‘To Be Able To Swim Is Good In This Job’ is a translation of what I wanted the Spanish to say. To this day I have never actually checked whether this is right. I was relying on my GCSE Spanish then, and nothing I learned from then until now has told me otherwise. Let’s keep it casual, shall we?
Poder Nadar Blah Blah is an organic (read: unplanned) instrumental, one of many many songs I wrote over the years by playing an open E major chord on the guitar and sliding up and down the guitar neck to make blue-ish sounds. It starts relatively well, gets a bit boring, and then peters out towards the end. A progression many of us will come to know very well, I imagine.
I used to listen to it a lot while walking or on the bus, probably for two reasons:
1 – it’s boring enough to work well as background music. Nothing to really concentrate on – just soft, glossy sounds, thick textures, and a level of emotion that can be accurately depicted with the use of a hyphen: –
2 – the fact that I don’t sing lends it an air of professionalism, despite the numerous messy moments and lack of real musical intrigue. Until I learnt, very late on, how to use my voice in recordings, the singing was always the single detail that made my songs sound like the work of a hobbyist, not a real, proper musician. Listening to instrumentals like this or Imminent Death And Bubbles allowed me to escape from the prison of my own voice box.
But, as I’ve mentioned before, these vague non-substantial efforts don’t stand the test of time. They exist in my memory like weak sighs, like my past self was never really trying to be anything when he made them. I prefer the anguished cries of my over-dramatic, under-worked songs because I can hear the ambition behind the shit.
Real life memory: my friend, the bassist in my school band, once told me he liked the bit in the middle, starting 1.47, and that it sounded ‘a bit like Gershwin’. After nodding confidently but modestly, I went home to look up Gershwin and was pretty happy with that comparison. Basically I just play a few dissonant notes on the bass over some chords. It’s not jazz, it’s not Gershwin. It does sound nice though, I’ll stand by that.
I also remember exactly where I was standing in the kitchen when I played my parents the song, and which speakers I played it on, as my Dad made dinner. I don’t know exactly what his comment was, but I know it was weakly negative – an elaborate ‘meh’. I think this stuck in my mind because it was a clear example of that moment when the bubble of self-congratulation you can become stuck in while creating anything bursts. I had become convinced, I think, that Poder Nadar was a great leap forwards. Maybe it was, in my quest to become the World’s Premier Elevator Music Composer.