What Would You Do?

“What Would You Do?” is going to be the big opening number in a musical I’m writing. Oh yeah, and I’m writing a musical. I’m reluctant to give you, oh faithful reader, too many plot details at this point, since it’s in progress, but suffice it to say that this song represents a kind of mission statement both for one of the main characters as well as the play itself. Before leaving the rest to your imagination, I will say only this: he is building a rocket and it takes place in an alternate 19th century town controlled by an evil railroad tycoon. So, it will be a steampunk Rocket-Opera, kind of Firefly meets Les Mis.

For those who only know us through this blog and have not been to a live show, this is the best expression to date of our Chamber Pop experiment. I initially conceived of this blog to be an outlet for my home recordings, but it seemed only natural for the Rocket-Opera to pull in some of the true MM instrumentation we have live and on our albums. This features the awesome MM talents of Jason Sagebiel on guitar, Suzanne Lipkin on Violin, Ning Yap on cello, Matt Moore on cajón, and Maharadja Sweets on harmonium.

Recording these instruments, many for the first time, and all on new equipment, was definitely a trick. It’s a much denser arrangement than anything I’ve ever recorded, so giving the instruments room to breathe was tougher than usual. I’ve decided to describe my approach to arranging as a ‘crystal’ or ‘matrix’ of sound (as opposed to a ‘wall’). That is to say, I like polyphonic counterpoint, where the listener can step back, de-focusing their ears, and experience the whole as a wash of sound. But one may also focus on any 2 or more parts and thereby create little moments of counterpoint (or duets, trios, etc.) between the instruments. Macro vs micro.

As usual, please download and share freely using the buttons on the player. And stay tuned as I post further Rocket-Opera tracks. Perhaps a story will come into focus…

ETA: I’ve just posted an updated, remixed, cleaner version of this recording.

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