Viewing entries tagged
Geir Satre

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Come

I started composing "Come" around 2002-3. The song has many perspectives and represent many moments in my life, especially musically.
It came (pun intended) around a time when I wrote a great deal of string arrangements, mixed with electronic instruments.
This is one example where I didn't build on the first draft. ..And kind of regret it.


When you have something you think is great, its all about the feel of the song, arrangement, and mix of the right sounds. 
It was mostly recorded on portable equipment, even though we had a studio. I wanted to be spontaneous when working on it. 
With come, I recorded and arranged it in different keys and tempos. In the end I almost forgot which key it was originally. I tried several string sections and so on.

On top of it all, we had been playing it on shows,  the live-version was evolving into an electro-funk thing  (in a higher key and faster tempo), so we became quite used to that power. Parts of the live version was then added to the recording. 

The key elements for the song was something like this:
Melody should have a psalm, lamenting  kind of approach but with more closeness (and freak out in range).
The guitar should have that 60's funky, warm tone and feel to it, (chopped up to brake the realism). 
The strings should be dramatic but uplifting , (it should also have frantic elements, such as the pizzicato and crush tones). 
The electronic beats should be groovy (but in a way that didn't overshadow the simple nature of the melody). 
The synth-bass followed the beats. (before being replaced by electric bass at the end) 

I learned then, that the portable equipment at the time was not good enough for capturing the sounds we were looking for. 
I tried several guitars, amps, microphones, but ended up sampling the guitar from an earlier studio recording and pitch (slow) it down to get the sound I was after, (geeky stuff) and it worked.

The  sample libraries for the string section was too thin on their own (and we have many to choose from). Those with the right sounds for the song didn't have enough articulations and so on. 
So after transposing rearranging many times in order to get it right. It was augmented with real strings (bass, cello and violin) .
I'm never satisfied with anything! And the reason for almost regretting my decision on "Come" was that it took me crazy amounts of time to get the result I wanted. But thats part of the process.  

And that is why I wanted to give you another perspective for this song just so it doesn't seem that everything goes smooth and fast over here. It really doesn't. 

Musicians with me on the session(s):


Audun Havåg: electric bass, bowed upright bass
Bjørn Tore Kronen Taranger: Acoustic Drums

Audun Havåg, during a recording session.    Tuning his bass, trying to compensate for his poor pitch and technique..      (...just kidding!!      couldn't resist!:D ;P:)     

Audun Havåg, during a recording session. 

Tuning his bass, trying to compensate for his poor pitch and technique..

 (...just kidding!!    couldn't resist!:D ;P:) 

 

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Sensual Soirée

"Sensual Soirée" was written in the summer of 1992, though much of the song is improvised. 


It was written as a live piece and was meant to change and evolve during concerts. 

It was recorded at a live show in 2000 with Geir Arne Ose and Audun Havåg (drums and bass) 

Improvised vocals from singer Stig Sandbakk was also a common (and effective) part of the live shows at the time. They are not included here, as they're not part of the original composition and thought. 

"Sensual Soirée"  is an instrumental and improvisational piece that belonged to the stage. 

Recorded by Erik Valderhaug at Lydkjelleren AS


 

Performing in Oslo.

From right: Stig Sandbakk and Geir Satre

Photo: Jakob Berg

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River

River was composed in 2006/2007

There are many recordings of this song. This particular recording was done live, in the studio with Bjørn Tore Taranger on drums, and was originally, only meant for pre production.

But I like the character of live recordings. Especially in the early stages, when a song is so fresh that the musicians don’t really know it by memory, the attention to detail is in a different place, and the spontaneity comes out in a different way. 

One of the great things about this project is that; I have great freedom to present songs in different settings and arrangements, and it is a vital part of this 5 year long album.

Sometimes I’ll choose an organic, simple live recording, where most of the arrangement is improvised, followed by a song with a dense orchestrated arrangement that took years to produce. Since most of the material has been worked on for years, I can now choose what I want. I am not restrained to songs only, but also which expression, setting, timbre I want to present. 

 

Even though I always approach composition as an innovator, I’ve always found the process of making all these different approaches seamless, very interesting and meaningful.  Simple against complex, authentic against surreal. The same goes for composition: dark against light, mellow against energetic and so on. I apply this on everything, from a 5 second intro, to the 5 year album that this will become. 

 

In that spirit, I can say that «River» was arranged to take over for «Needle Take Me Home» The songs are hugely diffeent, from melody structure, to arrangement (and recording philosophy), but the ending of «Needle» was made so that «River» could come after. And this is the first time this have been acheived. «River» with it’s rough, and swinging backing, against «Needle»’s "asymmetrical meets architectural" lines.  

 

It was important that «River» didn’t become a "pop song" so ironically, I spent more time finding a recording with the right atmosphere, than it would take to record it over, ten times. 

 

WIth me on the session:

Bjørn Tore Kronen Taranger: Drums

Audun Havåg: Bass guitar

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Needle Take Me Home

Dude, where is your sting?

"Needle Take Me Home" was composed in 2006, arranged in 2007 and recorded in 2009.

On the surface, it is about drug abuse, but it's also about coping with the pressure and demands we put on ourselves (or others put on us).

The title came up as a twist to the biblical quote "death where is your sting" 

I made four different versions of the song with (slightly) different lyrics, melody variations and intensity. Some of these versions will be released in the "Needle Take Me Home" package, at a later stage. 


The idea behind the arrangement was to make it more surreal as it evolves, and change the "gravity point" of the fundamental chord progression and beat. A bit like not knowing what's up or down, or real anymore. 
A metaphor for hallucinations or dreams,  half pleasant, half nightmare, madness maybe, or a drug high.

"Tomorrow's a another day", is a great saying, but an excuse for many things. Probably the worst excuse invented. What do you think?

I wrote most of the lyrics over some nice, sunny summer days in Norway (which is rare). It was one of those songs that I started thinking about whenever I was outside relaxing (and probably a bit bored). Fittingly, I am  now writing this blog on one of the first sunny days this summer! (after months of rain). So I guess  "tomorrow's another day" came true for me today.  Hope it does for you too! 

With me on the session:
Audun Havåg: Bass guitar
Bjørn Tore Kronen Taranger: Acoustic drums

 

 

It's not always easier to be a rich celebrity..

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In My Town

 

"In My Town" was composed in early spring, 2002.

It starts out as a love song, and develops into a tale about death impersonated; lamenting for all living in pain and suffering. I’ll say no more! (probably shouldn’t have said anything at all :)

It is, however a "good tempered" song, and not meant to be sad in any way (go figure!, I'll probably delete this post all together.)

It was inspired by north-asian traditional music (from Russia, Estonia and surrounding countries) which I love! It's in some ways similar to nordic music, and we love our glimmering darkness from time to time (ok I'll speak for myself).

Some of the music from this territory has a kind of naive innosence to it on the surface, but underneath there is a dark and almost crystalized melancholy. 

You'll find it in folk songs everywhere, but it is handled so uniqely in the Russian music, in my opinion. 

It was only inspired by it,  Im not claiming that "In My Town" is a full fledged Russian orthodox chant, but what's on the radar for this 5 year long album might surprise you! (at least I hope it will). 

On the recording with me:

Geir Arne Ose: Drums

Bjørn Tore Tarranger: Drums

 

 

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Into My World

 

Much of the concept and arrangement on "Into My World" was written in 1996, along with so many guitar pieces that I've lost count. 

It's a crossover between baroque and latin styles, and some African as well, at least in my mind (though I didn't care much about styles then, and still don't). 

This version was recorded in 2008.  The guitar pieces are always fun, both electric and acoustic. Because of the fun they've given me over the years, I don't take them too seriously.  It almost feels like a child's game, and not "proper" and "serious art"

The rhythm and bass arrangement is minimalistic, the guitar is the opposite, and drives the song. Even though the song is basically acoustic, it it feels electronic. The tempo is kind of frantic so it can be almost overwhelming to listen to, which was the point.

I dot have much "sympathy" for redoing (any of my own parts) in the studio but I easily record a song on several occasions to find the right mood and ambience for it. Much more effective, I think. 

The song was recorded on the cheapest classical guitar you'll find. The ones that cost  under 100$/€. You can find some pretty good guitars for that price since there are so many of them out there. And here in Norway it's almost cheaper to buy a new one then bother to change the strings! 

It's pretty strange that I've not released more acoustic music over the years, since it's been a vital part of my day to day life since my childhood. 

Well, that will gradually change now


Stills from an upcoming video: at my studio FutureRevisited

Recording an upcoming acoustic song. 

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The Song Of Woo

This is one of the first bunch of songs I composed for the band Woo. 

The song was composed around 93 and was a "hit" during live shows. We used to open concerts with this song.  

I remember the first time we played it at a festival in neighboring town Volda, people were screaming almost Beatles style. (Ok, they were still sitting down and not fainting) but can you imagine what that did to a young ambitious boy like me?

It was one of the first times I experienced immediate response from the audience  after playing only for seconds.

 I've probably said it before, but around 92' I  promised myself that I would not ever write a song that I wouldn't  stand 100% for in the future. 

This came from playing in several bands that was more into emulating the newest trends than to be innovative.

It was a bold statement, and a huge goal. I knew that. But I was never afraid of aiming high, and attitude is so important that it is almost the whole point in art. 

So when it comes down to it 20 years after this goal, do I still like the music I composed as a child? Am I proud of it? Do I stand 100% for everything? Really everything?

Yes, and it amazes me. That is why I started this project.

 

My whole philosophy around the music and this project is much bigger than this hugely oversimplified statement though (or this blog). But I hope I'll be able to explain some of it in the future (without boring you all to death).

 

On the recording session with me:

Audun Havåg, upright bass.

Live in Volda 1994.

From left: Bård Kvalsund, Stig Sandbakk, Geir Satre and Audun Havåg.

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