Strange Land

by Nora Beck

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about

MOON WIND imagines music on the moon scored for two guitars, strings and electronica.

Forbidden love and its connection to basketball permeate LIFE AFTER DARK. The pop sound belies serious prejudice.

Three preludes for keyboard are homages to Chopin and Meredith Monk. Each starts with an idea that coagulates into a piece. PRELUDE 1 is about arpeggios that eventually form a chord. PRELUDE 2 features single notes that become a whole, while PRELUDE 3 contains two distinct themes (mirror like images of one another) that melt into a musical picture.

CAPE KIWANDA is north of Pacific City, Oregon. The beach is rainy in this folk song.

EURIDICE is written for bell choir and electronica. I got stuck in a bell tower in Italy, where the bells purified my brain. The bells represent Euridice climbing out of the underworld, beginning low in the register and gaining confidence as the piece plays out. The bells intone a short melody--but like Euridice they can’t help slipping back into descending intervals and disappear. The electronica represents the continuation of life.

STRANGE LAND is about two people walking through a land ravaged by homophobia. The song contains a canon based on two themes. The first theme (A) accompanies the text “I long for you,” the second theme (B) begins at “Where love.” They weave together to form the swirl of fear found in the repeating bass line.

SHOOT BABY SHOOT is about a walk with Liz in Chicago on gay pride day. We discovered that there are two separate parades. People come together playing hoops. I play some improvised piano to signify common ground.

PER TROPO FEDE is an anonymous song that Giovanni Boccaccio could have heard in the 14th-century. My version captures a bustling Florentine mercato at 11:00 AM. “Give me a kilo of potatoes,” I can hear a woman say in Italian.

I spent summers in GRESSONEY la Trinite in the Italian alps. The minor-key sound evokes the sadness of the town’s people. The ascending melody captures my escape into the peak’s cradle.

Happy SATURDAY MORNING is about enjoying my family. It’s scored for percussion and two guitars.

SUMMER IN NEW YORK is about a lazy, sunny day in Manhattan. I imagine Sinatra singing it, and it captures my love for the city I left behind. You hear a modernesque melody on top of a noisy ostinato. It is in ABA form. I set some of my favorite NY words, “gyros,” “soda,” and “orange.”

YOU ME is a “Norwegian Wood” for lesbians oppressed by Beatles’ lyrics. It’s also a kid’s song.

THANK YOU is scored for organ and three flutes. I was inspired by Purcell’s “When I am Laid” from his opera Dido & Aeneas. The flute begins with the realized organ basso continuo--they separate and the flutes return in a solo representing fate.

LET ME GO evokes an anguished childhood, stuck in the grip of angry souls. Music serves as a sanctuary.

credits

released April 18, 2013

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engineered and produced by Katy Davidson and Nora Beck
mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk/Stereophonic Mastering
recorded @ Nora's basement during January 2013
mixed @ Katy's basement during January and February 2013

all music and lyrics by Nora Beck
(except) "Per Tropo Fede" by Anonymous

Nora Beck - vocals, keyboards
Paul Comfort - electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Katy Davidson - vocals, keyboards


thank you:
Katy
Paul
Liz, Sophie and Alex
Marianna
my family and friends

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