As far back as I can remember, music has been a savior of sorts. When I had troubles as a kid, I could crank up the stereo and cast my fears and doubts off into a universe of expression channeled through bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Later, as I began to play and write my own material, musical expression became almost therapeutic in nature. I could take all the angst of my life, my loves, hates and desires and throw them to the musical canvas and purge or nourish myself as needed.
I thought this was something that most writers do with their writing, but I have come to discover that this isn’t necessarily the case. Recently, I was discussing this with a musical friend of mine whose mother is going through the terrible cancer ordeal. As a bit of advice, I said that he should embrace music as a sounding board and channel some of what he’s feeling into that direction. I called up examples of artists whose best work was inspired by the dire circumstances surrounding them. He said he’d try, but his musical nature is such that I don’t think he can wallow in the darkness long enough to find artistic satisfaction there.
But I can.
see, it was this discussion which brought back to me the memories of my mother’s fight with cancer nearly 24 years ago. The fears, the uncertainty, the process of hospital visits and treatments, the cold gurgling of machinery. I can conjure it up like yesterday. And perhaps inspired by what my friend is going through I chose to walk there once again and duel those darkest of demons in his stead.
“Melanoma” is what it sounds like. It is dark, brooding and haunting. It is the saddest thing I have ever created. When I was writing it, I felt as if I were channeling not only my own experiences, but those of my friend as well. I also deliberately chose this harsh title to contextualize the song immediately. I do tend to write in metaphor and allegory, so giving the listener the cipher for the song was kind of important in my view. It also fits thematically into the landscape of my “Dust of the American Pixel” project. This really is one of the final pieces to that creative puzzle.
For those with production interests, I used a combination of the Reason “Abbey Road” sound pack along with the “IK Philharnomik” samples to create the mood. The final brushstroke was a layer of guitar that I ran through a nasty synth effect to create the bubbling, gurgling sound that forms the foundation layer of the song. Headphones are recommended if available.
So welcome to my darkness, my friends. I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I am pretty satisfied with the results. I promise the next one will have a mo-town beat going on to brighten your day (really, it will)….
Thanks again for your time and consideration… All the best…