Jul 19 2015

Raven’s Jig – Teddy Bear

So a little fun story; Onne originally wanted to arrange a song called “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” from Henry Hall, but after realizing that he had very little to add to this song, he searched for a new song to arrange. Because Onne often seriously lacks creativity, we ended up with a song with an incredibly similar title. Agathe decided to troll with the lyrics though, and because she find the idea of offering oneself as a teddy bear to a lover quite creepy, she decided to give the lyrics a cynical, downright dark twist. Who says being a teddy bear is a cakewalk?

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May 26 2015

Raven’s Jig – I Giorni (on-vocal)

 

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Mar 14 2015

Raven’s Jig – Armstrong

French singer Claude Nougaro is one of Agathe’s favorite musicians and lyricist, and his jazzy arrangement of the classic Go Down Moses, paying homage to trumpettist Louis Armstrong, is one we decided to pay homage to as well, by arranging it and singing ourselves.

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Mar 07 2015

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 :

 

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 :

 

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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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”.

 

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”.

 

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!

 

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.

Mar 05 2015

Raven’s Jig – Daylight Express to Lutz

After Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack “Interstellar” lost the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Music Score to Alexandre Desplat’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Onne (a fervent Zimmer fan) came to Agathe to complain about it. To which Agathe responded, “Wait, have you heard what the winner’s music sounds like?” Half an hour later Onne was chastising Agathe for not introducing him to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” earlier. And a short while afterwards, this tribute arrangement happened.

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Jan 05 2015

Raven’s Jig – Anything Goes

We released this mellow arrange of a golden oldie early in January 2015, to celebrate the new year. Arranged in a style similar to the one used in Leçon de Français, and reprising the original lyrics, this song was a happy little joke we were happy to partake in, knowing that of course, the older years had their share of good and bad things, so do the present years, and should we really make sense of any of this? Really, we think not. We would rather just have fun playing music.

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Oct 19 2014

Raven’s Jig – Tournis (The Heart Asks Pleasure First)

We had a go at “The Heart Asks Pleasure First”, from the 1993 film The Piano, and turned it into a vocal arrangement. The topic we had in mind when writing the lyrics was the social construct of carousels (or children’s rides in general). When we tell a kid that he’s supposed to enjoy a carnival ride, what you might be doing is convincing that a carnival ride equals fun. Thus, you make the child believe something that might not actually hold any truth. This is not the place nor time to tell you about what a social construct is. If you no longer enjoy something when you are an adult, does that mean that kids who enjoy it are living out a lie? And what of the children who never did enjoy it but were made to pretend otherwise?

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Sep 17 2014

Raven’s Jig – Primavera (on-vocal)

“Primavera” translates to “spring”, yet many have attributed feelings of melancholy to this Ludovico Einaudi classic (incidentally the first one we arranged as Raven’s Jig). Spring is supposed to be a time of new life, a time of fresh energy. Indeed, Ludovico’s Primavera sounds exactly like what you’d expect from the beginning of a Hollywood blockbuster where the main character is reflecting on his past while the sun is ascending from the horizon. Yet, at the same time, Primavera gives off the feeling of melancholy, dark tainted feelings that we all would rather not feel. With that in mind, under Onne’s inspiration, the vocal version was purposely written, and sung with ‘bipolarity’ as a key theme in mind. The two voices represent the two stages of life: childhood and adulthood. Is it possible to be both, even when you have gone past humanity’s artificial age of adulthood? Perhaps adulthood is one big social construct. Take a look at your pet, does it still play with its toys like it used to do when it was young? It has long reached maturity, but it is not confined by artificial social stigmas and taboos like we are. Why do we keep on putting restrictions on ourselves and on others? So many questions, so much sadness, so little freedom.

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Aug 20 2014

Raven’s Jig – Primavera (off-vocal)

“Primavera” translates to “spring”, yet many have attributed feelings of melancholy to this Ludovico Einaudi classic (incidentally the first one we arranged as Raven’s Jig). Spring is supposed to be a time of new life, a time of fresh energy. Indeed, Ludovico’s Primavera sounds exactly like what you’d expect from the beginning of a Hollywood blockbuster where the main character is reflecting on his past while the sun is ascending from the horizon. Yet, at the same time, Primavera gives off the feeling of melancholy, dark tainted feelings that we all would rather not feel. With that in mind, under Onne’s inspiration, the vocal version was purposely written, and sung with ‘bipolarity’ as a key theme in mind. The two voices represent the two stages of life: childhood and adulthood. Is it possible to be both, even when you have gone past humanity’s artificial age of adulthood? Perhaps adulthood is one big social construct. Take a look at your pet, does it still play with its toys like it used to do when it was young? It has long reached maturity, but it is not confined by artificial social stigmas and taboos like we are. Why do we keep on putting restrictions on ourselves and on others? So many questions, so much sadness, so little freedom.

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Jul 23 2014

Raven’s Jig – You’re so Cool! (on-vocal)

Believe it or not… This is also a Hans Zimmer song. The last one we played to date, and a particular one at that; this is one of the first songs that gave Onne inspiration to play more cheerful songs and experiment in more childlike styles, which would much later lead to the rise of our more playful band Flan Doll, and to a lot of happy songs in-between. When hearing this arrange, Agathe said ‘this is so cute it just reminds me of Bambi’ – hence the Bambi images used in the YouTube release.

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