By Tony Attwood and Bob Bjarke
I recently posted the article “A new Dylan song, written using artificial intelligence and an old-time songwriter” in which a set of lyrics created by an artificial intelligence program used by Bob Bjarke was then taken by myself and had music added to them.
If you didn’t see the previous article it might be worth having a look at it now to explain what on earth is going on – and to prepare you for what follows.
So this is now the second song to have emerged for which music has been written, and as with the first song (which I think of as being called “I had a long talk with your aunt”) I’ve simply taken the lyrics and written music around them, without thinking “what would Bob do?” because that just makes the whole thing too difficult – at least for me.
Instead, the music tries to capture the essence of the song. In this case, the 6/8 time relates to the lapping of the waves (hopefully without sounding too corny).
The agreement with Bob was that I would take the lyrics as written and not mess with them, but on this occasion I added one word – “anymore” in verse four, simply because every time I sang the song in rehearsal for the recording I kept slipping it in. It just felt like it needed to be there.
Oh, the laughter of the drowned It’s being lost in the storm And the piercing prayers of the found Where the judgment is still unknown In the sea of the drowned In the echo of whale games In the cities of the cheated In the midnight haze In the narrow lanes of traffic And the sounds of distant bells And the chimes of sunset It’s being lost in the storm And the bells of dawn are ringing in the night Like a tune that was played before I saw you in the wild wind I wasn’t sure if I loved you or not (anymore) It was so easy to love you, babe You were so close and apart of me I’m still hurting from the visions of dreams And the smell of rotten meat I was lyin’ down in the reeds In the shade behind the wall Oh, the pleasures of solitude are gone And the stars are becalmed In the sea of the drowned In the echo of whale games In the cities of the cheated In the midnight haze In the narrow lanes of traffic And the sounds of distant bells And the chimes of sunset It’s being lost in the storm
The music is below but if you have come to this article not having read the previous one I would urge you to read that as well, since it does describe the project that Bob has undertaken to create these lyrics via a computer.
On the other hand, if you are a long term reader you might remember our series Showcase in which readers of Untold Dylan who had made recordings of their own music, or of Dylan songs but with a new interpretation or twist, were welcome to send me recordings and I put them onto this site.
Those recordings are all still online – click the link to Showcase above, and in time I will add these two songs to that.
And in the meantime, if you are a reader of Untold Dylan (as you obviously are or else you wouldn’t be seeing this) and you have made your own recordings of your own music or of versions of Dylan songs which are not already on the internet, do send them to me as an attached file which can be dropped into the site (.wav works well). Email as an attachment to Tony@schools.co.uk
PS I know the phrase in the title “post-Dylan” doesn’t really have any resemblance to the process here, but it seemed more elegant than Dylan-AI or anything else I can come up with.
PPS: I have to say I think the title “The laughter of the drowned” is just amazingly Dylan. If Dylan brought out a new album called “The laughter of the drowned” I think everyone would just be overwhelmed by that title alone. I’m not suggesting my music is something special, but that title is extraordinary. Remember it turned up here first.