Analysis of Ragin’ Hormones
track He Rants

Listen here. PDF chart here.

This composition was originally inspired by the great New York guitarist, Wayne Krantz. He is a real original and anyone not familiar with his work should check him out!

The first thing I wanted to do with this piece was explore the possibilities of hemiolas, or cross rhythms. If you look at the opening riff, once it is up and running it can feel as though the down beat falls on the high Es and Gbs and feels like it is in 4/4. Listening to the version on the Ragin' Hormones album you can hear that the guitar fades in. The actual down beat gets established clearly when the bass and drums enter.

This idea is nothing new but if you want to find other examples of this kind of thing check out Proclamation by great prog band Gentle Giant or the first two albums by alt rock band Field Music.

The other rhythmic effect I was exploring was the relationship between 3/4 and 6/8 time. Obviously they have the same number of beats per bar (3 crochets, 6 quavers) but the emphasis is on different subdivisions. Again not a new idea. To hear the two different feels juxtaposed listen to America from West Side Story: 6/8 and 3/4 alternating.

The melody is quite a straightforward diatonic affair played in 3rds. Although the chord changes are not written out they are implied by the bass line, loosely they are Gbmaj7, Bbmi7, E7 sharp 11, Ebmi7, Gbmaj7/ Ab, F/Db.

In the B section I have taken the original melody up a tone, halved the rhythm and reharmonized it to give the basic melodic starting point. This provides thematic unity whilst contrasting in texture and feel.

That is about it for overall analysis. Any more questions just drop me a message. I hope this has been a useful study.

Just a quick PS about guitar sounds, I played this on my 1989 strat through the dirty channel of a Peavey Classic 30 valve amp. Inexpensive but decent little combo. I used a Shure SM58 (rather than more commonly used SM57) and delay came from a Boss ME 50 in the FX loop rather than being added later. I recorded on to an Akai DPS 12 hard disk multitrack recorder and this was later imported to Logic for the full construction of the track. Different gear all round but it was recorded in 2005 I think! Seb Guard on drums, Richard Beesley on sax and Steve Richardson on bass.