Rock and Roll Ives

Hi gang!

I generally write pretty cheerful music but I had an idea that sent me in the opposite direction a few years ago. Back when I was in Junior High School and devouring everything musical I could find, I had a number of real favorites that I had come across through library records and tips from like-minded freinds.

One was Central Park in the Dark by Charles Ives. As a salute back to those days, and my youth, I wrote this piece that works a chord progression I decided that reminds me of the long, mysterious and beautiful repeating string section that is the basis of Ives' composition. I gave my progression a particularly hard Rock feel and also outfitted the piece with a noisy environment that is a modern take on Ives' "fire trucks" and "traffic noise".

Then I topped it with a synth solo that I improvised based on the unusual chords.

And it all came out kind of dark compared to what I usually do. Which I thoroughly enjoyed.

This is a reworking of the composition that I just finished. Thanks for listening.

Listen to Central Park Is Melting In The Dark by Damon R. Mathews on #SoundCloud

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  • Wow!  That is a big wall of sound, and to re-imagine Ives in what, to my ears at least, is essentially a prog-rock vibe, that would no doubt take a lot of work.  I saw some posters on your Soundcloud page harken back to Genesis and King Crimson (the latter my all-time favourite rock band, or at least tied with Zappa and the Mothers), and I would totally agree with that.  I could almost imagine Tony Levin laying down the bass part with Bill Bruford on drums.  Another influence I could hear snippets of was maybe Alan Holdsworth.  Well done, very imaginative!

    • Thanks so much, Frank. I hadn't realized the comparison to King Crimson because I didn't arrive there by thinking of them. But I got there anyway, I guess.

      I'm also a big Zappa fan and just recently read Bruford's auto biography. But Gentle Giant and Soft Machine were always my fave prog rockers.

      During my solo I had Kit Watkins (of Happy the Man) in mind. And while he may be one of just a couple rockers to be justifiably called virtuoso....I'm just a retired truck driver trying stuff out. :)

      And really having fun doing it!


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