Star - (David Bowie)

August 6, 2013 4:53 PM

My entry for this summer's Bowie Challenge

well, here we go. Basic guitar and rhodes were tracked in a practice space in Brooklyn (thanks, Justin!) and then I overdubbed loads of delay guitar swoops and burbles and cymbals. I tried recording vox at night when i could shut off the AC and fans and not collapse immediately... but it just wasn't coming together.

Once back in the UK I cut up all the delay guitar and cymbals, changed the drums around, added string synth and more delay, plus distorted guitar, floor tom, and lots of reverb. Then I added lots more things that ended up not working, cut all those back out, ended up redoing the vocals completely over the weekend and then making lots of fiddly miniscule changes to the mix.

Overall, my idea for the cover was that a song about how someone could totally make a difference and have an amazing life if only they were a rock and roll star is actually incredibly depressing, and I wanted to come up with sounds that highlight the melancholy daydream aspects of that. I changed the chords around... apologies to Mr. Bowie.

Recorded entirely in Ableton Live. Free plugins I used: String synth is CheezeMachine by Big Tick. Reverbs include MVerb by Martin Eastwood.

posted by dubold (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, dubold, this is brilliant. I'd never really listened to it except through the filter of Ziggy just on the cusp of success (embodied by the insouciant little "just watch me now" at the end). But of course, that wistful yearning and deferred/deflated dream aspect of it is there in the original, just lurking a little bit below the surface, especially in that little minor key shift for about 20 seconds toward the end.
posted by scody at 5:18 PM on August 6, 2013


Amazing and incredibly moving.
posted by The World Famous at 6:58 PM on August 6, 2013


Really nice.
posted by COBRA! at 11:25 AM on August 7, 2013


The sounds you ended up with are spectacular - sometimes stripped down is the solution.
posted by AppleSeed at 4:50 AM on August 8, 2013


This is great. I like this way more than the original.
posted by dobie at 7:20 AM on August 8, 2013


Perfectly somber and moody.

my idea for the cover was that a song about how someone could totally make a difference and have an amazing life if only they were a rock and roll star is actually incredibly depressing

I think you pulled that idea off quite nicely indeed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:13 AM on August 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Kind of Magnetic Fields-y. I like it. Super depressing...but in a good way. I like the way you ended it. Made me think of living on a spaceship. Like another strange dream Major Tom's having out in all the cold, black emptiness of outer space.
posted by Slothomatic at 8:56 PM on August 21, 2013


That's not that depressing, actually it's the kind of chill out stuff I could listen to for hours. By the end of your cut, I asked myself what's next on this album ? You've got to do more !
posted by nicolin at 1:54 PM on August 30, 2013


Had to go back to listen to the original for comparison and was surprised how Queen-style rocky it was. Love the different, mournful tone to your version, particularly the emphatic plod* of it. Definitely not raising my finely-tuned, faux-poignant acoustic cover hackles either. Nice one!

*terrible choice of word, I know
posted by comealongpole at 7:34 AM on August 31, 2013


Your vocal delivery reminds me of Warren Zevon, and I dig it.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:44 AM on September 2, 2013


Just now allowing myself to listen to this.
So great, so subdued.
A little bit of a National vibe; I hope that's not awful for you to hear, 'cause I like them.
posted by chococat at 11:08 PM on September 27, 2013


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