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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pyar Babar The Crooked Elephant Confrontation And Sacrifice - Lata Mangeshkar & Manhar v Milan Kymlicka v Slayer v The Stone Roses v Philip Glass


Lata Mangeshkar & Manhar 'Pyar Karne Wale' v Milan Kymlicka 'Babar (Ending Credits)' v Slayer 'Behind The Crooked Cross' v The Stone Roses 'Elephant Stone' v Philip Glass 'Confrontation And Rescue' v Slayer 'Altar Of Sacrifice' (Including samples from interview with Slayer Fan)

Written by Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar, Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, Milan Kymlicka, Jeff Hanneman, Ian Brown, John Squire, Gary Mountfield, Alan Wren, Philip Glass, Constance de Jong, Kerry King

Arranged by Ironichide 

(c) Mukta Arts 1983, Def American 1988, Nelvana 1989, Silvertone 1988, Sony 1984, Def American 1986

There comes a point when quantity has a quality all of its own. Joesf D Stalin said that. Not me.

Stalin, however, is a good starting point for a mashup about a power-crazed pachyderm industrialist called Kali Babar taking part in this year's 80's-styled fictitious animal-melee bonanza

So too is Satyagraha, the opera by Philip Glass (with libretto taken from the Bhagavad Gita and sung in Sanskrit) when you consider that the subject matter of one's mashup is Indian and awoken by Kali, Goddess of Destruction.

There were three pieces from Satyagraha (which I have seen performed by the ENO, bitches) in contention for this mash: The Vow, Evening Song and Confrontation and Rescue. The latter was picked for its high tempo and ready supply of music in a steady 4/4 signature (Glass basing lots of the music around the Indian concept of a raga, where every beat carries the same weight).

I took one section, cut out the seventh and eight bar of each measure (where the chorus sing on the off-beat) and stuck Reni's drums from the extended mix of Elephant Stone over the top, chopping and duplicating to get a minute's worth of it. It was fun, but not enough, I wanted to go bigger.

As opposed to my normal method of playing lots of stuff together, listening to what might work, I gathered a long list of potential tracks - about a dozen of my favourite Bollywood songs from the '80s (I have two cds-worth, natch) and any Slayer track from Reign In Blood or South Of Heaven that referenced religion - and started picking all of them apart in my sound editor, with comprehensive notes of timing, tempo, key, moments of interest.

From this session I had an abortive mix of Altar Of Sacrifice from another passage of Confrontation... and a lot of different attempts at putting the opening credits of Babar with something.

I mentioned Satyagraha to Major Failure, the commandante over at ZooFights, while kicking around the ideas that I had begun. He joked that the epitome of music for me would be when Slayer performed an opera about Count Duckula. I took that (stupidly) as a dare. Now look what I've done.

Most of my mashups are one song versus another. There are a few exceptions. This was going to be a challenge to stick as many tracks in to three minutes as I could, using as much Slayer as possible, and have it in three identifiable movements.

An early breakthrough was switching to the closing music for Babar by Czech-Canadian composer Milan Kymlicka. The jolly bridge in the piece made me think of Handel, maybe even Chopin, and was easy to set to Dave Lombardo's less-aggressive drum work on Behind The Crooked Cross. (As an aside, I was determined to use tracks from South Of Heaven because I have something special brewing with Reign In Blood. Originally, I was keen to use Spill The Blood but that just never took off.) 

As another aside, I actually had to slow down Kymlicka's theme tune to fit Slayer. I guess the 180bpm days were over for them by '86.

The first idea was to use this Babar-Slayer mini-mashup as a juxtaposition segueing from one use of Satyagraha to another. As it was, Mrs IronicHide overheard it and thought it was 'horrible circus music', prompting me to think of it as the entrance music for Kali Babar plus entourage; a cute fascist march to the arena. Plus, sticking it at the start meant I could have Slayer mini-mashups opening and closing the whole thing with the original Stone Roses / Philip Glass mashup as the meat in my sandwich of oral buggeration.

Still, for all I, the Major, and now you, know about subcontinental opera, the mashup needed more India in it. I knew I wouldn't be able to crowbar in an entire track but I wanted more than a token swirl of sitar or reverb-heavy girl-on-mountain-top refrain. Pyar Karne Wale (from the 1983 Mukta Arts movie Hero) gave me several good breaks on tabla and drums that I sped up by 63% to fit Glass' work. They also sound awesome that fast and I had them on loop while getting some other work done. I also recommend speeding up the Pet Shop Boys and Faith No More by about 20% for all their tracks. It's intense.

I could then use these breaks as glue for the three parts though, for once, none of them are actually covering any shortcomings in the other tracks on display. 

I've mentioned before how some mashups are no more than a handful of channels in a single audio session, while some run to extremes, kept in two or three separate sessions. This thing was at least five sessions, all of which (except Babar / Slayer) were running an average dozen channels. That cry of 'Slaaayyyyeeeerrrrrr' (by this guy, who has taught me what Slayer love really is) just before the two-minute mark is seven stereo channels alone.

Sticking the thing together wasn't too hard, the last part was trimmed at the start to fit better (unfortunately losing the distorted synth tune from Pyar Karne Wale) and two more Slayer fan quotes bookended the whole thing. There you have it. Slayer perform an opera about Babar in two and a half minutes in three movements: Entrance, Confrontation, Sacrifice.

There was also a mashup made for Kali Babar's opponent Double Eelix but that was rushed and (at time of writing) I plan to entirely remaster it and re-release it.

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