Neon City

“Neon City”
(Written and performed by Reynold Philipsek)
2017 copyright

Recently my 16 year old niece told me that her favorite song of mine was “Amber Dawn.” This surprised me on several levels. First of all, I am surprised that any of my nieces or nephews listen to my music, much less have a favorite piece. Secondly, “Amber Dawn” is a relatively obscure piece from an already somewhat obscure canon.

“Amber Dawn” was one of several pieces I have written and recorded in what I call a “film noir” style. The other music I have composed on this order are the songs “Philip Marlowe,” and “Hong Kong Harry.” 

“Philip Marlowe” is an homage to Raymond Chandler’s famous detective of the same name. The character of Philip Marlowe was portrayed on film by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and also to surprisingly good effect by Dick Powell. “Hong Kong Harry” was a fabrication of my own and even uses the voice over narrative so typical of the genre in my recording of the piece in 1994.

For as long as I can remember I have been an ardent fan of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. These two American writers are, in my opinion, the inventors of the hard boiled detective film noir style.

Revisiting “Amber Dawn” set up the idea of this new piece called “Neon City.” The title derives from two of the most prevalent images I can think of when it comes to film noir, i.e., the neon signs for cheap hotels or dingy diners and the streets of the American city of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

It remains to be seen if my niece likes this music as well.

Click here to listen to this new piece:


written and performed by Reynold Philipsek

John Mc Laughlin is a composer and guitarist I admire very much. Mc Laughlin is a little over ten years older than myself and is someone that I only admire more as time goes on. His playing and composing gets better with time and his prolific energy is amazing. Either his daily meditation or his idyllic home in Monaco accounts for his continued productivity. His records just keep getting better. Mr. Mc Laughlin insists that the writing of music cannot be forced. Either it comes freely or it doesn’t come. This has been my experience as well. Still, the need to create something new persists whether the inspiration flows or not. At such times I peruse my back catalog of music. Although I have written at least 233 pieces or songs (according to the BMG listings) only about 30 of my original compositions are active at any one time in my live performance repertoire.

Recently I resurrected a piece of mine written in 2006 called “Reverie.”

“Reverie” appeared on the first East Side album. While I like that version well enough I have always had the nagging feeling that the tempo was a little slow. I have always enjoyed improvising on the chord changes of this piece and I had also recently found some new ways to approach that angle as well. Since I am looking to refresh my original song list for the many summer gigs I have coming up, the idea of redressing Reverie has become a priority. As usual I demo a tune first. This is the updated concept of Reverie. Reverie is one of three tunes I wrote under the influence of Astor Piazzolla. Like the other two tango-oriented songs I wrote (“Astoria” and “Tango Blue”) “Reverie” makes liberal use of the 3-3-2 rhythm of Nuevo Tango.

To listen to the new demo of this track, click here.