the Jeckyll and Hyde Men’s Choir

stiv sneer

THIS WEEK: me as Elvis as werewolf

Check out this video that my brother Franz made for my electrohowl Elvis cover!

The track is my entry to a contest sponsored by Korg and Elvis Presley Enterprises where the world was challenged to cover The King using the DS-10 virtual synthesizer for the Nintendo DS handheld.  DS-10 is a pretty great little program that took me back to my early days of messing around with Propellerheads “Rebirth”–they give you two synths (step programmable or live played), four drums, and live filter control (using a Kaoss pad-like interface) and you control the whole thing using a stylus and the little touch screen.  I haven’t really explored the similar apps that are probably available for the iPhone (though I know you can play MGMT using them) but they’d be lucky to have such a cool program.

“Don’t Be Cruel” has been my go-to karaoke song for a long time, but here I decided to go with a delivery that is more faithful to the spirit than just the sound of the original.  What makes Elvis songs so fun to sing is that the bipolarity of his lows and highs, his sweet notes and roughed-up ones, challenges you to explore different parts of your voice in a single song.  My idea here was to push that technique to make the roughs rougher, importing the sharp cackles and flat bottomings-out that draw me to punk aesthetics, but without losing the bruised sweetness implied by the song.

As for the attribution, well, I still haven’t decided on which musical alias will get my ukulele album about Hercules yet, but “The Shrapnelles” was always one of my favorite aliases from the Dutch Missionary Records project.  If this track becomes internationally beloved, I guess I’d be fine with being a Shrapnelle as my one name to rule them all.

HEAPS SHOW NEWS: Tia asked if The Heaps wanted to play at a Verano Place welcome event on October 10th and of course we said yes.  Location details to follow but our set time is 1pm so you can go get the last pluots of summer from the farmer’s market and then check us out (and the free food).

anyway, WHAT’s GOOD: The manic stage craft of The Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators [see above].  And speaking of bipolar howling, the lead singer of Wild Beasts who usually sings in an operatic falsetto will occasionally cross jaggedly into his lower range–I wish he would do it more often.  The best example of it is a song of theirs called “Brave bulging bouyant clairvoyants” that apparently came out a few years ago but they’ve got a new record.

BONUS: My “official” version of DBC is actually an amalgam of the best of about eight different vocal takes (though the individual takes were almost all bipolar in delivery), but what if all eight vocal takes escaped and ranted simultaneously?  What if indeed:

Five of the takes were labeled as “gonzo” at the time and yet it tickles me that what might have sounded like  rampant antisocial individualism (if it had been sung by different people at the same time) somehow sounds like a well-combed casual choir in so many spots.  Yes, there are places of masses cacophony  (like at 1:36) but what’s interesting is that this is less a trainwreck of defiant takes than a clash of different ideas (each explored in multiple takes) for how to handle given parts of the song.  Ultimately, I liked the “one maniac” mixing approach better for this song but I may bring the massed and unruly chorus back for another track in the future.

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One Response to “the Jeckyll and Hyde Men’s Choir”

  1. […] Zombie Public Speaking « the Jeckyll and Hyde Men’s Choir […]

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