Tag Archives: Music

Classic Minus One album : “Meddle” by Pink Floyd

The second Classic Minus One starts with Pink Floyd’s 1973 mega-album Dark Side of the Moon. Their previous album-album was 1971′s Meddle. Why album-album? Well in 1972 they recorded a soundtrack for the movie Obscured by Clouds. So I mean non-soundtrack-album.

The thing for me with Meddle is the one track. In fact back when albums had sides, this one song took up all of Side Two. It’s their masterpiece Echoes.

All I can say is just have a listen to it, preferably through headphones or in a good audio environment. It’s some 23 minutes long and goes through a number of phases, including:

  • Dreamy and wistful, sweet vocals
  • A heavier rock/guitar/funk,
  • A fascinating, experimental soundscape (see below)
  • More dreamy vocals
  • A final heavier flourish, then dreamy fade

The soundscape section is very interesting. It’s not ‘music’ in the traditional instrument, chords, melody, rhythm way. It sounds like early synthesisers, but used in a subtle, almost gentle way. There’s a swirling, whooshing sort of sound set in the bottom layer. In the distance we hear what sounds like birds. In fact that’s what it all sounds like to me: we’re on an alien planet, shrouded in a dense fog. Lonely, bird like creatures are swooping in and out of hearing range. They are occasionally calling out to each other through the cold fog.

No, I’m not kidding. That’s the image these amazing sounds create when I hear them. I guess that itself is a tribute to the creative team behind this wonderful work of aural art.

Classic Albums (minus one) Revolver

It’s interesting to take a musical step back. That is, to take a classic album and look at the one the artist released directly before that. In other words a classic minus one.

First classic is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from The Beatles (1967), so back one is Revolver (1966). In many ways I actually get more from Revolver that its more famous cousin, Pepper. To me Revolver is the big jump album. It took the lads from the pop world into the more experimental landscape that the studio offered them.

This was a key time too. They were no longer touring or even playing live. So, in one sense, they didn’t have to be concerned about being able to re-create the recording live or in concert. I’d argue that they could easily re-create all of Revolver’s predecessor (1965′s excellent Rubber Soul) on the stage quite easily. Not so with Revolver itself. At least not without backing tapes to help.

A quick look at the track listing:

  • Taxman
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I’m Only Sleeping
  • Love You To
  • Here, There and Everywhere
  • Yellow Submarine
  • She Said She Said
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • For No One
  • Doctor Robert
  • I Want to Tell You
  • Got to Get You Into My Life
  • Tomorrow Never Knows

…shows a wide variation of influences and styles. From George’s political opening number Taxman, through to Paul’s sad, socially aware Rigby and For No-One.

And John. Wow. John – for me at least – provides the Big Jump songs, such as And Your Bird Can Sing,She Said and Tomorrow. The lyrics, the playing and the recording, which included backwards guitars, chants etc, were (are!) stunning. This brings George Martin and his team of studio magicians into the mix: excellent work from them as well. Indeed I’d rate Revolver as a Classic Album unto itself. And hence the whole title and concept of this article is redundant. But I’ve enjoyed the journey anyway

Interesting Songs: April 25th 2008

Don’t mind a bit of heavy, rock-oriented dance music. Yes, this comes from a proud owner of the late 70′s single Death to Disco….

Last Train To Trancentral (The KLF, 1991)
Who knows what all the samples and references mean, this was a great, fast-paced dance song. Clip at You Tube.  From the team that bought you Doctorin’ the Tardis too.

Blue Monday [Techno remix] (Orgy)
Hard and heavy re-doing of this classic dance number. Play loud. Clip at You Tube.

Out of Control (Chemical Brothers)
Wow. First time I heard this, it just grabbed me. The full, album version has a great instrumental break too. You Tube clip.

Interesting Songs: April 25th 2008

Don’t mind a bit of heavy, rock-oriented dance music. Yes, this comes from a proud owner of the late 70′s single Death to Disco….

Last Train To Trancentral (The KLF, 1991)
Who knows what all the samples and references mean, this was a great, fast-paced dance song. Sample at last.fm From the team that bought you Doctorin’ the Tardis too.

Blue Monday [Techno remix] (Orgy)
Hard and heavy re-doing of this classic dance number. Play loud. Clip at You Tube.

Out of Control (Chemical Brothers)
Wow. First time I heard this, it just grabbed me. The full, album version has a great instrumental break too. You Tube clip.

Interesting Songs: April 15th 2008

Virginia Plain (Roxy Music, 1972). Sample at last.fm.
Was used a few times in the excellent TV series Life on Mars. At first it did slightly annoy me, with it’s repetitive x-y, x-y chords, but then it grew on me. Early Roxy, with Ferry and Eno. And lots of eye shadow.

Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac, 1969). Sample at last.fm.
Well before Rhiannon and Sarah and Stevie and Lindsey (and, to be fair, the big financial rewards that commercial pop brings), this is a much heavier, more guitar-oriented Mac. 1969! Wow. But what’s with the strange little percussive breaks? “Hey Mick, we’ll all stop playing and you hit your drum stand a few times” : methinks Mick, John and Peter et al have been visiting the Court of the Crimson King.

Smiley (Ronnie Burns, 1969). Youtube video via last.fm.

The recent repeat of ABC TV’s Love is in the Air documentary series, covered this song and its story. Written by Johnny Young, it’s a (somewhat disguised) anti-war song, like Russell Morris’ excellent Rachel was as well. Young wrote it for his mate Normie Rowe, who was indeed off to a certain “Asian War”.

One (Johnny Farnham, 1970). (can’t find a clip)
Stuck in an 1969/72 timewarp with this bunch of songs. This was a slightly more down song from the King of Pop. It also reminds me a bit of The Real Thing with it’s swirling, rising/falling chord runs. Mmm. The second Russell Morris reference today.

Interesting Songs: April 2nd 2008

"Stray Cat Blues" – Rolling Stones (1968 UK) classic-period blues/rock, play LOUD

"I’m Waiting for the Man" – Velvet Underground inc Lou Reed (1967 ! USA ) driving, simple song. Possibly about, umm, heroin dealers

"Appetite" – Prefab Sprout (1985 UK) pop, just sweet pop

"Where Is the Love" – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (1972 USA) sweet soul pop

"Fall" – Single Gun Theory (1994 AUS) gentle and relaxing. Youtube clip.

"I Saved the World Today" – Eurythmics (1999 UK) well crafted, high quality and thoughtful.

"Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)" – Looking Glass (1972 USA). High standard white soul/pop

"I Wish You Were Here" – Ed Kuepper (1993 AUS) Longing ballad from ex-guitarist of The Saints. Amazon sample.

"Like a Rolling Stone" – Bob Dylan (1965 USA) How does it feeeeeel?

Deconstructing “Breathe With Me Till Dawn”

Two of my favourite songs are Judie Tzuke’s beautiful “Stay With Me Till Dawn” and Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” from Dark Side of the Moon.

So it was with great interest I discovered a mashup of the two. Mashups are not remixes per se, but are usually two or more songs intertwined. In this case it’s Floyd’s (original) music playing whilst Tzuke sings her (original) lyrics at the same time.

This means taking the original 1970s recordings and using a digital audio program like ACID or Garage Band to adjust them – or selected parts of them – to match up. This software can (time) stretch one without changing the pitch (key). Or adjust the pitch without the time. Or even beat-match; adjust the tempo of one song to match the other.

I’m sure this has serious concerns from a legal sense, but I’m looking at it from a musical and technology view.
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Songs that would make You get up and dance

So you are out with people of age 30+ or even 30++ You’ve had enough Bundys to feel relaxed and less tentative when it comes to matters of a dancing nature.

What songs seem to take your feet and by remote control, drag them – and hence your torso et al – up to the dance floor?

Some starters, in random order:

  • Goodby T’ Jane – Slade
  • Twist and Shout – Beatles
  • Friday on My Mind – Easybeats
  • Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
  • Better the Devil You Know – Kylie
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Recording studio in your pocket

As per the earlier post, I’ve been using something called “live” Linux ; which is where the entire O/S plus all software lives on a bootable media (CD) and doesn’t actually need a hard drive (!). Full GUI, mouse, network, sound etc. Windows cannot do this. It helped me rescue GB of data yesterday…

Now, there’s a good amount of musical recording/editing software for Linux; nearly all free and yet seen as professional quality.

Recently some guys have brought the two ideas together. They have the full Linux O/S, (inc GUI, network, sound, mouse etc). Whilst it can boot from a CD, they’ve squashed it onto a bootable USB Flash Key drive. With compression some 3 GB of s/w can squeeze onto 650 MB.

The beauty of using a USB key drive is that it frees up the CD for burning and it’s quicker than the CD. (The device that it boots from must remain in place as the O/S + all s/w lives there)

In theory you can plug this into ANY pc as it detects the h/w at boot time. They record away (it goes to the Flash drive), edit and can burn to CD or dump over a network to another PC. The main purpose is to fit all of this into the new very small PC cases called ITX. Their main project page

May 19 2004 – Songs on Rotation

For no particular reason, here’s some of the songs that my Media Librarian advises I’ve been playing the most. Didn’t know it was keeping count until recently. A pleasant surprise. I probably wouldn’t have guessed some of these:

  • “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” – Alison Kraus
  • “Different Drum” – Linda Rondstadt
  • “Smelly Cat Medley” – Phoebe Buffay and the Hairballs, and the Pretenders
  • “Love and Mercy” – Brian Wilson
  • “Good Dancers” – The Sleepy Jackson
  • “Mack the Knife” – Bobby Darin
  • “Embraceable You” – Oleta Adams
  • “Does Your Mother Know?” – ABBA
  • “I’m Stranded” – The Saints
  • “Ever Fallen in Love?” – The Buzzcocks
  • “Livin’ la vita Homo” – not sure
  • “Love Will Never Do” – Janet Jackson
  • “Some Velvet Morning” – Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
  • “Don’t Stand So Close to the Window” – Paul Kelly