Venus In Furs

July 11, 2009 2:58 PM

This is the one I really wanted to have a crack at, rather than "Sunday Morning" (along with the "Black Angel" my least favourite on the VU+N album) which is what I drew out of the brantub.... Perhaps a little busy on the percussion side, but I hope it retains some of the menace/sleaze that characterises the original.

Same recording set-up as per Sunday Morning minus the 335. I tried my ES175 but abandoned it for the Strat which cut better. Bit of amp vibrato did the trick - luckily the tempo was more or less on the money. Surprisingly difficult to work out precisely what Reed (or Sterling Morrison) is playing on the original because some of it is very dissonant and, frankly, the fact that it worked sounds to me more like luck than judgement....these guys were not Ornette Colman, although in fairness John Cale is classically trained. So maybe the dissonance is deliberate. Who knows (or cares). Oh, and this was fuelled by slightly different beers!

posted by MajorDundee (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I really love the percussion. There's a great Brian Eno vibe to it, and your voice really works wonderfully on the melody. There's some nice dissonance in the tonal instruments, too.

All in all, a great track, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (all the best ones usually are).

The register for the melody seems to be much more in your comfortable register, and that really makes a difference, for me.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2009

Quite right re the register. I was struggling on the last one "Sunday Morning" - it didn't feel quite right in that high register. And I was pretty obviously struggling in places (shouldn't have released it on reflection - but, hey, I'm amongst friends here). I have a hang-up about singing that's like a brick wall. When I was a child I used to sing all the time (so my mother tells me) and then I suddenly stopped and bottled it up. Some kind of peer pressure thing I suspect. I grew up in a rough part of Scotland where anything vaguely feminine - like singing - was a green light for a beating. I think though I'm beginning to let rip a bit.......thanks to MiFiMu.
posted by MajorDundee at 4:48 PM on July 11, 2009

Hey Major! How do you feel about your voice on this one? I only ask because you sound a bit more relaxed. This is my favorite vocal of yours. Definitely has plenty of depth. Perhaps it was the beer, eh?

You always have many elements to your songs so it's difficult to break it all down that way. I'll just say that this is a really well rounded and enjoyable piece of work!
posted by snsranch at 4:52 PM on July 11, 2009

Thanks snsranch! How do I feel about it? A curate's egg i.e. good in parts. The first verse isn't so good, but it gets better from there in. Sometimes you just hit "it" - there is literally a sort of buzz when you hit a note dead centre - and the only time I felt that in this one was in the "I am tired" bits and in one or two other places. The rest sounds a little pedestrian to my ears. The secret of this track is that the vocal needs to be slightly "off" the rhythm - it needs to slide around it but never really be bang on it. I knocked this out pretty quickly and did the vocal more or less in one take, with a couple of drop-ins where the intonation was shite. It could be a lot better - but it's just a cover, so there's not a lot of point in agonising over it.
posted by MajorDundee at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2009

I agree, this seems like a great key and register for your vocal. Best vocal performance you've posted here, IMO, since White Feather. Well done!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:05 AM on July 12, 2009

Fanx Flapjax - I agree that it's up there with WF as a vocal performance. I'm still feeling my way with singing (as you can see from earlier posts), so this feedback is really useful.

On a technical note, I got hold of a Rode K2 tube mic about a year ago and that's made a huge difference. There's a lovely kind of patina that seems to come from using this mic - a barely audible level of tube distortion - a little buzzing sound - that seems to add warmth, air and clarity. I'd never use any other type of mic now - apart from one or two of my guitars the K2 is the bit of kit I'd rescue in a fire (god forbid...). When I hook it up with the tube pre-amp it just works beautifully. But it's taken years to be able to get a good vocal sound! What's your take on things - do you have a favourite set-up for vocals?
posted by MajorDundee at 3:43 AM on July 12, 2009

When the beat started playing I got a Phil Collins/Chris Deburgh 80s rock feeling. I thought "really?", then the tremoloed guitar came in and you had me convinced. Then that little slide in the keyboard and the rest of the stuff. I thought I wasn't going to like it, but I loved it, and I agree with the rest in that you sound perfectly comfortable and at ease. Great version, MajorDundee. Definitely a good performance and very good touches (sitar? bells here and there?). Great version.
posted by micayetoca at 10:08 AM on July 12, 2009

AAAaaaaarrrrghhh! Chris De Burgh. Oh god no!! Please Mica, say it ain't so!?! About 25 years ago I was in a band that had a production deal with a studio/publishing outfit, the leading light of which was responsible for inflicting CDB on the world. I'm not going to name names because he's now a senior figure in the UK music biz establishment. I remember after sessions we'd be having some food and he'd stick a CDB album on and go all misty eyed - we had to grit our teeth and make excuses like "we got a gig man, we can't stay......".
posted by MajorDundee at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2009

Sorry about that. I hesitated about putting his name because I didn't mean to say that the music sounded like him, only that the programmed beat sounded like the type of stuff that was common around that time in the 80s. It wasn't a musical reference as much as a time reference. Sorry for not being clear enough.
posted by micayetoca at 11:39 AM on July 12, 2009

No need to apologise Mica - my reaction was mock-indignant. It was the coincidence and memory of those long-ago sessions that prompted the faux outraged response. I'm not at all offended. I know what you mean re programmed beats/'80's and it's a fair comment. If I had the time and the equipment (and the patience) I'd do everything live and not use sequencers at all. But needs must when the devil drives....
posted by MajorDundee at 12:07 PM on July 12, 2009

This is a really great sound. I love this texture so much; so much going on, and it all goes together perfectly. The bell! And your voice does, as everybody else noted, sound fantastic. Relaxed grit and honey. This is awesome.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:23 AM on July 30, 2009

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