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CD10 Simple Machines

Simple Machines is the new album being written by the latest line-up of The Rebel Wheel. So far several songs have been written and the over-riding idea for the collection of songs. The band will continue to develope their trio sound but will include controllers and key synths into the trio format.

The band:

David Campbell : guitars, vocals, keyboards.

Andrew Burns : bass, vocals, keyboards.

Alex Wickham : drums, vocals, keyboards.

Marianne Dumas : keyboards, vocals.

As opposed to writing a series of pieces called "Screw" "Pulley" "Lever" or "Wedge" , all of which tend to evoke sexual connotations for me, the idea here is to create a series of musical cells which can operate like a simple machine and out of which the band can build larger more complex pieces. Coming up with motives was easy, simply because of the visual aspect of a guitar neck and of how notes look on paper. If you visualize a root, a b5 and a m7th (say C, F# and Bb) as a shape on guitar it kind of looks like a wedge. If you think of a series of tri-tones stacked up (C, F#, C, F#) it looks like an inclined plane both on a guitar neck and on paper. If you take a pattern like C to C8va, to A (down a m3) to Bb (down a ma7) to F (up m6) to F# (up semitone) to C# (down a 4th) to D (up a semitone) and put it in motion, it looks like a screw. You get the idea: the actual note patterns are visual more than aural.

These then have become the building blocks for the music (which is still being written) and as is always the case, these motives serve more like spring-boards for further machinations rather than hard and fast musical statements. In other words the simple machine cells can be altered traditionally (with techniques like retrograde, inversion, retrograde inversion, expansion, contraction, transposition etc. etc.) or freely.