A Lucid Dream (2023)
for Orchestra and CPU
Vocals: MC Maguire
CPU: MC Maguire
(Can be performed as a stand-alone recording or Orchestra and CPU)
The inspiration for the new 30 minute orchestral and CPU work comes from Juice Wrld’s haunting song, ‘Lucid Dream’. The lyrics and music by the now deceased hip hop artist not only reflects upon a painful breakup ( which I also recently endured) but also a kind of memorial to his tragic short life (he died from drug overdose).
The Chicago native Jarad Anthony Higgins was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter, was considered to be a leading figure in the emo-rap which garnered mainstream attention during the mid-late 2010s. He gained world-wide recognition with this now diamond-certified 2018 single, which peaked at number two on the US Billboard chart. The song clearly touched a chord with the general populace and became a kind of depressive anthem for the world at that time. My intent is to tap into the ‘structural sadness’ of the song, using the song’s material as the ‘ursatz’, or deep design. Thus, it becomes the mathematical blueprint for all aspects of the orchestral work, expanding the source material into one large harmonic, melodic and rhythmic construct.
Another impetus for writing the piece is there’s a strong musical/historical connection with Purcell’s Dido’s Lament in it’s use of a descending, semi-chromatic passacaglia utilizing the secondary dominant over which are brief emotive melodic fragments. This became a recurring musical technique in 16th and 17th century music and I plan to infuse the song with the traits and mannerisms of it’s historical predecessors. The piece I am imagining is centred around Wrld’s recurring bass passacaglia which I will looped 84 times (at 23 seconds) which is roughly 32 minutes (all one tempo).
Another connection with historical classical music is the Elizabethan obsession with switching between duple and triplet meters within the same eighth note grid. Juice Wrld’s song is full of the same obsessions switching back and form between duple and triple in his melodic fragments. These ‘switches’ are an inspiring springboard where large grids of duple, can metrical modulate back and forth between triple grids-permeating all the strettoed and augmented versions of the melodies.
As fas as pitch and harmony, the evocative melody is very centred around a very limited 5 note Phrygian mode, emphasizing the anguished flat 2. The over-all contour of the melody tends to dwell momentarily around the various five pitches quite democratically, being a generator for contrasting harmonic pitch sets within each section of the melody/work.