For those unfamiliar with the project, (read: everyone except sacredspud and possibly matt_william) I have taken Orson Welles' Mercury Theater radio dramatization of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and edited in appropriate music to help tell the story. I currently have about six or seven tracks that cover the first half of the broadcast, the famous segment presented in news bulletins which sent a million wide-eyed listeners nation-wide believing our world was under attack from invaders from Mars.
Everybody got that?
The second half (actually only 20 minutes or so since the first segment ran over before the commercial break) is primarily narration on the part of Richard Pierson, the astronomer who first sighted the explosions on Mars which heralded the invasion. It has a very different feel and flow and proves to be a greater challenge because there are no more bulletins where I can stick in a song when someone says "We continue now with our piano interlude."
Now, the older idea was to include The Who's I Can See for Miles after the first segment on narration which establishes Professor Pierson's state of mind after surviving the initial attack.
My wife, my colleagues, my students, my books, my observatory, my...my world, where are they? Did they ever exist? Am I Richard Pierceon? What day is it? Do days Exist without calendars? Does time pass when there are no human hands left to wind the clocks?I hadn't heard the song for years but distinctly remembered the chorus and impression it made upon me as I listened to the radio in my parents' basement as my father started a fire in the woodstove. Geez, I must have been in grade school then. Earlier this year I bought a "best of" CD with the intent of using that song but I was dismayed to find that it's far too upbeat for the atmosphere I wanted to create in my mix so I reluctantly scrapped it.
Another song I thought of long ago (and had last heard even longer ago. -- The first time being in Gallagher's 1988 Leap Year Marathon on Showtime.) was Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers. This was especially appropriate for the above quote and musically goes through some changes that I can't quite describe but makes me like it all the more for this project. I've been searching this week for a download but have been unfortunate in finding a free (read: "illegal") copy I can use. Tonight I decided (read: "resorted") to pay 99¢ for the long version through iTunes and began playing with it and a segment from the broadcast I cropped for my mix. I was listening to the song and began the segment while it was still playing based on half an idea that formed when I realized that at eleven minutes and three seconds, the original version may be too long to use. The timing was perfect! Both music and narration came together to create exactly the mood I was looking for. Naturally, I didn't have anything set to record that time and thus took several more attempts to approximate what I wanted. It eventually worked again and I now have a clip to help inspire and keep me motivated for more of the project.
The other, newer, idea was an intermission of sorts. After the last of the bulletins when the reporter, atop CBS' broadcasting building witnessing the army of Martian tripods crossing the Hudson into New York and spraying their black smoke to kill the fleeing populace, there is the programs' first break for station identification. It breaks the tension and changes the mood for the conclusion of the story in Welles' narration. I wanted to leave that in but I needed something equally appropriate for continuity of the music. After Techmaster P.E.B., Weird Al, Metallica and Pink Floyd things had slowed down a bit and a track by Tsuneo Imahori called Colorless Sky fit in nicely, espcially after Is There Anybody Out There. This was very easy since there is less than a minute of spoken word and only needed to be edited onto the beginning of the song. I did this Sunday evening within a couple hours of returning home.
The project is officially almost complete. Time will take a lot of work since I want to incorporate spoken word within the music itself rather than simply preceding it, but I have already decided on two more songs I will use leaving but one, possibly two, more left to incorporate. Only repeated listening to the original broadcast will tell.
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