Inspiration without spirit… (#47 – Any Life, Any Price; #46 – 芹沢の手紙, or Serizawa’s Letter)

Hiya! Whether you’re here after reading yesterday’s post or just came by in general, just wanted to say—how lovely to have you around!

I’m mostly just putting out a usual post today, though I’m keeping more personal anecdotes in mind for the future possibly—as long I feel comfortable enough sharing some things ♪(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)♪

To speed up a bit though, I’ll start experimenting with taking two songs at a time for these rankings-!

Sure though, not too many are interested in reading these, so if short stories are your thing, then I’d love to direct you to my page for them / book excerpts here~! May be a bit empty, but hopefully you can enjoy one of what’s there!

Or if you’re not too interested in this discussion, then feel free to skip to the bottom too! Some things I wanted to get off my chest that I hope you can spare a bit of time to read (*^^*)

So, without further ado—

A bit of a low bar…

For us creatives, there’s a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism that no one can really agree on, yeah?

You probably know him if you’ve been around English YouTube a lot—but one of my favourite content creators, Tom Scott, once said something along the lines of:

“People tend to draw the moral line slightly below what they’re actually doing.”

And while he said it about something else (I forgot what exactly ( i _ i )), I think this is a really good way of summarising just how subjective this debate can be!

Personally? I think my own standards for what counts as plagiarism are… much lower than usual academic standards—I understand upholding them, but I do think some of these bars for integrity are way too easily missed.

Yet… this is kind of why I feel it’s impractical to have any one entity judge what is plagiarism and what isn’t—at the end of the day, all of it comes down to someone’s opinion, doesn’t it?

So before I go entirely off-topic~

“The serious moonlight…”

For us who know David Bowie, one of his first songs we probably heard of was none other than 1983’s Let’s Dance-!

All these decades on, Let’s Dance and its music video are still amazing in terms of music and social commentary—I wouldn’t say it’s among my favourite Bowie songs, but Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solo has honestly made me reconsider that a few times (^∇^)

This song’s sound was something I personally wanted to emulate for a while, so as I got better at selecting and working with different key signatures and tempos, I wondered, “what if I did exactly what Bowie did for Let’s Dance?”

What’s pretty funny to me is that, at the time, I wanted to basically use the same key and BPM Bowie did, and try and create my very-first guitar led track—but there’s kinda a problem!

Almost every source on the internet gives a different answer for both…

so somehow, I ended up choosing B♭ Major with a BPM of 115–two details I haven’t been able to verify ever since I first used them…

Seriously- I just searched again, and I’m getting results from all different sites saying A♭ Major, or A Minor, or 112 BPM, or 125 BPM—

you know, maybe this is just the internet’s way of laughing at my attempt to blatantly plagiarise this song (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)

But all this technical stuff aside… what did I actually end up with~?

A tango with tuneful tautology…

*cue museum curator voice*


okay jokes aside~ Any Life, Any Price has something of a history—It was one of the last ideas I had for The Broadcast, but also the very first song I produced for it, not to mention its title goes back to something I say myself!

I tossed in a disco drummer, then went straight into Autoplaying the guitar parts—and that’s really one of two main reasons I don’t feel like ranking this song higher, since a lot of was… kinda just automated-?

I did do a bit of work with the guitars though—We have a lead guitar and a bass at the start, but as the song moves on, I toss in a second lead, which plays that repeating motif every other bar, then a rhythm guitar around the second half!

That, plus my addition of an (also-autoplayed) orchestra, are probably the only reasons I still find this song listenable, but it kinda goes on for too long, doesn’t it?

Looping melodies was, and still kinda is, a “hallmark” of my style in a way, but Any Life, Any Price is a great example of me overdoing these repetitions…

It ain’t the worst thing, yep!

But compared to my inspiration in Bowie’s Let’s Dance… To be fair, I definitely set that bar way too high given this was my 11th song…

And you know what’s even funnier for me~?

Just one rank above this is the very song that I worked on right after-!

An unsent letter…

So- in English, this song goes by the name Serizawa’s Letter, and in Romaji, it’s Serizawa no Tegami, but for consistency, I’ll go forward using its original name: 芹沢の手紙

芹沢の手紙, unlike Any Life, Any Price, had a much-clearer picture from the very start that… I actually think is still pretty interesting!

Our star here is the eponymous Serizawa, a lonely Japanese college student who finds himself writing a letter he knows he can never send.

Surrounded by a family he’s grown to fear, a society he’s grown to distrust, and a government he’s begun to despise, he sits alone in his apartment one solemn night, scribbling and scribbling on paper after paper as he tries, yet fails, to make sense of his situation.

If I had to describe the actual setting…

Well, I wouldn’t say it’s set in Japan, I’d say it’s set in a Japan, maybe in the post-war years, maybe in the modern era, maybe in the future, maybe a fictional one—so on~!

Musically, 芹沢の手紙 is fairly unique in this album and among my tracks for a few reasons~

  • It’s the last of my songs to have been composed with only two instruments and tracks.
  • (~as of now anyways~) It has the slowest BPM among all my releases, at only 72.
  • It’s the only song in The Broadcast to lack any kind of climax or escalation.
  • It’s the only time I’ve used the Koto (箏) in its usual Hirajōshi (平調子) tuning.
  • It was my only attempt at an entirely-Oriental sound in the whole album, something I’d embrace much more often later!

And all of these combined honestly made me rethink a lot about this song!

I’ll be honest with ‘ya… originally, this song was second-to-last in my rankings.

I hadn’t listened to it much since I finished it almost exactly a year ago, so in my mind, I always pictured 芹沢の手紙 as the most boring track I’d ever created.

So, around two weeks ago, I listened to it as I prepared to just rip it apart in a blog post…

and then- I actually liked it!

At least, more than I thought I ever would…

It’s still low, yeah, but that’s mostly because everything’s autoplayed—otherwise, I think the koto and piano actually accompany each other in a way that’s filled with tension, yet calming, just like the scenario Serizawa’s in!

If I had to recommend one of these two tracks today to you… I’d definitely go with this one!

It’s long, it gets repetitive, and my mixing is nonexistent at times, but overall, I think it’s a neat-little musical escapade I’d love to reattempt in the future!

We’re still a dozen or so songs away from the ones I’d consider to be my best, so hopefully you’ll be around for when I finally present those~

In the meantime…

A letter heard…

Just at the tail end of last week, I was here celebrating 400 all-time views, and as of today, that’s now up to 500~!

Whether or not you’re seeing this bit, I’d like to give my warmest thanks to my 29 followers so far! Being able to help clog up your timeline is one heck of a honour for me~ ((o(^∇^)o))

If I celebrate every milestone, I’ll probably run out of ideas soon, so instead—How about we take this moment to just lay back for a while?

Pretend our problems have been whisked away, transport ourselves to a dreamer’s wonderland, and loaf around for as much time as we can…

Heh, I like to think I’m a chronic daydreamer nowadays, but whatever gets our minds off of the worst, yeah—?

I originally wanted to share remixes of Any Life, Any Price and 芹沢の手紙 as like ways to celebrate passing this milestone, but the fact both are autoplayed made me reconsider in favour of something more original-!

Unfortunately, that means that’ll take much longer to finish than just a day, but you know what they say—quality over quantity!

And after my early days of pumping 3-4 songs out every day, I’m really glad to have found a pace that may be inconsistent in time, but consistent in delivery!

Here’s to some more weeks with ‘ya, and sending all the love over once more~!!

One thought on “Inspiration without spirit… (#47 – Any Life, Any Price; #46 – 芹沢の手紙, or Serizawa’s Letter)

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