Monday, 23 June 2008

I Know You're Out There - Mixtape / Dancing Skills

I have entered yet another mixtape exchange. I put this together this afternoon:

The Microphones - Solar System
1-Speed Bike - The Day That Mauro Ran Over Elwy Yost
Panda Bear - Inside A Great Stadium And A Running Race
The Books - Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again
Midlake - Roscoe
Gal Costa - Cinema Olympia
Flight of the Conchords - Inner City Pressure
Fujiya & Miyagi - Ankle Injuries
Why? - These Few Presidents
Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened
Daniel Johnston - Funeral Girl
Cat Power - I Don't Blame You
Francoiz Breut - Over All
Grouper - Stuck
Fionn Regan - Snowy Atlas Mountains
Mount Eerie - Wooly Mammoth's Mighty Absense
Bon Iver - re:Stacks
Atlas Sound - Children's Hospital
The Microphones - Get Off The Internet


Also, I finished my GCSEs on Friday. It is now the start of my summer holidays. So far they've not been very productive, but that will change gradually over the next two or so weeks.
One Friday night I went to a party at a friends' house where I showed off my impeccable dancing skills.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Playing the Building

"David Byrne gives an exclusive walkthrough of the NYC art installation he's spent two years creating: Turning an abandoned ferry terminal into a giant musical instrument whose creaking pipes and beams are played with an archaic pump organ. The installation is open through August 10."

Official Site


Monday, 16 June 2008

Nude (Through the Ages)

"Nigel Godrich started out at RAK Studios, where he engineered Carnival of Light by Ride and The Bends by Radiohead. He has produced Radiohead's last four albums, and has also worked with Travis, Paul McCartney (Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard) and on Beck's last three albums. He remixed U2's Walk On and produced Band Aid 20's Do They Know It's Christmas?


Thom's very prolific, he's always writing, and one time I made a list of songs that he had that they hadn't recorded. Radiohead have a little catalogue of songs that just never get done. It's almost because it's their best material and no version is ever quite good enough. It's too precious to them. I said, "You have to record them, because one day you're going to die and they'll go with you. It's criminal. And if you don't fucking record them, I'm going to fucking do it! I'll do a covers album!" And Nude was one of those songs.

After The Bends was all done and dusted, I'd seen them at a show and they said they'd been thinking about us all working together. We'd done a bunch of B-sides on The Bends and it had gone really well, so we hatched a plan to have a couple of little try-outs to see how it would work. We booked a weekend in the studio to start recording what would become OK Computer, although it took a long time to really get into that. We recorded two songs; one was called Big Boots - actually, it was called Man O'War at the time, which is another great lost Radiohead classic. The other thing we tried to record was a song called Nude. Thom had just written it and it was almost a different song to the version on In Rainbows. It's recognisable, but it had different lyrics and it was a lot straighter. The idea was for it to be like an Al Green track. It had a Hammond going through it on the version we recorded that weekend. They liked it, it was deemed a great success. But then for some reason everyone went off it. We tried to record it a couple more times for OK Computer, probably about three times for Kid A and another three times for Hail To The Thief. But somehow it had gone.

We had a little holiday from each other. The bad tried to record on their own, which - surprise, surprise - didn't work. Then they tried working with someone else, which also didn't work. During that time I went to see Colin, the bass player, and he played me a rough live version of Nude that they'd done in rehearsals. He'd written his new bassline, which transformed it from something very straight into something that had much more of a rhythmic flow. The chorus had been taken out - very Radiohead! - and there was this new vocal break and this new end section. It sounded like they were somehow terrified playing it, but it sounded OK. We recorded it three times and the final one - which we did in their house and then overdubbed in Covent Garden - is what you hear today.

Finally, for some inexplicable reason, it made it out! With Radiohead we always say, "It doesn't matter how we get there, as long as we end up at the right place," but actually I think the real skill is being able to recognise something that lands on your lap and is fully formed and wonderful. A big part of my job is trying to persuade Thom that just because this thing happened very quickly, it doesn't mean it's not great. He doesn't understand what it is about what he does that's great. He doesn't know or understand where it comes from.

Songs have a kind of window where they are really most alive - and you have to capture it. Nude missed its window, and it took a lot of reinvention to bring it back to the place where we could capture it again in a way that resonated for the people playing it. It was essentially the same song; nothing had really changed. What has changed are the people playing it."

- Nigel Godrich, The Word.

Noice : )


Sunday, 15 June 2008

Black Dahlia

" Pictured above is the mugshot of Elizabeth Short, better known as The Black Dahlia, arrested in 1943 for underage drinking in Santa Barbara. Born in Medford, MA, in 1924, Short spent her time after high school criss-crossing the country, eventually settling in Hollywood with predictably unrequited starlet-type aspirations. This aimless young lady came to national attention on 15 January 1947, after a stroller-pushing mother discovered her torn body in a vacant lot, torso cut in two and drained of its blood, a chunk of flesh taken from her leg and stuffed up her genitals, her hair freshly shampooed and still wet."

So I read this article, and saw some pretty astounding pictures. The story of the Black Dahlia has been the basis of many films and books and it's obvious why: the story has such mystery to it and it sounds like something out of a Western. It gave me this idea for a song much like the old songs that are sung in bars; like Rocky Raccoon or Desolation Row. I already had the continuous and simple chord progression or finger-picked melody and I started to manually loop with variation of an A minor arpeggio and started improvising lyrics over it. After about half an hour I had about 20 verses of just streaming consciousness. I cut them down to just eight verses and had a pretty decent song. At first, I had a capo on the 1st fret, but it sounded to monotonal. I changed to have a capo on the 4th fret and it just worked.

I'm really quite chuffed with this now: my first fully formed song. It's not bad if I do say so myself. Below is a link to a 256kpbs mp3. Enjoy!

Download 'THE BLACK DAHLIA' here.

EDIT: I've already gone off the 'capo 4th fret' version already. I'm going to record a 'capo 1st fret' version in the morning and upload that too. Don't know what I was thinking. Sounds so much better lower down the octave.


Friday, 6 June 2008

Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)

Ok, so I stole this off Radiohead's blog, Dead Air Space, but I love this. I think it's a brilliant idea and brilliantly executed.

"Check out this brilliant remix of Nude - Jonny and I had a spectrum flashback moment" says Colin Greenwood.

"Radiohead held an online contest to remix "Nude" from their album - "In Rainbows" This was quite a difficult task for all the electronic musicians that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that's played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It's near impossible to mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from "Nude" thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition "for a laugh" and to find out what would come out of such an impossible task.

I decided to take the piss a bit, as the contest seemed to be in that spirit.

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) "Big Ideas: Don't get any" I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they're trying their best to do something that they're not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn't sound great, as it's not supposed to.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum - Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer - Drums
HP Scanjet 3c - Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array - Act as a collection of bad speakers - Vocals & FX"

Big Ideas (Don't get any) from 1030 on Vimeo.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Chocolate Girl

So gutted they didn't play this when I went to see them. I got so into Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished and then I heard they played it at their Philadelphia gig, and had a heartattack.

They didn't play it at Leeds. But this Coachella video and the BBC session are brilliant!


Monday, 2 June 2008

Foux du Fafa

The new Flight of the Conchords album is hilarious and catchy! And today I can't get enough of it. Brilliant fun.


Sunday, 1 June 2008

Solar System

As I mentioned in my last blog, I first heard The Microphones on a mixtape I recieved year or two ago. The song was The Moon. It became, and still is, one of my favourite songs. Not only by The Microphones, but period. This video emerged recently and it is of another fantastic Microphones song from the last conventional album under that moniker: Mount Eerie. After it's white noise beginning fades away, the song is typically Elverum-esque. Descriptive, seemingly "lo-fi" and strangely beautiful and catchy lyrics, hooks and overall sound.

Oh no! I am lacking
I want what I see.
You, fireball, have rolled away and shaded valleys.
So here I am the creekbed,
So here I feel my way in the dark
What wonder?
What treasure map?
What breaking of day?
What stream used to flow here, and now what dusty decay?
Let the flash flood begin.
Wash me down the canyon.
Quicksand pull me in!
Blow over me solar wind!
I know you're out there
You're vultures in trees.
I know you're out there
You're Lanterns on Lakes.
I know you're out there
You're soccer balls on knees,
And through your skirt I see,
Your legs gracefully,
I know you're out there
You're swaying and pleased
I know you're out there
You're vultures in trees,
I know you're out there
Your mountainous peaks
Don't let gravity win
Blow over me solar wind
I know you're out there