Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Uploads

Check out my pregnant soundcloud. I've been uploading tracks there for a while but I haven't been spreading the link around very much. I just recently uploaded my cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart Again and it's gotten a lot of positive response. Podcasts are picking up some of my tunes and there was a little buzz surrounding Ficshe for moment there. I've been performing this cover for years but I never laid down (what is admittedly a home recording) the track for online perusal. Sometimes things that would seem obvious to an outsider, like "Hey, people might like your Joy Division cover, silly pants," are mystically invisible from the inside.

I know people like covers, people like familiar things. I program cover songs because it's how I get that song out of my head. If I find myself singing the same song for weeks on end I learn it. I imagine myself as the singer, performing it. I program it.

Programming a cover is an intensive process. I don't read music and so I learn by ear. I play the track over and over, one part at a time and match the sounds or find a sound. (Say for the kick drum, I find one on my machine that's more "me" yet still has whatever intensity/flavor I liked in the original.) Because I use the machine I do (Roland MC 808, AKA Emcee Bob) I end up writing the music out in long strings of numbers. The track number, the measure number, etc. It looks more like math when I program a cover.

Strings of numbers and a love of Kali.
Writing original songs is a lot simpler. It all comes from inside and I don't have to worry that this note or that beat isn't right because it all comes out correct, it's mine. A cover, however, is hard because I'm trying to fit some wonderfully intricate song into the perimeters allowed by my machine. I have to study people playing the synth lines on YouTube and record over and over until I get it right. Measure by measure.

So one might think that doing a cover is easy and maybe for some people it is. In my world when it's time to do a cover it's really time to pay homage to the music that makes me want to sing and write. It's solve et coagula (the taking apart of something into it's elements and then reforming it back into a whole). I get to dive into the song, the melody, the beats, the words and then I get to express the part in me that connected so deeply with those parts of the whole. I get to show you how that song is also me.

More cover songs I've done:
Solitude Standing by Suzanne Vega
Wandering Stars by Portishead
Cupid by Sam Cooke
Elevator Love Letter by Stars

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