Track by track 7: Clamour

As with Embers, this track contains a bit I really like because I didn’t play it – Alun’s bass playing in the middle is great. One of those instances where you just tell a player ‘put a solo there’ and they provide something perfect.

This track was put here to provide a change from Embers. The early tracks on the album are pretty upbeat, Embers brings us down, so Clamour needs to up the energy so the final two tracks take us out on a high.

We have a kinda verse chorus structure to begin with. The ‘verse’ has a pretty chromatic melody that’s sort of in E but a bit all over the place to be honest.

The chorus is a bit more tuneful, based around an arpeggio figure from the guitar. The two sections repeat in various different configurations, before we get a quiet, bass solo interlude. Then We get the opening melody, but transformed into a massive, fuzzy, riff that builds into a full on repetition of the chorus.

This track reminds me of ‘Ingenious Devices’ from my first solo album. Not because the two are similar musically, but because they were both composed in similar circumstances. With both pieces I had already pretty much completed the album when I realised I needed another track to keep up the pace. With Ingenious Devices I needed another upbeat song near the start of the album, with Clamour I needed something near the end.

Thankfully I had about 20% of the guitar part badly recorded somewhere on a hard drive. Much of the process of turning it into a finished piece therefore felt like a work of craft rather than art. Inspiration had to be sought. I had to think my way to a solution. Deciding that that big, loud riff needed to happen and deciding to create it with material from the verse melody was definitely a conscious decision. This isn’t always the way people like to think of composition happening, it doesn’t sound as artistic as we’d like to imagine the process is.

There’s a large element of craft to all composition of course, but the time between coming up with the initial ideas and sculpting them into a finished shape was so long that I felt disconnected from that moment of inspiration.

The outcome of course is the same. Why am I even pulling the curtain aside and admitting there’s anything other than pure art and visionary, transcendental inspiration in the compositional process? Ignore this!

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