Steampunk Voodoo

14 Jul

And then, on a little island in the middle of the Danube, it hit me: a Steampunk Voodoo song.

This subculture song is not the only song i’ve have to put thought into, but it’s the one i’m documenting here on the blog, and it’s proven to be the one with the longest journey to fruition.

If we recall, i was in a quandary. The last version of this song, a dirge-y, Portisheady-but-heavy and more mechanical track which showcases a youth subculture in the opera who are enamored with the mechanical mannequins in whom reside dead people…. didn’t work. It had two main flaws. One, the song was decent but not exceptional, and two, more importantly, its dirge-y nature, which fit my idea for the subculture, was a bad tempo at bad time in the larger piece. The larger piece wanted a track with a much faster tempo in that spot.

So back to the drawing board. So i thought and came up with a good idea, but there was one piece missing… i was trying to explain my issue to my wife and was telling her how my brain kept throwing the band Rusted Root up whenever i would consider this, which was just plain ridiculous, because something like Rusted Root doesn’t fit this at ALL and what the hell is my brain doing, trying to fuck up the entire show i’ve been working so hard on? (wouldn’t be the first time…)

I don’t even remember what she said, i don’t recall anything other than at some point she facetiously said the word Voodoo and BOOM. House moment. You know, where House just gets up and walks away in the middle of the person’s sentence. I didn’t walk away but it all suddenly fell into place.

The subculture… these kids raised in households all of which have mannequins; mannequins who supposedly contain the soul of some dead relative or another. Who barely move, maybe slowly turn their heads towards you when you speak, never talk themselves, but who are normal fixtures to this new generation. And this generation goes on to form a new subculture, one enamored with the dead, one alien to their parents and scary to the older generation, one featuring its own music yet still within the context of the music for the rest of the show….

Why… Steampunk Voodoo! THAT is an interesting subculture. THAT is a fucking awesome idea for a style of music i can invent. THAT can make a track that will exceptional, add a REALLY interesting element to the 3rd act.

I will use Haitian drum rhythms, the kind used for Vodoun rituals, but instead of organic drums, play them rhythms using the metallic, clanging, industrial percussion i’ve use throughout the entire opera and use a chanting theme throughout the song, backing the lead female’s lead vocal line. The instrumentation on top of the metallic, industrial Hiatian drumming will be cabaret instruments: Piano, accordian, tuba, and grinder-like organ, as well as a drum kit.

The marriage of these will create a vigorous, intense, driving track which will be in a style only describable as Steampunk Voodoo. (I do like the Haitian spelling of Vodou)  It will be the kind of music these kids make when they get together in their clubs, and the staging potential for it is through the roof.

Fits the plot needs and even suggests better ideas for Byron’s motivations. (okay, technically it would be Dieselpunk Voodoo, but we’ll get into the various Dieselpunk, Atompunk, Steampunk derivatives later, not to mention, steampunk is the better all inclusive term)

So there you go. I am going to make a song in the style of steampunk voodoo. This won’t even begin to happen for another week due to prior commitments, but stay tuned. I will post it when finished.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


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One response to “Steampunk Voodoo

  1. ilahflow

    May 7, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Amazingly written! Great choice of videos to accompany your points in the Haitian Drumming for dummies portion. Thank you so much. All in all a fantastic read, and I now feel like I have a much better understanding of the haitian voudou culture.


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