2010 - A Space Oddity (Tigers On Vaseline mix)

January 16, 2010 2:48 PM

You're the blessed, we're the Spiders from Marzzzz-uh!

Technical details for those so inclined:
Martin J12-16GT
Gibson ES335
Fender SuperChamp
AKG C3000b
Korg Triton
Yamaha AW2400
Guest vocalist - Mr Arnold Corns

A total blast doing this one - great fun. Interestingly, none of the individual tracks was EQ'd - which is a sort of serendipitous accident but with satisfying results I think. The stereo master was modestly EQ'd and compressed. Less is more et cetera.

Recorded at the Gin Palace, Bristol, England. January 2010

posted by MajorDundee (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

All England Law Reports Vol XXX

Bowie v Dundee

High Court before Lord Justice Cocklecarrot

Lemuel Tonks QC, counsel for the defendant: "M'lud, my client finds the complaint of the plaintiff, Mr Bowie, to be entirely groundless and without.."

Cocklecarrot interrupts "Who is this Bowie chap Mr Tonks, I don't believe he's a member of my club?"

Tonks: "If it please m'lud, Mr Bowie is a recording artiste with great appeal, I understand, to the lower classes and other undesirable types"

Cocklecarrot: "I see. Well he certainly doesn't appeal to me (obsequious tittering - usher calls for silence) - proceed Mr Tonks"

Tonks "I am most grateful m'lud. My client contends that Mr Bowie and his...er.....label did willfully..."

Cocklecarrot interrupts again "Label? Does Mr Bowie have some kind of animate label attached to him that has an opinion? Extraordinary!"

Tonks "Mr Bowie's, record label m'lud...the company that releases his recordings"

Cocklecarrot irascibly: "Yes, yes - get on with it Tonks"

Tonks "Thank you, m'lud. My client contends that Mr Bowie and his label did willfully release the multitrack (the original basic recordings m'lord) in full knowledge that unscrupulous opportunists such as my client would take liberties with them. Indeed, there was no obligation on the part of EMI Records to release the multitrack along with the stereo master of the song...er..(consults notes)..."Space Odyssey". My client paid for the materials via...er...download.... and, moreover, stands to make no pecuniary gain from this endeavour. He is merely "having a laugh, innit" in his own words. I contend therefore m'lud that, in common parlance, Mr Bowie and EMI haven't got a fucking leg to stand on".

Cocklecarrot "Well put Mr Tonks. I agree. Case dismissed"
posted by MajorDundee at 3:01 AM on January 17, 2010

Needs more Stylophone.

Actually, in all honesty, I bloody loved this--found it quite thrilling, in the way you've changed the whole feel of the song, while still fitting the mood of the lyrics. This kind of reworking is something Bowie himself has really encouraged, if not outright championed for many years, now. He's usually rather open to releasing the original tracking for exactly this kind of purpose.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:36 PM on January 17, 2010

Ice-cold and terrifying. Wow.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:43 AM on January 18, 2010

Many thanks both. I think this works because I've kind of retained the integrity of Bowie's performance and put it in a context that was hinted at in the original but not fully realised. Christ - that sounds pretentious.....

I cut out all the noodly jazz-lite crap and very nearly dumped the flamenco guitar break which is also just......unnecessary. Those elements of the song really date it for me. Got to remember this was released in 1969 when everything had to have guitar solos - I can imagine Gus Dudgeon (producer) insisting upon it.

Main difficulty was trying to be lo-fi enough to fit with the vocal - although it's a really good performance from DB the recording is showing its age.

I'm not sure that the first bit really works - it's kind of cliched off-the-peg spooky spacey stuff. I also wonder whether the bass is a bit too upfront. But listening to stuff in record shops etc it does seem that everyone is mixing things with very prominent bottom-end right now. I might do another mix perhaps..... Views on that welcome.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:59 AM on January 18, 2010

For being a grumpy old man, your taste and ability to perform are fucking astounding. I'm sure David would sport some wood at hearing this version. While I really love the whole thing, I think your bass nails it together.... Great stuff Major, great stuff!
posted by snsranch at 5:14 PM on January 18, 2010

This is wonderfully space-tastic. The second, funky part is wonderful, and the bass rules. At 3:35, did you intentionally mix in a vocal so it sounds like DB is singing "planet earth is blues," or is it a happy accident?

Suggestions if you do a second mix:

Try stretching out the transition at 2:35 for an additional beat. It sounds a bit too jarring as it is, and that slide could be milked more.

The synths sound a bit too, er, synth-y. Maybe run them through an analog processor (tape delay or tube screamer or something like that) to warm them up.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:41 PM on January 18, 2010

Thanks sns - although given he's well past 60 I expect the only wood DB regularly sports is a pipe.

Jon_Evil - no vocals were mixed in, it's all Bowie. I suspect what you're hearing is the synth voices (that male choir sound) meshing with Bowie's vocal and creating a kind of ghost lyric - a sort of trick of the light, as it were. Thanks too for the ideas about re-mix. I agree about the sudden transition. It was surprisingly difficult to get the timing of this right and I'm fully aware that it's not quite nailed. The original tracks are all over the place in terms of timing so I couldn't midi or synch to it, and I don't use ProTools or similar computer programmes (incapacity and sloth being the reasons). It too complicated to explain here exactly why this was so tricky. I know that I wasn't being overly precious or picky though, and I guess I just thought "oh fuck it, that's close enough". It's just a bit of fun and it's not as if it's going to be released.

I actually like the "slide". The sound of that was unintentional - it was meant to be a normal scrape down the strings - but it came out sounding like a pulse from a laser-gun, so I kept it. I don't have any analogue processors to speak of so I'm fucked in terms of your suggestion re warming up the synths. I suppose I could put them through a guitar amp and mic it up........
posted by MajorDundee at 12:20 PM on January 19, 2010

Just got around to checking this out, Major. Love the super-minimal, icy cold arrangement you've constructed around the vocal: it really lets that fabulous voice of his shine through. Great listening!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2010

Thanks Flapjax - I appreciate it.
posted by MajorDundee at 8:41 AM on January 22, 2010

You can always tape something and re-record it to get a warmer sound. The Slinky Vagabond should hear this himslef - that's some serious moonlight.
posted by AppleSeed at 8:06 PM on April 17, 2010

sounds like you were haunted by the spirit of Ronno in the solo guitar at the end of the track - like ice down my back, magnifique!
posted by gallus at 10:52 AM on July 19, 2011

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