Indicator-Alabama

dreamdancer

I am a Fama Tuba
As mentioned several times by different people on the international and on the German forum, Indicator is such a strong album that every song deserves its own thread. I am sure I will not be able to do this, but nevertheless I still feel the urge to discuss at least a few songs in more detail.

For me, Alabama is one of the most moving songs on Indicator. Though it is on the bonus CD of the special edition, it somehow concludes the album. With its simplicity it is a very peaceful and calming song.

The lyrics of Alabama refer to the Birmingham bombing in 1963, where four young girls were killed in a Baptist church. Martin Luther King gave a speech at the funeral giving an important impulse to the civil rights movement. It is dedicated to John Coltrane, who put this event to music in a song "Alabama" (e.g. see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j_TDoOPnIA) only a few months later, but musically it is not related. Another related song is "Birmingham Sunday", lyrics by Richard Farina, interpreted by the great Joan Baez (here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ0y-vO9QLE), a folk singer Ernst appears to like a lot :D

Only simple chords are used here, like the echo of a church hymn or of a gospel song. But a gospel would have a choir following the singer and neither gospel nor hymn would change between 6/4 and 7/4 beat. It appears like a memory of the most prominent hamonies but with a gap. Therefore, I call it an "echo". (And Ernst in an interview "a kind of minimal music")

As typical for a Lakaien song it is floating between minor and major key. And though it is straightforward to think of Ernst's oft-mentioned "open quint" as the origin, it is just C as the parallel major to a minor. The most prominent motive is the "sigh" from C major to D major - quite a bold direct step, I think (on ba-ma. And no, not on O-ba-ma), but it works!

Another thing to mention is the motive in the - kind of - chorus or B-theme on "we were breathing" from C major to its subdominat F and back. Actually, I believe this to be a citaion of a Schubert motive - the main motive of the second theme in the fourth moment musical of opus 94, though Schubert's theme is in D flat and of course is developed in a different way.

Alabama - a simple song, but with a lot of discoveries to make...
 
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