Twist the Knife

February 21, 2007 10:39 AM

Slow-building kiss-off material, recorded in 2006.

posted by cortex (9 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

One of those songs that got written around a single line that kept running through my head:

I bet you even doublecross your 't's

Which is a pretty silly pun, but I ended up writing this wierdly bitter hatchet job on some hypothetical string-pulling knife-twister. The creative process is weird.

I'd meant to re-record this at some point, but never did, and listening back it was a pretty decent first go. A couple little vocal flubs, mostly. I hate it when the vocal phrasing differs accidentally between melody and harmony parts, which usually ends up happening if I record a new song in a rush, because I haven't sung it enough to nail down a specific execution.
posted by cortex at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2007

Nice one. I think it's a good idea and if Bernie Taupin can write lyrics around one line, then you should, too (meant in the best way possible). The guitars coming in sound really great. Is that just a pod or were there amplifiers involved? It sounds more like a pod. Also, are you singing the backing part on the verses or is that a keyboard? Couldn't hear completely through these headphones. I'm liking it a lot.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:06 PM on February 21, 2007

It's a podxt, no amps. Kitchen table recording in an apartment, can't make any real serious noise.

I wanted the guitars-coming-in to sound huge, gigantic, brain-breaking, but that's an engineering feat that escapes me so far. The lack of a room for the sound to crash around in may be part of it, but part of it is just basic technique that I don't have yet.

Vocals, not keyboard, doing the oohing. I think I compressed the hell out of them so that they'd be pretty even, though.

I'm also kind of conflicted about the vocal unison harmony on the first verse.
posted by cortex at 12:14 PM on February 21, 2007

You and your fucking first takes. You are seriously gonna make me retire from making music.

Great song. The guitars are really emotive (emotional??) and the voice sounds really good like this. I think you used a little less vibrato in the main voice and that sounds really good. Did you "learn" to do harmonies or is it one of those things you could "just do"?
posted by micayetoca at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2007

Basic harmony has always just sort of clicked for me. My mom and my older older sister were always singing when I was growing up (duets of You Are My Sunshine, or this or that Catholic hymn, or something from a musical), and I was musical from a pretty young age, so I had a lot of chances to play around with the basics. And harmony vocal fascinated me from the beginning.

But there's definitely been some learning on the technique side—I found the music theory I & II courses I took in college invaluable because they taught me the common trade language for a lot of the ideas I'd worked out in my head, and a much broader and developed understanding of (western) harmonic structure. I'm willing and able to write an off line to build tension, which is not something that I think I would have done (on purpose, anyway) when I was 18.

So I could basically always sing/play "a third above" a melody line well enough that you'd recognize it as decent harmony; but it's been a lot of years of listening and writing that's let me write somewhat more nuanced and complex harmony lines. It's something I'm still actively working on—for both vocals and instrumental lines—because that part of my toolbox is still kind of sparsely populated.
posted by cortex at 1:09 PM on February 21, 2007

Well I don’t see what MeFi-thread this is referencing at all. Is it about Dios?

Seriously, I think this is some of your best work. I mean above execution or recording quality or whatever it’s just a great tune that comes across really powerfully without getting to mopey or cheesy. Got sort of a Bowie quality to some of the build ups that is really great.
posted by French Fry at 4:37 PM on February 21, 2007

This is probably my favorite song of yours so far.
posted by snsranch at 5:58 PM on February 22, 2007

I'm gonna echo snsranch, cortex. This is great work.

Sometimes one song makes your day. This was the song for me today.
posted by koeselitz at 1:00 PM on February 23, 2007

I love how in each verse the last note of the second line goes dissonant sour - an audiblization of the knife twisting. Nice touch.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:19 PM on April 11, 2007

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