Here we go, first post for the Diary from the studio and it’s about Obsidian Key single released in November 2012 and titled “Fading Away”. It has been a really interesting experience to work on such a kind of project and the result is a beautiful and intense song that seems to have been very much appreciated by both reviewers and fans!
Fading Away has been chosen to be a single for its nature, almost 2 minutes and a half of music who made me think about the old singles that were popular at the time I was a child, distributed on vinyl 78 records, long time ago.
This short pieces of music had a history on their own, they were cheaper than LPs, so, easier to be bought by teenagers and they always presented a really catchy track (on what was known as “side A”) and a more artistic or particular (or less catchy if you want) track on the side b (btw this was not a strict rule).
I remember spending a lot of time by playing over and over the same song while staring at the cover art (usually cheaper than LP’s cover arts) and, obviously, as any other child, dreaming of being playing in that band or imagining stories suggested by the song (especially when the song was a Prog Rock track indeed, even if Prog Rock singles were rare compared to pop music singles; anyway there were some track like “Roundabout” by YES, which I believe I have overplayed!).
I really wanted to have a single with one of these cover arts to stare at while the song is playing and I believe Fading Away was the perfect candidate for this small-sized project. Intense, deep, catchy and beautiful with a master piece of a cover art from Marco Avellone really did the job!
The interesting thing about Fading Away is that I have been working on it at night, when the atmosphere gets more quiet and the sounds around us more weak. This created in my mind the perfect condition for such a kind of track, far from the extravaganza of more articulated songs typical of Obsidian Key. Fading Away had to be “focused on the subject”, so, for certain verse, it had to send a short and intense message leaving the listener able to build on it instead of let the music describing every single detail as it can happen on long tracks.
Another interesting thing is about the cover art, it’s a picture of Brighton West Pier (built in 1866), it has been closed after two fires and has been deteriorating since 1975. Because of its history (so rich of memories for many people) and its end I thought it would be a good symbol of “fading memories”, so wanted to have it on Fading Away cover art.
A trip within our memories…
The song starts with the sound of the rain, calming, that always brings our soul in a sort of “peace with the world around us” and, when watched from behind the windows, it always set our mind in an sort of “introspective mood”.
While the sound of rain start slowly to fade, piano melody begins (at 0:14), a repetitive melody built on minor tonality and meant to be so, to act as carpet that highlight a path to our memories and, as soon as memories appears, leave us there, surrounded by them while the voice start singing (at 0:20). Piano melody, when the voice starts, gets accompanied by a cello’s counterpoint (originally the idea of adding some strings was of my two great friends: Little Man and Kurgan), I believe that cello’s sound is perfect to underline the “being alone” when we all are in those moments where memories and introspection take over our mind.
Fading Away soundscapes are my favorite, surreal atmospheres (almost modal music), where we can almost loose ourselves within our memories. Memories, such an incredible prodigy of our brain, a mysterious and magic mechanism of storing our experiences and information to help us building our own personality. Personality, our unique “fingerprint” that really sets us apart.
Descartes said “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am), so true! But, I would like to underline also “I remember therefore I am myself” because I believe that our personality is determined by mixture of our DNA, brain’s potentials and our lifetime experience.
F.A. lyrics tell a short story of someone, maybe while he/she is staring at the rain from behind the windows, who’s remembering something (maybe a love story or maybe he/she is contemplating about life itself and how it evolves since the day we are born or, maybe, both!) of which his/her mind seems unable to get rid of, but that, at the same time, is slowly fading away because of the healing power of time.
I like lyrics that let multiple interpretations, so that they leave space to the listener’s creativity as well as making the song being almost a different song for each listener and, maybe, each time we listen to it again…
I loved to write lines like “…and let the silence where once there was music” (I wish I could write lyrics so inspired everyday!), to remark the absence of what, in the past, we felt as “the best of times” or in the sense of when life ends and lets silence where once there was a life, using so the word music as metaphor for life.
Bridge (at 0:38) and Chorus (at 0:53) lifts the song and, the vocal harmonies (in counterpoint to each-other), sets the entire soundscape to another level, more intense, almost as if protagonist’s conscience would take over for a short moment. The lyrics underline the “Fading Away” of the rain as a metaphor for the fading away of memories. Percussions help to increase depth and rhythm of the Chorus almost to create a recall to the reality for the short lasting of it before letting protagonist’s mind to get back into memories again.
After the Chorus (at about 1:18) again memories, this time with another common effect of their, the feeling that what we remember just happened few time ago even if our memories are related to something that happened long, long time ago. Isn’t this amazing? Well to me it is, our rationality gets completely screwed up and “it feels like yesterday…”
…and here it comes second Chorus, again reality (and rationality if you want) and the conscious feeling that what we just remembered is inexorably fading away…
At this point the song keeps the “rational mood” that will bring us till the end of the track, which I decided to finish with a suspended sonority (a bit jazzy if you want) almost as to let the listener mind to decide what will happen next.
Thank you for reading and to listen “Fading Away” or to read track reviews from soundout.com (if you haven’t done it yet!) please click here!
Fading Away Lyrics are here.