7.10.2017

Byrods - Program

When I was looking for a title for my project, I translated the German term “Nebenstraßen” into “Byroads” - which seems pretty obvious for my kind of music.

Another choice would have been a translation of “Programmmusik” (program music). I rejected that for obvious reasons – it has a silly sound, to say the least. But it might have been a better description of what I'm trying to do.

In my songs lyrics come first. The music is just commenting the words. If the words are simple – like in Memories or Echos - the music can stay simple as well. The first song in the current “cycle” of what I'm just doing is Becoming - written on a trip thru South Africa, featuring musical standards used in African popular music, like unmodified cadences and patterns of “call and response”.

Sometimes the topic touched by the lyrics needs some level of comment. The music I do is not just paraphrasing what is already said, but offers some kind of an emotional level of understanding. Big words! ..and I'm not even sure if I can even touch that level at all; if I have the skills, as a composer, to do so.

Nevertheless: Nightfall is a good example of what I'm trying to do. It's a reminiscence to Richard Wagner's “Tristan & Isolde” (the “sirene” in the lyrics is – pretty obvious, at least to me – Isolde); there are several occurrences of the “Tristan” chord in the music. The formal structure of the song follows a “program”: Daylight (the intro) – Sunset (verse 1), Nightfall (verse 2), Rite Of The Shadows (interlude), Night (verse3). The entire structure is “reverse”; as is living, dying..

And so on (the dissonant Harps in Lies are not a coincidence, when the lyrics states: “I love you”; neither is the marching snare in Child of My Time in the last verse).

But it's up to the listener to make the connections – I just had a thought that it might help to give a hint.



In the last couple of weeks I did some re-recordings/re-mixes of some of the songs that started the cycle:


Becoming

Echos

Nightfall

17.8.2017

That Life

They say: life is what you make of it,
it's what the conductor preaches to the orchestra pit.
(Life is what you make of it,
but you'll burn yourself, ending in a fire pit.)

You might have a song on your lips,
all it takes is a single cloud for a full solar eclipse.
(You might think you made a mark,
it's just whistling in the dark.)

I believe you when you say you want to make it right,
finally you find yourself in the darkest night.
(Every time you try to make it right,
you end up stumbling thru the night.)


[“Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen” - Theodor W. Adorno (“There cannot be a right life amidst wrong”).]


Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Piano & Synthesizer, Bass, Violin & Viola (String Section), Cymbals, Percussion (Shaker, Tambourine, Triangle, Claves), Wave Drum (Snare, Bass Drum, Toms).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 20.8.2017)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]

28.6.2017

Memories

There was a ragged garden behind my childhood home,
an enchanted place, a little world of it's own,
it was a sacred site, I buried a treasure there,
but I can't remember what and where.

The first time I heard that song I was all alone,
a stranger spoke to me I'd always known,
this music is a true companion for many years,
but I can't remember what once made me blink back tears.

Wish I could remember the first time I saw your face,
but that memory is just the center of a tangling maze,
I remember it's alleys, I walk them every now and then,
I circle it's center again and again.

Refrain

Memories are like a canvas, over-painted many times,
like a line of poetry, twisted and bended until it rhymes,
they feel real, but they're just a state of mind,
the past hides a truth you'll never find.


Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Violin & Viola, Cymbals.

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 27.9.2017)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]

16.4.2017

The Jester

I'm the one who casts that dark shadow deep inside of you,
when you think you got rid of me, I jump out of the blue.

My art of seduction is subtle, I'm just telling what's true,
you'll side with me simply 'cause you know now what to do.

If you want to be the king of the game -
just do it, grab the crown in my name.

I can make a mask, and your face will grow to fit it,
but once you join my game you're not allowed to quit it.

You can shine in all the power and the glory,
just leave that life of yours at my soul depository.

Ending

Well I wish today is the day I take your soul,
but geez! you're a trickster, hiding an ace in the hole.
You denied the crown, took the role of the jester instead,
running me down as a cartoon on your scribbling pad.


(Unused Verses)

When you're tested by your qualms, I whisper in your ears,
I make a pledge to everything you wanna hear.

I'm your gardener, you are my seeds,
just do it, string my prayer beads.

Head for the crown, try to be king,
just do it, allowed is everything.


Painting: Paul Klee, The Devil juggles.

„He wears a mask, and his face will grow to fit it.” - George Orwell

„Just do it.” - Nike Inc.


Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Violin & Viola, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Bass Drum, Snare).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 20.4.2017)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]

6.2.2017

Persistence (Melting Clocks)

Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Guitar, Piano, Bass, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Bass Drum, Snare), Percussion (Shaker, Darbuka, Rainmaker), Synthesizer- and Sequencer Programming.

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 11.2.2017)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2017]

6.1.2017

Persistence

The sheet above fixates an improvisation I recently did on my guitar. I couldn't find a pulse for what I was doing, so the result looks like kind of a construct of excessive overthinking. It isn't.

The theme reminds me on a picture of Salvador Dalí, „Melting Watches“ - the music will fit pretty well into my „Paintings“-Project.

14.12.2016

Red Lights Behind

Different places, some dark, some light,
good or bad, wrong or right,
but it's not up to you to decide,
you can't place yourself on either side.

Where you'll go is in the blind,
all you see is red lights behind,
when moving fast all you want is look ahead,
but a blurred image of the past is all you get.

There is an angel, a storm blowing into her face,
a storm coming from the past at disturbing pace,
she's bowed down in mourning sorrow,
'cause all she wants is to turn around, to catch a sight of tomorrow.

That angel is falling thru time,
(same destiny as yours or mine,)
all she wants is to look ahead,
all she sees are the ashes of the past instead.

[Verses 3+4 are paraphrasingWalter Benjamin's remarks on a painting of Paul Klee, “Angelus Novus”.]


Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Violin (String Sections), Piano, Bass, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Bass Drum, Snare), Percussion (Caxixi, Tambourine, Bamboo Cata).

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 26.12.2016)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2016]

14.10.2016

Gravity

Got some old books, telling stories about alien races,
wondrous worlds, distant places,
thought I can go there before I die,
but I'm still stuck with a car that cannot fly.

Machines were meant to get rid of hard work's pain,
but the blue-collar worker became a puppet on a chain,
once automated brooms start sweeping the floor,
you're the sorcerer's apprentice, and can't stop them anymore.

Internet turned everyone into a transmitter,
mass media debunked as counterfeiter.
Pretty soon big money jumped in and pulled the plug,
speak up now, and you'll be fixed like any bug.

I dreamed of a black man as president of the USA,
thought I'll never live to see that day,
thought he certainly would right a wrong, or two,
can't believe he turned out a third rate actor, too.

Refrain

There is a place where the future died in agony,
dreams pulled back by it's gravity.
There's a graveyard where all good intentions rest,
once embraced so hard, shrouded corpses now, at best.


Words & Music: Michael Michaelis

Michael: Vocals, Guitars, Violin, Bass, Cymbals & HiHat, Wave Drum (Snare, Toms, Bass Drum), Percussion (Shaker, Tambourine)

Recorded, edited, and mixed proudly using Cubase.

(Last Update: 22.10.2016)


[All Rights reserved. © Michael Michaelis, 2016]


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