Sunday, February 8, 2009

Forest: Down By Your Fire

Down By Your Fire was the last song on Forest. But I'm blogging it first because I think I think it's the best track on the album.

Down By Your Fire

This is a great song. A great, great song. Thom used to play it with guitar only. And we played a guitar + piano version on the Regent Street album (1991). Listening back to the Regent Street version, I notice that some of the Forest piano part was already in place. Over time I started adding more of Thom's guitar part on piano and eventually he stopped playing guitar on the song altogether.

The instrumental part is much more relaxed than other tracks on the album, and has better time and feel. It's probably because I'd had the part under my hands for years by the time we recorded it (in contrast with the song Why, where the piano part was written just prior to recording it).

The keyboard sound is my E-mu PROFormance/1+ layered with my Roland D-50. The PROFormance piano sound can't really compete with modern, multi-layer, disk-streamed, non-looped, gigabyte sampled grands. But it actually holds up ok in this context, even out there all on its own. I guess the one part of the sound that bugs me is the ridiculous sustain. But in 1995, this was a really good piano-in-a-box (and it was already five years old at the time).

It seems I have some deficiency that renders me incapable of finishing a song on a straight major chord. I have to play the ninth. Chris Chénier's wife Nathalie once asked him after one of our shows: "Why does Ken always play that funny note at the end of every song?"

I miss playing this song with Thom.


  1. You're right--this is a great song. And it is interesting to read the technical stuff because usually we just listen to the music without thinking about that.

  2. I could listen to this one over and over again. The music is easy and the words ring so true for all of us I'm sure. Obviously age does not have a monopoly on wisdom.