Japan Expo 17e Impact Presence

In less than 2 weeks from now, the two members of Raven’s Jig will be present at Japan Expo 17e Impact, during 7-10 July 2016 in Paris, France! We’ll have lots of things for sale at our amateur ‘doujin table’ called AKHTS&redtails, located at booth N647. As for Raven’s Jig, we will have available our album Better Together, and our single Bratja! Fortunately it all worked out fine and we were also able to have artwork, postcards, posters, small prints, buttons and a couple perler crafts. We’re looking forward to it!

 

Japan Expo AKHTS & redtails

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Write it all again

First, a little background behind the featured image : last July, we attended Japan Expo in Paris as visitors, and luckily for us, the great utaite Kanipan (かにぱん。) was part of the guests this year. In late 2013 and early 2014, Kanipan was kind enough to do two collabs with us, which are now part of our dearest memories, so of course, we just had to come and say hi. Not only did Kanipan recognize us and greet us warmly, but she was also kind enough to draw both Raven’s Jig members in her amazing drawing style!

Thank you so much, Kanipan. We well never forget this meeting!

During the past few months, Raven’s Jig has been looking back on their lives and their previous achievements in hopes to take it as an incentive to move forward. First demonstration up to illustrate this fact is our new, improved version of “Armstrong”, probably one of our oldest arranges at this point, a cover with unchanged lyrics of a song by Claude Nougaro. Incidentally you might recognize the melody from somewhere else : Nougaro’s song itself is an arrange of the classic known as “Go Down Moses”. A cover of a cover? Covers intensify!

      1. Armstrong (alt)

Next up is an arrange of another song by Ludovico Einaudi (see previous post for further information), because once you’ve become hooked on his music, you cannot turn it off. To this song, “I Giorni” (literally “The Days”), we wanted to add lyrics particular to our very own Onne’s personal story. Onne’s moved away from his home for the first time last year, something I myself have become quite used to at this point, but it’s always a tough turn to take… It did give us inspiration to write something about it, though. What happens when you lose your previous home and possessions along? How do you move forward? With our arrange of “I Giorni”, we tried to tell a little story to suggest an answer.

      2. I Giorni (Ludovico Einaudi) - Raven's Jig

(Side note : I really like how the voice effects go hand in hand with the different mood switches within the song. Thank you, Onne!)

We have been working on more projects and more songs in varied styles should come soon enough, but for the time being, the latest arrange we have completed is a glorious mockery which I loved working on : “Teddy Bear” by Elvis Prestley, with new, more realistic lyrics which offer to expose the reality of being somebody’s teddy bear. It’s not as fun as it sounds. (But boy was it fun to sing.)

      3. Teddy Bear

We are now all the more motivated to move forward and keep you updated with new arranges as soon as we can. Until then, thank you for your patience.

Seasons in songs

Once again, the end of 2014 has been a busy time for Raven’s Jig, both on a personal level and music-wise. It’s been too long since we have updated here, but we have quite a lot to show!

Aside from working, behind the scenes, or alternate, newer and better versions of our older songs, we have worked on a lot of new things as well, in a lot of different genres. First off, throughout spring, I have been increasingly requesting that we’d have a go at several of the most fantastic standards of the 1960s decade. We started with an arrange of Michel Legrand’s “The Windmills of Your Mind”, from 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Our version keeps the original lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, which are timeless and full of fantastic emotions. This song was also another occasion for Onne to prove his mastery of string instruments, making this arrange into a unique, slow-paced and extra emotional version.

      1. Windmills of Your Mind - Raven's Jig

 

Next up in the 1960s series is The Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things”, composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which is one of my favourite songs ever. Complete with entertaining crazy piano lines and two original verses with favourite things of our own, to make it even more personal.

      2. My Favorite Things - Raven's Jig

 

Eventually, we also gave a peaceful little sunny try at Johnny Mercer and Henri Mancini’s “Moon River”, from Blake Edward’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is also one of my favourite films ever. I am guessing spring 2014 was “pleasing Agathe season”. It was definitely worth it, though.

      3. Moon River - Raven's Jig

 

Because we couldn’t just leave everyone with nothing but 1960s music during that time, and because this had been a project in progress for quite a long time, we also released an instrumental arrange of “Eternity ~ Memory of Lightwaves”, an adorable song from Final Fantasy X-2 composed by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it into a vocal song after all, but it’s probably even better that the flute, piano and string lines could be preserved and now can be heard with their full potential. When they come together, they can really get a lot of emotion and happiness across, don’t you think? It surely is one of the best combinations possible.

      4. Memory of Light and Waves - Raven's Jig

 

As summer came, we went back to good old Hans Zimmer, who is always a great musical reference for arranges. In the past few years, Zimmer has been greatly renowned for his epic, heart-pounding musical pieces, but when we stumbled back on True Romance’s “You’re so Cool”, a peaceful little song with an adorable feeling to it, we got reminded just how much variety this great composer is capable of. Cue this “cutened-up” arrange :

      5. You're so Cute! - Raven's Jig

 

Incidentally, I immediately declared that the arrange was so cute it reminded me of Bambi, therefore our Youtube releases for this song are full of Bambi pictures. Here is the vocal version with original lyrics by me, which tell a little story about a child growing up :

      6. You're so Cool! - Raven's Jig

 

Because Raven’s Jig never stops experimenting, and because summer is a good season to spread fun and happiness, our other early-summer release this year was an arrange of Al Jarreau’s “Roof Garden”. With this song, Onne had a lot of fun playing around with keyboards and synthesizers, trying to create different effects. Although very different from our usual style, this song was a valuable experience, with a result we are quite happy about!

      7. Roof Garden - Raven's Jig

 

As the end of summer came, we took the piano out again to pay an homage to Onne’s all-time favourite piano composer, Ludovico Einaudi. If this name does not ring a bell, look him up and have a listen: surely you have heard some of his work at some point. Einaudi is a true visionary who can make us mind-travel for miles with highly emotional songs, carried out by chord progressions that know exactly what they are doing. Every song of his is a trip inside a myriad of human feelings. “Primavera” is no exception. The song’s title translates to “spring”, and does convey the feeling of sunshine, birth of renewal, but also dots of darkness and a great deal of melancholy… Reaching such a balance between happiness and sadness is a really difficult task, but whatever he actually wanted to convey, Einaudi does it brilliantly.

      8. Primavera - Raven's Jig

 

A few weeks later, therefore, we released a vocal version of this arrange, which tried to convey exactly this duality between hope and despair. The goal was to provide a bipolarity within the lyrics, and, if possible, two different “voices” within the song conveying two completely different feelings, yet coming together in fair harmony. Here is our take on this challenge, which has left us even more emotional than before.

      9. Primavera (vocal) - Raven's Jig

 

As rainy autumn marched on, we decided to use the piano some more to cover Michael Nyman’s “The Heart Asks Pleasure First”, from the film The Piano, which is a song we’d had in mind for quite a long time. (We first arranged this song several years ago, but never quite finished it.) The waltzy, head-spinning feeling of this song inspired us into writing lyrics about children riding carousels, and the nausea-inducing fabrication of joy that has been shoved down the throat of kids for generations. What of all those who did not like riding carousels? How many children have been silenced for the sake of the “pressure to enjoy oneself”? And how does it hold up in adulthood? As Onne and I are now right in the middle of the “joining adulthood” period of life, these questions are particularly dear to us. We wrote the lyrics in French, and named the arrange “Tournis”, which translates to “dizziness”.

      10. Tournis - Raven's Jig

 

The end of 2014 has been a particularly busy period for us, and perhaps not the happiest one, for that reason. So, as we started the year 2015, eager to get a fresh start, we decided to get our happiness back by playing another playful song for the early XXth century, “Anything Goes” by Cole Porter (which may or may not have been inspired by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s brilliant cover from last autumn ; just kidding, of course it’s inspired us). Our arrange is meant to feel like a carefree stroll around vintage Broadway, and links back to feelings already conveyed earlier in “Leçon de Franglais” and “Ravens in Paradise”.

      11. Anything Goes - Raven's Jig

 

Last but not least, remember who won the Oscar for best soundtrack this year? That’s right: Alexandre Desplat’s brilliant work for the equally brilliant film Grand Budapest Hotel by Wes Anderson. And how well deserved that was, too! This inspired us into playing a little piece of this wonderful music. We decided to arrange the specific piece called “Daylight Express to Lutz”, which, in our opinion, was one of the most iconic and characteristic in the whole soundtrack. In this arrange, Onne went nuts with the drums, absolutely voluntarily, to capture the inherent chaos hidden behind these neatly-dressed characters and steady rhythm. How does it feel? We hope it’s as fun to you as it is to us!

      12. Daylight Express to Lutz - Raven's Jig

 

This ended up being such a long entry… But we did have so much to talk about. Almost a full year in songs… We still have many pending projects and ideas, and we hope you will stay tuned for more of our productions, coming up soon! Thanks to everyone for their support.

You Were There

It has been a busy last couple of months at Raven’s Jig’s corporate headquarters. Agathe got out her celtic harp and recorded Moscow Nights, a Russian song that originally went by the name of Подмосковные вечера. I was fascinated by the melody of Moscow Nights after hearing a French arrangement performed by Francis Lemarque (he called the song Le Temps du Muguet). The short harp version was performed solo on harp by Agathe:

Raven’s Jig – Moscow Nights ▶ custom player

Furthermore, we were fortunate enough to collaborate again with the Japanese utaite Kanipan (かにぱん。). She requested us to perform “You Were There” together with her. You Were There was composed by Michiru Oshima for the 2001 video game ICO. Oshima is the brilliant composer who also composed Bratja. You Were There turned out to be a fantastic instrumental song to try out numerous keyswitching techniques for brass and wind instruments. The versatility of the trumpet, trombone and flute helped a lot to capture the feeling that this song was supposed to have.

Raven’s Jig – You Were There (instrumental) ▶ custom player

Kanipan, who requested the song, left us with the freedom to write any lyrics we saw fit. After a bit of fiddling with our thumbs, we went for the theme of meeting again with a friend, who has been away on a trip for some time. Some of us might seek happiness or fulfilment all across the globe. We travel around, visiting places of ancient cultures long gone, or 24 hour cities with a more active night time than day time. Yet, when we return back home, we find out that being with our friends makes us a lot happier than trying to find exactly that elsewhere. This is turning into a rather rambling paragraph, so below is the vocal song for you.

Raven’s Jig – You Were There ▶ custom player

We have produced a couple more tracks, but this news entry is starting to get fairly long. Our other songs for March will be posted in another news article. It’s mean, huh? Well, good things come to those who are patient, is what they say. Enjoy the music, and I hope to see you soon. Feel the power of the sun!

 

AKHTS_redtails_kanipan_windmills

Better Together!

 

There is a thing about collaborating with other musicians, that gives off a feeling of warmness. Said a more serious way; during collaborations you can learn and discover stuff that you wouldn’t be able to without them. The song shown below are both collab songs. A good friend of mine runs Seventh Element, and we have worked together in the past as well. This time around, he played “Better“, and allowed Raven’s Jig to put together an arrangement. During the arranging stage, I realized that the arrange could shine brighter when combined with a live drum recording. As it was written, as it was done!

Raven’s Jig – Better ▶ custom player

Another great chapter in our musical book is a collaboration with the utaite Kanipan. (かにぱん。). Though, she is much more famous than we are, I asked her for a collaboration during a bold moment, and surprisingly received a positive answer! It is amazing what simply asking can get you. The song shown below is the result of our collaborative effort to produce a dual-vocal interpretation of the well-known Chrono Trigger song 600 A.D. Yearning of the Wind. Stay tuned for more collabs with either of these great musicians!

Raven’s Jig – Wind Scene ▶ custom player

As always, we will continue having fun producing songs, and we will try to release new songs on a regular basis. I wish to believe I can produce one song every 2-4 weeks, though the releases come as they are. The music section shown at the top of this web page will contain most of our songs (I’m still working on it!), though it is possible to listen to our songs on YouTube via this playlist. Have a nice day, and let the power of the sun be with you.

 

AKHTS_kanipan_redtails

Point of No Return

When we were but a young band, we wouldn’t have thought to stick around for so long. In the back of our minds, we’re just having a great time playing the music we like. It feels almost like a million dreams ago when we did our first blow. Now, over fifty tunes later, we’re still going strong. It must be a point of no return, music seems to be a place where we belong. It used to be a blue world, filled with foolish things, yet somewhere along the way, we spread our wings. Day in, day out, we had our doubts, though if I may say, we’re here to stay. I’ll be seeing you!

Hello, Dolly!

Greetings, for the first time!

After a couple of years of shadowy existence, Raven’s Jig has finally decided to create a dedicated website. We’re very proud to announce the opening of ravensjig.com, and we’re here to stay. From here on, you will always find us on this domain, and we can always be contacted through this website. Here, we will post updates concerning our musical works, as well as broader information regarding who we are and what we like to do in our spare time.

Right now we do not have much to show here yet, but this is just the beginning… There’s a lot to come! A site’s content should grow gradually, not to bore the reader, nor the content’s writer. In any case, I wouldn’t want to write excuses here!

We hope to see you here again soon for more updates. Power to the Ravens!