Avon Calling

What it is about

Sales reps!

Actually it is not. It is about being accosted by an Avon rep on your doorstep, finding yourself paralysed and unable to move, falling into a deep trance under the spell of the patter, and waking up from the nightmare by keeling over and banging your head on the doorbell.

How it was written

The song is a simple experiment in ambient or techno style: trying to be hypnotic through repetition like a minimalist piece from Terry Riley or Steve Reich.

Vintage stuff

Avon Calling rhythm section (0:10)
Avon Calling rhythm section
Avon Calling rhythm section

The rhythm section has a retro lineup.

The bass line is plundered from a preset on a vintage 1982 Casiotone MT-45 keyboard and the drums simulate the sound of a 1980 Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine. The guitar is a fairly straightforward country rock riff but played fast. All in all, it sounds pretty good.

Shimmy Shimmy Shenai

The sound of shenai (0:19)
Avon Calling shenai
The sound of shenai

Its also an experiment with instrumentation, specifically with the 128 presets in General MIDI. Number 112 is the shenai (shehnai or shanai there seem to be various spellings) which is an Indian oboe and the sound has a lovely clean texture.

Stretching exercises

Avon Calling chords (0:09)
Avon Calling chords
Avon Calling chords

Spread your fingers.

Tech spec

Title: Avon Calling

Key: A

Tempo: 200bpm

Length: 2' 52"

Track 1: shenai melody

Track 2: shenai harmony

Track 3: brass synth

Track 4: rock organ

Track 5: nylon guitar

Track 6: fretless bass

Track 7: drumset

Genre: Pop, Rock