Old Nightmares

from by Colouratura

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    Autographed by composer and performer Nathan James!

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about

Old Nightmares is probably the last full track recorded for Colouratura. It started out as an exercise in experimentation, running pianos through things they ought not be run through - Leslie cabinets, strange verbs, etc and chugged down to half speed. Nate and I both have an affinity for disturbing music and this is the basis here.

I believe it started as an entry for the Media Arts and Design Festival, but as we progressed, we abandoned that idea as it was getting too weird! The decision to make it the 'follow up' / 'wind down' from Jekyll was made pretty much immediately and Nate and I devised the 'bell hell' segue that ends Jekyll to lead into this.

The text you hear is a mixture of two sources. We initially wanted talking, specifically old TV programs a la 'The Wall', so we invited a few friends over with the intention of recording bits of random conversation. Another huge influence was a track by Godspeed You! Black Emperor where a bit of grocery store PA is sampled over top of a solemn solo piano. It's the SADDEST thing ever.

However, our friend DK Carroll stumbled upon some old public domain science fiction / suspense radio plays from the 1950s, which captured both our imaginations and we took turns reading them into the studio talkback and recording them. This comprises most of the text you hear for the latter third of the piece.

The first text you hear, the schizophrenic mumbling, is 100% improvisation and done in one take. Nate has an uncanny ability to invent stuff like that on the spot. We're all jealous.

For the big loud gesture near the end, we really wanted something that would make people crawl up the walls. I recall standing in the studio while Nate was making all these strange sounds, and our guests in the studio were squirming and grimacing in discomfort. I said "it's good Nate, but it just isn't scary enough ... "

credits

from Colouratura, released June 16, 2017
Nathan James - piano, voice, treatments
Ian Beabout - voice, treatments

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Colouratura Wheeling, West Virginia

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