Yesterday we listed my favorite Narrators. Today we take a waltz through the past piles of discarded toy parts of how i played with them.
At the end we’ll go way back to the beginning, stuff from the college years no human being will ever hear in full. But first we start with a Narrator i first dreamed up back in a piece i wrote while college age (and living in a college town, but not actually in college as i dropped out my sophmore year). It was redone a time or two since then so the sound quality is actually up to snuff. This is definitely a Narrator as the Devil type of deal from The Fallen:
I wrote 3 musicals in that period, The Fallen, Caravan, and The Red River. Oh, and Shadow & Flames. 4. Sorry. We’ll play something from Caravan at the end (it’s old and rough) but by the time i had done Red River i realized i was not good enough to actually nail the kind of thing i was trying so very hard to do. So i stopped making fantastical musicals, adopted the moniker Mocha Lab and turned my attention to making actual albums and exploring as many styles as i could.
However, storytelling is something i really love, am deeply interested in and cannot run away from. So even while making these other albums, i threw in stories and Narrations. While running from my failed attempts at fantastical musicals i stumbled across a method of storytelling with music that worked vastly better than the over reaching of the pieces i had tried to write prior. It was the idea of just simply reciting a damn story and not trying to be cute about how to tell it. I had set out to make some songs based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, i REALLY didn’t want it to be overdramatic and sucky as i felt those musicals were, and figured maybe the way to go was to just read the damn story straight out and break every now and then to do music interludes. This worked for me and became a blueprint i would adopt for telling story songs for the next few albums.
I kept this type of narration up, skipping it on Subduction (an important album for me as that was the very first album i felt i had ever made which finally hit an acceptable audio quality.), I started to once again dream of maybe doing stories one day as i made Anamnesis, an album about religion and spirituality. The a prior version of the track was originally created a few years before during a failed attempt to make a vampire story album that told this story in this Book Of Nod, a book associated with a vampire larking thing. I knew people who did it and while couch surfing read a copy that someone had and thought i could build off that and make a telling of Cain and the first vampires. I made half of it. A little more. Then i abandoned it. Made a hip hop album instead with some MCs i had befriended. I don’t have a copy of that one anymore or i’d play a track sometime for kicks and giggles.
After Anamnesis, i couldn’t deny the urge any more. So i said screw it and made Cthulhu: The Funksical. While the big track A Melancholy Tale is the big narration number, the lyrics had been written years before at the end of the worst year of my damn life. The style was firmly in the Mermaid and such era. The narration for the Cthulhu song cycle was much more interesting, as i didn’t try to be serious and had some lighthearted fun for a change, something my work really should be doing far more often. It also brought a Narrator with an actual personality
This last one’s from the very, very early days. College age-ish days. Early equipment, no computer, just a keyboard with a 16 track sequencer, a cassette 4 track, and a yearning to be SuperEpicMan. Obviously it’s unreleasable and is from the vault where the trials of our youth rest. But i really, really was interested in Narrators and this was a seminal example of my first playing about with them. From a project called Caravan.