August 29, 2013 8:12 PM

My cover of Starman for the Summer Bowie Challenge.

I was supposed to do Rock and Roll Suicide, but switched with someone. This is my very first attempt at recording anything, so it's pretty rough...

posted by Slothomatic (14 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I absolutely adore this. Love the vocals, the drumloop and piano work really well against them. And the sound effects are great. at one point I thought my phone alarm was going off.

for a first recording effort this is completely stellar, pun intended. How did you record it?
posted by dubold at 5:10 AM on August 30, 2013

I like your easy-going vocals. Excellent first recording for sure, I'll look forward to hearing more.

If I had any critique, the drum track felt a little stiff. I'd like to hear it either relax and sound more natural, or lean more into purposefully drum machine/electronic beats.

Seriously cool stuff, though.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:27 AM on August 30, 2013

I agree, the drum loop is the weak point for me, but I LOVE your vocal, and the ambient stuff.
posted by greenish at 5:42 AM on August 30, 2013

What they all said, though the stiffness of the drums isn't even bothering me particularly, other than it arguing a little with the looser swinging grooviness of the other parts. If I had a time machine and hands on the mix I'd probably just bring your vox up 3db and the drums down, maybe. And/or like buriednexttoyou says, swap out the super dry-but-naturalistic drum samples for something a little more blatantly synth-drummy or weirder, bleep-boop-blort percussion noises.

But then, I actually kind of like the sort of ghosty wrapped-up-in-a-blanket feel of the low breathy vocals in the ambient stuff, so, who knows! The vox being way too low is one of those things that seems to happen a lot with early recording efforts but here it really does work okay.
posted by cortex at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2013

Also, listening to this side-by-side with kaboomer's version is part of why I love this sort of outing—being able to hear two different covers, very far from each other and also both well separated from the original, that both just totally work is awesome.
posted by cortex at 8:51 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the comments - much appreciated.
I did this in GarageBand. I agree with the comments on the drums...also agree that the voice was probably a little low in a lot of it - probably because that was the part I was least confident in (so thank you for the kind comments on those!). Yeah, extremely interesting to hear Kaboomer's version - really like his take. So interesting to hear how everyone is reinterpreting these great old Bowie songs! Great Challenge! Thanks to Dubold for running it. I will definitely try recording something else...
posted by Slothomatic at 10:39 AM on August 30, 2013

If I had any critique, the drum track felt a little stiff

Actually, that was the thing I liked about it! the rigid timing but non "drum machine" samples - it's a different direction to go, which I thought was grrreat.
posted by dubold at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2013

I really enjoyed this take--it's a lot of fun, all the bits and bobs. The one thing I'd like to hear more of is the harmony vocals in the chorus. I hear them in the background, but they're so faint that it doesn't hold the full, lovely, swirlingness that I can feel burbling in the undercurrent, longing to burst free with the full charm this version is waiting to show.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 10:15 AM on August 31, 2013

taking on anything from Ziggy is a challenge. It's just so familiar (to me anyway). Yet this version of Starman really finds something fresh ... without losing track of one of the great melodies to ever grace a David Bowie record.

Nice stuff.
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2013

Ooh, such a great sound on the vocals, both the singing style and the bitcrushing. Your voice reminds me of Charlotte Gainsbourg. And bringing in the phone answering machine loop is a great touch, since the song is a phone call.
posted by capricorn at 9:29 AM on September 2, 2013

Always amazed how good some covers are in these challenges - this is beautiful. I love the piano and while I'd want your vocals just a touch louder at the start, the quieter vocals work quite nicely later into the song I think.
posted by ElliotH at 2:18 PM on September 2, 2013

Really cool. Great work!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:37 AM on September 3, 2013

this is wonderful. everything is pitch perfect. love the droney nods to different music cues. Just effing perfect.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:34 PM on September 5, 2013

Love the bed of samples and noise this one is built on. For me, I definitely don't think it needs to be more/less dancey or falls between stools musically. The way the vocals toy with a very "proper" English enunciation give the song some real character too. Great cover!
posted by comealongpole at 7:54 AM on September 10, 2013

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