Not long ago, I did a recording session with Ms. Raya Merenkov, a talented grad student I know through a number of confusing connections. (well, mainly through William, but it involves classical greek, and is thus more complicated than a simple friend-of-a-friend thing). Raya is multi-lingual, multi-talented and has as many obscure interests as I do.
It was hard to focus, because we’d get distracted talking about something completely off-topic instead of recording, but nonetheless we got some stuff accomplished.
First off, we recorded some greek. Classical greek. Euripides, actually. Raya was not only able to use the reconstructed prononuciation and apply some heuristics I didn’t fully understand to determine a melody from the flow of the poetry. We melded this with a dubstep track I’ve been working on. Once I get everything sorted from a mixing perspective, this has the potential to be very cool.
We went down to State Street at one point to both sightsee (Raya had so far really only been treated to the grand tour of Eric’s Favorite Madison Restaurants) and come up with some more musical ideas. Unfortunately we got caught up in talking about epistemology or somesuch and never really got around to brainstorming.
Instead, when we got back, we knocked out some arabic poetry. When I say “we” I mean “she” while I pressed buttons and made lights blink. We applied it to poetry, specifically that of 8th century poet Rabia al-Adawiyya. It’s a typically overwrought love poem, and is pretty awesome. Of course, Raya was far more aware of the subtleties of it than I was, since she actually understood the words, but nevertheless there’s a lot of vocal subtlety in it as well that I could pick up on.
The tricky bit will be dealing with the rubato. It’s a fluid form of singing, and the kind of dance music I make is a bit more rigid in timing. Okay, a lot more rigid. But I’m pretty sure I can make it work.
Overall, it was extremely cool, and another big educational smack-to-the-head for me. I hope to work with Raya more in the future.