Black Light [Luz Funesto]


I was ice and she was fire
We were brought together by desire
I felt the burn inside my heart
I knew where it would end
I didn’t know where it would start

When the stakes are down
Baby what’s it to ya?
When the stakes are down
Baby what’s it to ya?

If you torture me to death
I could never love you less
Coming down I want to die

Lyrics and Music by Dave Ryder and Dan McHugh.
Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.

Recording and lyrical notes:
Dan and I recorded this album using Adobe Audition 1.5. Typically we would begin by creating a chord progression or riff (usually rhythm guitar, but on at least one occasion piano) to which we would find an appropriate drum beat using a simple acid or loopology drum loop (basically at this point it was little more than a metronome, but it would also usually impart some sort of “feel” that we agreed worked for the song).

Then we would add lyrics and new parts, and more lyrics, laying ideas down quickly and at this point non-linearly – only later would we begin to work on an arrangement. We found that we could very quickly have an enormous number of bits and pieces, each given their own track and saved because in the early stages of a song we weren’t sure what would be kept, and what discarded.

Black Light ended up with over 150 tracks, huge even by our standards.

Eventually though we got our arrangement, weeded out the crap tracks, and combined the keepers into stems, and got it down to a manageable 16 tracks.

The voices at the beginning are recordings of Numbers Stations, which are Ulises’ and Calypso’s method of remaining in contact with their FBI-DEA superiors. The voices reading numbers on this recording, however, are not them, but are the agents working the covert operation that “stings” Ulises prior to his entering the US*.

All of the Numbers Station recordings we used on Odiseo were originally recorded by Simon Mason, who graciously allowed us to use them on this project. Thank you very much Simon!

*Ulises Santiago is already secretly a member of Grupo de Operaciones Especiales (Special Operations Group, GOPES), of whom his father was second-in-command prior to being assassinated by a suspected cartel soon after Ulises completed his training. Unknown to his superiors, Ulises meets and falls in love with Penelope while undercover in Nogales.

Dark Sky by Monica Arellano-Ongpin

Dark Sky, by Monica Arellano-Ongpin, altered by Dave Ryder.*

This photo caught my eye immediately for several reasons: Monica Arellano-Ongpin is unquestionably talented with an eye for that elusive quality of cool I admire so, and the quotation she uses to go with her photograph (Shakespeare, Sonnet 34) seemed a perfect way to introduce Odiseo, especially the first lines
“Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day
And made me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?”.

(I do not intend for the title Black Light to reference the florescent effect produced by novelty lights, instead I find the Spanish translation funesto, which can mean black but also means fatal, disastrous, evil, unfortunate, baneful, ill-fated or baleful a much better metaphor than it’s English counterpart. But Black Light is less unwieldy than, say, Unfortunate, Baneful, Ill-fated Light. )

* When I saw the original photo, the thought occurred that if I manipulated the image by inverting the colors (so as to produce a negative effect) the light streaming down from the clouds would appear to be “black light”. Then darkening the picture overall and blacking out the foreground produced the final chilling effect.

The photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.