Dream Kitchen

February 5, 2013 1:12 PM

Fifty Shades of Gravy

Got yourself a little hit
Since you went and showed some tit
There's a tart with a heart
In the dream kitchen

Another day-time TV plum
To stupify the sick and dumb
Facile and numb
Welcome to the dream kitchen

We're so inane
And quite insane
Here at the dream kitchen

This is the new rock and roll
There's no dirt or sweat just sole
But Estella flouts the pouts
In the dream kitchen

And no-one does the cleaning up
Hey....it's that Polish woman's job (isn't it?)
They say she takes it all home
To feed her children

It's deeply sad
We're barking mad
Watching the dream kitchen

No-one sees the other face
1.3 billion tonnes of waste
Everything's in good taste
In the dream kitchen

Famine raging overseas
It's on your screen, if you look
So....you bought the spin-off book
"Fifty Shades of Gravy".

posted by MajorDundee (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Nice! Your delivery reminds me of Ray Davies a little bit on this one.
Tasty guitar as usual.
I assume you've seen this.
posted by chococat at 2:40 PM on February 8, 2013

And this.
posted by unSane at 1:58 PM on February 9, 2013

Haven't seen either of those - but not a surprise (there must be dozens of variations on the 50 Shades of Bollocks theme by now).

As I recently suggested to unSane, the Major was getting a bit long in the tooth for this MetaMalarkey. He has now retired to a bungalow near Bournemouth where he will see out his twilight years in a gin-induced haze, throwing rolled up socks at the TV whenever that slick Etonian ponce Cameron oils his slug-trail over the screen. There are worse ways to go.....

Back to business. This track is slightly under-realised/premature. Ray Davies ref is well made - personally I thought it sounded a bit Blur (and they were often seen as carrying the Davies mantle) Guitar is noticeably out-of-tune in places and the piece lacks a real hook. But when I realised it wasn't ever going to be top-drawer, I got fed up with it and offered it up here regardless. Some bits work pretty well in terms of sonics/dynamics - the instrumental passages really - and the NI drums are beginning to shape up nicely. Your comments are, of course, very much appreciated. I'm salivating now for a Rickie bass.....
posted by Hoops McCann at 3:46 PM on February 9, 2013

...oh...and I think the only bit I was really satisfied with on this was the guitar sound - getting close to that chewy Strat sound Russ Ballard got on Hold Your Head Up.

Incidentally I played in a band many years ago with a guy who had a Hammond B3 (no typo - not a C3) - a hell of a sound when those tubes smoke and that Leslie starts whirling. But a total bugger to haul around to gigs - it weighed a fucking ton!!
posted by Hoops McCann at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2013

I really liked this song - reminded me of Colin Hay, especially the vocals - not a bad thing at all for this Aussie!
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:04 PM on February 10, 2013

Yeah, I missed the hook on this one, Major Hoops McDundee Can-Do. I like the way the drums are starting to bed in. I REALLY liked the wordplay in the lyric, though, and the way the vocal line holds a note here and there against a changing harmony. I've told you before that you're a better lyric writer than you care to admit, and this just confirms that feeling for me.

It's interesting that now you've stepped up the drums I'm starting to want a real bass too, but it's all good. There are some dead good cheap basses around at the moment -- the little short scale Squier Jag bass is a wonderful thing at a stupid price, for example, and very nice for a guitar player.

I guess the other thing is that when you have the two electrics playing off each other with quite a similar tone, some pad-like vocal harmonies don't go amiss to fill in some of the mids.
posted by unSane at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2013

Oh yeah, B3. About a year ago I started thinking about getting a real Hammond to put out in the steel building where we rehearse. I went to see a C3 and the guy there had a full (not chopped) B3 and Leslie, which I played. Holy mother of God, that is a thing right there. But in the end I realized it just wasn't practical.

It's a huge conundrum. I have this Farfisa that I rescued from someone's barn that is a complete tone monster, really will take the top of your head off, and sounds completely unlike any of the available samples. And yet realistically I will never gig it because I'm already taking a bunch of other stuff and it's not worth it for the one or two songs I would play it on. Same goes for a real Rhodes or CP70. It's enough shit having to lug around a tube amp and cab and an acoustic amp and a keyboard and a keyboard monitor.

Years ago in London I used to go see the Dave Howard Singers. Dave played an Ace Tone organ that shook the earth to its very foundations. He was playing with guitarist Simon Walker at the time who went off to join the House of Love but was sorely underused.

In Dead Mans Curve I played a reverse-key dual manual Vox Continental Mark II that was a lovely, incredibly heavy thing that had to be tuned every time it was played. But there's a physicality to these kinds of instruments that is un-emulatable, though you can get close, in a fakey kind of way.
posted by unSane at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2013

I'm starting to want a real bass too

...er.....there is a real bass on this. One I borrowed. It's pretty wank though - so you're forgiven for thinking I was actually playing a sock full of shit. I really like the look of those cool SS Squier Jag basses though - many thanks for the gear pointer (again!!).

there's a physicality to these kinds of instruments that is un-emulatable, though you can get close, in a fakey kind of way

Fakey being the operative word. The thing I loved most of all - apart from the huge richness of the sound of the Hammond/Leslie combination which was a total joy to play with (we were sort of Yes/Genesis wannabees (that's how long ago....Christ...)) - was all the overtones and transients and ghost notes in a swirling kaleidoscope that was constantly throwing up "what the fuck was that!!!???" moments. A totally fucking marvellous, living, breathing beast of a thing. Point is - you can't emulate that. It's sort of "organic" - it's the valves (tubes) and the wood and the......whatever.
posted by Hoops McCann at 12:04 PM on February 13, 2013

Sorry about the bass. *redface*. Was it a straight DI? I find that I need to add a bit of hair to a DI bass with an amp sim or some kind of valvey compressor vst, or it doesn't really have any authority in the mix. Just a few of those upper harmonics seem to make it much more present.

I got an Eden bass amp last year for doing live stuff with another band which has a tube pre-amp and holy shit that thing absolutely rocks, even with my shitty horrible Peavey bass. I keep thinking I should upgrade my bass but I never quite have the money and enthusiasm. I haven't tried miking it up yet... DI plus some FX seems to work OK.

The thing about the emulations is that nine times out of ten they're sitting way back in the mix and really you'd be hard pressed to tell them from the real thing, but if you're actually playing it live, it's a totally different experience, just as playing a real piano is vastly different from playing even the nicest sampled piano I saw a band using a real C3 last year and the sound coming off stage was quite incredible.

Back to the song... I'm not sure if it's exactly the lack of a hook or that the structure makes it a bit confusing as to what the hook is supposed to be. It all works great on a note-by-note, chord-by-chord, line-by-line basis but I think what I am missing is that overall satisfying structure, which is fair enough if you decided to bail on it.

But you are evolving a good new sound. It feels like it all might need a bit of glue to make it sit together... maybe a compressor on the master bus or something like that. Your recording technique is so clean and your use of FX so restrained that it all sounds very separate. It's not a problem with the guitars, which ARE presumably recorded in the same space with the same mics and gel very well with each other, but bringing the other elements into the same space somehow.

It kind of goes back to our discussion about that 70s LA sound, which was apparently very dry, but it was all recorded in the same physical space (mostly) and if there was any reverb, everything went through the same thing, and it went through mics and preamps and an analogue desk and probably some analogue compressors and EQs, and was laid out to tape, and so on, so there was an awful lot of stuff going on in terms of crosstalk and harmonic distortion to give it a little funk, and we always hurt for that when almost everything is happening in the digital domain.

I think everyone has to figure out their own solution. I think the biggest thing that helped me was buying the 1/4". Once the mix gets bounced out to that, really all the gelling problems are solved. But there are lots of other ways to do it.
posted by unSane at 9:55 PM on February 13, 2013

Interesting. What to you is glue might to me be gloop - or, indeed, vice versa. What people hear or how they hear music is quite fascinating. I have a forensic and very fine-tuned ear but that does have its drawbacks....such as a natural leaning towards making clean recordings where everything can be clearly heard. And that may not always be appropriate in terms of seeing the wood rather than the trees, as it were. So.... maybe I'm one of those guys who really shouldn't be allowed to produce records solo - another pair of ears always required. Which, of course, is the beauty of MeFiMu and one or two other sites.

Anyway enough of my musings. I think further messing with this track would be in the realms of turd-polishing. It's a stiff. Well.......never mind huh? On to the next one! I just wish we were able to delete stuff from this site - other sites don't seem to have MeFiMu's slightly proprietorial set-up.
posted by Hoops McCann at 12:55 PM on February 14, 2013

Well, Soundcloud's always an option. Maybe we should trial using Music Talk to post Soundcloud links for work in progress and put the final versions up here. Maybe the powers-that-be could be persuaded to make Soundcloud links play inline, like YouTube ones.
posted by unSane at 5:15 PM on February 14, 2013

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