Chris Frape/Riot Act Media
from Sandman and Lucifer good omens, Neil Gaiman has written plays, television series, and novels and comics that have been made into films. Now he’s turning to music.
for his debut studio album signs of lifethe British writer joins the Australian Fourplay String Quartet, which eclectically blends classical and indie rock tunes with poetry and prose.
“I loved them. I loved imagination. I loved wit,” Gaiman told NPR. morning paperrecalls first performing with the quartet at a novella reading at the Sydney Opera House in 2010. Truth is a cave in the Black Mountains.
Their new collaboration, released on Friday, features Gaiman (whose writing is often so idiosyncratic and impossible to identify) and a kind of indie who happens to play a traditional string quartet instrument: two violins. An unconventional spiritual encounter with the rock band Fourplay. viola and cello. Musicians began playing covers of artists as diverse as Radiohead, Metallica and Leonard Cohen.
For the tour that visited Carnegie Hall, Gaiman and Fourplay wrote an original song about Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc is a metaphorical historical figure raised from the dead to cause all sorts of problems.
“I hope she ignores my English accent at work / ‘Cause it’s so hard to deal with the saints,” Gaiman writes. saint’s problem.
With this song under their belt, “You couldn’t stop us,” Gaiman says. “At some point in our hearts, we decided to start creating and making more music, and we’ve been doing that ever since.”
time and space tracking
the first track of the album, clock, It features a clock-like ticking sound and Gaiman reading a Shakespeare work. sonnet 12. The poem laments the transience of beauty, beginning with “When I count the clocks that tell the hour/And when I see the valiant sun set in the dreadful night.”
FourPlay initially improvised wordless vocals with music set to a metronome at 60 beats per minute to emulate the passage of time, on top of which musicians performed cross-rhythms and slow-moving bass. It was playing lines on repeat, ie ostinato.
Originally, Gaiman and Fourplay explored a celestial zodiac-themed craft, replacing traditional astrological signs with new objects and words that represent aspects of life. One of the “signs” was Moebius strip.
As a child, Gaiman learned how to make this directionless band from his grandfather.and the song Moebius strip Gaiman provides instructions for creating your own version of the listener.
“That Mobius strip idea took me back to the point where I’m a grandpa now and have grandchildren, and that’s what I love doing with them,” Gaiman said. says. “It felt like the perfect metaphor for the shape of life. [where] You are always traveling on this Moebius strip. ”
in tracks like song of the songit was Gaiman who had to adjust his reading rhythm to the music.
“I think that would normally be terrifying. The danger of getting lost in the pronunciation of William Shatnerian lyrics and all that—you don’t want to go there,” Gaiman said in the 1960s and ’70s. talked about the recording. by an actor best known for playing Captain Kirk in . Star Trek franchise.
Extending the range to “crazy”
“The joy of doing something like this with FourPlay is that we have to do everything, so what we say has to match exactly what they are playing. I had to do something,” says Gaiman. “And there are also crazy things like Bloody SunriseSo I wrote a very silly song about a lonely heartbroken vampire. ”
The big outlier of the debut album, Bloody Sunrise It was released as an early single a few days before Halloween. Actress Talia Benatar plays a vampire in the music video, while Fourplay violinist Lara Goodridge joins Gaiman on vocals.
another single, in transit, This is in honor of the British astronomer Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, who proved Einstein’s theory of relativity by observing the stars during a solar eclipse. The song is split into two parts, evolving from one that portrays his more reserved public figure to one that reflects his layered, uninhibited private life.
omen full of music
Gaiman says he’s just getting into music. for the upcoming second season of his TV adaptation of the 1990 novel good omens, In the book, co-written with Terry Pratchett, Gaiman describes the “very engaging” process of incorporating different songs and music into new episodes.
“Music is incredibly powerful,” he added when considering the possibility of incorporating it into his novels. “I want to get something, whatever it is.” Coraline again the sea ahead of the lane Or create something completely new and create a musical experience. ”
Gaiman also says he wants to write plays from scratch, regardless of format, “novels, comics, movies, television, plays, shadow puppets, etc.” rather than adapting existing works for the stage. He says his job hasn’t changed.
“I’m a storyteller, but I’m not tired of it, I’m not tired of it. I’m not ready for serious work yet.”
Muncie Crana and Barry Godemer produced and edited the audio version of this story. Jan Johnson edited the digital version.