Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
I've been attending bits of the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and it's been lovely. Hot, but lovely. If you live here, go.
Shocking Blue - "Hot Sand". This song stands at the edge of a roof, doing acrobatics, risking death. The distorted guitar bends and twists, the drums smack, Mariska Veres throws her hair back with a sensuous toss. Best of all is Robbie Van Leeuwen's sitar - which he played regularly on Shocking Blue releases. This was the b-side with 1969's "Venus," the band's big US smash. The track is scorching, almost burnt, and it sizzles under direct sunlight. "Hot sand / I'm walking in the hot sand / making love on the hot sand." Forceful, sexy, but with those little details - the backing oohs, the streak of sitar, - which make it much more than an intimidating flirt. [buy]
Mitch and Mickey - "When You're Next To Me". Sometimes the best kind of love song is the goofy kind, cheery head-swaying sing-alongs. And it's easy to get enthusiastic when the performers are fictional. Mitch and Mickey are bad poets, sure, but they sing with such overwhelming eagerness, such contagious pleasure. Yes, the rhymes are trite, but bo oh boy are they in love! Acoustic guitar bounce, twining voices, and the biggrinning singsong of a bulging heart: "When I'm lying next to you / I feel moonbeams burn / I see rainbows turn / into gold." [buy]
And, to follow up the William Shatner/"Common People" track, here's another bit of total weirdness - courtesy of FP/benny. "The Chipmunk Song [slowed down]". Yes, hear Simon, Theodore and Alvin at their true speed, sounding respectively like an accountant, a hot-dog vendor, and a lunatic. Put it on repeat and you'll drift gradually into madness - it's like an acid flashback to fetal languor, the surreal sounds that filtered through the uterine wall.
I'm off to a cottage for the (Canadian, non-quebec) long-weekend, so I'll see you all again on Tuesday.
ps: funeral is the album of the year so far. will say more later.Posted by Sean at July 30, 2004 12:54 AM
AAAH HOW DID YOU GET FUNERAL DID THEY SEND OUT PROMOS DOES MY RADIO STATION HAVE ONE OH MY GOD.
I'm such an Arcade Fire groupie.Posted by tim at July 30, 2004 1:06 AM
As of now, Funeral is in my top 3 for the year, along with Blueberry Boat, and Shake the Sheets/Streets whichever it is.Posted by Keith from TTIKTDA at July 30, 2004 1:24 PM
Thanks a bunch for the Mitch and Mickey track. It's hard to believe that's Eugene Levy singing there... but it's a fantastic song.
And "Dave" on that chipmunks songs is just... demonic.Posted by brooks at July 30, 2004 1:59 PM
Sean, that chipmunks track is insane. I hate it so much. Where on earth did you find this horrible thing?Posted by robot mark at July 30, 2004 5:19 PM
Your blog thinks it's July.
Just an FYI.Posted by Keith at August 1, 2004 9:46 PM
Phrases like "the surreal sounds that filtered through the uterine wall" are a big part of why I love the Gramophone.Posted by forksclovetofu at August 3, 2004 3:11 AM
Where are you? Are you ok?Posted by Jordan at August 3, 2004 5:53 PM
I have to have this! Did you do it yourself or can I buy it this way?Posted by Retardotron at August 5, 2004 7:26 PM
I had lots of fun as a kid playing with an old record player that had 16rpm and 78rpm settings -Actually, I had this record and did this very thing! Hours of laughs. We also had a reel-to-reel with variable speeds - I tried to talk as high and fast as possible and then slow it down to a normal vocal speed + pitch. The result was totally unreal. Thanks for the flashback!Posted by azaro at August 5, 2004 9:46 PM
You can also get a similar effect by keeping the song at the same speed and just pitch shifting the vocals down like this...
...using the Pacemaker plugin for Winamp
I love Pacemaker. With it, you can do fun things like this...Posted by Krick at August 5, 2004 11:24 PM
I did something similar as a kid. Using two tape recorders, I sped-up a spooky halloween record until you could hear what was once the low, slow, creepy background sounds was actually a guy singing the first few lines of the Beverly Hillbillies theme. I wish I could find that tape now.Posted by Matt at August 6, 2004 9:34 AM
Thanks for the reminder about Hot Sand. I used to listen to the B-side of all my 45's and Hot Sand was a particular favorite. Almost as good as "Mighty Joe" (the 45 that they released after Venus). I may have to dust off my Shocking Blue album, hookup the turntable, and set the wayback machine to 1969.Posted by John Hayes at August 6, 2004 9:47 AM
Sean, you are betraying your youth. Those of us of "a certain age" had our very own kid's record players in our bedrooms. These gadgets had a diamond needle, and three speeds-- 33 rpm ("normal" for a 10 inch diameter LP--one of Aerosmith's singles: "Big 10-inch" was a double-entendre on a record album and Steven Tyler's purported manhood), 45 rpm (for single "45's") and 16 rpm. Nobody really knew what the 16 speed was for. Some of us had our parents' record players with a 78 speed -for the "real" old stuff. But if you took your Red Vinyl chipmonk's album (yes they did color some of the albums) and put it on 16, or just turned the turn-table around with your finger, you could approximate the speed where you heard Alvin and his cohorts at their "normal" adult speed. Times were simpler then, and kids were much easier to please and entertain I suppose. Perhaps we were more pure. Or not. As we got older and drugs permeated the culture we used our "turntable" skills to slow down Deep Purple and even reverse the record to hear the Beatles "Revolution #9" backwards voices.... A few seconds of bacwards voices in "Taxman" too. Was it the devil? Many middle-Americans thought so. Ahh to be worried about such things. And this in the heat of the Vietnam War... Hmmm. priorities.
I used to have a record player with the 16 and 78 speeds. I did the exact same stuff. This isn't as bad as my Usher/Leon Redbone mashup.
Yeah I also remember making this discovery with the 16 knob on my record player as a kid. Pretty creepy - I did it once and for some reason never wanted to hear it that way again!Posted by John at August 6, 2004 4:41 PM
I did sort of the reverse with a recording of a friend's six year-old daughter. After getting it in the computer, slowed it down and the playback sounded for all the world like a 25 year-old woman talking calmly and deliberately, but with a typically silly child's subject matter.Posted by Rob at August 6, 2004 5:00 PM
I worked with Ross Bagdasarian Jr. on the 1980s Alvin & the Chipmunks series, and produced some of the tracks on the soundtrack to their primetime special, "Rockin' Through the Decades". If you can get ahold of that album, there's a medley song with Chipmunk parodies of various pop songs from the 50s through the 80s... Little Richard, Elton John, Michael Jackson, etc... The most amazing one to hear at actual speed is the Bruce Springsteen bit. When you speed up a voice like that, you lose a lot of the expression in it. It tends to smooth out. That's why Ross Sr. always had to hit his consonants so hard in the original Chipmunk songs. In any case, in order to get the requisite Springsteen gravel in Alvin's voice, the singer (the very talented Sherwood Ball) had to hold out every note double length while grinding his vocal cords like a meat grinder. ("Bo-hr-hr-hr-hr-hr-nn-nn-nn Ih-hn-hn-hn th-eh-eh-eh-eh Yoo-oo-ooo-oo Ess-ss-ss-ss Ay-ay-ay-ay!") He was almost spitting blood as he sang... after the session, he couldn't talk for two days! Don't try this at home kids!
My favorite 70's 45 to mess with was "I Gotcha" by Joe Tex. Slow that sucker down to 33 1/3 rpm and you have the ultimate "dirty old man" song. Try it!Posted by David Carroll at August 7, 2004 10:24 AM
If you ended up with the quicktime plugin playing the MP3 in your browser, you can hold down the control key and drag around in the frame-forward button to change the pitch of the song. Two clicks from the right is the "original" speed.Posted by Mike at August 7, 2004 8:21 PM
Perhaps this was inspired by the newly released comedy cd "Feelin' Kinda Patton" by Patton Oswalt.
There's a track about how he would listen to the Chipmunk Xmas record on a slower speed, which made the Chipmunks' voices sound human and Dave's voice sound like it emanated from the bowels of hell.Posted by unsupervised at August 9, 2004 5:47 PM
Believe it or not, this is the reason why the 16 2/3 RPM setting was created on record players:Posted by koz at August 10, 2004 12:39 PM
Hi, i think you're wildPosted by Alex Bergof at December 16, 2004 9:26 PM
I love that Mitch & Mickey song - "When You're Next To Me" - For me that is the best song that never even made it into the movie. The best scene of the movie is when they are rehearsing that song in the kitchen, but that never made it into the movie either. You've gotta get the CD or DVD. For me, this song epidomizes what falling in love feels like. Yes, the words are simplistic, but the melody and harmony is loverly.Posted by fiddler at May 21, 2005 4:34 AM