Wüste - 5. Schatten - Epic Conceptual Overload (ECO)

Schatten – Epic Conceptual Overload (ECO)


Pretty great acronym, eh? I found in many compositional endeavours that while a multitude of inputs greatly enhances the finished product, they also start taking on a life of their own. This almost always leads away from the original inputs and brings in turn a whole series of unexpected developments and forms with itself. Depending on what you want from your music or composing, this can be a wantable or not so wantable thing.


I wrote this opening paragraph, because these types of thoughts often come to my mind when I look back on 'Schatten'. This piece originates from an earlier 'Beta' version, which had similar kicks and developments, although in a much more stripped down version. After starting the rewriting of my first album, I wanted to add a whole series of further influences in my style, and consequently 'Schatten' started changing quite a bit. Some of these aspects I wanna discuss here, as well as my thoughts on the whole thing – so if you're not into all the conceptual nonsense that will be presented here, now would be a good time to get out (and maybe go to iTunes or Amazon to buy some of my music – nothing's better than the actual thing, right? <3).


Let's take look at the openign statement after the introductory soundscape (1:06). The original inspiration came from one on Dhafer Youssef's songs called 'Odd Elegy'. At the time of writing 'Schatten', this piece felt so insanely awesome to me that I absolutely had to write something with Big Fat Riff Kicks (BFRK) – thus starting the writing for 'Schatten'. So far so good – but when I reapproached the piece, I had also read a great book about the history about film scoring, wanted to add Synthezisers, had a new harmonic and rhythmic framework, wanted to include question & answer type statements, and so on and so forth. And very quickly, my little Rip-Off-Riff (ROR) became my first case of ECO – it had the smooth Soundtrack-Like Intro (SLI), the ROR had become a way more interactive and (dare I say) more original question and answer thing in 7/8 that even had sort of harmonic progressions to it (Got No Good Acronym For This Though (GNGAFTT)).

The development of the other sections went similarly, and at the end I faced a somewhat new and interesting situation: I had pulled off more or less everything I wanted in this piece, but it not only didn't quite sound like anything I had imagined, it took me a while to get accustomed to it and until I started liking it. This brings me back to the question of un-/wantability of Inputs that I mentioned earlier. Personally, I very much enjoyed both working on 'Schatten' and later on listening to it – but it took a while to get to that point. And if I had strictly only went for what I had imagined soundwise at the time, I wouldn't have ended up with the interesting piece of music that it now is.

To em, this opens a up an interesting territory, which shows how there might be a trade-off for every compositional decision and choice one makes – both going for 'exactly what you hear' and 'accepting a lot of references/inputs from others' at the same time probably won't work. The two can however be put into sequence, in which case they can work together beautifully. Depending on your first choice the result will reproduce the different approaches with differing weight though – starting with external references will probably limit your ideas to a sort of 'mechanism of choosing' among the present material, while starting starting with your idea primarily will severly limit the possibilities of input from external sources. I find it silly to distinguish between a 'better' and a 'worse' version in this case, both have their own potential and might or might not be suitable for different contexts and ambitions. In the case of 'Schatten', I have opted to start with external inputs, which produced a piece with structures and aspects I couldn't have made up myself and was and still is very impressive to me – it however took some time to get accustomed to it. In the case of 'Mond' I have opted for starting with my own ideas and take external inputs only afterwards – which has produced a hearable difference in sound and overall impression (to me at least). 'Mond' however also lacks the sort of structural and conceptual ambition that I now really like in 'Schatten'.

But you can make up your own mind about that, by listening to Schatten and Mand yourself.

Find more interesting stuff on David's Music Guild, where I put up videos about everything you (n)ever wanted to know about music!