I felt like making a mix CD. It’d been a while since I’d done a covers mix, so I went through the past few months’ of songs and chose the most interesting cover tracks, then sequenced them on the fly (generally going by key relations and/or sound, with some attention paid to pacing).
The results are posted over at The Art of the Mix. Here are a few words about three of the more fun tracks (also, three of the tracks that aren’t themselves from various mp3 blogs…don’t want to get too redundant here).
Harpers Bizarre “Witchi Tai To”: Part of the late sixties/early seventies vogue for all things Native American, this one stands out…for having been written by an actual Native American. Jim Pepper was a tenor saxophone player who infused his jazz playing with music from his background (Kaw and Creek, per Wikipedia). This version avoids being overobvious about the Indian stuff, instead layering echoey string charts, flutes, and…whatever the hell that ringing sound is, which sounds like tuned bicycle bells. Whatever it is, it’s just a very cool sound, and a reminder that before the days of ubiquitous synthesizers, arrangers were compelled to be creative with other means.
Momus “Orgasm Addict”: Nothing against synths, since this track is full of them. Momus slows down the, uh, rather aroused tempo of the Buzzcocks’ original, croons the melody instead of sneering it, and turns the whole thing into an amusingly sleazy sort of trip-hop lounge track (to borrow his description from the notes for the CD). He says that he was aiming at a Tony Bennett vocal approach…but of course his insinuating, quiet Scots voice has a wholly different effect (and affect).
Don Dixon “Cool”: Yes, from West Side Story. When I was younger, I imagined this sort of angular, finger-snapping stuff was what jazz was all about. It isn’t – there’s much more, of course – but it’s a fun sort of imaginary world, full of black berets and incomprehensible slang.
ps: Normally, I make mixes only when I’m sending one off to somebody. This time, there was no assigned recipient – yet here I am, with an extra copy (remember: the whole track listing is over at Art of the Mix). Drop me an e-mail if you want a copy – but only first-come first-serve, so go man go! (But not like a yo-yo schoolboy.)