Challenge idea for general consideration

October 26, 2012 2:49 PM

So...we've done VU+N and OK Computer. I was just watching TV, minding me own business, nursing a pint and watching a BBC 4 doc about Chas & Dave, when it struck me..........Tubular Bells. Tub-u-fuckin'-lar-bellzzzzz....oh...yessssss. Obvious really isn't it? A loop with that unmistakeable figure and then, one by one, MeFiMoo-ers contribute the constituent parts....

....but we obviously don't just produce a pastiche of Mike Oldfield's original. That would be a waste of time. The original was, from a purely personal perspective, pretty rubbish anyway in execution (horrid guitar parts, for instance) although perhaps not in concept. So we change it. We warp it, fuck with it's precious little hippy head. Until it becomes something different and entirely MeFi.... TB treated with 21st century streptomycin...

Ladies and gentlemen - the gauntlet lies spreadeagled at your feet.....
posted by MajorDundee (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah, I love that idea, Major. Unlike you, I quite like Tubular Bells. So much that I've always hankered for a set of Tubular Bells and have often flirted with making them.

I love the voice introducing the instruments. We should do that. I think there should be a rule that you have to introduce you instrument.

"Five string banjo"

et cetera

Let's do this for November.
posted by unSane at 8:36 PM on October 27, 2012

(Also, my delightfully eccentric friend Alan made an ENORMOUS set of tubular bells which he hung from a tree, and now takes commissions to hang them from other people's trees. You play them with a very big hammer).
posted by unSane at 4:43 PM on October 28, 2012

You play them with a very big hammer

Until the neighbours get hold of the hammer and play you with it....

Also - I wasn't saying I didn't like Tubular Balls. I did quite like it (I mean, who didn't - ownership of the album was almost obligatory back in the day). What I didn't like was some of the guitar overdubs because they sounded like a wasp in a bottle. Oldfield had a habit of coming up with particularly nasty electric guitar sounds - his version of "Portsmouth" for instance. Uugghh. Someone should have taken him to one side and said "Look son, leave it out eh? Let a pro take a shot at it. Go count your money or something". It's the same advice I'd give to Paul Weller - who really shouldn't be allowed within a country mile of a guitar solo. Sounds like someone setting fire to a pet shop. I was going to add ol' Shakey to that list - but I heard a snatch of his new album today - and those P90's were sounding good and smokey.....

Also also - huge apology re not listening to your addendum to "It Gets Better". I promise to listen asap and feedback. I'm sort of not in musical mode at the mo - happens from time to time, I just kind of drop out and shut down - so please don't take it personally.
posted by MajorDundee at 10:22 AM on October 29, 2012

Doesn't matter -- I have to admit that the addendum was giving me headaches and I had to put it aside. It worked musically but it felt grafted on to your chorus. One of the problems I'm having is that your guitar playing is so deliciously clean and precise that anything I put alongside sounds positively clownish. It may be that my addendum turns into something of its own in the end.
posted by unSane at 10:39 AM on October 29, 2012

Oh but it does matter - you made the effort to have a go and I owe it to you to have a listen. Not to do so is unforgiveably rude. Don't give up on it just yet - if the idea's a keeper we can work out who plays what so it doesn't sound like crunching gears. I'll get back to you shortly.

By the way - how would the Tubular Bells challenge actually work? Does someone need to record a loop of the main theme and then post that for people to download and add to? Maybe it'd have to be that participants are required to name the instrument/sound they're going to use - the more outlandish the better - so that we don't end up with 25 acoustic guitar tracks and one kazoo or something. I mean "treated guitar" is cool, so long as we know what the treatment is. Vocals would be ok too. Part of the challenge therefore is that you can't use a sound or instrument that someone else has bagged. I guess from there it's simply about recording 30 - 60 seconds or whatever of your bit on a separate track (so it too can be looped) and then submitting it.

An alternative is that a 30-minute loop is posted and then people add stuff in sequence - i.e. each volunteer is allocated a segment of the loop to work with (5 min 20 - 5.55, for instance) - rather than simultaneously. But that sounds far too logistically difficult to manage really.

And someone will have the headache of mixing this mother at the end of Nov. I guess another part of the challenge would be for someone to volunteer to take that on. Or.....ooohhh......everyone could have a go at mixing it individually if the stems are readily available - that could yield some interesting variants.....
posted by MajorDundee at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2012

The way it worked the last time was to have people check out the last mix and add stuff to it, then check it back in again. We weren't allowed to fork it (ie you had to use the last posted mix) but I think that gets difficult if someone adds a part you don't really like.

So I would suggest something like this...

1. I post a 3-4 minute track which is just a pad and click. People can figure out the melody for themselves, I think. They can choose to use the pad or not if they want to change the harmony around.

2. The first challenger(s) record a part over the top of that, and post it mixed however they like. But they also post a stem of their track(s) for other people to use.

3. Subsequent challengers can use whatever they like -- mixes, stems, whatever. But they always have to post a stem of what they added.

This way we end up with a bunch of rough mixes, and also a set of stems. Does that makes sense? Go ahead and try to shoot some holes in it.
posted by unSane at 1:15 PM on October 29, 2012

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