June 3, 2009 12:06 PM

A new 'episode' of the "Evolution of a Song" series started by chococat a while ago.

This is a song I wrote and it's about a friend who died. The day that he died I wrote another which was really bad, and I always wanted to make a song about him, but never knew how to go about it. Then one day it hit me, and I scribbled down the lyrics and I recorded this demo as I wrote them.

Some time after that I decided it was about time to do a proper version of the song. I had just gotten my portastudio and I recorded this version that I've always been unsure of. I kinda wanted the song to be a vallenato, or a colombianesque song, and in that version it sounds more like bachata. That, and I really should have done more voice takes. The voices in that version are just unacceptable.

Then one day I tried a different approach. I had just gotten a tres cubano, and I thought I could do a really slow version taking advantage of the beautiful sound of the tres. I recorded this demo of that slower version one day at my apartment, while my girlfriend was with some friends of hers in the balcony. Those are the background voices you hear.

Soon after that, and before I had time to do a proper version with the tres, I moved out of Venezuela and I left my tres there. Not being completely satisfied with the song so far, and not having the tres around, I tried yet another approach, which was to do the song in a faster pacer, more in the style of paseos vallenatos. That way I recorded this version, which is the same as the one posted in the MeMu player, only without effects. I kinda like how it sounds, but I haven't been able to do a vocal take that I'm satisfied with. That and I'll have to re-record it, because there is a bit in the middle where it goes way out of time.

So there it is. 4 versions, and not yet a "final" one. Let's see what you guys think.

posted by micayetoca (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Man, two of these version are REALLY striking and beautiful to me.

One is your very first version. Your vocals are urgent, sad and very much alive, almost joyful, all at the same time. That is amazing. Now the following is intended as a huge compliment, that first version kinda reminded me of Seu Jorge when I saw him in A Life Aquatic. Even though I didn't know/understand all of the lyrics, I think I was able to feel what your were feeling.

The second was your fanger picking on the tres. To hear the laughter of your girl and friends in the background while you're gently plucking out a deep and thoughtful tune is heartbreaking, and awesome!

I guess all you need for the final is another vocal track!
posted by snsranch at 4:47 PM on June 3, 2009

Talk about evolution. Really, it's a different song at the end. A great melody and nice arrangement (I like the without effects version better, btw.)
And I agree 100% with snsranch, something about that first version is really arresting. There's palpable emotion in it, it just seems so immediate and of the moment; the singing is off-pitch which makes it even better, as does the distant off-mic guitar and general lo-fi-ness of it.
Well done.
posted by chococat at 7:22 PM on June 3, 2009

I love the underwatery tremolo effect on this version, mica. And I love your vox on the first demo version.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:21 PM on June 4, 2009

Thanks a lot. Yeah, I kinda like that original ultra rough demo and the voice melody there, though I feel a bit silly singing it like that, because it's a bit like "whining". Though I guess that helps when the song is about a deceased friend.

I know it's kinda ridiculous to insist so much in one particular song that has never quite come together. I guess it's because really like the lyrics. If I ever get something that feels like the "definitive" version I'll post an update.

And there is one piece of "trivia" I kinda feel embarrassed to reveal, but I only will say it because once I posted a song where I was trying to imitate the sound of the rhythm section in buriednexttoyou's Arboretum. and even though it didn't even came close, he happen to leave the first comment in my song saying he liked the rhythm section.

With this one what happened is that I was listening to some of the songs I had downloaded from the page and Olivia came up. I was listening to it and I thought: "what if I play SCNMNR like that, really slow, and use the tres cubano to do something like what the banjo does in Olivia?" and that's how the tres cubano version got its start.

I wonder how many times that has happened to other people here (being directly influenced by a particular song from MeMu)?. Perhaps that would be a good topic for a MeMuTalk post.
posted by micayetoca at 12:32 PM on June 5, 2009

Hey that's cool about the Olivia connection.

Also, this:
though I feel a bit silly singing it like that, because it's a bit like "whining"
Welcome to my world.
posted by chococat at 1:36 PM on June 5, 2009

I'm drinking champagne at 10:00 am on a Saturday listening to this. Could not be having a nicer time.
posted by dobie at 10:12 AM on June 6, 2009

Thanks for posting these -- I think it's so cool to hear different versions of songs at different stages of their evolution. The one with the girls laughing and talking really is something rather magical. It feels so lonely, because the girls sound like they're really really close and really really far away.
posted by edlundart at 11:14 PM on June 6, 2009

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