Harmonic Sign

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[Digital Download]

Track 1 from Plaid On Flannel's 2018 album Vol. IV: Independency

Performed and produced by Nolan Randall

Mixed and mastered by Hector Viola

Words and music by Nolan Randall

You want a soul of virtue in this life you choose
All of these things that search you
Will not make you lose
On top of everything that you have looked upon
The twilight resonates and separates the dawn

To hustle in overdrive far down the line
Do what you can to survive, harmonic sign

So many places you are chasing all alone
It's the basis of the faces of your home

Right across the sky, time to signify
Always worth the try, what you can apply
Sweep away debris, your reality
Seek what you can see, claim your victory

To hustle in overdrive far down the line
Do what you can to survive, harmonic sign
So many places you are chasing all alone
It's the basis of the faces of your home

The faces of your own
The faces of your own
The faces of your own

© Copyright 2018 Plaid On Flannel

*Song Description By Noles*

In the spring of 2018, I quit my job at Steam Whistle Brewing after 4 years. I was determined to finish my 4th LP, which I had been working on since 2016. I had 14 songs done, with 4 more to go. Because I knew I wanted my 2018 album to have 18 songs. Which would keep up with a tradition I started with 2012's Vol. I: Fairbairn Meadows having 12 tracks.

"Harmonic Sign" was the first song I wrote and recorded on that last home stretch for Independency. Written on May 27, 2018, "Harmonic Sign" follows a common chord progression of D-F-C-G. "Old Man" by Neil Young is a song that uses that same chord progression. But I distorted the guitars and added a string section to give it an orchestral feel. And the verses are in D minor to give it some contrast from the chorus in D major. The organ effect during the verses is one of my favourite organs I've used over the course of Plaid On Flannel. And I've used A LOT of organs! It has a large cathedral sound to it with a lot of depth. Like an orchestra.

When I recorded this song, I didn't realize it would become the opening track for the album. It just has that "Hello, look at me" feel to it. Which convinced me to open the album with it. The coda of the song follows that same chord progression of D-F-C-G with strings playing staccatos. I've used strings on a number of Plaid On Flannel songs before, but these strings really boosted the character of this song. It provided the identity that it needed.

As for the lyrics, I think the song is about balancing harmony in your life. I say "I think" because I'm not entirely sure what it's about and leave it open to interpretation for the listener. I often write lyrics like that, and those seem to be the most organic songs. I guess this song is about discipline in one's life to understand that we can't get what we want all at once. We just need to live in harmony for those things to appear in time in front of our eyes.

I finished recording "Harmonic Sign" on June 10, 2018. I felt like it was a song with a lot of dynamic range. The ups and downs between the different parts tell the story. And it's one of those rare songs where I feature a post-chorus. "What You Believe" is the only other song of mine I can think of that has a post-chorus. There are 3-part vocal harmonies in certain sections of this song and the guitar solo is rather brief for a Plaid On Flannel guitar solo. Lmao! I used a Jimmy Page effect at the end of the guitar solo before the 2nd verse. It's when the guitar gets panned from one side of the stereo signal (Left) to the other (Right). The panning technique is also used at the very end of the song when the strings finish with reverb. This is a trick that has been used since the Beatles did it back in the 1960s, but it still works like a charm today.

The acoustic version of "Harmonic Sign" is rather different than the studio version, and has a unique strumming pattern to it. I have performed it live on acoustic before, but I've never played it with a band. This is one I will likely play with a Plaid On Flannel band in the future. It seems like it would work well in a live setting.

After I finished this song for Independency, I had 3 tunes left to record, and they all ended up being different from each other. That's what I strive for on every Plaid On Flannel album. To have variety in the sounds and styles. I can't stay in the same place for a long time. The magic gets lost quick that way. I can honestly say that "Harmonic Sign" is different from every other Plaid On Flannel song. Never had I used a string section so prominently in a song. I may do it again, but it will be in a different context. I'm glad this song has gotten such positive feedback!