Ep. 72: Song “Not Aloud” (Influenced by Low)

This episode, I break apart an old, slow song I wrote influenced by the indie band Low.

This song was first written back in my sophomore year of high school. The lyrics are from the perspective of someone in jail who is longing to be back outside. At the time, I kind of envisioned it sounding like a rock power ballad along the lines of Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees. The song got set aside in favor of other songs I was working on.

In 2012, when I did my 50 Song in 50 Weeks project, I revisited the song and decided to pattern the production style after the band Low.

Low is a band from Duluth, Minnesota started back in 1993 by husband and wife, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, and has included handful of bass players over the years. The music is sparse and minimal, which instruments usually just including a light guitar part, bass, and a snare drum and ride cymbal played with brushes. The tempo is also usually very slow, to the degree their music is often described as slow-core. There more recently releases have added a little more variety and sped up the tempo a little but here’s one of their early, slow songs called “Over The Ocean.”

My recording borrows many elements from Low’s sound, particularly the same style of guitar, percussion and singing. I also added a soft piano line and towards the end, several tracks of guitar played with an ebow. If you’re unfamiliar with an ebow, it’s a small box that sends an electro magnetic pulse to the guitar strings and makes vibrate and make sound without actually touching it.

This ended up being one of my longest and slowest songs I’ve ever done but I think by about halfway through, you get used to it and it becomes a little bit hypnotic. At least that’s my hope.

Watch out they’re coming,
Quickly shoving to the gate,
What am I looking for,
A missing key to the door of my fate.

But I’m not aloud here,
Not aloud here,
Not aloud here today.

Looking through the bars,
I can see speeding cars as they roll on by,
Then I realize that I’ve been on the inside this whole time,
And it doesn’t surprise my why.

But I’m not aloud here,
Not aloud here,
Not aloud here today.

Searching, what can you see,
Seems that I have lost the key and it can’t be found,
I’m patiently waiting, slowly anticipating,
But I’m not aloud.

I’m not aloud here,
I’m not aloud here,
I’m not aloud here today.

Download “Not Aloud” on Bandcamp

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