Wild Fences

I had sixty minutes today to write and record “Wild Fences“.  Some weeks are just like that.  In fact, I was on my way to writing an apology post, letting you all know that I’d work harder next week.  But then I got kind of excited by the idea of having to churn out product so quickly, so I slapped on my Iron Chef visor and got to work.

For me, the unofficial rules of writing hyper-quickly are as follows: 1. Keep your hands away from your guitar.  (Because playing an instrument that bedevils you worse than a Sunday NYT crossword puzzle, will inevitably slow you down.)  2. Have a title already in mind.  (Lara came up with the phrase “wild fences” a few days ago, and its oxymoronic quality cracked me up.  Kind of like another phrase that I keep meaning to use in a song: “outrageous conservatism”.)  3. Use the classic Elvis-Costello-circa-Armed-Forces accusatory second-person perspective.  (E.g., “So you think that you have seen her / When you’re lying in between her,” from “Busy Bodies”.  Between ages 16 and 21, I considered this mode the height of cunning intelligence, and I still gravitate towards it.)

I caked on lots of piano arpeggios — a tribute to those masters of the modern baroque, Vampire Weekend, whose very fine second album, Contra, topped the Billboard charts this week.  (Not bad for a band on an indie label!)  Then, I didn’t listen to the track for eight hours or so, and when I listened again just now, I realized that I had inadvertently written a theme song for a lost ABC sitcom from 1979.

I gotta just take a second to say, isn’t it amazing that we live in an era when you can build something like this in an hour, at home, using free software that came with your computer?  As the world hurtles toward environmental apocalypse and we enter an age that will surely be marked by grisly climate change and riots for food and water, we can all take comfort in the stunning advances in home-recording technology.  Yay!

9 Responses to “Wild Fences”
  1. Judah says:

    So many parts of my world are colliding here, some of which weren’t already related in my mind: Abe. Elvis. TV theme songs. Bosom Buddies. WKRP. I love it!

  2. Sixty seconds from the beginning of the songwriting process to the finished recording presented here? Impressive work! Of course, I guess I’ve seen you improvise at a much quicker rate than that.

  3. Abraham says:

    Judash: Good to see your glorious return to 52 Teeth! I’m enjoying the Bosom Buddies reference.

    P M S: Well, technically, sixty MINUTES, not sixty seconds. But I’m willing to let your mythology take root…. How about this: I can neither confirm nor disconfirm that I wrote and recorded this in sixty seconds.

  4. B. Berkowitz says:

    It’s clear that you had ready-steady-go Max Weinberg guesting on the verse, but who is that laying down that funky tom beat in the chorus? Is that Bernard “Pretty” Purdie?

  5. Abraham says:

    The one and only Purdie shuffle. “The Hitmaker” himself. He wasn’t cheap either. Good ear on ya, BB.

  6. B. Berkowitz says:

    I like the MicroKorg shadowing the vocals, too! Also: the music sounds sitcom, but the title “Wild Fences” suggests a historical drama.

  7. My goodness, ’twas a typographical error! I meant to say “sixty minutes” indeed.

  8. Abraham says:

    Thanks, BB. Yes, the vocal line was dorkily pseudo-baroque enough that, rather than hiding it, I thought I’d amp up the classical-gas factor by doubling it with a (virtual) synth.

  9. Abraham says:

    P M S: You are allowed one typographical error every six weeks. You are now on probation until Tuesday, March 9th.

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