THE OTHER TOLSTOY / SP ALBUM UPDATE
Well, you see: insert tab A into slot B; which in this matter was how does one take a song not written to be a certain type of song and turn into one of *those songs for *them. No, I speak not of the masses, for they no longer attend to anyone without the endorsement of some *other hook; not do I blast on about the companies; as they too cannot fly, like endangered birds, beyond the lines of their marshy groves. Nah, ‘tis done this! But what is not I shall spake…
Ya take da riff: da-da-da-dah, repeat ad nauseum, but put no less than 4 hooks over it; life depending on such. And offer but one *change, ala Master Bowie, who knew how to handle such trifles with aplomb and I guess never met a bulldog-bear like Sir Howard. Yes, I Knight him now, for he has done the impossible. For I care more than I should about making him happy. ‘Ere, ‘tis at the loss of others, but I don’t care. Me ode zounds! And zounds! Whatever zounds means, it does!
Yeah, it was a bright, crisp morning that brought us in to harp and dare I say argue on how to best auger the disappointment. Howard feeling somehow that he’s lost where he’s won. Take this window: “Do you like the drums in this part?”
“No, not really.”
“Well, why didn’t you say something while we were tracking. You were there!”
“I was. But I thought you liked them?”
“I think what’s played was played because the straight beat that’s in the rest of it didn’t work. Don’t you remember?”
“I guess so. It’s the fill I don’t understand.”
I’d taken out the descending, Beatle-like bass line. “Well, the fill makes sense with the bass.”
“But it’s not very *pop; to use your word.”
We threw in a drum machine beat. “Love the in, hate the out.”
“I agree,” says Sir Howard, then stares into space. “So what do you want to do?”
“Make that same beat using T Lee’s samples.”
“That won’t work.” More staring.
And somehow, remarkably, 7 hours later all were smiling with congratulations. What had changed? I got my beat change as prescribed, I rewrote the verse to a new melody and sang it with adapted lyrics from what had been discarded, dual harmonies were added to both chorus and Bowie, a synth was overladen throughout, and used to play a counter melody over the Bowie melody, the lone guitar riff was turned down, and so too was overdubbed a Russian synth in place of the removed bass; which played a slightly different under-melody to change how one heard the top melody sung.
And a brief note on that synth. It came from the USSR via one of those sites that sell such things; described therein as mint. But yet it arrived essentially inoperable, with scratchy faders to boot. So I wrote the seller, describing my plight and even identifying myself so that he would know my earnest desire to only have a working thing. “You thief,” he bellowed. “Synth work when left here. I seller 20 years! Never no problem! You must break!”
Moral to the story: never buy a synth named after a book from a Rasputin who thinks all that is old ‘tis new, unless you aim to please Sir Knight Howard only halfway. For though he liked one Aelita overdub, he squandered a second. I protested, yet in the end it was this rejection that turned the screw on a better outcome. Such is luck when you’re a Knight!