the microphone hears it

August 22, 2008 9:05 PM

modular, snap-tite interlock pop. A song about recording alone.

posted by umbú (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

This is great.
What do you call that thing where you don't know where the number one beat is until the verse you think "1" is somewhere and then the song starts and you realize it's totally different. I can't think of any examples...I think Steely Dan did that a lot and probably a thousands other 70's songs. Anyhow, this song did that and I love that.
That crazy buzz is really distracting, though.
posted by chococat at 11:40 PM on August 22, 2008

This song sounds like it's grinding down and winding up at different tempos at once -- or not tempos, but like different segments have started at different times -- it's really cool, even if I can't quite verbally frame it.

I am in favor of crazy buzzes; there's a couple of nice ones here.

What do you call that thing where you don't know where the number one beat is until the verse starts

I like this too, and this song for doing it. ("Home by the Sea" by Genesis is a good example; it starts with solo guitar stabs that turn out to be on 2 & 4 instead of 1 & 3.) I do not know if there's a term for it.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 12:53 AM on August 23, 2008

My good ear digs this. (I didn't even notice the buzz until I read chococat's comment; I figured it was just my head.) The repeating patterns and harmonies and off-kilter rhythms and phasey guitar are really nice. Also the bass stabs.

I'll ask the other ear what it thinks when it decides to open up again.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:01 AM on August 23, 2008

This is just a very cool song. Love the fugue quality of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:43 AM on August 23, 2008

Thanks! I was experimenting with lots of interlocking layers--I'm such a sucker for songs where you're not sure where the one is, or whether you should feel it counting in multiples of 2 or 3. Metric ambiguity? Metric displacement? Wherestheoneism?

If I'm not careful, I fiddle way too much with mixes, so this time I just decided to send it off instead of scrubbing all the tracks. I justified it to myself that the song was about recording, so why not leave the buzz that emphasizes "you are listening to a recording." I go back and forth about whether I should have cleaned it up or not, so I can definitely see why folks were split on the question.

I love the fact that I can post these experiments and know that at least this small group of people whose stuff I respect will listen to them.
posted by umbú at 10:27 PM on August 23, 2008

I love the fact that I can post these experiments and know that at least this small group of people whose stuff I respect will listen to them

Well, you are a guarantee for good, varied and innovative stuff. I can't remember exactly when I came to recognize "umbú" each time I saw the name, but now every time I see there's a new song by you I immediately think "ah, chido", which means something like "oh, cool!".

I really like this one by the way. Do you mind if I ask you about the chimurenga connection?
posted by micayetoca at 10:34 AM on August 24, 2008

Thanks, micayetoca. I really like your stuff--we should do a old samba sometime. I put a chimurenga tag because lately I've liked the idea of being inspired by a characteristic of a specific style without the end product sounding anything like the style that sparked the idea in the first place.

In this case, I was thinking about how chimurenga music from Zimbabwe (like these songs--just click on "sample all songs") have this amazing density to them. Virtually the same pattern based on four chords can be repeated for a long time without getting tiresome because the ear ends up focusing on different parts of the interlocking pattern each time through. So, I wanted to do that, but without trying to play Zimbabwean music. Something with that kind of dense counterpoint, but within indie rock. The people who do that best already, I think, are Pinback, and so I admit that this ended up orbiting around their style.
posted by umbú at 2:27 PM on August 24, 2008

I would love that, just give me some time because I just recently changed countries -last week, actually- and all my stuff is "in transit", I only brought one acoustic guitar with me and have no proper recording equipment for the moment.

And as for the chimurenga, I kinda guessed that's what you had in mind -the song truly does work like those African circular but not repetitive songs- but it was better to read you explaining it.
posted by micayetoca at 2:30 PM on August 25, 2008

The harmony vocals in the first minute or so are just super fucking dope, umbu. Beatles arrangment meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah tone. It really, really works. Huge smile on my face when those came in.

The way it all goes sort of squishy for a few seconds at 2:30 and then resets itself to super-tight is great.

Metric ambiguity? Metric displacement? Wherestheoneism?

The title track on Sleater-Kinney's One Beat is great that way; Janet's open drum riff is totally unplaceable when the track starts, and I always find myself trying to like frantically orient myself before the guitars come in, and I always fail. And then of course the drum riff is so solidly built into the full mix of the song that I'm all hitting myself on the forehead because, you know, of course that's where it is.
posted by cortex at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2008

Yeah, this is more like it! Some real bubble gum pop. I don't care for big snares, but I'd like to hear a mix of this with a heavier backbeat and maybe a hair faster than this andante pace.
posted by AppleSeed at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2008

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