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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sloop Clint E - Gorillaz vs The Beach Boys

Sloop Clint E by IronicHide

Gorillaz 'Clint Beastwood' (Ed Case / Sweetie Irie Refix) vs The Beach Boys 'Sloop John B'

Written by Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett, Teren Delvon Jones, Brian Wilson

Arranged by IronicHide

(c) Capitol Records 1966, Parlophone 2001

Sometimes, as I'm strolling around with my walking moustache on, youths will stop me to say: "IronicHide, you be full of that fresh musical knowledge and frontin' nex'man's chat about diminished sevenths and Mixolydian scales an' shi', but I'ma arks you dis - where all mad ideasdem be comin' from?"

After correcting their grammar and warning them against gang violence, I tell them about an ice-cream I once saw advertised as chocolate and liqorice, together. Most of them put down their alcopops; they know I'm talking about the need for a jumping off point.

Theoretically, a mashup can be any two songs you or I care to imagine stuck together. Certainly, like a double ice cream scoop, not just any pairing will work (though if one could invert the Tutti of one's Frutti or amplify a pistachio, this metaphor could stretch further).

If you're going to eat a horrible gelato, there should be an amusing concept behind it as the flavours clog your throat. (The metaphor here is the ear-vomit that a pointless mashup can induce.)

So, yes, jumping off points. Right now, I still have a full-on concept album in the works: Denomination of Music (X) vs Musical Artist (Y) because of reason (Z). When (X vs Y) is rubbish, hopefully (Z) will carry the interest.

Looking through the earlier posts here, I can recall how the concept album got me fiddling with Ministry tracks and it was nothing but serendipity that got me putting them with the Klaxons. From there, I spread to heavy metal and high-end production dance music (but you'll have to wait for that one, homeslice).

Back in that South Ealing basement I was working with the first handful of acapellas available to me, two of those were Mary Wells and Blackalicious, and auditioning music to go with them also threw up the Donald Byrd vs Herbert mashup (that, for legal reasons, is, as yet, unavailable).

The Watchmen mashup was a self-contained idea and the closest mashup I have to (Z) so far. Or an ice-cream you'd eat because it has a clever name.

So, six of the eight tracks that should form the first album (at time of writing, I'm calling it Lowly Works, if you get the reference, treat yourself to an alcopop): Three born of fortune, two out of necessity and one begining from geekdom.

Sloop Clint E was just two tracks shuffled next to each other on my MP3 player that I wanted to force together. Speeding up The Beach Boys (by about 30%) didn't ruin the track and playing the first few bars together with the Ed Case remix made Mrs IronicHide smile, so I stuck at it.

They also both had men's names in the title. I may or may not add in the trumpet solo from Kevin Carter by Manic Street Preachers later.

It's also the first mashup on here that is entirely a product of Willesden.

Most of the track was made in a maddening day-long slog, starting at morning brekky and going through to sunset without lunch, a cigarette or a hand of canasta to distract me. Such Stakhanovite ways should be taken advantage of by the person who stands back at sunset to survey what has been achieved. In reality, the second half of such prolonged labour will leave one deaf to musical judgement.

Given that the track was a (largely) linnear production (made the first half first, then the middle bit, then the end), this meant a real dive in quality from the first chorus onwards.

The production had begun with what I think of as hand-stitched beats. The Gorillaz remix does not have a bar of percussion in it without some noise - electronic organ or garage MC - over the top. The beat you can hear here for the first 45 seconds was reassembled from individual hi-hats, kicks and snares duplicated from other parts of the original track.

The production ended with a garbled drone of the Wilson Brothers and glockenspiel underneath a rap about "babylon" and "irie". Chocolate and liqorice. All perspective had been lost, all sense of what made good music was now only theory and noise, happening a long way away from my computer desk. The honest thing to do was chop off the dead wood and find a funny line to go out on. Hence: "This is the worst trip I've ever been on".

There are parts of this thing, though, that I like and think work. Such as the second chorus.

There are parts that don't but I shan't point them out to you, dogg.

There's even a part of me that thinks this isn't a half-bad mashup and deserves a bit of exposure to show what young, virile, handsome Londoners can do. If Lowly Works has a single, maybe this is it.

Then again there's a part of me that will forever taste chocolate and liqorice in my ears when I hear this.

What part of it can you taste?

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