To Tahrir

To Tahrir (music link – opens in new window).  It is a toast, or a direction we could or should be heading, or a love letter, or a dedication, or an address.  As a piece of program music, it reflects the various times when it looked like the people might be stopped, but they came back stronger each time. Tahrir

Actually I originally called it “Spectral Youth,” and when Monisha heard it, she suggested “To Egypt” because of the youth there, and I pitched in with “To Tahrir,” which of course means “to liberation.” Eric and I recorded it last June so there is an element of time travel and anachronism that is difficult for me as a historian, but Monisha said to just tell them a sociologist did it.

There is precedent for program music being made before the program was decided upon. When I was an undergrad, one of my music professors said he spoke with Krzysztof Penderecki about his famous piece, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. My prof told him that the piece evoked the event beautifully, it really gave him a new and deeper understanding of the travails of the people of Hiroshima. He then went into detailed descriptions of which part of it aligned which what portions of the events.  Penderecki then informed my crestfallen prof that he wrote the piece before he came up with the name, originally calling it just 8’37”.

What I was trying to do was get a Sonic Youth-ish thing going, with a thrashy Thurston Moor-ish guitar line modifed by a Lee Renaldo-ish feedbacky thing. The cool thing about it is that the sound is on a bunch of different variable axes at once. There is the regular vaguely acoustic sound of the chugging rhythm, and the loudness of the playing sets the tone on a spectral gate, which has a chimey sound. The location of where I was playing on the string sets the sweep of the filter (the whooshy, wah wah sounds) while the time between notes sets the delay time which creates the chirping echo effects. As always, Eric immediately grokked the situation and provided a spot on perfect bass line. Plus we did not forget to stop, so it does not go on for a half hour.

As usual, Facebook people, if you got this far, you might have to come to for the links and the music.