404

Greetings, earth human – it is I, Ian Freud. You have been summoned here to bear witness to my latest waxing. Settle back for around 3 and a half of the time units you know as ‘minutes’, and I will see you “after the jump”, as I believe you say in your culture.

Lyrics

Where is this place I was looking for?
I followed your every direction.
Did I do the right thing?
Did I do the wrong thing?
Or is it just the connection?
It’s not a 301 – it’s just a 404
And now I can’t find the thing that I was looking for

I know what I want I don’t know how to get it
I know what I want I don’t know how to get it

What is this thing that I’m looking at?
It looks just the same – but unfamiliar
Am I in the right place?
Or is this the right time?
You promised to help me but will ya?
It’s not a 301 – it’s just a 404
And now I can’t find the thing that I was looking for

I know what I want I don’t know how to get it
I know what I want I don’t know how to get it

It’s not a 301
It’s just a 404
It’s not a 301
It’s just a 404

Thoughts

Despite really liking this song, I don’t have huge amounts to say about it. It’s a basic, 4 to the floor rocker with a pleasingly shouted melody and words that are about the 404 ‘page not found’ errors you get on websites. I’d like to think it’s vaguely, metaphorically, about not being able to find what you want from life, but really it’s a pretty shallow song. We used to play it with the band I was in to start the set and it always seemed to go down well.

Recording wise, it was slightly tortuous on several fronts. Firstly, getting the balance right was a right pain in the tits, frankly. And even now it feels like the bass is a bit too boomy. The guitar solo took far too long to record. Originally I was hoping to have my mate – a proper guitarist – play it, but he’s been suffering with his health and so a couple of months after I’d recorded everything else I sat down for a night or two and played lines over and over until I’d structured something that sounded in keeping with the rockiness of the track. Like all my guitar solos, there’s nothing spontaneous about it (I fall to bits if asked to improvise) and even in this final, reheared-a-thousand-times version I’m clinging on for dear life throughout. No, sir, you will have to look elsewhere for a guitarist.

The other annoying thing is that I still don’t know how to get the virtual drummer to emphasise the riff at the end – which should have the same kind of swing as the end of Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide by David Bowie. As you can tell, it doesn’t. I’ve lost patience with that side of things now, and am slowly giving up on ever finding a drummer.

Anyway. That’s about it. It’s a thudding rock tune that I quite like, and perhaps you do too. Or perhaps you don’t. And that too is fine.

Splundigg vur thrigg.

Darker Roads

Vaguely #kinky #BDSM themed lyrics! A fast, shuffling 12/8 beat! Diminished chords! Chords I don’t even know the name of! Blimey. A relative lot going on in 2m 19s. Have a listen, read the words and then let’s meet in the pub and I can tell you what I know about this song (hint: it isn’t much).

Lyrics

I’m begging for mercy
I’m down on my knees
Please end this torture
Won’t you give me release
The road that I travelled
Got darker each day
Now I can’t find my way out
I just can’t see a way

Trapped at your pleasure
Like a butterfly pinned
There’s no other way
To atone for my sins
Kiss – kiss the leather
Won’t you hang me in chains?
Show me the pleasures
That come from this pain.

Down here in the darkness
Where I can’t reach the light
Wreathed in black shadows
Where the nightmares take flight
Drowning in water
I drew for myself
Ice-fingered veins
As I draw my last breath

Trapped at your pleasure
Like a butterfly pinned
There’s no other way
To atone for my sins
Kiss – kiss the leather
Won’t you hang me in chains?
Show me the pleasures
That come from this pain.

Post-match Analysis

I bore myself. It’s easily done. I’ve written hundreds of songs (there are about 70 of them as voice memos on my phone as we speak) and many of them are in pretty similar waters in terms of tempo, style etc. To an extent, that’s just natural. Picasso painted like Picasso. John Lennon sounded like John Lennon. And I sound like a weaksauce, bumbling Yorkshire 40 something.

So from time to time I challenge myself to try something a little different. I mean, the chances of me churning out a death metal song are probably no better than the chances of Napalm Death penning a winsome acoustic ballad, so it’s not exactly radical, but this darkish 12/8 song was the result.

The bits I’m most pleased with are the slightly odd chords. The verses is based on a shift from Em to the diminished (I think? I don’t really know – but the fifth is flattened) and then to whatever chord Em is when it has an A in it. It’s sort of dark sounding, and a little bit hypnotic in its crabbed, sideways movement… which doubtless informed the tone of the lyrics when I finally got around to them.

The chorus is odder still and I can’t even tell you what the chords are. Obviously it’s  chromatic – based on C/B/A#/A and then G/F#/F/Em – but the chords themselves are sort of dissonant – which is very unusual for me.

To add to the generally spooky vibe, I ran the bass through a phase pedal and doubled up the acoustic part (playing the same part in different parts of the stereo spectrum creates a sort of ‘swimming’ effect because the parts never exactly match). Finally, I chucked in an equally discordant coda with Em, G, A# riff and the best I could manage in terms of a guitar solo – also layered with flange, distortion and delay.

With the backdrop laid down, I found myself groping for lyrics over several months, before arriving at the final version a few weeks ago. I’d have recorded it earlier but my throat and chest have been fucked since I had the ‘flu. Anyway, the sound had a very paranoid, claustrophobic feeling to me, and the lyrics came to reflect that. They’re very much written in terms of bondage.

Anyway, that’s the story of that and I’ve run out of patience for typing. If you want to ask me more, join me on one of my non-existence livestreams. For now? Fuck off off of my lawn.