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.