The Utility Project: About Gasoline © 2007
I realized while distributing discs for the two previous projects that the one place I was generally unobserved but in public was at the gas pump. I thought that it would be fitting to marry the concept with the distribution method. Eric Braysmith and I designed a system to create 21 songs for the project Gasoline. One method uses human information (like 132) and one uses oil company statistics.
For the odd numbered songs a code was created pairing the most commonly used letters in American English with chords. The songs essentially spell out the first and last names of people who helped shape the modern oil industry. All creative decisions were based on information gathered specific to the individuals. Birthdates determined rhythm and tempo, and individual histories inspired the lyrics.
For the even numbered songs a different code was used. The code pairs an alternate version of commonly used letters with the most common chords in the most common keys. The songs spell out each oil company name. Song structure, time signature and tempo are determined by information specific to each oil company. Age groups were assigned to each oil company song and anecdotes were gathered from various individuals to supply lyrical content.
Here are two song building examples:
Gottlieb Daimler (an individual) converts via code to:
(C#DBBDmGAF#) (CmCGFmDmAAm) they are now played as two parts
G OTT L I E B D AI M L E R
Daimler was born March 17, 1834
According to a rhythm code I created, a March birthday requires a swingy/funky drumbeat. Adding the year of birth numbers 3+4 gives us 7 which, according to another code, requires a slow tempo.
The lyrics recount the testing of the first gasoline propelled motorcycle piloted by Daimlers son.
LEG BURN BOB
Texaco (an oil company) converts via secondary code to:
T E X A C O
The structure of the song relates to the name: AABCCA. A seperate code pairs the alphabet with the letters A, B, and C (providing for three potential sequences within each song). The song then becomes this:
The tempo is determined by dividing the number of letters in the company name by 3. A zero remainder in this case (6w3=2 rem. 0) gives us a slow tempo.
Time signature is determined by dividing the number of letters of the name by 5. In this case, the remainder is 1 (6w5=1 rem.1) giving us (according to code) a time signature of 5/4.
The list of the ten leading oil companies (by profit) was paired with a list of age groups. In this case Texaco was paired with 65 + year old. Uncle Bob (whose legs are doing quite well now, thank you) provides the anecdote for the song Leg Burn Bob.
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