Thursday, October 23, 2008


My friend and new bandmate* Chris called me last night excited about a musical idea he'd had and wanting to run it by me. And it's a good one.

I guess he'd been listening to Serena-Maneesh (who, if you haven't heard them, sound a lot better than they look**, and are from Norway, not LA as you might think from looking at them), and noticed that some element of "Selina's Melodie Fountain" sounded just like some element from Neu!'s "Hallogallo" but with one note/beat taken out (sorry for the vaguery, but I can't remember exactly what he said and I haven't had the chance to check it out for myself yet). Which is what gave him the idea.

The idea is to take a very recognizable riff--he suggested "Satisfaction", which is good for this purpose for several reasons--and start out playing it straight through repeatedly, but then as the repetition goes on, eliminate one note (or beat, or fraction of a beat, the specifics have yet to be worked out), repeat for a while, and continue doing that until all that's left is one insistent note, over and over and over again. Obviously there's a lot left to figure out--how do we choose which slice to eliminate at each iteration, how many times do we repeat, is this compelling enough to form an entire song or should it be the basis of something more complicated--but the idea is awfully exciting to me. It's especially good for "Satisfaction", because in addition to how iconic and instantly recognizable it is, it seems like playing it that way would take the already-overwhelming frustration in that song and intensify it out of all known boundaries.

The annoying thing is that the three of us in the band won't be able to get together and work on it until, at the soonest, a week from Saturday, but I'm excited about it now. I made a very very rough sketch of it on Audacity, using a sample of the actual song and a random number generator to pick which beat to remove. Obviously it's rough and not at all the same as how we'd do it as a band, but I find it pretty fascinating on its own, and it actually gives me a lot of ideas for the very sample-heavy music I make on my own, where my usual goal is to create surprising new sounds out of samples with as little effects (pitch shifting, reverb, that kind of transformation) as possible. I can't wait to work on this more.

Oh, and by the way, I know the title's stupid. It's not permanent.

My favorite things about this particular version of the idea are the way it suddenly turns into surf at around 1:38 and the interesting things that happen to the bassline towards the end as bits of it start to go missing.

*"Bandmate" is, like, the gayest word ever.
**They're one of the few bands still doing something interesting with shoegaze.

Terrifying link of the day: We're Going To Attack You If You Try To Get The Power To Stop Us From Attacking You

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