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06 maggio 2009

Behind the music of "Any Other Day"

"On a day like any other day -- a chill wind, the promise of Autumn… the sky was so blue you could almost taste it." — from the theatrical piece, "but the rain is full of ghosts," by Robert Lawson.
"In 2002, I wrote [those opening lines for a] theater piece in reaction to 9/11," says Robert Lawson. "So flash forward to Jonathan [Glatzer] and I. We had been talking about a credit sequence song, and the idea was to model it after the ‘Countdown’ song in the movie. I had this feeling that it shouldn’t be quite so peppy … after all, the Challenger explosion was pretty grim. But who wants grim music for the last taste of a movie like this?"
And so began the task of finding the right balance for "Any Other Day." The basic elements were written in the course of a single afternoon, with the hope it would be performed. Yet, like so many elements of so many movies, Lawson, a Renaissance veteran in arts and entertainment, had no expectations.
"My work has been done in scattered locations, mostly on the East Coast, periodically off B’way in New York, and one at the Kennedy Center," Lawson said. "A number of my scripts are published by Playscripts, Inc. and I also spend as much time as I can abroad. I teach regularly in and around Vienna (where my performance text Kuhfangfederblech premiered), tackling such esoteric topics as narrative strategies, framing and abstraction, and using digital media. As for songs, I’ve written well over a hundred, mostly for theater pieces you’ve never heard of, but I did receive a 'Meet the Composer Grant' for my efforts. "
We decided to share the original after Lawson noticed a fan discussion after the song. Specifically, "Jayrock" gave his take on the song. He was so clear in his definition that Lawson offered an extended explanation, saying that "I've always been fascinated by the chance occurrences in life, how we try to control our lives, plan things down to the smallest detail. The only catch is that we only control our tiny corner of the universe, and barely that."
"The day the Challenger launched was a lot like September 11 -- a gorgeous, clear, cold day," says Lawson. "Who would have guessed what would happen that day?"
And that is also where Jayrock got it right, says Lawson, when he wrote ... "Also out of context to the movie you can take the song to a more personal level for yourself."
"There's a kind of Zen in the song - you go along, you do what you need to do, care about doing ... just don't get caught up trying to control it all. You don't. But that's okay ... Whatever your destiny is, don't worry, it'll find you," Lawson wrote in reply. Later, he added for the Insider team: "Articulating things like this tend to come out goofy, even though you might actually believe in them."
There seems to have been a kind of Zen in the making of the song too. According to Lawson, the original rough is very metered and insistent. The early draft also had several transformations that included a loose jazz version, reggae version, a cappella version, and even a version with bagpipes and harmonium before settling down into what it is now with Duff. And then add in how many people touched the song along the way.
It was written by Lawson with Glatzer and Duff. It was produced by Richard Vission and Chico Bennett. It was mixed by Dave Aude. It was placed on a soundtrack produced by David Parker and Anthony Miranda. And there are many more involved. The list goes on and on. Much like the song suggests, we never really know what might happen next.
The same can be said for Lawson. Right now, he and Glatzer are already busy working on a new film project that they hope to shoot in 2010, called Emmett Bull’s Peerless Arcadium, which is set in the 1930s. He also has a number of theater projects on the horizon and is considering an opportunity to direct Richard Wagner's opera "Fliegender Holländer" next spring as well.
But of it all, he says, time will tell. Considering What Goes Up originally began as a play co-written by Lawson and Glatzer in 1996, he seems to be exactly right.
translate coming soon

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