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Music

DMGM: Three Fingered Salute

For those of you who aren’t of the Windows persuasion, a three-fingered salute (in this context) is the keyboard combination you press when a computer program crashes.

This song began with David’s string part, which I really love: it set the mood and tone for the whole song. David is incredibly self-deprecating about his musical ability, especially when it comes to creating new things, but he’s constantly creating things that surprise me. Generally speaking, if something in these songs is musically or sonically interesting it’s probably got David’s fingers all over it.

I think we put two live bass guitars in here (one for the low notes, one to play a melody) and turned up the reverb to get a nice swampy electric guitar: I don’t know what David was thinking but I was thinking The B-52’s instrumental Follow Your Bliss. I love that growly, 1950s American guitar sound.

If I were to re-record it I’d play the drums myself instead of using loops – you get a more fluid feel, especially on the hi-hats, when an imperfect human is hitting things with sticks – but that’s my usual inability to stop fiddling. The vocal isn’t technically perfect but it’s got a feel subsequent, more technically accurate attempts lacked.

The temptation with a song like this is to do the Full Bono thing and start emoting all over the chorus, maybe really ramping up the bombast towards the end, but that wouldn’t fit the lyrics. They’re about feeling tired, blank… the human equivalent of a computer crash. Hence me paraphrasing the IT in-joke: “have you tried switching it off and back on again?” and having the song stop dead. It’s the audio equivalent of a computer glitch, the sudden stop in a game or application.

The recording’s from December 2014 but I wrote the lyrics quite a long time before that, so they’re from a period when I was trying to fix my mental health. It turns out that I really did need to switch myself off and on again and “feel like a new thing”, but I didn’t do so for another three years.