Heart of Glass

June 1, 2010 3:45 PM

A busy, silly, energetic million-things-going-on-at-once cover of the Blondie song that was #1 the day I was born.

I spent all of May fiddling with ideas for this and never came up with any specific concept for the cover. I was excited about the song originally, but playing with it a while I realized that most of what I dig about the original song are specific qualities of the band that I can't really recreate myself (Debbie Harry's voice, largely) or didn't want to just clone (that specific discopop mix with bass and synth). So I ended up stalling out repeatedly.

So to just get it over with, I decided to throw a whole bunch of stuff at it this afternoon in a manic recording spree and not worry about any concept in particular and instead try to have bouncy fun with it. I think it came out pretty okay as far as that goes.

This recording features acoustic guitar, ukulele, mandolin, piano, jazz organ, vibes, panflute, synth vox, drumset, a couple of bean shakers, tone blocks, clapping-and-stomping-in-the-bathroom, kazoo, and at least three vox takes.

posted by cortex (20 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

most excellent.
posted by peterkins at 4:24 PM on June 1, 2010

This has a charming, about-to-fall-apart, stuck-together-with-wire-and-duct-tape quality: like some crazy, wobbly kinetic sculpture made of bamboo, scrap metal and bits of old wind-up toys, set up on a slightly off-kilter merry-go-round running slightly too fast and operated by a very happy drunk.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Absolutely delightful.
posted by unSane at 6:48 PM on June 1, 2010

This is so fantastic. ♥
posted by tepidmonkey at 8:34 PM on June 1, 2010

That was so sweet! I love it! Excellent everything. Love your voice, too. :)
posted by MaiaMadness at 3:32 AM on June 2, 2010

Nice one cortex. Strangely enough I shall be seeing Blondie - the real band not one of those ubiquitous "tribute" acts - at Westonbirt Arboretum on 20th June. Fantastic and unusual place for a gig.... Caught them live a few years back and they could still deliver - particularly Clem Burke who's my all-time favourite drummer.
posted by MajorDundee at 4:38 AM on June 2, 2010

Yeah, this is manic and awesome and, as flapjax says, teeters back and forth across the not-quite-together line perfectly.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:44 AM on June 2, 2010

Thanks, everybody.

running slightly too fast and operated by a very happy drunk

There are times when I go about music fairly deliberately and I'm glad that I've been able to build up a little discipline in that sense for when I need it, but I think I'm happiest when the actual recording process pretty much resembles exactly this. Getting well and truly carried away, hauling my laptop and condenser mic down to the basement and then up to the bathroom, running into the closet to try and find this or that small instrument, just kind of Go Go Go Go about the whole thing to the point where by the time I'm done I don't necessarily remember where I started.

Stupid human tricks:

Last night my wife asked what happened to the plant in the bathroom, because there were several weird round transparent spots on a couple of the leaves, and I had to explain that that happened when I was playing tone blocks with little wooden mallets in there for the reverb and a leaf kept falling over one of the blocks while I was playing and so I kept smashing it until I finally dimly realized I needed to turn the whole plant to get the leaf to stay out of the way.

Also, at one point I hauled my recording rig down to the basement to lay down the drum track. I turned on the little mixer I've got dedicated to that mics on the kit, went and fetched the kick mic from where I'd left it by the amp when I was recording bass for something else, turned the overheads around and away to get more room sound, then sat down and threw on cans and started testing levels on the drums.

So finally I hit record in Garageband and wait for playback so that I can start recording drums. But I hear nothing. Playback is working (it's shuttling along), recording is working (I can see the waveform for the sticking I'm doing) but no audio at all.

I close Garageband and reopen: no change. I unplug my audio interface and make sure the volume is all the way up and take off my cans: sound is coming out of the internal speakers, okay, so things are nominally working. Plug audio interface back in, put cans back on, try playback again: nothing again. I twist some knobs, double check everything, but no dice. Is my fucking FastTrack broken? What in the hell? I max out all my levels, way too high but just to see if I can get anything, but nope.

At this point I take my cans off while playback is still going, and suddenly I can hear it very faintly. What? Cans back on: nothing. Cans back off: faint audio. Lean in to the laptop, but it's not that either. How can it be more audible when I take the cans off?

At which point I realize that the cans I have been wearing are not my Sennheisers, which are on the floor, but my goddam earmuffs.

Good times.
posted by cortex at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

This sounds like muppet music.
posted by Secretariat at 5:05 PM on June 2, 2010

We really need to invest in some muppets, yeah.
posted by cortex at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2010


No, we don't. Should the words "invest" and "muppets" even be used together?
posted by Secretariat at 7:52 PM on June 2, 2010

This is really great. I am impressed by how you manage to make just one person sound like a fun little party. I'm jealous; I'm not capable of being that loose.

It's that teetering looseness that makes it sound convincingly like a larger group, I think.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 9:15 PM on June 3, 2010

Bravo sir!
posted by stonepharisee at 2:48 PM on June 4, 2010

This is so much fun.
posted by minifigs at 11:14 AM on June 8, 2010

It's a keeper! I want this band at my next party.

And I got a real kick out of the earmuffs story, which I read while on my second listening. Perfect.
posted by jaruwaan at 1:11 PM on June 15, 2010

Just listened to this again and it might be my favorite thing ever posted to metafilter. I love everything about it, but I think one thing that hasn't been noticed is what a GREAT FUCKIN MIX it is, to be able to hear so many ridiculous elements with such clarity. I bow down.
posted by unSane at 4:24 PM on June 27, 2010

Late to the party, but I think the unstoppable jalopy sound you made works so perfectly with this song, which has lots of changes between different parts, but all the parts are pretty foot-tappy and fun. The disco bass climbs sound like cues to a room full of people (or at least cortex clones) jamming trying to pull everything together and keep shit from falling to pieces when it hits the next part. Love it!
posted by fleacircus at 11:41 PM on June 28, 2010

I am loving this.
posted by geekyguy at 11:28 AM on February 15, 2011

It's so catchy!

I just put it on my podcast and it's been stuck in my head now for a couple of days.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:13 AM on November 22, 2013

Beyond excellent, you sure do have a lot of instruments.
posted by waviolet at 6:50 PM on July 4, 2016

« Older Good Enough   |   In Your Face (demo) Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments