The Beast Of Babylon

I am hardly a musician.

The closest I came to being in a band was when I had delusions of being a bass guitar player during college. I had drained around £300 on a five string bass guitar in an effort to be like Fieldy from Korn. This did not work as I found it hard enough to play four strings, let alone five. I ‘played’ along with a friend who was actually extremely talented as a guitarist. We got absolutely nowhere and my rock star dreams were packed away and forgotten about.

I work with a guy called Craig who is incredibly gifted musically however. Here’s the link for one of his current bands The Unsung. He also plays in the rather good Carlisle Ukulele Club.

It came to pass one day that Craig asked if I wanted to have a music afternoon round at his house one day. Just a bit of a muck about. ‘But alas’ I began ‘you have seriously overestimated my musical ability’. Apparently this didn’t matter because I listened to music and appreciated it so I would therefore have an idea of what worked and what didn’t. ‘But I play nothing’ I continued. We simply agreed that if I hummed it, he’d play it back with proper notes and everything.

We even agreed a name for this project as ‘Knives In The Sun’. You might think some great poetry as inspiration for that name but I’d counter with the fact it’s the description of the teeth in Roald Dahl’s ‘Enormous Crocodile’. There was a theory for a long time that this name was so good for a band that we would never make any music to ruin the mystique.


Yet shatter the mystique we did this past Friday when we actually sat down in Craig’s house and got to doing some musical stuff. He had a bass line ready, we recorded that and then set about adding to it. I drummed on my knees to demonstrate what I thought would be a good drum pattern, Craig went ahead and put them into the track only with proper drumming involved. He then laid down a guitar part before I hummed a synth part to him. Once again Craig worked the magic and placed that in as well. For me it was a bit like having a translator on holiday who not only makes your words understandable to the locals but replaces all the stupid choices of words with far better and sexier sounding ones.

Craig was worried I’d hate the process, the listening of the same section of song again and again in order to tweak small bits here and there. I said it was pretty much like script writing, reading and same scene again and again to try and get the feel right.The thing is though that with scripts you’re only playing it in your own head to see how it goes, music is there right from the get go. Within minutes you can have something playing back at you for real. I really, really enjoyed it.

We’ve saved the results and Craig continues to polish it. I’ll be trying to come up with lyrics for our creation in the near future although I highly doubt I could sing them in any kind of tune.

Regardless, I had reason to walk up to him today and utter the words ‘I might have another riff’ so I could get into this.

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