Epistle from Patera

Once upon a time if I wrote a new song I would fairly quickly record a demo of it, but for the last year or so I haven’t been bothered. I’m not sure why that is, probably to a certain degree some sort of boredom with the recording process. I think the only new song I’ve recorded is one I recorded live (vocals overdubbed), little crusader

What spurred me to actually record one of them was the idea of giving Tom (Ranby) some mp3s of new songs because when we played together I wanted to add some of the new songs to the repertoire rather than just play the stuff we already know. Well the first recording’s done now and it wasn’t that bad. It was mostly done a couple of weeks ago but I finished it off yesterday by recording the cameo flute part. I didn’t practise playing flute much over the 2 weeks, there was probably 10 minutes of playing in total, in short 30-60 second bursts – in fact I could have worked at it a bit harder and done it all on the same day. Thanks to my sister, Helen, for giving me the flute some many years ago.

The song I chose to record was written about a year ago and it’s called die andere seite. I think that’s the 2nd song I’ve got with a German title. The 1st one was called sonntag but all I have for that is the words, maybe the slight remnant of a tune in my head. Die Andere Seite is the title of a book by the man better known as an artist than writer, Alfred Kubin. Obviously I’ve provided a link but to put it simply for those of you who can’t be bothered to spend a few minutes perusing the biography works influence bibliography external links of an interesting 20th century character, he was an artist, a member of the Blaue Reiter group who became principally known for his work as an illustrator. Apparently at some point he found it impossible to do any drawing and so, over a 12 week period, he wrote his novel. It sorted of demanded to be written in effect. It was published in 1905.

It could be said to predate Kafka, but pretty much they were both writing at the same time, it’s just that a lot of Kafka’s stuff wasn’t published until after his death. Kafka and Kubin knew each other and in a diary entry of 1911 Kafka describes him

Kubin himself: very strong, but somewhat monotonous facial expression, he describes the most varied things with the same movement of muscles. Looks different in age, size, and strength according to whether he is sitting, standing,wearing just a suit, or an overcoat.

and in the same entry for September 26th Kafka relates

He met Hamsun at Langen. He (Hamsun) grins mockingly for no reason. During the conversation, without interrupting it, he put one foot on his neck, took a large pair of paper-shears from the table, and trimmed the frayed edges of his trousers. Shabbily dressed, with one, or so rather expensive details, his tie, for example.

I was unaware of this until I started researching to write this, but funnily enough Knut Hamsun is also referenced in this song. Do I want to throw any more revolutionary (I don’t mean in a political way) writers of the late 19th early 20th century into the mix? Actually yes, though this is one that I didn’t realise as I wrote the song. Can that be possible? Well I must think so or I wouldn’t be writing about it. In an earlier post I touched on the significance of the French writer, Alfred Jarry and the research I did towards writing that persuaded me to buy a copy of Exploits & Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician, which I had never read.
It is in this work that the concept of ‘Pataphysics is introduced. In Roger Shattuck‘s excellent introduction to the Exact Change edition of the work he tries to encapsulate the concept thus

Beneath the double talk and ellipsis, its formal definition seems to mean that the virtual or imaginary nature of things as glimpsed by the heightened vision of poetry or science or love can be seized and lived as real. This is the ultimate form of “authentic enactment”.

I will try to write further on this later. It needs more distillation right now.

Well that’s the words sorted out, as for the music, it’s got a bit of bluesy, swampy feel but as usual I’ve used (or possibly misused) reggae drum loops which disguise that to a certain extent. It’s a very simple ABABABABAB format where the 4th AB is instrumental and the 5th is a repeat of the 1st (lyrically that is). I could have stuck a C on the end for the coda but that is too short to warrant it. The Bs are in effect choruses but they have no vocals. They’re just trademark flattened interval chords thrown in to show who I am.

And finally…

the other side

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