Pat Brennan and Chris Neville: 5 - 7 - 5 


Pat Brennan.  Chris Neville.  The men, the myths, the legends. 

This is the first time in the history of the Collaboration Blog that two people have collaborated to bring the blog itself to life.

It is fitting that it is two Titans of the Musical World, Pat Brennan and Chris Neville.  

After watching them from afar for forever, I got to know them though our work in the band The Zimmermen. It is one of the great joys of my life to sing and play with them.  And honestly, the only thing more profound than their musical artistry, is their hilarity onstage and off.  

If you get a chance to see them perform live on stage – RUN, don’t walk! 

And if you get to hang out with them after the show, tell them I told you to buy them a drink.  That fits with the nickname they gave me.

Now, may I suggest you turn to your quarantine mate, decide who plays whom, and read the following aloud, Reader's Theatre style?



Rather than focusing on a specific poem, we thought it would be interesting to explore the haiku meter - 5 syllables, followed by 7, and then 5 again.  

So I put together two ideas, one slower based on 5/4-7/4-5/4, and a second quicker one based on 5/8-7/8-5/8.  

The slower idea was kind of a languid, electric piano thing, and not fully fleshed out, but the second piece seemed more interesting.  

I built a pretty angular Corea-like line that was first played in the upper register with bass notes, then the left hand begins to mirror the upper line, and then the right hand switches to a melody line that is a slower paced rhythm figure that plays against the fast line in the bass. 



He sent them to me.  I loved the faster one.  

I first approached the drums.  I programmed a Mahavishnu Orchestra type thing in 5/4, 7/4, and 5/4.  It felt crazy.  

So, instead, I programmed a straight 4/4 beat that added a beat to every 4th measure, thus creating one long measure of 17/4 (5+7+5).  It turned CNev's measure of 7/4 upside down rhythmically, but I used the crazy drum beat the last time through to rectify my commercial instincts. 

I used an Asian bell type thing to mirror CNev's left hand and replaced it with a plucked bass when the drums enter.   I also added that hazy opener with the synth scootchies and the woman's voice to appeal to Linda Evans. 

The middle part is CNev's piano with Pat's OVOX'ed (a virtual voice processor) voice singing "Five, Seven, Five". 

The final section is CNev's piano with three different treatments floating in and out. 



Pat wanted to rename it: "Robin's beard is gray // I'm nice but I need to say // Robin's beard is gray" 



CNev talked him out of it, thusly: "An interesting // Idea sometimes is best // Left unfulfilled, Pat." 


Overall we are very happy with what sounds like the rush of thought that goes into the composition of any haiku.  At least for us....” 

- Pat Brennan and Chris Neville

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