Inspired: “Of the Wrist”
It was the fall of 2012 and I was coming towards that rough point in the semester where all the midterms and project due dates seemed to fall on the same day (what gives professors?). It was about this time I was exclusively listening to Burial and recent Soundcloud treasure Sorrow. The soothing complexity of their music really helped me get through the stressful ebbs and flows of school/work/life at the time.
Anyway, my roommate had recently been inspired to film a documentary style film in which he follows a reclusive college student collect sounds from everyday life and transform them into music. Naturally, this reclusive student had extreme difficulty in associating with the opposite gender, but needed the voice of a girl to finish his current project. You guessed it, my roommate wanted to film a mini documentary on my life.
Over the course of a week, Brent filmed me collecting sounds wherever I wanted. I got a ton. In fact, I still have about an hour of audio recordings I didn’t even really edit for the song. It really was interesting seeing people’s reactions to “could you make that noise again? I need to record it.” I’m such a smooth talker.
And so it is that the final scene we had to film was of me talking to the girl whose voice I would use in the track. We decided to film this on a Saturday morning, and boy did eleven o’ clock come early for my Soundcloud digging self. #firstworldproblems
We finished filming and Brent wanted me to have the song done by the end of the following week as he was going to submit it for a film competition. The reason the girl said “wait, wait a minute, the answer will come to me” was because that was a requirement for the competition.
"I remember you."
When I was listening to those words back at my computer, I just knew that had to be incorporated into the song. At first, I thought I was just going to use elements of her voice, maybe just pitch them up or down to make them melodic. But pitching felt wrong, it felt too forced. It felt…unnatural.
Taking what I learned from “Drift to Home,” I thought about what a movie would do in this situation. In contemporary film, when a character is remembering, reminiscing, regretting, cherishing, or grieving over a memory, the voices of the memory are played almost like they are a separate entity from the visuals. So I just set “I remember you” as the starting sound of the song and scattered arbitrary snippets of dialogue thereafter all with slightly off time delay to make the voices seem like a “separate entity” from the piano underneath it.
I wanted to showcase a piano in this track because I just then finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Without talking too much about the book, at one point in the story there is a character who holds a job playing piano in a brothel as he waits for his distant lover to come to him one day, as promised, yet never will for reasons revealed later in the story. The book is horrifically tragic, which I love.
So anyway, I wrote the piano riff as if I was that character playing piano in a brothel: surrounded by easy love, yet yearning for his true love. The reason I called the song “Of the Wrist” was because of the way I rolled the chords. I felt like it was just a flick of the wrist, the melody felt very natural to me as I was in a mental state where I needed to hear what I was feeling.
We didn’t win the competition, but this song was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life. It was actually kind of scared to upload the song as there was a lot of “me” in there; “Of the Wrist” is who I am.
Oh! I almost forgot, you can watch the short film here.
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