On the 12th day of…April?

So: what do these two songs have in common?

Tuxedomoon “Time to Lose” (Time to Lose EP, 1982)

Stereolab “Anamorphose” (Mars Audiac Quintet, 1994)

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “On the 12th day of…April?

  1. There a synth in there that each one is using? That’s my best guess.

  2. Good guess…but here’s a hint: the title of the post is a clue regarding a particular structural device used by each song.

  3. You’re implying that 4/12, or rather 12/4 is meaningful, yes…? Like, perhaps, a time signature?

  4. No… Okay, I’ll ‘splain: the title of the post was a hint, in that I thought most people, reading the phrase “On the 12th day of…” would complete it with “Christmas.” That song is structured additively, with each verse adding an additional phrase (lyrical and, of necessity, musical).

    Each of the songs I posted does something similar. Listen to the fast violin part in the Tuxedomoon song: he plays first a scale 4 steps up then 4 steps down; each iteration adds another note to the scale. So while the part begins in sync with the song’s meter (it’s in 4), it gradually goes out of sync, as the note at which the scale tops out shifts to later and later beats (until he scales back the pattern).

    The Stereolab track does something similar: listen to the organ part. At first, it plays a simple 8-beat phrase: 4 beats on the first chord, 4 beats on the second chord (actually, the second chord begins as 1 beat plus space and then gradually sounds longer and rests less). About a minute into the song, the organ part starts adding beats: each chord gets 5 beats for a while, then each gets 6, etc. Again, the rest of the song’s meter stays constant.

  5. Wasn’t paying attention: the lyrics in the Stereolab song work similarly (at least as transcribed here)

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