Eva is a young girl brought up on a council estate whose become trapped in a world that has taken her innocence and control of her life. I had a brief of “innocence lost and a youtube footage of Hellsong doing a folky, acoustic version of Black Sabbaths Paranoid!! (Which has some great piano & cello parts in it)
I wanted to avoid all the cliches associated with the concept of “Innocence lost” and wanted to be more subtle, yet tuneful to some extent. I wasn’t about to write a folk song, and I wasn’t going to do one of my multi-layered large orchestration pieces because I felt this needed intimacy. I had in mind Piano & synths- I didn’t want to go anywhere near a steel- strung, strummed acoustic guitar ( I hate that sound!) So I searched my brain and I dug out an old album by Brian Eno that I hadn’t listened to seriously in a long while- Ambient 1, Music for airports. This album was his first acknowledged “Ambient” album and was made with very long tape loops consisting of various lines on piano, vocals and synths running at different speeds, which has the effect of phasing over a long period. This meant the repeating parts never were in the same place as to when they started and with judicious mixing, can sound quite unlike loop-based music. This is taking Steve Reichs initial tape loop ideas like “Its gonna rain” but extending the technique in time so that a loop might last 4 of 5 minutes before repeating!
This is a technique I sometimes use in Ableton Live for both repeating MIDI parts and Audio parts and I’ve found this to be very effective especially when having the different loops set to very different lengths- sometimes by mathematical structure. I like to think its much more to do with Minimal and far less Minimalist as the effect can be so very subtle and controlled in very different ways- it also avoids generating the now distinct “Minimalist sound” of repeating rhythms.
This is all well and good but I didn’t want to write another long muli-loop based piece- for a change I wanted something short, sweet, to the point, and about 2 minutes in length. There was one piece on Music for Airports that kept sticking in my mind as a very subtle earworm- I could remember bits of it but not the whole thing, and it really captured the feel that I was trying to get to. So I started improvising on the piano, at a different point from the Eno track, not wanting to imitiate, and after a few hours of improvising a couple of themes stuck in my mind, and I recorded them.
Eva is a simple piece with two piano themes plus a coda, and two synth themes. Its ended up in modal A minor (ish) – put togther in a loose binary structure. Thats it, very straightforward. Enjoy.