romanglass (romanglass) wrote in magne_f,

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Word Symphony

I managed to listen to the Word Symphony album today, thanks to my neighbor's turntable. The whole thing is interesting, but there are a couple of highlights for me on the album, 'come here' and 're verb orator'.

'come here' (1:49 ish) was the song played at the a-ha gigs in November, and just hearing the first notes of it again made me smile. I could recall with absolute clarity the excitement of anticipation, the happiness of being surrounded by my friends, and even the obscure sense of future-nostalgia from being in the place where it will all end next year. It's impossible to say whether I would have liked this composition as much without that personal experience factor, I'm guessing not, but that's just as valid a reaction as the objective first listen IMO.

're verb orator' (4:39 ish) is a stream of verbs in alphabetical order. Some are repeated, others are only used once. I had notepad open and took down as many words as I could, here's what I got but I suspect there are missing/incorrect words:

analyze, be, break, bring, build, care, change, check, climb, close, change, come, control, cry, don't, disolve, do, dream, eat, end, fence, find, fix, get, give, go, have, hold, hook, keep, learn, light, listen, live, make, mind, might, miss, mistake, mother, name, need, phone, pick, push, put, recall, right, ring, sale, save, say, score, search, see, shadow, shelter, shine, side, silence, sink, speak, splash, stand, stop, start, stay, steady, stir, switch, take, tell, think, time, tower, track, try, wake, walk, want, won't, wave, worry, wrong

Word Symphony definitely met my expectations and I am glad I own a copy of this unique composition. However I don't see myself listening to the album that much. Not only is it the kind of thing you have to be in a certain kind of mood for, but I have so little real music time during the day (often just in the car during my commute and for a little while at work when I am not in meetings or on phone calls), that doesn't really do it justice. I feel like I need to listen to the tracks and not just have it in the background, so finding the time to do that properly could be difficult.

I am curious to know what inspired this part of the project, and what Morten and Paul think about it, and how long it took to compose the songs. It would be interesting to know what other a-ha fans think of it, and how many people bought a print who were not initially in any way intrigued by the music - and whether they are intrigued now. I also wonder to what extent (if at all) the ADOB limited vinyl album project inspired and/or influenced the approach to this one; for example the random cover distribution aspect vs allowing people to choose their prints, or the long-awaited pop/indie album followup to PPFT vs the experimental a-ha vocals recycling, etc. Both projects involved quite a lot of manual work for Magne and his team, in a way it is strange to be on the receiving end of something that took so much effort and time to create, and 'only' be passive about it. The products represent something unique and individual, even in an edition. So what does Magne get from this apart from a paycheck and a feeling of accomplishment? Is there a validation that happens for the artist, and if so how does it manifest itself when there is no means of knowing - apart from sterile sales numbers, perhaps - what the response is?

Always more questions than answers for me ;-) But that's what makes these projects so interesting. If you didn't have questions, then whatever it is didn't have an impact on you, you know?

And to provide context for my listening experience, I had to connect the borrowed turntable to my receiver and sit on the floor. But surround sound was cool, haven't listened to vinyl on this system before and it's much better than the tiny stereo I had back in the 80s - may have to get out all my vinyl albums over the holidays and get the full experience before I have to return the turntable ;-)

Listening to Word Symphony on a borrowed turntable on Twitpic

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