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ALMOST THE RIGHT PEOPLE
2009


Available right now from my webshop

atrp

As many people that would come up to me after my shows and ask me if they can read the script, that many also asked me where the music is from. I always explained that it is original music, written specifically for the work, by Simon Oakes, but it wasn't currently commercially available.
Well, to the people who ask about the scripts, I can now show them the book, and the music enquirers there is now this CD.

Simon and I talked about this for ages, and releasing it was pretty straightforward. His music has featured in every stage show I have written and performed since "Twelve!" in 1996, and we selected a diverse mix of tracks.
There's something from nearly every show's score, as well as pieces that he has gone on to develop with his bands Grand Western and Suns of the Tundra.

The music moves between soft melancholy pop and heavier, yet still melodic, progressive metal rock. Not every tune is for everyone, but the whole sequence is a really nice journey through the moods and colours of the shows over the years:

What usually happens is this.
I tell Simon what my script is going to be about this year Ė love, identity, tree climbing, particle physics, whatever.
He tells me if heís working on tunes that might fit in with those, or, if not, he starts noodling on guitar and keyboard, coming up with distinct melodies. I then supply him with a pretty final script marked with the places I think it needs a little scoring. Then this process is followed: he works; I badger him; he tells me to relax, itíll be fine; I worry; he creates something brilliant; I am humbled. Thereís quite a bit of negotiation between us about what moods each piece should create, and sometimes the music follows the script, at other times itís the other way around.
But eventually thereís a score to the show (and usually tracks to be played as the audience enters and leaves) and Simon will often take these pieces and work on them after the run of the show with his band mates. Hence some of the tracks on the CD arenít exactly the pieces played during the shows, but are often clearer, purer versions of the songs.

Here are a few thoughts on the tracks.
[THE SAMPLES ARE MP3 OR MP4A FILES AND TEND TO FINISH ABRUPTLY - SORRY]


VOCAL TRACKS

1. Almost the Right People (Coelacanth 2005) [SAMPLE MP3]
A melancholy version of the beautiful main melody from Coelacanth. I love Kirsten Franceís wistful vocals here. The lyrics arenít from the show, but the mood is closely related to its themes.

2. Supercollider (A Supercollider for the Family 1997)
Taking some of the lyrics from the opening speech text of the story, this track has a Velvet Underground feel, I think.

3. Syzygy (Coelacanth 2005)
The track played before the start of the performance as the audience Ďgets iní. It creates a lovely atmosphere of the outdoors; cold mornings and open skies. One of my favourites.

4. Not Everything is Significant (Not Everything is Significant 2008)
Rhythmic and melodic, the themes from the show of insecure identity and destiny play out beautifully. This is another track that was created by Simon and his colleagues independently of my shows, but the music was partly inspired by the script and our discussions.

5. Strings (Three Wishes 2001)
A sense of uplift and wonder. This was inspired by the section of Three Wishes where the sky is filled with pensioners who have wished they could fly. Ah.

6. Biast (Not Everything is Significant 2008) [SAMPLE MP3]
Another get in track. The slow build up and eventual release always created a nice tension in the audience to get them in the right state of mind for my material.

7. Coelacanth Heart (Coelacanth 2005)
Composed after the stage show, and featuring myself reciting some of the script, this is very much a mood piece. There's ocean depths, long ponderings. Also features the telephone ring from the stage show.

8. Illuminate (Not Everything is Significant 2008)
The Ďget-outí track from Not Everything. . . Itís a development of the tunes in the show and I think itís proper progressive. Prepare your head to rock.

9. Three Wishes (Three Wishes 2001)
This was the playout song and mixed up some of the plot details of the play with a lovely twist. Again, lovely vocals from Kirsten and a jolly end theme.



INSTRUMENTAL TRACKS

10. Planetarium (Three Wishes 2001)
Spacey and expansive Ė this was the first track of the play and its sci-fi lilts took the audience up and away, preparing them for a trip around the stars and the human heart.

11. Arizona Canyons (A Supercollider for the Family 1997) [SAMPLE MP3]
A steelier guitary version of the main theme from Supercollider from the show climax. But simple too. I love the cicadas and harmonicas Ė you can almost hear the beating sun.

12. Black Cocktail (Black Cocktail 2004) [SAMPLE MP3]
A suite, well a proper overture really, with three or four melodies from the show as a whole. This was an adaptation of the novella by Jonathan Carroll and was darker than my usual work. I love the driving melodies on this track, the trumpet and the sense of urban anxiety.

13. What am I Doing Here? (Three Wishes 2001)
Mysterious and twisting, this track feels very filmic now. It came at the point where George and Flip were really messing with each othersí minds.

14. Runnymede (Coelacanth 2005)
Simon and I recorded the birdsong on a tree climbing trip. If youíve never been to Runnymede, location of the signing of Magna Carta, please go; it will refresh you. Thereís a very pure feeling here of the way we can take our troubles out into nature, but nature forgives them. Makes me cry.

15. Memories of Meredith (Not Everything is Significant 2008)
This came at the point where the Biographerís blackouts are almost overwhelming him. His connection with the people and events of his life brings him back to reality though, and I think Simon and Mark have created a very tender lament for the things we know weíve let slip but can't help reaching for.

16. First Love (My Last Week with Modolia 1998)
When the narrator realises Modolia has left him an important lesson, there is a lovely release in this tune. Yes, time ticks on, but there should always be time for moments of joy.

17. London was Ours (Poppy Day 1999)
Oh, this just conjures up the misty Thames, Soho coffee shops, Primrose Hill and night bus rides home. Romantic and evocative  - the soundtrack to a good day with a good person.

I hope these notes havenít been too pretentious.
They have a bit, though, havenít they?
Sorry.
I just wanted to give you a little introduction to the CD and Simonís music and how it fits in with the shows.

The cover image is by Andy Lane - it's the one we used as the main image for Not Everything is Significant - and the sleeve and booklet design is by the awesome Stephany Ungless. There's also a little essay by me in the booklet about my friendship with Simon and his regular brilliance.

The CD can be ordered right now this minute, wrapped in glorious plastic, from my shop webpage.
Also on sale there is my book, More Trees to Climb, featuring the stories of three of my one-man shows.