Sunday, November 23, 2008

Walking Catfish - The R.I.A.A. Took My Baby Away

Download "The R.I.A.A. Took My Baby Away"

This is a collection of songs I've recently recorded. It's sort of a b-sides companion piece to the record I've really been working on. I just decided these tracks did not fit, so I'd give them their own home. they also seem to have a slightly more experimental feel to them. If you're interested, here's a track by track rundown.

1. I Can See -
This is an entirely vocal recording about someone who rubs me the wrong way. I recorded this song in 20 minutes, and for all its imperfections, I didn't want to go back and change anything for fear of losing any of the authenticity. It was sort of written in the aftermath of an altercation with this person.

2. Song For Jeff Mangum (slow tape phase mix) -
this is a version of a song that will be on "zero...", but in this version it's been filtered through a tape recorder and slowed down on two seperate mono tracks, which go slightly in and out of phase with each other due to the inconsistent speed of the tape player. this version of the song has a different feel from the other. that doorbell sound is a kalimba.

3. Am I A Sedative? -
here is an old song from probably 8 or 9 years ago that I always liked and never did much with. I used some of an old recording and tracked new vocals and added more guitar, as well as ukulele.

4. Giant Midgets From Outer Space -
this is an old fashioned instrumental in the vein of the ventures or the wrecking crew. my goal was simply to make it sound old.

5. A Day In The Fog -
this is a tin pan alley styled cheesy little song inspired by the goofy voices paul mccartney would sometimes use. this song makes me feel like I've become my father a bit, but here it is in all its hokey glory.

6. Happy Song Blues -
I wrote and recorded this song in 4 hours... the first time. that recording was lost, so I tried to recapture what I had done before. I think it turned out quite alright, but I'm a horrible whistler.

7. Two By Two -
I wrote the lyrics with my friend Robbie about 4 or 5 years ago. I had these samples grouped together and no lyrics to put to them. when Robbie and I had originally written it, we were combining noah and the flood, the great depression, and some post-apocalyptic scenario into a weird little story song. when I went back to read the lyrics, I was surprised by how relevant they are now. the samples are from a spaceman three song, a harry nilsson song, and a jimmy cliff song.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gibbons continued.

Alright, so this is a bit of a continuation from last week:

In 1978, Walter Gibbons mixed a single by the Luv You Madly Orchestra, "Rocket Rock" b/w "Moon Maiden." The "orchestra" was basically an attempt at combining Duke Ellington compositions with the current disco rage (seriously). Novelty aspects aside, the single is spacy as hell and unmistakably the work of Mr. Gibbons. Both sides contain phased strings, odd sound effects and latin rhythms galore. "Moon Maiden" is arguably the more unusual of the two, but "Rocket Rock" isn't exactly mainstream material. Occasionally the songs (particularly "Moon Maiden") remind me of James Chance during his Off White period.

Take a listen:

"Rocket Rock" - Luv You Madly Orchestra
"Moon Maiden" - Luv You Madly Orchestra

And since I mentioned it:

"Contort Yourself" - James White and the Blacks

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Walter Gibbons.

I've been researching the career of Walter Gibbons lately. His work remains largely unknown, but his unorthodox remixes of disco hits paved the way for house, trance, and the various electronic dance musics of today. Gibbons, like Kool Herc, used two turntables (and two copies of the same record) in order to extend drum breaks ad infinitum. Dancers went nuts and Salsoul Records understandably hired him to remix their disco releases. Gibbons was influenced by dub reggae and (as David Toop points out in Ocean of Sound), his remixing techniques came to be known as "New York Dub."

Gibbons later remixed a number of tracks for Arthur Russell, a cellist whose work runs the gamut from avant garde compositions to funky dance songs. I've included one of those pieces here.

"Doin' the Best that I Can (Walter Gibbons Remix)" - Bettye Lavette

"Salsoul 3001 (Mixed by Walter Gibbons)" - Salsoul Orchestra

"Let's Go Swimming (Walter Gibbons Mix)" - Arthur Russell

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Looks of Love

"Look of Love" - Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66

"Look of Love" - the Meters

"Look of Love" - Isaac Hayes

Here's a metamorphosis for you. "The Look of Love" is a fairly lightweight Burt Bacharach tune that was a huge hit for Sergio Mendes in 1968. It was soon covered by everyone and their mom - but a few of these covers ended up completely transcending the original. The Meters totally deconstructed the Mendes version, resulting in a soulful, gritty recording that's quite a bit moodier than a lot of their sides. They recorded the song in 1969, but it wasn't released until Sundazed started reissuing their material in the late 90s. Otherwise, one might wonder if it was an influence on Isaac Hayes' epic arrangement from 1970.

And now that you're an expert, name that sample:

"Stand Strong" - Smif-N-Wessun