Creeping towards the finish line

Going back a step to very, very late last night, I am delighted to say that SAM’S SLIDE GUITAR PIECE IS FINISHED! It was starting to look like it would be one of the earliest ones I started on and that he wouldn’t actually get it by the deadline. But no. ‘Tis done and sent so now we’ll see what he makes of it when he gets time to look at it later this week…

Today I have gone in a completely different direction and written the outline of a tango for 6-string bass guitar. My challenge now is to mash the multiple lines of ideas I have for it together, and enliven those parts which I feel are a little on the dull side. There are bits I like very much but others which are a bit boring. Interestingly, this has gone in the opposite direction from what my pieces usually do – start out interesting and need perking up towards the end. This one is significantly more interesting at the end than it is at the beginning, so now I need to find a way to brighten the beginning without it then not relating to the stuff at the end which emerged out of the stuff at the beginning. PHEW. So far it’s got some nice syncopation happening, some harmonics and a whiff of percussive effects.

I am, though – and I freely confess this – somewhat clueless about guitars in general, so I’m flying a little blind here. I know from Alun’s recordings that he’s capable of some amazing feats where it sounds like he’s playing 2 lines at once, without overdubbing, but I don’t understand enough about the instrument to be able to confidently write out what I want. So I’m going to be rather dependent on him to help me out with that. But that in itself will be a pretty new experience for me – I’ve rarely been able to work with a performer to develop a piece, so it’s going to be grand to see where it ends up.

I do find it somewhat ironic though, that my self-imposed deadline (so that all the performers have time to learn their pieces and record them for the RPM Challenge deadline of 29 February) is tomorrow/Thursday morning, when on Thursday night I’ll be starting the London Composers Forum’s Writing for Guitar workshop, which will hopefully teach me how to do what I’m trying to do right now. Looking forward to a few “oh THAT’s what I needed to do” moments.

In other stuff, I have renewed my CV. The employment monster loometh, but I’m actually not as bummed about it as I would have been a couple of months back and I have much higher hopes, after this month, of being able to maintain a decent amount of compositional activity after-hours than I usually do. And I’m rather looking forward to being out of the house for a while and working with other developers. Hoping for a nice juicy mobile project. Cross fingers pls?

And my Da is OK! His tests went off just fine and they couldn’t see anything untoward. Huzzah!

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