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Listen To A Fairy Tale (Piston Brown. New & Improved!)

Let’s listen to something a little more upbeat today, shall we?

As mentioned before, what started out as some simple piano and voice demos has now become a fully produced album. This week i shall play some selections from it before posting the entire finished thing. Should you want to check out the entire thing you may do so HERE. If you like, please consider buying or sharing a link!

This one was the reason i decided to make the demos into a full production. I really loved this story but the piano demo fell flat for me. It sounded too much like a demo that wanted to be flushed out into a proper track and it sounds SOOOO much better with additional instrumentation. So without further ado, we present the next fairy tale in our Listen To A Fairy Tale series: Piston Brown.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Madame Chatterlaine (Listen To A Fairy Tale! New & Improved!!!)

A little while back i posted a few demo tracks featuring original fairy tales made into song form with acoustic piano. I liked the idea, the stories but other than one song (Diedre) the tracks with only piano left me quite unsatisfied. They sounded simply like demos, not like they were what they wanted to be. So demos i declared them and set about to make them into things i could be satisfied and proud of.

I made an entire album of sad, fairy tale like stories. In fact, the album will be released online tomorrow and thus this week we shall listen to several of the tracks. Listen to a fairy tale.

One track, however does NOT contain fairy tale elements. It is the only track which is not fantastical in some way. And yet, it is the one i am going to premiere and play today since it’s currently my favorite track on the album. (Although to be clear it’s also the most recent song completed, made over this past week, so that factors is a lot. My favorite track on a given album is usually the one i’m working on….) It’s the final track in the Chatterlaine trilogy… spread across several of my albums are a couple songs about a Ms. Chatterlaine… Lady Chatterlaine, Sister Chatterlaine and now Madame Chatterlaine.

So… STORIES! Who doesn’t like stories? Let’s listen to some and meet some interesting characters. We begin with Madam Chatterlaine.

(Note: I cannot thank Matthew Broyles of The Matthew Show enough for the inadvertant direction he provided on this track. )

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fairy Tales For The Lost And Wandering

Collected all together here in one post is a 5 song experiment in storytelling: telling 5 original, melancholy fairy tales using only piano and voice.

How well it’s pulled off is up to you to decide. But not only can you listen to them here at your leisure, if you particularly like any of them, you may HAVE THEM. All can be downloaded at a name you own price rate. You want them for free, take them. If you feel they’re worth anything and you believe that artists should also eat, you may name your own price.

Otherwise, please enjoy these stories and for our regular readers, we return to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Listen To A Dark Fairy Tale: Dear Departed Diedre

For the next few days we’re going to do a track a day of a different dark tinted fairy tale.

It’s a… it’s a series of tracks of a work in progress. I honestly have no idea what i’m actually doing with it. I have long wanted to do some sort of album/EP which was simply piano and voice, utterly stripped away of all the lavish orchestrations i normally use.

I also like to make up stories. So…. it’s a series of grim fairy tales, told through piano and voice.

There are two questions i have regarding these:

1. Do they work?

2. Am i limiting their potential by insisting on keeping the tracks stripped down to just piano? Note that this question is NOT: COULD i add more instrumentation, trust me, you can ALways add more instrumentation. The question is: is it indeed necessary?

In any case, if you enjoy short, little melancholy stories then i hope you enjoy this series. We begin with Dear Departed Diedre.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fairytales Of New Albion Pt. 5 (Conclusion)

The Story Of Burlap Molly:

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Holly who lived in darkness. Her mother was one of the Mole People, people who for various reasons had turned their backs on the world and chosen to live in the abandoned aqueducts and tunnels beneath the city.

While there were numerous people with various mental conditions who could be occasionally entertaining, there were no other children and Holly was deeply lonely.

One day while wandering the tunnels she found a burlap sack. She spent days decorating it the best she could. She name it Burlap Molly and it became her constant companion.

She came to regard the doll as her sister. One day she decided to make it official and she pricked her finger and rubbed it into the burlap doll’s chest, telling it they were performing the blood sister ceremony and now and forever would be blood sisters.

It was after this that the doll began to wake up.

Right after the little girl would fall asleep the doll would wake up and look around at the dark, subterranean tunnel about her. After a few days the doll began to move about, although never wandering far from the sleeping girl.

They began to leave each other notes.

Burlap Molly could only be awake while the little girl Holly was asleep. She would wander farther and farther until one day she found a passage leading to the outside. She wrote the little girl of her discovery and over the enxt few days they hatched a plan.

The little girl wanted two things more than anything else in the whole world: she wanted her long lost Daddy and she wanted to leave the underground. However she was at the same time mortally terrified of the upper world and psychologically paralyzed from leaving the underground.

Thus it was decided that Burlap Molly would venture forth into the world to find the little girl’s father and bring him back to take his daughter into the sunlight.

The little girl would try her best to keep as exact a sleeping schedule as possible since Burlap Molly could only function while she was unconscious and would simply drop to the floor when the little girl woke up. For the most part the girl keeps as tight a schedule as she can, although unexpected awakenings figure into many of Molly’s adventures.

So Burlap Molly wanders the world searching for a man whose name she doesn’t even know to come back with her and take his long forgotten daughter out of the darkness.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

…..

As the fairytales stood just inside the White Queen’s castle Jack went through the rules once more, as was his habit.

If the Shadow touches you, you will be lost. The way back is in the White Queen’s throne room. If the White Queen speaks to you, you will be lost. This was their story now and the sacred Happy Ending was in reach. Just one small walk to go.

It was dark and quiet. Corridors led off in all directions like a maze. Jack, Molly and The Baptist wandered as best they could until they came to a set of great doors that clearly led into the throne room.

It was an impossible situation and without any idea of what better to do, the fairytales quietly opened the doors and hoped for a stroke of luck; that the Queen would be asleep and not on the other side.

But no story worth its salt would allow such a thing to happen, and so it was that the doors swung open, revealing the White Queen and several members of her court standing there, all in white. Also in the room were Piston Pete, Dear Departed Deidre, and Ironitsa.

Jack tried to shout at his companions to run but his voice was caught in his throat. Indeed all three of them were transfixed. Two guards came out to usher them in.

The White Queen walked slowly towards them.

She spoke.

“Thank God you’re all all right. You can’t imagine how worried you had us.”

Jack and Molly glanced at each other.

“John? Oh John, what are you doing here? Oh dear. I had truly hoped to never see you again.” The White Queen sighed.

John looked at her defiantly.

“Oh well. At least you’re all in one piece. Please, come in and rest. It must have been quite an ordeal.”

They found themselves walking towards her. Jack suddenly threw his hands to his ears and shouted for them not to listen.

“Oh, Jack. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was all your idea.” The White Queen shook her head. “Holly. Holly, listen to me, please.”

Burlap Molly started to correct her but still couldn’t get words out.

“Holly, you’re the most capable of breaking through. You’re submerged, but you could see clearly if you just relax and get rid of all the stimulation. Come, take my hand. Close your eyes and just breath for one minute, then i’ll leave you alone. I don’t know what story you’re in, but i’ll leave you to it if you’ll just take my hand for one minute.”

Burlap Molly glanced around at each of her companions. Ironitsa, Piston Pete and Deirde were all captured and docile. Jack was glaring with his hands over his ears and The Baptist was softly praying.

“Okay,” she replied. “But we all get to go. Ironitsa, Pete and Deidre too.”

“Yes, of course.” The White Queen reached out her hand.

Molly took it and closed her eyes. They stood there in silence. Finally the White Queen leaned over and quietly said to Molly “Holly, the trauma that befell you and your sister, that left her in a coma, it wasn’t your fault. You need to go visit her. She needs you. Think of your sister.”

And just like that the Shadow Molly had been running from enveloped her. She saw images of two girls, sisters, playing with each other in a dark basement. There was a woman, a mother…. very angry. Always angry. She saw the girls always locked in the cellar, she saw the mother beating them and screaming, so very many times…. until one day Holly stopped her. But it all went wrong. The mother was dead and her sister, her only friend in the world wouldn’t wake up. She started moaning.

“Holly. Holly, open your eyes.”

Holly opened her eyes. The White Queen was no longer wearing a gown but simply a white doctor’s coat. In fact everyone was except her companions. There was no castle, just the ward.

She blinked repeatedly.

“You’re back.”

“Dr. Elizabeth?”

“Oh Holly, you have no idea how worried you had us.”

“But this…. isn’t….”

“This is indeed real. Holly, you understand, you’ve each chosen a specific character from a fairytale because their story represents some fundamental issue or trauma you’re trying to escape from or work out.”

“No… this is… you’re changing the story to your story. In your story this becomes a… it’s the worst of the stories. It’s grey and depressing. It’s devoid of magic and meaning.”

“Holly, you can’t just retreat from reality. You’ll never be whole. You’ll never be at peace. You’ll never be able to help your sister who needs you.”

Jack was listening now despite himself. “You hate us because we are fairytales and our stories are beautiful and meaningful and yours are ugly, confused and mundane.”

The White Queen turned to him. “Oh for heaven’s sake Jack, you were living on rooftops, seducing and endangering teenage girls all because you believe yourself a fairytale character. You a danger not only to yourself but those poor girls you coerce to jump over roofs.”

Jack shook his head. “No. I’ve seen your world. I’ve been out there. You call me a danger? It’s a madhouse out there. It’s insanity. There is no peace and wholeness. We, we live in Arcadia. We know a peaceful place. We are happy there and our stories are true. Our issues may be the same here as they are there, but here in this reality they become…. uglier. Everything is uglier.

He pointed at the Baptist. “The Baptist is a mouthpiece of God and you would make him… mundane. Profane. You tell him that when he sees the world as holy, as meaningful, as full of symbolic significance it is a delusion.”

The White Queen turned to The Baptist. “John. John, we worked so hard…”

“I feel the hand of God guiding me and all about me. I feel the Sacred connecting everything. I feel meaning with meaning it’s miraculous. I tried it your way and it was a horrible, horrible world. Utterly empty and infinitely sad,” The Baptist said.

“But John…”

“My experience is real. Even if you cannot experience it yourself. Even if you cannot make sense of it. My experience is real. Even a dream… the dream effects the dreamer. The experience of it is real. I feel a bliss higher than this base body and this material world.”

“John i just don’t want to see you damage yourself again.”

Jack resumed. “I reject your story.”

The White Queen turned back to him. “Jack, please, for heaven’s sake can we stop with the…”

“Your world is a story. Your place in it is a story. Your history is a story. Your family history, your city’s history, your country’s history,… the meaning of events, the sense you make of everything… all stories. Even if you choose meaninglessness, it is simply the story you have chosen.”

The White Queen spoke sternly. “Jack. As i have said time after time, i am not going to stand here and argue with you. Here is something that is a truth, not a story. A testable fact. A patient in the grip of a carefully constructed self delusion will defend that delusion with every ounce of wit, intelligence and passion they possess. There can be no communication by arguing this way because they will not consider any point of view which contradicts their world. Actually, if you want to know the awful truth, most people considered sane will not consider any point of view which contradicts their world view either, so you may even put a point in your corner”

She turned to Holly.

“Holly, your sister is very real and she needs you. You are not happy in this delusion. This Shadow that is always chasing you, that is always frightening you, it is your awareness of reality. It is the truth you are running from and the trauma you will not face.”

Jack reached out to Molly. “Come on, Molly let’s go. If you believe her story you live in her world. You’ve seen her world. It’s insane and terrible. This reality of hers is nothing but piles of stories. She believes them and so she lives here. This place is not for us.”

The Baptist began chanting.

Doctor Elizabeth also reached out to Holly. “Your sister is no story. She is flesh and blood and she needs you. You choose a world of retreat and denial selfishly and at her expense. She needs you here. Present and functional. You don’t need to turn your back on her and you don’t need to run from the dark.”

The Baptist’s chanting reached a dramatic level. Jack reached out to Ironitsa who took his hand. The Baptist reached out to Pete and Deidre and they all joined together

“Molly, the portal’s opening.”

Holly began crying. “Jack…. I’m so sorry.”

“No!”

“Take care of them.” Holly took the Doctor’s hand.

The Baptist began pulling them towards the opening in the worlds.

“Molly,” shouted Jack. “we’ll come back for you. Just like The Baptist, we’ll be back for you!”

Ironitsa tugged him and pulled him towards the portal. Together the fairytales leapt through, past the opening, into Arcadia and into the Happy Ending.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fairytales Of New Albion Pt. 2 (Steampunk Fairy Tales)

The next day the group of haggard fairytales resumed their trek across the chaotic and violent city of New Albion.

New Albion was in the throes of a revolution. Led by a former police soldier known only as Soldier 7285, an uprising had gradually taken over and skirmishes would break out suddenly in the streets. At various points in the day shouting or gunfire could be heard echoing across the city.

The fairytales tried their best to avoid all trouble. Jack of Ash would prowl the rooftops, trying to work out a route for them to follow as they attempted to navigate their way through the urban maze.

Every so often they would all freeze and listen. They were listening for the Whispers and when they heard it, they simply ran.

Burlap Molly had managed to nick some pies and so they all sat and ate. Jack of Ash reminded them all of scenes from Arcadia, the glens and waterfalls, the native Fae inhabitants, the soft warm glow in the evenings when the tree homes were lit. Stories thrived and were happy there. Characters resolved and belonged.

Amongst the colorful characters and stories populating Arcadia was The Baptist. He blessed all and bestowed a sense of place in the world. Some considered him the soul of Arcadia. No one knew how the Darkness came, with it’s whispering swarm of gnashing, insectant flickerings of engulfing blackness, but it did. It took The Baptist away to another, darker place.

A sadness had lingered over Arcadia until it was finally decided a small group of volunteers should go forth into this strange, chaotic world, find The Baptist and bring him back home.

Arcadia’s oracle, the Crow, prepared the party. He issued three warnings: 1. The Shadow that took The Baptist was strong in this other Land and would always be in pursuit. Anyone it touches will be lost. 2. The door back is in the throne room of The White Queen’s castle. 3. Avoid the White Queen and do not let her speak to you. If she speaks you will be lost.

Jack finished his pie and reminded them this was their story now. It was a dark story, but it could have a Happy Ending. Nothing was better than a Happy Ending and the darker the story the more sacred the Happy Ending.

Their pies all finished, they embraced and continued on.

The Story of Jack Of Ash

Once upon a time a teenage girl from a strict and morally rigid family secretly bore a baby out of wedlock. She gave birth in her own bedroom by herself and while she was cleaning up the mess, hid the baby by wrapping it tight and placing it in the flue of her bedroom’s fireplace.

However, while scrubbing her bedsheets she collapsed and her family, with no idea of what was wrong, rushed her to the hospital where she did not wake for days.

A kindly and childless old chimney sweep heard the cries of the helpless infant and rescued it. He named it Jack.

Jack thus grew up as a chimney sweep on the rooftops of the city. Free and wild, he would dance for hours in the moonlight, swirling and leaping over the rooftops.

By the time he reached his teenage years he was a sight to behold, already a half glimpsed legend called Jack of Ash. One 16 year old girl though saw him every night, for his favorite dancing grounds were across from her window.

The girl was a sad, sheltered teenager, kept inside much too often by her stern and overprotective father. As a result she was very lonely, awkward socially, and yearned deeply for adventure and romance.

One night, in the wintertime when Jack did not dance, she whispered “Jack of Ash” up into her chimney five times, calling him to come.

The winter passed.

At the first bud of spring he came.

He beckoned her out onto the rooftops. She went and they danced together, slowly and carefully for she was only a beginner.

Each night he would come and each night they would dance on the rooftops of the city. By summer she too could leap across the skyline and they would stop their dance only to kiss and watch the moon in each others’ arms.

By Autumn she had also become a force of nature on the rooftops, leaping and swirling above the city and by this season they were making love.

When the last leaf in the city turned brown she became ill. The doctors couldn’t quite diagnose it, but they theorized some type of consumption. Stated simply, she had lost her youth.

She had aged a decade. Jack of course disappeared for the winter and she never saw him again.

This is how it was to be with Jack. A lonely teenage girl may call him in the winter, whispering his name 5 times into the chimney. At the first bud of spring he may come. From the first bud to the last colored leaf she will know the most exalted romance of her life but it will age her 10 years.

Jack of Ash never ages.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fairytales Of New Albion Pt. 1 (Steampunk Fairy Tales)

(NOTE: Some of you may note that a few of the original fairy tales mentioned herein are familiar, and can be found on the album Fairy Tales of the Lost and Wandering. This story was written first and after writing it, i decided that i liked the idea of writing original fairy tales and putting them to music, so i used a few of these. This is where they originally come from.)

Four terrified, bruised and beleaguered fairytales huddled miserably together in the alley of an industrial urban city in which they did not belong.

Jack of Ash cradled Burlap Molly who as usual had picked an inopportune time to suddenly drop asleep. Dear Departed Diedre fussed over her and tried to conceal them behind a pile of trash.

Ironitsa, the slum girl made of iron as every school child knows, naturally stood guard. They were all weary and needed sleep. Even Ironitsa need to shut down for a few hours every day.

The great industrial city of New Albion clanged, hissed and hummed around them while the cries, shouts and gunfire of its troubled residents and their ongoing revolution echoed through the streets. The tired, scared fairytales did not hear the Whispering that signified that their tireless pursuer was near, and so they huddled together and told stories until they fell asleep.

The Story Of Dear Departed Diedre

Once upon a time there was a precocious girl named Diedre.

She collected salamander tails, eyes of newt, toad skins, bat teeth and moon water. It was her aspiration to become a witch. However, she had no idea whatsoever how exactly to go about such a thing or access to any sort of materials which might explain it.

Thus she simply invented her own spells and potiony concoctions. While she had great fun experimenting with them, they rarely ever worked.

Her parents put up with this hobby with as relaxed and permissive an attitude as they could manage if not with the occasional raised eyebrow or spot of worry.

However, when one of her potions caused the test subject, the family dog, to leave a trail of purplish vomit throughout the house she found herself sternly reprimanded.

In retaliation to said reprimand she told her parents she hoped they never saw her again and ran to her soom to cast a spell of invisibility over herself.

The spell was long and complex and while never having worked before, perhaps just needed a few tries. She was still going through the long incantation (for the 3rd time) an hour later as she sat in the family carriage, the three of them on their way to Tuesday bisquits at Aunt Vivian’s.

The accident happened fast. She never did know what exactly occured, but it ended with the horse losing control and the coach thrown down a hillside into a grove of trees. No one survived.

Diedre found herself a ghost, wandering the city trying to find someone who could see her and talk to her.

Every few decades her parents are reincarnated. They grow up and always, always they find one another. They spend their short lives together before they are inevitably killed again. They never have children.

Diedre waits patiently through the years for this to occur, for her parents to meet once again and begin living together. Once they do she is there with them, sitting silently beside them at every meal, on the floor beneath them as they sit in the parlour room. She sits with them every day, day after day until once again an accident inevitably claims them and they are gone again.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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