Blitch Bango

Twilight Song Notes

Below are a collection of notes to give you, the listener, a bit of background into the ideas, thought processes, evolution etc., surrounding the songs in Twilight. While I want to be as forthcoming as possible, I did limit myself to containing information regarding the writing of the music, the recording, and the song evolution, and restricted myself from elaborating too much on the lyrics. For me, lyrics are personal, and though most of the time lyrics are written about a specific topic or circumstance, I prefer that the listener draw their own conclusion as to what the lyrics may be about. All I ask is that the listener keep in mind that though lyrics may indicate "I" or "me," the lyric may not be about me personally. If all of these songs WERE about me, I'd probably be a deranged hermit, and most likely, a dead one.

Oh, yeah, and I do collaborate with M. Tailor, both on music and lyrics. So when I say "I" in the context of music and lyrics, I often mean "we."

The songs are listed in the order I remembered them. Enjoy!

"There Is No Song" - The lyrics and general music ideas for this have been lying around for some time in one form or another, but it was only when I started writing down the chords did the music and lyrics evolve into their current form. I wanted to keep the song musically interesting by making small, one-time chord changes throughout the song, to sort of keep every verse unique. I also wanted to keep the first half of the song simple with just a guitar and vocal, then jump in with the rest of the arrangement. Personal highlights: I quite like what I did with the piano melody.

"Love Letter" - This is one of the oldest songs on the recording, both from a "when written" and "when recorded" perspective. And it probably features the first bass line I've written that I was proud of. The song here is pretty much faithful to the original demo recorded many years ago, though it does include elements of the song as performed by the band I was in.

"Now" - The demo of this song was a single acoustic guitar strumming the basic chord progression with another guitar playing the melody line. Originally, I had wanted to keep the song faithful to the demo, with a sparse, acoustic arrangement. However, I didn't like the direction the song headed in as I added drums, bass, and piano. So, the song was revamped, sped up a bit with a different rhythm pattern, and a new bass and drum line. The piano was pretty much kept intact, except the piano's high melody line replaced by vibes.

"Too Many Excuses" - Some of the guitar effects in this song (excepting the solo) have gone through several mutations with different backwards sounds and different e-bowed sounds. Many of the variations exist on the raw recording, and have been mixed out of the final master. The song is faithful to the original demo.

"Soon" - The guitar melody and chord arrangement for this song were adapted from a very old demo of some song ideas (which ended up being used in a local cable access video). The guitar melody has always been a favorite composition of mine, and I felt like I needed to do something more with the song. The lyrics came pretty spur-of-the-moment, and I think they fit the song well. While the melody and chord arrangements are intact, the musical arrangement varies from the demo significantly. The arrangement was changed to acoustic from electric, and some of the goofier effects resident in the demo were not included. Personal highlights: as mentioned, the guitar melody, which is a bit of a nod to Robert Fripp's style.

"Our True Story" - Let me break from my self-imposed restriction to elaborate on the lyrical content for this song. In the opening comment I alluded to lyrics not necessarily being about the author. I do not exercise, nor do I condone the type of abuse illustrated in this song. In fact, this song is not really about abusing a person per se, but a parable where abuse of a person is a symbolic representation of abuse of something else. And, even if it were about abusing a person, the song's protagonist realizes that what he did is wrong, and learns from his mistake, so even at face value the song has a positive moral. And if the song were about me, it would be me saying, "Look at what I did; it's wrong." But the song is a parable. And it's not about me. And, it's only a song (even if it is a true story - which it may not be). Whew! Musically, this song has had a few incarnations: first a slower, more acoustic version, then an even slower, more experimental version with a sparse drum arrangement. Next, I decided on the basic tracks you hear in the recording, faster, but without the straight ahead drum line and only the bongoes and percussion. The drums were added last to make the recording fit my original vision.

"Lullabye" - This is another song that deviated from the original intention (as some songs tend to do). I originally wanted the song to be slow and mellow, like a lullaby. The original idea had a synth string arrangement, and no drums, but lacked the feel I was hoping for. Like a real lullaby, it was starting to put me to sleep. I started experimenting with drum lines, and found they added a feel I liked. The picked guitars of the original were kept, drums added, the bass line changed to fit the drums, the strings scrapped, and a rough guitar and jazzy guitar added. Now I feel better.

"Lullaby" - My original intention for this song was to take the string sections cut from "Lullabye" and elaborate on them. But, as oftentimes happens, the version on tape doesn't match the vision in my head; some things sound better in the mind than in the ears. So I did the next best thing; I re-recorded the song at a slower tempo, using just the solo break and bridge of "Lullabye" and adding acoustic guitar renditions of the finer points of the string arrangement.

"Bed of Flowers" - Another in the old songs category, both from a "when written" and "when recorded" perspective. The song has both elements of the original demo and of the arrangement used in my previous band, though I'm a bit more faithful to the original demo.

"Didn't Say Goodbye"- Another song in which the demo was a single acoustic guitar strumming the basic chord progression. The song was arranged around this. As in "Lullabye," I wanted to play a less formulaic and more interesting drum pattern. A couple of the chord changes are a bit of a nod to George Harrison.

"You and I" - Yet another song where the demo was a single acoustic guitar strumming the basic chord progression. I think the demo for this was recorded about two seconds after the demo for "Didn't Say Goodbye." Personal highlights: the scary guitar solo.

"She Said" - Most of the time songs come in one of two modes: 1) lyrics first, then music to fit them, or, 2) a basic chord and song structure with a rough melody, then lyrics to fit. In this case, the words and music came simultaneously, in about 10 minutes of messing around on the guitar. Originally, the last verse of the song was a parable involving forests, rain, paths, light, etc., but this didn't fit the song well. I decided that a more direct lyric fit better.

"A Reminder" - Like some of the other songs, the basic chord structure and lyric of this song has been floating for some time, and several studies were recorded to determine how to best arrange the song. However, none of those studies were used in the final arrangement; the final arrangement pretty much arranged itself during the tracking of this song. Again, I wanted to keep things musically interesting, and experiment with the drum patterns here, keeping away from the formulaic "standard rock beat."

"The Melody Doesn't Know" - This song started out at a tempo nearly half of what it ended up being, with a trombone and clarinet part (yes, you probably guessed why they didn't stick). When listening to the first demo of the song while driving, I felt the urge to speed up the tape, and punched what the bass drum tempo should be on my car seat. From this came the idea that became the drum machine rhythm with the punchy bass drum. Several percussive instruments were added, of which only the bongoes and claves remain. The final acoustic drum part was added last minute (the first pass of the finished song had acoustic drums similar to the final version's first verse - only adding accents during the chord changes - through the whole song). Final note: during recording of this song, after all the basic tracks and vocal were recorded, the recorder (computer) crashed, before the tracks could be saved. The song however was "saved" - reconstructed by salvaging and assembling the "temporary" track files (native to the recording software).

"Twilight" - This song partly exists because I was looking for an acoustic instrumental to add to the CD as a way of saying "thanks" to the Saturday Light Brigade for giving airplay to "What Child Is This" from Modern Christmas Classics. The base pattern of this song pretty much came up spur of the moment, and I liked it enough to add it. The harmonic guitar part was added as a sparse melody, however, I accidentally bumped the guitar during the final note. To cover this up, I added an "AM radio" equalized copy of the opening bars of the song. I liked the effect, and also added it to the song's opening. Now, I'm usually against naming an album (or CD or what have you) after a single song. To paraphrase Elvis Costello, that's a heavy burden to put onto one song. In this case, I came up with the album title first, and applied it to this song. Technically, the song is named after the album, not vice versa, so my principles are intact.

"Winters" - The original demo of this song was just rhythm guitar and lead playing the melody through a thick chorus effect. I decided to remove the chorus so the song better fit the theme of the rest of the music. After the song was complete, I decided I still wanted to include some of the charm in the original demo, so the coda was added faithful to the sound of the demo.

"Anymore" - This song posed a bit of a difficulty for me. I wanted to keep the sparseness and feel of the demo (largely a double tracked guitar with triple tracked vocals), yet elaborate on the demo with drums and percussion. I tracked a few different ideas here, trying to keep the guitar line intact, but most of the percussive ideas didn't fit the feel of the original demo. The ones that worked best were the most subdued - brushed snare, light bongoes, simple bass line. Strip away these, and you'll get an idea of what the demo was.

Overall notes: I like to keep the songs in a collection (e.g. an album or CD) thematically related, and did so here. It is up to you to determine what the theme is. Many of the songs existed in whole or in part for some time, and became realized on this recording because they fit the theme. Also, as with any recording, I like to stray from formulaic song structure and expectations, and experiment musically and lyrically to give the listener and myself a challenge. One focus on this recording was to keep a rootsy sound to the songs here, which probably accounts for the frequent use of acoustic guitars and percussion. Also, to keep a rootsy sound, and to keep the energy level high, most of the instruments are "first take" - that is, the first take of the recording was kept as "best," or multiple takes were not even recorded (a practice also exercised during the recording of Modern Christmas Classics).

Thanks for listening.

B. Mathis