After the Summer Has Gone

July 31, 2010 10:50 PM

I thought this month's "Summer Song" challenge would be a slam dunk -- breezy, fluffy bubblegum! I can do that! I regret to report that Things Did Not Go As Planned.

I jumped right in at the beginning of the month but my song turned out to be in a minor key and that was no good for a Summer Song, so I dumped it and figured I'd pass this month.

Then on Thursday, after being inspired by some of the other songs people have been posting for this challenge, I decided to try it again (despite the fact that I've never made a song from scratch in such a short time before).

This time it turned out to be in a minor key. And in 3/4 time.

Sorry, people. I tried.

posted by Karlos the Jackal (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite


We thought the sun would stay out every day and every day would grow hotter. Our bellies were filled with petit déjeuner brought by the widow Young’s daughter. And there’s no holding back now, and there’s no turning back now. Stripped to the waist in Memorial Park, past Deleon Roundabout. Touch every headstone before it gets dark or we’ll never find our way out. And there’s no turning back now, and there’s no looking back now. We’ll miss all our friends, but we won’t meet again after the summer has gone.

posted by Karlos the Jackal at 10:54 PM on July 31, 2010

This is wonderful, Karl. Gotta be the only "summer song" ever written that includes the words "widow" and "headstone".

The EQ treatment on the vox is perfect, and I love how consistent the track is, from start to finish: very hypnotic. The track suits the lyrics perfectly.This is certainly one of my favorites of all the pieces you've posted here, and leads me to think that you should work quickly, from scratch, more often. You created a real gem, in record time. And in 3/4 time, which I love, and which people don't use enough anymore.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:15 PM on July 31, 2010

I agree with flapjax -- to my ears this is one of the best things you've posted. The clanging beats are really nice, and the entire soundscape is warm and moody. The vocals work well too. Great job on this one!
posted by edlundart at 11:33 PM on July 31, 2010

Yeah, the clangy beats are really unsettling, and really nice here. It's a creepy summertime dirge, and I really dig it. Great sounds.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:49 AM on August 1, 2010

This is really wonderful. For some reason it reminds me of The Kinks... maybe because of the title. That's a good thing, though, since I love the Kinks (and it doesn't sound like them, really).

Thanks for posting this. Great job.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:34 PM on August 1, 2010

absolutely gorgeous. i love the atmosphere you've conjured up here. the words are great. it's all great, come to think of it.
posted by peterkins at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2010

Thanks, guys!

The percussion was a lot of fun to make. The low thump is a drum machine (heavily gated and then heavily reverbed) and is the only "synthetic" sound on this song. The rest of the percussion, in order of appearance: drinking glasses hit with pens (which I ended up sampling and looping), spinning bicycle tire, a black metal bell struck (chorus) or stroked (bridge) with a small wrench, and a cheap chinese crash pitch-shifted down.

The vocals are recorded with my beloved Copperphone mic and that's pretty much what it sounds like -- no further EQ or effects were used.

Instrumentation includes autoharp (recorded as a guide track, and now far enough back in the mix that it's hard to pick out), Marxophone, three flute tracks (each flute playing a different note in a chord), and accordion (also recorded with the Copperphone).

you should work quickly, from scratch, more often.

It's often the case that the stuff I do quickly I really like, and some of the stuff I labor over turns out pretty lifeless. But it's so hard for me to say, "okay, I'm done now."

That's a good thing, though, since I love the Kinks (and it doesn't sound like them, really).

This comment is why I spent a good part of yesterday listening to the Kinks. Man, it turns out that "Celluloid Heroes" is an awful song.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:53 PM on August 2, 2010

Things keep slipping by without me having time to comment on them. It's like I'm an old man who can't keep up with the times.
This is so great. What makes it for me is the play between the crazy Industrial Revolution clanging atmosphere in the b.g. and the old-world dulcimer deal in the foreground (I guess that's the Marxophone? I think we've had this convo before...)
Very nice.
posted by chococat at 9:30 PM on August 6, 2010

This is terrific. I really like the sense of space that I feel when I listen to it in headphones. Nicely done.
posted by umbú at 1:16 PM on August 9, 2010

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