequence


  1. I actually really like this one. this would be good background for a movie. sometimes it talks and sometimes it runs and sometimes it sings, i am using my imagination in creating a movie.

  2. O.K. I flat out LOVE this!!!! I adore Alan Parsons, especially the Poe album, and this is approaching that one!! Whatever happened to them, anyway? If you know, comment to me. I am not a profssional musician, but will do very well as your impartial public listener, because I've been so much into so many kinds of music for fifty years. Maybe this isn't what you meant, but this brings to mind monks walking down the monestery aisle in the dark with candles. Just sayin' it has lots of imagery. This is my favorite of your so far. Rock on!!

  3. I've had your blog on my screen since its inception but have not really had enough time recently to add another blog to my reading list. This evening I just clicked on this post and listened. I am so glad that I did. This is a wonderful piece.

    It's interesting that Ginny Mentioned Poe (I think of it as Eric Woolfson's Poe) and, yes, I can see the connection. Oddly I've only ever met one other eprson who had heard of the album Poe.

    I shall be going back to the start of your blog and, hopefully, keeping up with it.

  4. Thanks all for your kind words! It's certainly an encouragement to keep going... another 6-8 songs, and we'll have an album! ;)

    @Ginny, yes there is definitely some kind of medieval procession going on in the first part of this song...

    The Eric Woolfson/Alan Parsons songwriting and production partnership tas was The Alan Parsons Project ended somewhere in the late 80s after a total of 10 studio albums.

    They never performed live during its existence, but Alan Parsons toured with a live version of the group and music in the 90s. Eric Woolfson went on to produce at least 3 live musicals based on Project album themes and music ("The Gambler", "Poe" and "Gaudi") in the "00s". They were mostly developed and performed on German stages, apparently mainly because "the arts were very well funded there". Sadly, Eric Woolfson died late last year.

    Alan Parsons has just released a brand new set of audio engineering video tutorials (gotta get those!) and also a new single in connecting with that project.

  5. I see all my friends got here before me ;)
    Yes I think I too could pick up the resemblance to Alan Parsons although I was never quite the fan you were... I have an "impression" of him/them more than I remember individual songs/albums. Not sure I heard Poe? Not the same album as Tales of Mystery and Imagination, is it?

  6. Yes, Monica. Poe is Tales of Mystery and Imagination.