All Tomorrow's Parties (SKIST)

July 20, 2009 3:36 AM

Skist (previously) is my band with singer/sound artist Haruna Ito. Hope you enjoy. I also made a video for the song, which can be seen at YouTube or Vimeo.

posted by flapjax at midnite (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

I think this may be my favorite VU cover from this month's challenge. Everything about it is perfect. I may even like it more than the original.
posted by The World Famous at 12:00 PM on July 20, 2009


Ha, I KNEW that beautiful into would lead into a big BUMP! Great choice with that organ. It gives a kind of simple but almost religious importance while backing that sweet voice. It also lends a bit of a '60s vibe, which works perfectly with the changing colors in the vid.

I could yap on, but I'll just say that my first listen gave me the chills and in a very good way!
posted by snsranch at 4:53 PM on July 20, 2009


Clearly done with the utmost respect to the original.
The vocal is beautiful and far far better than Nico's attempt.

Everything about it is perfect.

This.
posted by man vs sun at 6:02 PM on July 20, 2009


That's a gorgeous voice and organ. Beautiful mood. The video was really enjoyable, too. Something about the expressions of the woman looked oddly contemporary (which, I guess, isn't really odd).
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:27 PM on July 20, 2009


I'll have to once again reiterate my appreciation for ANYTHING without Nico singing. What a terrible singer.

SKIST, however, knocked this out of the park. I was a bit surprised to hear the original melody, but really loved this.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 6:19 AM on July 21, 2009


*genuflects*
posted by umbĂș at 9:31 AM on July 21, 2009


I actually do like Nico's singing in that record. A lot. But in the original version of this particular song every instrument is so busy all the time, that the melody is kind of drowned and diluted. This approach shows what a beautiful melody it was, to begin with.

I like the minimalism of the accompaniment, the particular sound of the percussion (part of it almost sounds like horses walking down a cobblestone surface) and, of course, that voice. I love it when female singers sing straight lines, without vibrato or affectation (most of the ultra famous Brazilian singers are good examples of the style) and Haruna Ito does it wonderfully here. Congratulations to both of you.
posted by micayetoca at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2009


Thanks so much for your comments, my friends. It's interesting, Nico is one of those singers folks either love or hate, it would seem. I think that she's one of those rare types: her persona is actually much more important than what she sounds like, from a purely musical standpoint. In that way, she's a lot like Marlene Dietrich, I think. Marlene is Nico's spiritual godmother. Those two embody a certain quintessentially German femaleness. And I think the lyrics of All Tomorrow's Parties are spot-on perfect for Nico. Matter of fact, I'd always assumed she wrote them... they seem very German to me.

What's really funny is that here in Japan, we've heard several times, in comments from different people, that Haruna's voice reminds them of Nico! We always found that a little mystifying, but I think I know now why folks have said that, and it touches on mica's comment: vibrato-less delivery is a feature of both Nico's and Haruna's singing, and they both have (as mica also mentioned) a lack of affectation. Haruna's delivery is always very straight-ahead, without the use of emotive devices often employed by female vocalists. I think this can be said of Nico's singing as well, with the possible exception of her emphasizing a certain German-ness (a bit of that cabaret, Weimar kind of thing, you know), which could perhaps be considered a kind of artifice or schtick. But then, most of that might just be her accent, really.

And I agree, mica, it is a very beautiful melody, and that's something we really wanted to bring out in this version. The relentless, pounding wall-of-sound treatment of the original was something I wanted to abandon right from the start, as I think the melody really deserves an arrangement that lets it breathe, that lets it shine. I'm happy to say i think we achieved that.

Also, mica, I like your 'horses walking on cobblestone' analogy, in your description of the percussion. Wanna know how I got that? Well, I used a little drum I have, just a plastic hoop drum, and the rim has little bumps on it, like little cobblestones, in fact, so that it can be played by scraping a stick (or in this case, a plastic afro comb) across the bumps, guiro style. I took a contact mic (the one I sometimes use live for the strumstick) and attached it to that little drum. Ran that through a BOSS VT-1 (highly recommended cheapo pitch-shifter) using the highest possible pitch shift, which is around a couple octaves, i think. I scraped the rhythm pattern, put it down to tape. Then took that pitched-up original (which already had a lot of that underwater weirdness that the VT-1 gives a sound) and pitched it down about 3 octaves using the onboard pitch-shifter in Logic. Also used the onboard pitch-shift (down a bit) for the finger cymbals bit that's panned to the left. So the percussion got real... cobblestoned!

Again, thanks y'all for your comments Haruna and I are very gratified.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 PM on July 21, 2009


I'm listening in the playlist player, and this came on and I said, wait, I thought flapjax was up next. This is awesome. What a great voice, and a really great sound throughout. The droning is fantastic, and the... what is that, the Mothersbaughesque synth that I initially thought was a sitar... is really nice. This has got almost a hymnic feel to it that's really satisfying.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:51 AM on July 30, 2009


This is pretty incredible, flapjax.
posted by boo_radley at 9:25 AM on August 27, 2009


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