Odysseus's Letters Home

from by Jon S. Patton

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about

Don't ask me how he's delivering them. I think it involves birds.

Listening suggestion: There's a lot of low-end content in the 9/8 bridge and some stereo stuff, so a good pair of headphones or computer speakers with a sub would be best.

I don't think I have to summarize the story or inspiration for this, do I?

I wrote most of the lyrics on 2/1, intending it to just be a silly Eric Idle type of song, then proceeded to use up two nights doing tons and tons of layered tracks with sound effects and instrumental codas with timing changes (which are not fun to program into a DAW when you need to move parts around later, let me tell you).

Things I had fun doing:

-Shouting in a bunch of different voices. Lexa helped ... I'd had more time I would have enlisted a few more friends. Lexa really got into the "run away!" and dying sounds at the end. I liked shouting "clever" in a British accent the best.

-Figuring out how to get the sounds of a battle. We ended up using the battle creator in Age of Mythology, so Lexa created a bunch of myrmadons and made them fight each other, and I shoved a microphone right up against the computer speaker to get a sample.

-Sensibly using a French phrase in a song about a Greek written in the style of an Englishman.

-Trying to create thunder. I don't have a big piece of sheet metal, so what I did was use a midi cymbal crash and then a bunch of pitch shifters, filters, and reverb to embiggen it. And then discovered that I HAD a thunder clap sample. Oh well. I used mine as a softer sound. (Some of the sound effects came from the Apple Loops. I could have gotten cleverer with them but frankly I had close to 10 hours on the recording already when I discovered that those even existed.)

lyrics

E | F#m7 | G#m7 | E
Dear Penny I am sending you this letter from the war
| E | F#m7
All the men I serve with say that I am (CLEVER!)
| E | G#m7
We believe we will succeed in our (ENDEAVOR!)
| E | F#m7
I've said we shouldn't fight with force we gave it good but got it worse
| G#m7 |E
So here we are now building them a horse.
|E |F#m | B - C# - E - F# - G# - F# - C# | E
(I'll explain at home in due and certain course!)

Dear Penny
Things haven't gone exactly as I planned
All the men on my ship think that (WE ARE LOST!)
And this sea is awfully rough to get (ACROSST!)
I think the sea is mad at me
But I've been in a storm or three
This hardship surely is my perigee.
Soon I will return Penelope!

¾ bridge:
| E | |C#m |
|G#m | |C#m7 |
|E | |G#m7 |
|A |Am |E |

Dear Penny
We've had another setback I'm afraid
I've heard you're sick of men who are (PROPOSING!)
And my son isn't becoming that (IMPOSING!)
I would bore you with my tales of woe
Like the sirens off the starboard bow)
But I've surely found way to reach you … sooooo
in the meantime please accept this billet-doux!

9/8 bridge
|E |C#7 |G#m7 | F#m7
|E |C#7 |G#m7 | A Am G#m7

|E |C#7 |G#m7 | F#m7
|C5 |D5 |C#5 | E

Dear Penny
Things aren't looking good back here at home
Looks like I have an awful mess to clean (RUN RUN!)
My spear will reinstate my home regime (AUUG!)
It's good to hold you once again
My journey's finally at an end
I've well and truly missed your company
I'm home forever now Penelope!

credits

from The Howling Tongue of Each Other, released March 11, 2016
Lexa Hartman: group vocals, dying sounds, and battle programming in Age of Mythology

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about

baltimericana Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimericana is a place for me (Jon Patton) to stash my solo projects and collaborations with friends. I'm a writer, musician, and (unfortunately) day job schlub from Baltimore and the founder of Baltimore-based folk rock band Midway Fair (midwayfair.org). Be sure to also check out Joe Scala (joescala.wordpress.com), who produced the Baltimericana EP. ... more

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