Jude Gwynaire’s “King Sol and the Merwoman,” is one long, cool recording, and so we’ve taken a few minutes to have him tell us more about it.
Skope: I just watched a movie about a mermaid. Is a Merwoman the same thing?
Jude Gwynaire: Yes, I believe so. In my own mind, however, I see a Merwoman as being older (and maybe wiser) than a mermaid.
Skope: Who is the “King Sol” referred to in this song?
Gwynaire: An invention of my own, I guess. The cover reminds me of one of those images you see in ‘alchemy’ artwork. I’ve always found those images fascinating.
Skope: This is a long track, at 8:54. Was it important to extend it out that long?
Gwynaire: It is a little long and self-indulgent, I know. I think that’s why it never ended up on an album. However, it will be appearing on my new, forthcoming album ‘Music From Slate Bird’. I’m a big fan of the Incredible String Band (the 1960s, psychedelic folk group). Robin Williamson and Mike Heron (the Lennon and McCartney of psychedelic folk music) often wrote some pretty long tracks (like ‘Ducks on a Pond’, ‘Maya’, ‘Creation’, ‘The Half-Remarkable Question’). Since ‘King Sol’ is pretty much a folk track, maybe their influence had a spin on the length of the track. The ‘Incredibles’ sang of course…as a mere instrumental track, King Sol is a little long and repetitive. Saying that, I personally love it! I composed it about 5 years ago. I think I’d be a bit more inventive and try not to make it so repetitive if I had another go at it now. But, saying that, I like it just the way it is…
Skope: What can you tell me about the process to record it?
Gwynaire: I think I laid down the percussion tracks first, then layered acoustic guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, medieval pipes etc. Originally, there was bass guitar, too; however, this didn’t seem to work, so I left it out.
Skope: It has a kind of mystical vibe. Is that what you were going for?
Gwynaire: Definitely! Think the Incredible String Band without words!
Skope: What instruments did you play on it?
Acoustic guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, virtual Irish pipes, virtual trumpets.
Skope: What music may have influenced it?
Gwynaire: Mike Oldfield, The Incredible String Band.
Skope: I hear traces of psychedelic music on this track. Is that a style you’ve explored?
Gwynaire: Yes, all the time. My all-time favourite music dates from 1966 to 1971.
Skope: Is this track aimed at any particular audience?
Gwynaire: Maybe a folk music orientated audience?
Skope: What do you like most about the recording?
Gwynaire: I like the medieval vibe that resonates through the composition.