Hagsgate

1996- ?

Its title owing to Peter S. Beagle’s cursed village, this is a project of similar age like the “Dread Hip” phase, but headed for a different direction. Many of these tracks have indeed been songs — songs I used to play on my guitar while sitting with friends and beers in public parks, LARP taverns or other unlikely locations. They usually have little to no percussion and rely heavily on harpsichord or piano patterns as basis for the melodies. And many of them have undergone drastic changes over the years.

“Lenore (The Fair and Radiant)” was one of my most ambitious arrangements. I was never 100% satisfied with it, and the song only survived on tape. Originally it had been recorded for one of my earliest Vampire Live meetings; I would be playing Alain Montserrat, a young Toreador (of course) and childe to the prince of Heidelberg. And hey, I had to present something! The “Lenore” of the title is of course E.A. Poe’s.

I can’t say much about “Brightlighted” except that it is another song based on those — supposedly — Star Trek chords of “Départ Sans Regret”. A simple piece that came out just fine, and I still like it a lot.

The “Cassiopeia” Songs are a different story. Cassiopeia has been a RPG character, and later also a novel character of mine. These songs are dedicated to her earliest incarnation, in which she was a proud-hearted noble-woman along with magic sword & cape and what not; her story however was always intended to be a tragic one. As naive girl, she sets out to be turned into a tough warrior on the dreadful island of Crandt (later renamed Leiengard) in order to take revenge on the murderer of her father; but eventually she will fall victim to his manipulative skills and her own vanity.

These songs are mere stations in her story, all of them adapted from guitar pickings I still like to play for relaxation (except for the harpsichord theme of the main part, which makes my fingers bleed). The ‘Death Song’ is probably THE ubiquitous theme that came up again and again in my life. This is its earliest recorded version.

“Doubt”, unlikely as it might be, is one of my most re-used tunes, including an unfinished fifteen-minutes arrangement (with various mid-parts) and the back-to-the-roots “Song for an un-doubting lady”, a short guitar piece with lyrics. But since there aren’t any finished recordings of any of these, this version, the very first one, will have to suffice.

“A Wedding In The Rain” – well, not much that I can say about this. I think of it as a kind of grotesque, the image I have in my head when I listen to it being its title.

“A Journey Below” marked the beginning of my experiments with unusual time signatures (9/8 in this case) but never really led anywhere; also, the massive strings caused some kind of overload in my poor Yamaha, so here is only an excerpt of it.

“The Princess’s Song” has a similarly long history as the “Cassiopeia” pieces or “Doubt” – I did several covers of it, including a version with vocals I will upload at some later point. It started out as a guitar piece and soon developed into one of my most complex arrangements. Originally, it was the adaption of a poem in Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn” (the one Lir’s anonymous fiancée uses to lure a unicorn with), but it soon got mixed up with different, RPG-related lyrics. The piece is divided into two parts: A) The Promise and B) The Lone Rider.

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