I started working on the tracks of ‘The Observer’ in 2007, when I was living in Barcelona, although at the time I never thought that one day they would be released as an album.
The turning point came in June 2008, when the British magazine ‘Future Music‘ informed me that ‘The Sign of Virgo’, which I had sent them without any expectation, would be reviewed and published in the July issue of the magazine. At that moment I realised that it might be worth investing more time and resources in this hobby of mine.
Musically, the entire album is a tribute to the electronic music of the late 70s and 80s. This is also evident from the choice of sounds, about 90% of which are generated by emulations of analogue and modular synths released at that time.
THE OBSERVER was released in 2011 by Calembour Records, and can be found on all major music streaming platforms.
A video of the song ‘The Sign of Virgo‘ is also available on YouTube.
To get the CD (which includes a 12-page booklet with lyrics and photos) for only 5 euros + shipping, just send me a message via the ‘Contact’ page.
suddenly i’m everywhere
A key track in my musical adventure, because without ‘The Sign of Virgo’ there would almost certainly be no Sir Joe, as I wrote in the introduction.
Strange as it may seem, the inspiration for the refrain came to me while listening to an old song by Polish singer Czesław Niemen, entitled ‘Sen o Warszawie‘.
The video, which you can find on YouTube, was filmed in the garage of ‘The Frozen Autumn’ front man Diego Merletto, who used his inventive skills to transform an uninspiring environment into a perfect video set.
One night of 2009 in Krakow, on my way home from a club where mainly EBM music was played , I wondered if I would be able to compose a song that somewhat resembled that genre, and I started with the pounding, repetitive bass line.
For the singing part, I knew that German would be the perfect language, but not having mastered it to a level where I could write lyrics, I decided to copy almost entirely a lesson from an old course, which was about a quiet trip to the Rhine. I found the total dissonance between the text and the music very amusing, although those who know German might not agree.
‘Frei’ was quite successful in a number of German and Scandinavian clubs, which played it on a regular basis.
In case you are wondering who this ‘She’ I speak of is, the answer is … death, which sooner or later knocks at the door of us all: “She came down, and knocked at my door”.
For the musical bridge between the end of the refrain and the beginning of the next verse, I took inspiration from ‘Please, please, please let me get what I want‘ by The Smiths.
This track is about an alien who, upon arriving on our planet, is so shocked by our cruelty that it loses its purity and quickly slips into madness: “Show me your wicked world, then you can be sure that from today I’ll be no longer pure”. This is why the song starts with rather sweet sounds and an ambient music atmosphere, and then changes pace decisively, also thanks to fast-paced drums and distorted guitars.
The choice of dual vocals stems from the fact that the alien has no gender, so I liked the idea of having it speak with both a male and female voice. In this regard, I would like to thank again Sara L.C., who did a great job despite having to record her part in my kitchen and with a low quality microphone.
As far as the lyrics are concerned, the song is a mockery of those pseudo-intellectuals who try to impress people through polished language, designed to mask the paucity of their arguments: “When meaningless ramblings sound so intellectual”. Consequently, various concepts and randomly taken fragments of sentences are expressed, somehow related to the theme of what is real and what is not.
Musically, the introduction is a clear reference to ‘If I ever‘, by ‘Red Flag’.
Originally, the lyrics were about the Maia prophecy of 2012, with its interpretations (end of the world or beginning of a new cycle). Later, I thought I’d rather have a story which would remain relevant after that date, so I removed the reference to the Maia while maintaining the theme of change, still meant as the end of the world or the beginning of a new cycle.
Musically, I think my admiration for Gary Numan has never been more obvious than in this track.
‘Sahara’ is the last song I composed for ‘The Observer’. Since the other tracks had lyrics in English or German and two languages to which I also feel particularly attached were still missing, I decided to solve the issue by writing a short text in Italian, then repeating it almost word for word in Spanish.
Those who know D.A.F. will almost certainly have noticed the affinity of this song with their ‘Der rauber und der prinz‘.
This is the only time, at least so far, where I have written a song having in mind from the beginning what kind of voice should sing it.
Usually I let ideas come to me on their own (some might call it ‘inspiration’), and then record them quickly so I don’t lose them; later, I enrich with more sounds what is already the skeleton of a song. In this case, however, as soon as I got the confirmation that Froxeanne was willing to sing one of my songs, I started to consciously create a vocal part that would bring out all her remarkable qualities.
The end result was even better than my expectations, perhaps also because Froxeanne felt the song very much and thus was able to give her best on it.
This song deals mainly with two themes: The ‘haters’, an increasingly topical phenomenon even though the lyrics were written in 2010, and those who are succesfull mostly thanks to good connections.
As for its creation, this is the only tune I composed working exclusively with FL Studio, a software I’ve always struggled with and which I usually use only for building rhythmic parts. If I only could find the time and will to master it better, I think I could achieve even better results than what I got here.
I am very proud of this song, because the lyrics are the summary of a whole series of studies and readings on self-improvement that I have done since 1998, while musically it encompasses various styles which I am particularly fond of.
The themes it deals with are admirably expressed by authors such as Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch and Jon Kabat-Zinn, and are also discussed in detail in my book ‘Knowing the Deep Mind‘. That’s the reason why this track closes the album and gives it its title.
“You are needed for the symphony” is referring to ‘Symphony in blue‘, by Kate Bush: “…for now I know that I’m needed for the symphony”.