11 December 2012

New Music for Advent & Christmas

Dark and dreary is the Michigan December. Snow (which we haven't had much of this year), ice, fog and short days lead to seasonal affective disorder. Yet on the darkest days of the year we celebrate the coming of Christ, the light of the world. 

I just finished recording the final songs for my EP "Kresh" and it is available as a download from Noisetrade. This project is my meditation during the Advent season--a time of reflection and repentance wrapped in joyful expectation. 

Savior of the Nations Come is based on "Veni Redemptor gentium" by St. Ambrose of Milan. The heresiarch Martin Luther translated it into German. An American, William M. Reynolds, later translated it into English in 1851. The tune is "Nun Komm" by Johanne Walther. When I heard it sung at Mass one year I imagined it as a garage band song.

My Soul in Stillness is based on the "O Antiphons" of Advent. I'm not usually a fan of Marty Haugen songs (let's just leave it at that), but this one is a winner. I decided to do it as a chillout techno song to fit the expectant mood of the season. 

Puer Natus is an Introit for Christ-Mass, the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I sang the 1876 translation by Hamilton Montgomerie MacGill to a Norwegian tune I heard on an album by Bukkene Bruse

Shepherd Song is my own translation of the Czech carol “Pásli Ovce Valaši”. I play dulcimer on this one.

Gaudete! dates back to at least the 16th century. Steeley Span's recording of it in 1973 made the British top 20, but my favorite version is by the Mediaeval Baebes. For my recording I gave it a techno spacey vibe.

Glory, Glory comes from a poem by Christina Rossetti who is better known for her popular "In the Bleak Midwinter". When I read the first line it sounded like a blues tune, so that's what I did to it.

Chill December is a strange hymn written by Norval Clyne from Scotland. I love the imagery and the key shift from minor to major in the tune. Did this one techno with all kinds of phase shifting to create a wind effect.

Technical: I used Audacity for recording and mixing and MuLab for sequencing "My Soul in Stillness" and "Chill December".


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