Music, musings and more from the mind of Ben Averch.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My True State, Part 2

Just keep driving, through the teardrops. Life is filled with choices every day, so many that it can be hard to recognize you’re even making any at all. A lot of times people feel like they’re being pulled along in a current, or trapped in a whirlpool. I wanted to write a song to say that life is not just a collection of circumstances that you’re unable to change. It’s something that you engage in – an active process of building the life that you want to live.

‘Life Size’, which had gone under the working title ‘Step Up the Stairs’ all the way through to the album’s mastering session, has a number of things that make it special to me: the opening riff, with its clean, piano like guitars; the aggressive filtering guitar part and big vocal harmony in the second half of the choruses; and of course, the guitar solo which is one of my favorites (and another one I would be hard pressed to actually, you know, play).

The basic idea is that you can make a choice to either get moving or stand there and watch everybody else. If you need to rise, then start rising. You can say it’s not that simple, but who said life would be easy? It’s a challenge and that’s the goal in itself – to embrace change and choice as a vital and necessary part of life.

One last note on the music in this song – if you listen to the very tail end of the fade out, you can hear some very cool reverb on the whole mix like the song itself is dispersing into the atmosphere.

The beginning and ending of our nature. What’s this? An unabashed, full on sentimental love song? Yeah, how about that! ‘Through the Chain Reaction’ was a song that I definitely struggled with. The music had come together quickly and easily, but it took me a couple of revisions to arrive at lyrics and vocals that I was happy with. In the end, we have a really warm sounding, upbeat and chunky song that describes basically longing for love to be something that lasts forever, even if maybe that’s not really possible.

Human relationships are the domain of humans, who are notoriously fragile and unfortunately for all of us, short-lived. The question of what happens to us when we die is pretty much as old as time – I don’t really take a stab at answering it, other than to say that nobody knows, or at least, nobody’s telling!

This is the song where the quality of the sound really came together, the eighth of ten songs recorded. I had finally gotten the bass sound that I wanted: round, warm and creamy – too bad there were only three songs left to record at this point! To my ears, this is an interesting, good sounding song. It keeps building and building up through the guitar solo, through the post-solo bridge section and into the final chorus where the guitars and keyboards and vocals keep piling up until the final explosion and its aftereffects.

It’s the time for your revival. In ‘Sandcast’, I wanted to write a song that describes a character who finds a way to pull himself out of a really dark situation. I like the idea that every moment there’s an opportunity to turn things around, to put a stake in the ground and say, ‘this isn’t the way things are going to go for me.’ If you ever find yourself ‘living in the world of what is not’, then this is the song for you. And by that, I mean the world of the mind, populated with hypotheticals, with regrets and longings. Basically being consumed by all the things that aren’t right, aren’t here, aren’t now, aren’t the way we expected and hoped they would be.

Life is full of disappointments. This song is about how the act of surrendering to the world that is can be the most powerful act of all. We need to take the world as it is and move forward from there. That’s really the only way to be empowered and to look at things positively. ‘Surrender’ has such a defeatist connotation to it, but I think it’s the most important, affirming thing we can do to accept the world that is and not resist it. Only then can we actually be successful changing things and building the world we want to see.

Musically, I think this is one of the strongest tracks on the record. I worked for a while on the arrangement to this song, and the final chorus took some time to get right. The post-solo bridge section where the character casts his ‘hopes and dreams into a grain of sand’ to be carried away by the sea is one of my favorite moments on the record. Also of note is the introduction, courtesy of a combination of multiple keyboard sounds and settings that I (of course) have no idea how to reproduce. Love the way it sounds like the wind, though.


Blogger Genevieve said...

Hey Ben,
What are you doing with my photograph on your music blog? The image of the raindrops through the windshield is mine! Would you like it if I got ahold of some of your music and posted it on my website without payment or without even notifying me of what you've done? Well that's what you've done. The original post on my photoblog is
Please get in touch. Thanks.

11:47 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home