Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Music That Inspired The "Dream"

Indulgence time:

"The Hambledown Dream" is a story that has has a rich musical influence flowing through it. Music is particularly important in a number of key scenes within "The Dream" where the central character plays his guitar to a crowd - not necessarily used to his style of playing. But music is also important in laying down a "feel" to the story. Like a painter who gradually builds a piece of art up through layering, I used music during the writing process to help me tap into a particular emotional texture. It allowed me to imbue certain scenes with a soul that I think carries really nicely. In the initial drafts of the manuscript I even included the lyrics to certain songs that I thought would complement scenes but I quickly learned that the copyright considerations surrounding the use of certain lyrics was a mine field that I just didn't end up wanting to traverse so I gave up on their inclusion. Which, in the final analysis is probably a good thing because it keeps the story my own - the borrowing of lyrics can actually work against you because it takes away a little of your writings authenticity.

However, tapping into the emotional heart of certain songs in order to translate what a character might be thinking and feeling at a particular moment is a different proposition entirely. By interpreting a song and marrying that with the character's state of mind and what you get is something that remains true to your own writing style but it allows you to add a little texturing and layering to a scene. You have allowed a piece of music to add to that tableaux in a subtle way.

Can you see what I am getting at?

I wrote "The Hambledown Dream" across a period of about 8 months during 2009. I wrote it during rainy afternoons when it was cold out and I was sitting at the dining room table watching the rain fall against the window panes - the sound of quiet jazz playing in the background, a glass of wine nearby. I wrote it on a warm day on the patio of my house with classical guitar music on the radio, a cold beer sitting beside me and my dog laying beside my chair. I wrote it in the early hours of the morning - I mean like at 3 or 4 AM when I had a quiet moment at work and could steal a moment to pen some lines on my smartphone. Often I would have some quiet music as an accompaniment, maybe Zero 7 or Dido, or even Vince Jones - one of my favorite artists. A cup of good old caterer's blend sugared to the nines completes this particular occasion. Music helped me create, it helped me to see things clearer, it helped me to tap into an emotional heart in my story.

So here is what can be loosely regarded as the unofficial soundtrack to "The Hambledown Dream" - Music that inspired the story. I'll refer to it as unofficial so as not to piss off anyone in the recording industry who may deem it worthy to slap me with some sort of infringement notice.

1. Walking On A Dream - Empire of the Sun.
2. Cursed Diamond - The Black Crowes.

3. Deciso - Astor Piazolla (as performed by Slava & Leonard Grigoryan).
4. The Sounds Of Rain Part 3 - Slava Grigoryan.
5. Throw Your Arms Around Me (Acoustic Version) - Hunter's and Collector's.
6. Landslide - The Dixie Chicks.
7. Come Alive - Foo Fighters.
8. Here With Me - Dido.
9. But Beautiful - Vince Jones.
10. Sonata Prima - Fernando Sor (as performed by Slava Grigoryan).
11. Concierto de Aranjuez 2 - Joaquin Rodrigo (as performed by Slava & Leonard Grigoryan).
12. Home - Zero 7.

They are a fairly eclectic and personal collection of songs that reflect the overall 'feel' of "The Hambledown Dream". Most of the pieces - particularly the classical ones - are depicted in the story and described in detail, because both Andy and Denny play them, while others serve as the background to particular scenes and are mentioned in such a way as to paint a picture. Most of these songs can be found readily across the breadth of the internet. I encourage you to seek them out - by legitimate means - and have a listen to them. They will give you an impression of the mood and the texture that I was trying to achieve whilst writing "The Hambledown Dream".


1 comment:

  1. There are CD's of mine, that whenever I listen to them, remind me of writing particular scenes in Precipice, as well as my current book. I almost always listen to music while I'm writing. I also find a cold beer or two really helps to unclog my thoughts when I'm feeling particularly stumped.