Beach on the Moon (reposted from Facebook)
I know that, nearly a year after the release of BLEACHED BONES OF TITANS, I have still not finished writing notes for the tracks (specifically the two most difficult tracks: “Love and the Lack of It,” which is difficult for its length and complex chord patterns, and “Crazy’s Gonna Getcha,” which, despite being lyrical fill, was INCREDIBLY difficult to record, and probably even harder to play, especially if I were to do so as an acoustic piano number).
Nonetheless, I wanted to start posting some notes about the first EP collection of songs to spring forth FROM the results of that album, “Synthetic Bones Volume II.” I’ve already written about both recordings of “Long May You Run,” but have yet to talk about the three new tracks, “The Last Refuge of Scoundrels,” “The Mountebank Parade,” and “Beach on the Moon.”
However, having rendered an acoustic serenade version of “Beach,” (which you can watch HERE), I felt it would make sense to start with this song, even though it is the closing track on the EP.
All three songs for the EP were written back in March of 2016 during a morning when I was stuck at the Starbucks in Brick NJ on Route 70 at the Parkway. The idea of a “beach on the moon” was inspired by an album cover (I couldn’t even say who the artist was because I was browsing a review site and didn’t note the artist). In this artwork for this album, people were bathing on a beach, but there was a huge ringed planet dominating the sky in the background. From this came the idea of the beach on a moon in general. Then I thought about our own moon, a barren rock with insufficient gravity to hold an atmosphere and no magnetic field to protect an atmosphere if it had one. And yet we refer to its craters as “seas.”
The primaries were still in progress, so we hadn’t whittled our choices in candidates down, and I was dismayed by most of the options. Particularly how certain candidates embraced extremists. They were (and still are) ideologues courting fundamentalists, bigots, and de facto terrorist-wannabes. Even the better options among that particular pool seemed to lack the foresight to recognize that short term profits, if they come at the expense of a livable planet, are long term losses. This song sprung forth from that bleak outlook and its possible consequences. There is a tinge of hope in it, too.
Later, I wrote music, probably within a week or two, just seated at the piano. I knew that I would be making synth pop pieces out of all the lyrics I’d crafted that day, so I was choosing chord progressions that I hoped would convey the longing of home-loss, as well as the estrangement and barrenness of space. I also wanted complexity above and beyond what any contemporary pop songs are doing. I’m fairly certain I succeeded in that respect, and I will attach chord charts for anybody interested in learning the song. (I’ve attached two versions. One is the chords over the lyrics; the other has lyrics first in their entirety followed by the full chord progression in its entirety.)
The recording process proceeded slowly because the spring is a heavy tutoring and teaching season for me. While I was willing to settle on a loop for the general percussion, I did add to that with some additional drum programming that I did myself. I managed to create an arrangement that I felt reminded me a great deal of early 80s synth pop pioneers Ultravox in particular, but also evoked Eurythmics, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Additionally, I enlisted the work of Dan Lewis of The Tomorrow File to perform guitar work, which he did eagerly and handily, for the final product. You can listen to the studio recording at THIS LINK. If you like it, help to fund future recordings by downloading an mp3 AT THIS LINK (because CDBaby has a far better reimbursement/distribution package than iTunes or Amazon… although those of you with eMusic accounts can find the EP there, as well!).