Thursday, 9 January 2014

#32. Electric Cucumbers & Orange TV Sets


Written, produced and recorded by Matt Neal.
Written and recorded summer 1997-1998 at Mum and Dad’s house, Ballangeich.



I can’t really explain this one. I’ve been quite open in previous blogs about what I’ve been influenced by and my rules for songwriting, but this one has got me stumped. Aside from probably pinching the idea for that ringing sound at the start of the track from the Mission: Impossible theme, I have no idea where this came from. The whole thing does have a bit of movie theme quality to it I guess (or at least in my head it does).

Dare I say it, but it might be the most original piece of music I’ve created. Having said that, my statement of “if you think some progression/melody/rhythm you’ve written sounds original, you haven’t listened to enough music” in blog #28 probably cancels out that claim.

What I do know about the stupidly titled Electric Cucumbers & Orange TV Sets (more on the title in a moment) is that it came at the tail end of a creative burst of creating “mods” (as the tracks were known) on a program called FastTracker II. I had finally started making a bunch of songs that I was actually pretty proud of. I was just starting to understand how this whole music thing worked and was finally getting my head around the program I was using (hence all those cool drop-fade staccato moments in this song – I’d obviously just figured that one out).

Mind you, I still had no idea what most of the buttons did.

Then the computer I was recording on died. Full hard drive meltdown. Nothing retrievable. About 100 songs lost forever. This track only survives because my old friend Brendan Hoffmann had saved nine of them on his computer. Luckily those nine were probably the best of the 100, so all good.

Listing back to it some 15 years on, I really like Electric Cucumbers & Orange TV Sets, probably because I can’t pin down exactly what I was trying to do or what I was influenced by. Maybe someone out there will be able to point out a piece of ‘90s electro I’m ripping off and I’ll go “ahhh, I see”.

As for that title, well, that’s what the song sounded like to me. I don’t know why. I don’t have synaesthesia (where people can hear sounds and see corresponding colours in some cases) but I wish I was sometimes. That shit is cool. Apparently when I heard the sound of this song, it sounded like Electric Cucumbers & Orange TV Sets to me. Go figure.

BONUS TRACK

500 Times One (remix)

Written, produced and recorded by Matt Neal.
Written and recorded summer 1997-1998 at Mum and Dad’s house, Ballangeich.


I mentioned above how there were nine songs that survived the great hard drive meltdown of 1998 thanks to Hoffa having them on his computer. Well, one more came to light when I started this blog. My old mate Matt Wearne wrote to me and sent me files for another song I had made in that era called 500 Times One (remix). That was fairly mindblowing. Do you know how weird it is to hear a piece of music you made then subsequently lost from 15 years ago and have no recollection of? The answer is "very weird".

Almost as weird as this pic of me sitting on the toilet.

From what I can deduce by looking at the original tracking files, this was the second crack at working on this song (hence the “remix” in brackets). I appear to have thrown out a lot of the original ideas, but kept some of the samples and grooves and reworked the whole song, so I’m not sure if that counts as a remix or not. The other thing I deduced was I am totally trying to rip off The Chemical Brothers (yet again) on this track.

Either way, it’s not very good. Having said that, Wearney did send me all the files for it so maybe I’ll have another go at “remixing” it some day.

Here's Wearney and I hunting for treasure.

And finally thanks so much to Wearney and Hoffa for digging these tracks up. It’s really quite amazing. You guys rule.

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