Song #10 - Week of March 7th - 14th, 2011

"The Feather Man"

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"The Feather Man" - Song 10 - MP3 File



"The Feather Man"

Length: 1:57

Track count: 6 Tracks

Instrumentation: Antique Parlor Guitar, Owl Feather



Original concept: I had a dream the night of March 9th, and decided to do a song based on how the dream felt. I thought only acoustic instruments, something feathery and light. Will try doing this piece using an antique parlor guitar that I inherited from my father as the sole sound source. The guitar is probably at least 150 years old, and is quite lovely. It needs to be tuned lower than concert pitch, since it's so delicate, but that gives it a sweet soulful quality. Perfect.

This dream was about "The Feather Man." Here's the dream...

I dreamed I was in a grove of trees, poplar and cottonwood. I looked up, and there was a youngish bearded man with glasses, gently hanging in the air, just floating in a standing position about ten or twenty feet off the ground.

The floating man was holding some large feathers in his hands, hawk and owl feathers, and one large feather ran up each leg to the knee, like shin-guards. Otherwise he was dressed simply in regular clothes. Jeans and a plaid shirt, maybe.

He came down, settling gently on the ground, and asked me if I knew who he had seen, and I said a red-tail hawk, maybe a great horned owl? He said yes, but there was another thing that I didn't want to see, and then I did see beyond him a circle of huge black iridescent feathers on the ground, circled as if around a kill - the slain bird would have been huge, like four times the size of an eagle or condor - and he was right, I didn't want to know about that.

He floated back up to the treetops and held his hand out to a high branch. A small bird, a song bird, walked onto his hand. He floated back down and held his hand out to me, and I took the bird, a meadowlark, I saw - but rendered in a stylized way, like a carving - although it was colorful and very much alive. As it moved I thought how this was one of my favorite birds, and even as I thought that, it began to change into some kind of sinuous animal, like a cat or an otter, completely covered in yellow fabric with small red flowers on it. The animal was turning in my arms and weaving around my legs and nuzzling me like a familiar animal might. It was very sweet, and I remember feeling happy.

Then I woke up.


Friday, March 11th: I've been backed up with work, and writing music every day - but apart from having the dream the night of the 9th, this is day one of production on this week's song. I'm pushing "re-set" to try and get the schedule back to a normal week, but some slippage is bound to occur. As long as I do music every day and produce a song a week, I will be happy.

Anyway... Something came to me as soon as I picked up my father's old guitar, and since my studio isn't quite put together yet, I recorded some basic "scratch" tracks, using my Olympus LS10 field recorder, so I wouldn't forget 'em. It's such a sweet little guitar, even out of tune... some of the song will involve "regular" guitar playing, but I also got some good sounds by tapping on the guitar and running my finger along the curve of the body.


Saturday, March 12th: Took a day off to rest and wool-gather. Danced my ass off.


Sunday, March 13th: Transferred recordings from LS-10, worked arrangement, planned final recording session.


Monday, March 14th: Tuned guitar, recorded sections of piece, as well as interstitial things like fluttery string sounds, tapping body, pulling harmonics, doing quick brushes with my fingers over chords and harmonics - and playing the strings with an owl feather. I am doing only 4 or 5 takes and making the song out of that. No click track, no synths. Just a little reverb. I am aiming for making the song either :57, or 1:57, since I like the number 57 a lot.

Went back and re-recorded the guitar, mostly in single takes with minimal editing, leaving in the sounds of my hands and the wood.



Here are some pictures of the guitar.

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