Strange & Beautiful (I'll Put a Spell On You)

October 18, 2013 2:27 AM

My second Request Raffle challenge submission: a soulful song played on an out-of-tune piano!

So firstly, I wasn't planning to do this - I've been trying to allocate it to someone, but not many folk have access to a properly out-of-tune piano... neither do I, normally, but I was in a friend's place at the weekend and found this poor old beast that's only been used as a prop since it became unplayable.

OR SO THEY THOUGHT. Ha. It's a rush-job, recorded with my iphone on the music-stand, hence the shitty vocal and awkward playing, as I only had 5 minutes in which to do it. But I chose this song because the original is so pretty but SUPER processed, so I thought it would be funny to turn it around and see if it still worked.

posted by greenish (13 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

Wow, that thing is a wreck! Sounds great, though, really. The vocal is great, too. It all works really well together and, really, this is so much better than the original, to my sensibilities.

My grandmother recently passed and left an even-worse wreck of an old piano in the living room. We're trying to figure out how to dispose of it, but I might call a tuner first and see if it can be made playable again, because it always had really great action, and I'd really like to keep it (not that I have anywhere to put it right now, but that's another story altogether).
posted by uncleozzy at 7:19 AM on October 18, 2013

Excellent! Definitely nothing wrong with the vocals or the recording quality to my ears. Piano sounds pleasantly unhealthy, great contrast with the singing.
posted by comealongpole at 3:10 PM on October 18, 2013

Yeah, very neat how it ends up all tied together regardless of intonation. I really like those final chords, actually.
posted by ignignokt at 7:03 PM on October 18, 2013

So great.
Your vocals are fantastic and they just emphasize the contrast with the old piano in such a brilliant way.
I love this song because it raises kind of a cool thing: a lot of us have these old pianos; (we have a shitty old one in our house, my mom and dad have one in theirs) look at craigslist and people are putting their old pianos on the's kind of a shame that people just want to get rid of them. It's a drag to keep them in tune but man, they have such personality. I just love hearing recordings like this.
A cool challenge would be to hear recordings from peoples' old pianos; ancient and dirty and just how they are. Before they all get trashed.
posted by chococat at 11:06 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow thanks guys. I really rushed this so all I can hear are the bits that make me think oooh I'd have overdubbed that! but I think I've been saved by the sheer ear-grinding awesomeness of a nicely out-of-tune piano :)
posted by greenish at 8:32 AM on October 21, 2013

Excellent job. This is way cooler than the original, imo. Also, That's a heck of a recording for an iphone.
posted by TheNegativeInfluence at 6:19 PM on October 21, 2013

Oh man this is so good!
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:47 PM on November 1, 2013

Wow! This is great.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:43 AM on November 2, 2013

hence the shitty vocal and awkward playing

I would love to hear more shitty vocals and awkward playing. That was beautiful.
posted by emilyw at 11:02 AM on November 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like this a lot. A LOT.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:28 AM on November 12, 2013

Oh sweet! That's sounds so awesome; it was exactly what I had in mind!
posted by rubah at 11:13 PM on February 22, 2014

God, this is gorgeous. The piano is obviously super out of tune but with the pedals deployed like that it sounds almost intentional, like there's a chorus pedal on it or something. And I love your voice - the vocals are amazing.
posted by en forme de poire at 8:43 PM on January 19, 2015

I like your version far better than the original. And out-of-tune pianos are the best (even though I get mine tuned once a year).
posted by not_on_display at 8:52 PM on March 24, 2016

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