Song 28, July 11 - 18, 2011

"The Great Curve"

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"The Great Curve" - song #28 - MP3 file (Cover of song by Talking Heads)

"The Great Curve"

Length: 4:05

Track count: 14 tracks

Instrumentation: Korg Radias, Fender Stratocaster, voice

I was working on songs for our 80's cover night, and I wanted to do a version of Talking Heads' "The Great Curve." If you're not familiar with this song, go find it - in fact, grab the whole album, "Remain In Light." It's one of the best recordings ever made!

This is a studio mock-up I made last week while arranging and rehearsing the song, to get the oval arrangement figured out, and to line up backing tracks to play along with live for the show. I took that work session and added my live guitar parts and did a final mix to make it this week's song. I still consider it rough.

The original Talking Heads version is really fast and furious, with tons of overlapping vocals, sometimes three or four separate simultaneous vocal parts, each singing different lines. I decided to do a stripped down funk version, and also strip down the vocals to a single line - there are only two places in my version where the voices are doubled, and they are essentially singing or saying the same thing.

I got a few snappy beats on the Radias, and did some vocoder parts through it, too. I am singing "A world of light" and "Divine, define" through the vocoder, although you can't really tell. It ends up being more of a synth bass bop.

Of course Strat was called for, so I used it's skinniest, spankiest sound, and ran it through some effects in parts. Even though the guitar is also pretty stripped down, at one point there are 6 guitar tracks! I adapted the Heads' beginning guitar figure, and played with that some.

I'm not the world's strongest singer - I do OK, but I always feel more cozy singing through a gauzy haze of reverb and pushing the voice back into the mix - possibly with a slight chorus effect to soften the rough edges, and delay added if I can get away with it. But this time I did the vocals relatively loud, dry and in your face - I even used compression, which I usually don't like at all. But for this song it felt oddly right.

In the live 80s cover night show, I did this song with Myshkin singing with me. My only regret about this week's song is that I didn't get her vocals recorded - we only had one rehearsal the afternoon of the show, and it was too hard to set up to record too. But with her singing, it was pretty amazing. I also liked my guitar instrumental more in the live version, but alas, it was an ephemeral thing.

Enjoy - and thanks for listening!

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