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Project Melv!s

So what's this Melv!s thing all about?

Project MELV!S came from an idea to create a series of songs that follow the story arc of a novel, an original soundtrack. After gaining a cult following writing the Boro’s Greatest Detective short story series, Mel Small’s next challenge was to write a full-length novel. The thing is, if you are going to expend that effort, then you want people to read it. Although Boro’s Greatest Detective has been welcomed around the world, the number of sales has never reflected how good they are. One reviewer wrote that the first book “Manages to merge the feel of Sherlock Holmes with the noir-detective (Hammett) feel of more-modern-menace.” Another, that the second collection was “Fast-paced, clever, charming, funny, clever, and I should repeat clever.” A gentleman in America proclaimed "In the last 42 months, I've read 337 books, and let me proudly say this one is in the top 10.”

Provisionally Yours by Melv!sThe literary landscape is crowded. Hence the idea for a soundtrack. Mel was writing song lyrics long before literary prose. He just never got as far as recording them. A novel with an accompanying soundtrack, where the narrative of the lyrics follows the arc of the story, would be somewhat unique and increase the chance of it reaching a wider audience.

But first a proof of concept, a foray into the recording studio for a lightning fast introduction into music production.The song chosen for experimentation upon was Provisionally Yours. If the outcome failed to produce anything worthy of release, then it didn’t matter. It was more about learning. Fortunately, the experiment included input from a remarkably skilled producer and some other very talented musicians. The result exceeded all expectations. Provisionally Yours could be the most original track you will hear this year. It fuses electronic cadence and acoustic syncopation to produce a laid back vibe that conjures images of a dimly lit basement jazz bar frequented by beautiful people with broken souls.(Really? Run with it.) Lyrically, it subverts the norm. Whereas most love songs explore extremes, Provisionally Yours is apathetic. If it happens, great, if not, then so be it. Perhaps it was never meant to be.

This subversion continues with the five songs that comprise the soundtrack for the novel. This mélange of musical styles delivers an eclectic mix of Latin, Ska, Funk and Electro Pop, topped off with a soulful ballad that has been described as “outstanding”. There’s something for everyone. Collectively known (with tongue firmly inserted into cheek) as The Perfect EP, these songs have, to varying extents, been created with an underlying philosophy that they should be original whilst remaining accessible. It’s easy to claim to be experimental when all you are really doing is being weird. The Perfect EP includes an ode to corporate angst set to a bossa nova beat and a track where the proclamation of love includes an offer to run “eight to ten miles'' in order to “get your milestone on my Gantt chart.” You get the idea. You can take it as seriously and you want to. How many other songs reference Gantt charts? Musically, how many other songs have the rhythm section brayed out on a selection of old cookware? Don’t tell Sue we used her fermenting bin as a bass drum.

Founding the creative process involved in creating music on the story contained in a novel has some unanticipated consequences. It allowed the collaboration to be informed by the point in the story arc that the song aligned with. It’s this setting of the scene and the prevailing emotions gives the tracks a texture and mood that otherwise might have been missed. It was also very enjoyable to work this way.

And there it is. It’s perhaps not the most common route to becoming a recording artist, but an interesting one nonetheless. In these times of people who sing in their pants, there must still be a place for good writing and excellent production by fully-dressed adults. It would be much appreciated if you could take some time to listen to these songs. Of course it’s difficult to be subjective, but it could be that we've created something rather special.

Provisionally Yours is and The Perfect EP are on the najot streaming platforms and, if all goes to plan, the novel will follow in 2022.

Provisionally Yours,

Mel(v!s)

 

Artist pages on some of the leading stream services follow for you to peruse at your leisure…

 

Apple Music

Spotify

Amazon Music

Deezer