Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Atonement & Storiez Revisited














Thanks to all who responded to my last post. As I said, I'm working on a new project, which will be my fourth CD. More details to come about that in future posts. I'm not sure how other artists work, but a big part of moving forward for me is going back to past projects and thinking through what I did, what was going on in my mind at the time, considering feedback people have given me and then incorporating what I've gathered into future works. In one sense, it's a way of gaining closure on the past. I hope that doesn't sound too "artsy" lol.

In the theater world, there's an idea called "through-line". The though-line of a play is that which threads the story or a character together. I've tried to incorporate this idea into all of my work. I like for there to be a clear thread that knits together individual verses on songs, songs on albums and from album to album as well. Continuity would be another word I could use. So, to give a some of examples:

Through-line Within a Song

On "As The Hour Draws Near", from Storiez, each verse and chorus was structured the same exact way, with slight modifications to make it particular to each character in the song. If you remember, there were three main characters in that song: The first verse was a Christian who was struggling with assurance of salvation, played by Evangel of Christcentric. The second verse was a Christian who was confident in the Lord and eager to enter into His heavenly reward, played by Ant. The third verse was an atheist, played by me. Each character begins with a chorus:

Evangel:

As the hour draws near to take my last breath

I’m not quite sure how much time I have left

I’m walking the path of all the strugglers who died

And I’m in fear of what awaits me on the other side

Ant:

As the hour draws near to take my last breath

I’m not quite sure how much time I have left

I’m walking the path of all my brothers who died

And I’m prepared for what awaits me on the other side

Me:

As the hour draws near to take my last breath

I’m not quite sure how much time I have left

I’m walking the path of all the others who died

And I don’t care what awaits me on the other side

Towards the end of each verse is a refrain that each character says:

Evangel:

Sin was strong and my deadliest foe

Steady wrong- am I ready to go?

I pray to God because it’s hard to accept- my heart’s heavy, you know

I’m not sure if I’m ready to go

Ant:

My life was long and I’m ready to go

I stood strong and I’m ready to go

I can’t wait to sing along with the throng up in heaven, you know

It’s where I belong- I’m ready to go

Me:

Because he’s wrong and I’m ready to go

Son, I’m strong, yo I’m ready to go

If it’s on then it’s on- bring it on

I’m ready to go, let’s get it on son, I’m ready to go

Structuring the song this way was an attempt to maintain the continuity, or through-line of the song, while leaving room for the individual characters to express the differences in their outlooks. This would be an example of though-line within a song. If you listen for it in other songs ("Were You There", "Alone", "Memoirs" are a few examples), you'll see it's something that I often do.

Through-Line Between Songs on an Album

In the modern world of digital downloads, itunes and ringtones, many people no longer by entire Cds, but a song here and there. That's unfortunate to me. I'm from the old-school when people made albums with a clear theme in such a way that you needed to hear all the songs to put any one song in its proper thematic context. That's part of my artistic DNA, so I try to incorporate it into my music. A few examples of this from each project:

The Solus Christus Project

1. Intro and Outro
2. The last line of "Dark Night of the Soul" going into "My Portion"
3. The reoccurring flutes throughout the album (This is a musical through-line as opposed to a lyrical though-line. The intentionality is the same though. With each album, there has been one instrument that is prominent throughout, though subtle at times. You really have to be listening for it)

The Atonement

1. The sermon and conversational interludes
2. The theme of the cross (each song representing the necessity of the Atonement, the Atonement itself, or the implications of the Atonement)
3. The subdued, dark tone of each song from both a delivery standpoint and a musical standpoint

Storiez

1. The Narrator
2. "Wake Up, You're Alive" towards the beginning and "Wake Up Revealed" towards the end
3. "Alone Foreshadowed" coming 5 songs before "Alone"

Through-Line Between Albums

This is something that I've always enjoyed about some of my favorite artists. I love hearing lines on new projects that take me back to a line that was said in a previous work. It's another way of connecting the past with the present. I also see it as a reward for those who have been listening longer. I've tried to do this in a few ways. Some would be referencing my previous works. Others would be referencing other Lamp Mode projects or things I've been involved with. A couple of examples:

1. The wording of the last words of the outros on TSCP and The Atonement
2. The last words of the Storiez intro is the same exact sample from the beginning of "Angelz" on TSCP
3. The ladies on "Work It Out" from Storiez saying lines from songs on "TSCP".
4. Often incorporating Timothy Brindle quotes in my work.
5. Each person on "Testify" from Storiez saying a line from a previous testimonial song (Verse 1- Ambassador's "Thug Joint" off "Christology"; Verse 2- My verse from ""My Life Cypha", off Cross Movement's "Higher Definition"; Verse 3- Da Truth's "My Story" off "Moment of Truth")

Where We Go From Here

Anyway, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. The reason I'm writing this post is to let you know that as a way of getting closure on the past for me and giving you insight into the thought process behind each song, I'll be blogging through each song from The Atonement and Storiez, answering questions along the way about particular songs. This is what I did for The Listener's Guide that I made for TSCP. I'll look at each song from a musical, lyrical and theological standpoint, along with things you might not have caught without listening closely. Hopefully, it will enhance your enjoyment of the projects. I'll be blogging about other things along the way, but this is one series you can expect in the upcoming weeks.

First up will be an overview of The Atonement and a look at "In Adam All Die"

grace and peace,
shai




16 comments:

Edward said...

sounds great!

Vessel said...

Awe thanks shia. I am going to listen to your tracks as I bike to the gym. I can't wait to get inside your ingenious head.

Regards,

Michael Azonye (Vessel).

ps. I buy albums :)

marc p said...

how cool! i cant wait....

Adoption Mama said...

Shai Linne, Glad to see you back. I don't know if you remember our family...I contacted you via email in regards to our son (we have 4 adopted children) last year. We had been in contact with Rick Horne for phone counseling about Josh. We asked for prayer. Josh now is at Agape Boys' Ranch. Please pray for him and most of all, God to work in His heart. August 25th will be a year and our hearts ache.

Your music has ministered to my husband so much during this period...especially, 3 Hours.

Blessings to you today. Our blog has more info on Josh. Click on "Hoss"' picture.

John Wesley Leek said...

I'm really looking forward to this. Thank you!

KingXicano said...

Yo Shai, praise God we get to break down your lyrics. I can't wait until I find out what the lil girl recieved from her dad on the storiez album, passover song? any clues!

undadog4eva said...

hey man thanks for your albums and stuff. You been a great blessing to me. I also wanted to thank you for your side list of books on the blog. They have been real helpful. When i go to the local christian bookstore there are so many books and i get lost looking for something to read.

So thanks for keeping that list on the side. It has helped me a lot to get into some good books.!!

Particular People said...

Shai,

I look forward to hearing the next project man! I've been bumping Atonement for a minute.

Jackspr said...

This is great! I was not really a fan of hip hop but I love the theology in your music and it has helped me to study and understand the character of God more!

Looking forward to it

Lotus said...

God Bless you and your wife!!!
I'm really looking forward to the blogs on the songs from both albums.

One quick thing (which you might have heard/thought of before): it would be great to use your theater background to compose a play/musical using some of the songs. High Priest into Passover into through my eyes and the cross into Martyrs into As the hour and Letter.

sorry got a little carried away. Good to hear from you.

urbanresurgence said...

shai, i definitely appreciate the artistic elements you've incorporated in your music. now that you mention these things (some of which i have noticed), i will have to go back and listen closer.

still enjoying the purposeful Christocentrism of your music!

d.

Willie said...

Yeah Bro i'm a christian dj and came across your music a few years ago and it has blessed me in my christian walk. I also do Youth Minstry things. Your music is and encouragement and i think that what you plan to do will be a blessing to the body.

Crappel said...

Shai,

I must say that you are one of the most thorough artists out there. To not only do all of these things, but also blog about it is wild. I know it takes time and earnest thought to put all of this together. I can tell though that it is well worth it. Your music a blessing through and through. As far as the 5ptsalt guy and his critique, I learned some things from you about debate as well. The way you defended yourself was so graceful, and filled with love for the Body, not self-seeking. You are an encouragement to my walk. And I know you will have none of this praise so let's both give it to the Lord right now, agreed? Amen!

Anyway, continue the good works that the Lord has prepared beforehand for you. May you be blessed in all that you do. Thank you for your obedience to scripture.

JC

Laura said...

Hey bro, great to worship alongside you and your sweet wife today! I'm staying OFF that crazy post at the top... :)

Laura

Daniel said...

Wow, this is great! Thank you for sharing this, I have a greater respect for you as an artist and I think it's so cool to read your thought processes regarding music-making. Looking forward to upcoming posts!

Ell said...

shai, shai, you're a very wise guy,
I would like much to meet you on 'the other side'
Your wordplay is quite powerful,
your lyrics are never terrible,
I'm feeling your use of syllables-
Revealing God's grace; God's miracle