Handing over the mic to artists/musicians who break down their new albums track by track/share the thought process behind the creation. Today we’ll hear from Rupert Lally, British guitarist/electronic musician/composer whose Stephen King inspired new album “Where the Dark Speaks” is out now on Spun Out of Control label.
More TBTs in our archives.
I thought a lot about in which order I should present the tracks, but once I remembered the quote that opens this track (from 70s Tv mini series adaptation with David Soul) it seemed clear to me that the best way to proceed would be to sequence the books and stories chronologically. This might well have been the first Stephen King novel that I read, it is also the first time the concept of an evil place attracting evil would appear in King’s work.
After I’d handed in the initial draft of the album, Gavin at Spun Out was a little concerned that there were too many slow menacing tracks and asked if I could add some more uptempo ones, I did but I also made changes to some of the tracks I already had. Here I added the beats and the backwards cellos. There’s also a sound in the background that reminds me of the creaking floorboards of an old house.
This was the first track worked on for the album. It started with the low synth pulse which was created using my Random Source Serge D.U.S.G.module. I thought the sounds of whispering voices and children’s laughter would be suitable for the ghosts in the hotel, so I created a granular synth patch using Native Instruments Straylight with this idea in mind.
There’s also a little homage to Wendy Carlos’ iconic score to the Stanley Kubrick film, which is a version the Dies Irae plainsong also used in Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, I’ve transposed it and altered the melodic sequence slightly so it fitted the track.
From the King short story about a grownup murdering child cult out in the cornfields of Nebraska, the ambient patch that opens this track made me think of crickets chirping. The discordant synth tones at the are meant to be the sounds of “he who walks between the rows”, the malevolent entity the children of the corn’s victims are sacrificed to.
I’m a huge fan of the David Cronenberg film of this book. In it, when Johnny Smith and the Sheriff track the murderous Deputy Dodd back to his house, there’s a shot of them looking around his room. It’s a child’s room really, belonging to a boy who never grew up and because of this became a serial killer, the chinking bottle sounds made me think of the scene of Dodd committing suicide in the bath. This is was also an important track and obvious choice for this project. In his subsequent novel, Cujo, King hints that the reason the little boy has bad dreams is that this was once Frank Dodd’s room – once again evil has left a trace of itself behind.
There’s an obvious Tangerine Dream feel to this track as a nod to their great soundtrack to the film version. There’s also meant to be feeling of Charlie and her dad being pursued across the country.
Having sounds that conjured a sense of hydraulics and machines was the starting point for this track, but I also wanted it to give a nod to John Carpenter’s scores as he directed the film version of this.
I wanted this track to have the same sense of mounting dread the book has. It was only after I’d come up with that string sound that I realized it also sounded a bit like a cat, which is appropriate considering the importance of the cat in the book.
I love the King novella with its beautiful illustrations by the late, great Bernie Wrightson. I wanted this to have an 80s horror soundtrack feel.
Like the Children Of The Corn track, this started with an ambient pad sound that made me think of enveloping fog. Like some of the other tracks, this is meant to have a feeling of gradually mounting unease.
With it’s story of a shape shifting monster that preys mostly on children, it seemed really obvious that it should have a nursery rhyme in there somewhere. I was searching for the sounds of wind up toys and I came across one on Freesound.org where it played various children’s songs, as soon as I heard “row, row, row your boat” it was clear it had to be that.
Again I’ve adapted and transposed the melody slightly for the piano melody. The second part of the track is meant to symbolize the sewers and drains underneath the town, where the real horror lives. The book is probably my favorite of all of King’s novels.
I’d not read this novel of King’s until I started on this project and although he himself hates it, I rather like it. The choice of voices for a story of a small town’s inhabitants slowly turning into aliens who are telepathic, after someone finds a UFO buried in the woods, seemed appropriate. The track began after I made the spooky descending synth whine that you hear throughout the track – somehow, it made think of flying saucers.
The starting point for this was a granular loop on my Qu-bit Nebulae module, somehow it made me think of messed up jazz elevator musak- which I thought was perfect for the sound of an evil hotel room that has probably had the same wallpaper in it since the 50s. The clock tick rhythm is meant to symbolize the main character’s sense of time being messed with when he’s in the room.
For King’s sequel to The Shining, it was obvious that we start with my transposed version of the Dies Irae motif that Wendy Carlos use in her score for the film. In King’s book The Overlook Hotel burnt down at the end of The Shining, so the finale of this one takes place on the viewing tower above the campsite on the spot where the hotel used to be.
The last track written for the album and (at the time), King’s most recent book, dealing once again with a location where a sinister government agency sends children with special gifts.
Much like the track, The Shop, this track is both about the location and the main character’s need to escape from it.