The latest to come out of the Roy Harper stable is not his long-awaited next studio album, but this little film. It's a joke you're probably familiar with, but it's so well-presented that I couldn't help but smile. I'd love to see Roy do more of this sort of thing (once he's finished that elusive album).
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Another 'Masters of Song Fu' comes to a close with the final voting round posted today and it's been fun. The format of the competition has changed significantly from the first time I entered, with all contestants staying in until the final round and letting us enjoy a much bigger collection of new songs. 'Shadow' entries for the final have also been encouraged, so my latest song can be found at quickstopentertainment.com, even though I didn't make the final as a competitor.
As for the outcome, taking a look at the last set of vote results, I placed 12th out of 22, so just in the lower half - not exactly a shining star, but not too bad against some strong competition, and substantially better than the showing in the first Song Fu I tried. It's interesting to see that several other people with lower scores in the first round (Jutze, Insane Ian and especially Edric) went on to pull substantially more votes in the following rounds, as I did.
I think I'll probably take a break from Song Fu after this - there's just too much other stuff to do at the moment, both on the 'Some Other Scotland' podcast and other musical ideas I've had simmering slowly for a while. I'll be pulling all the songs together shortly to make them easier to download in one go.
FRANKENSONG. For this fourth and final challenge, you must craft a composition that contains AT LEAST THREE (3) distinctly different songs within your final song, but which fit together into a cohesive whole. By distinct, I mean both tempo and style.
I struggled with this for a while, looking for three or four things that could be grouped together, yet remain unique in their own right. It finally struck me whilst looking for something on Twitter that it could be used for the song - indeed it could form the cohesive entity around a group of otherwise unrelated topics. I used the twitter search facility to find 'trending topics' and came up with four I thought I could write unique songs about that would fit under the heading "One Day In Twitter" - these were merely the most popular topics at the time I looked:
- Despite everything from Cyrano de Bergerac to Shallow Hal suggesting otherwise, it's apparently been a common belief that you need to be beautiful to sing/act/dance/etc. Like some warped version of a fairytale (with Cowell, Morgan and Holden as fairy godmothers?) the World has suddenly woken up to discover that ugly people can have talent. Welcome to the party, guys. The fact is that ugly people probably make better artists because they don't get handed their career on a plate because some sleazebag wants to get them on his casting couch (or whatever the equivalent is for musicians). The music business took a massive detour thanks to MTV, resulting in the rise of the drop-dead-gorgeous-but-musically-bland artists we've been subjected to for so many years now, but maybe this will signal to them that there is something beyond airbrushed beauty.
Of course they won't, despite the fact they're wishing they had a tenth of the sales that Ms Boyle has had YouTube views.
- He entered a race with CNN to get to one million twitter followers first. He had at least one company offering prizes to people who signed up - shame on you EA. How desperate for fame and adoration do you have to be to post pictures of your wife's arse on the internet just to get more people to sign up to receive your inane drivel? Apparently he's an actor. I may have already seen one of his films - I don't know - but I do know that if I hear his name associated with a film in the future, I'll probably be a little less inclined to want to see it.
- Literary agents opened themselves up to questions and provided insight into why they knock back many book pitches. Some writers praise them for being open and honest, appreciating the feedback, learning from the experience and maybe going on to produce a pitch for their own book that may get them noticed one day. Others throw their toys out the pram, rant on about what the agents should be doing for them, complain about even the most common-sense of advice and end up looking like unprofessional prima-donna numpties who will doubtless be avoided by every agent on the planet.
- Twitter is full of little internet memes like this - change a word in a well-known science fiction title (book or film) to make it a little less inspiring. As with all these things, some work better than others.
I wrote a verse for each topic and recorded a mini-song in a suitable style - mock-operatic for #susanboyle, emo rock for #ashtonkutcher, wistful waltz for #queryfail and robotic electronica for #badscifi. They are bound together not just by being twitter hot topics, but by the same chorus lyrics (the words stay the same, but the music is different each time) as well as some instrumental overlaps and a theme from the start that reappears later on. I had intended to feature a theremin part at the beginning and end, but ran out of time to practice it - hopefully I will get around to this and release a version which includes it. The whole thing is rounded off with a title that both describes what the song is about and serves as a hashtag for searching twitter.
There are thousands of less than beautiful people
With voices to make a nightingale proud
But thanks to Mandy and Piers and Cowell
There's one who won't throw in the towel
Please step forwards Susan Boyle,
That YouTube clip will help you always
Stand out from the crowd.
Tweet tweet tweet tweet
tweet tweet tweet tweet
What'ya twittering on about?
Tweet tweet tweet tweet
tweet tweet tweet tweet
What's this twitter thing all about?
Authors harassing agents in a bid for Rowling fame
Queryfail sparked off the "he said, she said" game
But queryday has showed how much common sense is lacking
In some people sending manuscripts in the hope of getting backing
* CHORUS *
How needy is the boy who craves a thousand, thousand followers
Desperate to outnumber the avid newscast swallowers
I'd never heard of Ashton Kutcher till his name came up on twitter
But will a million followers and Demi's arse stop his career going down the shitter?
* CHORUS *
[Tangerine Dream Style - robot voice]
Making up names to substandard shows
Twitter hive mind, borg-like complies
Avon visits a corner shop in "Blake's 7-Eleven"
Art from the chronosynclastic infundibulum in "The Sirens of Titian"
Noddy's looking for Replicants in "Slade Runner"
All available on #badscifi
* CHORUS *
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I've been listening to Jutze's album "HETEROSCEDASTICITY" on and off over the last week and thought it was worth a plug here.
Jutze provided a couple of sets of backing vocals for 'Big Red Nose' and is the only other person to complete a shadow Frankensong for the final round of the latest 'Masters of Song Fu'. There is a nicely eclectic selection of songs on his album, which is named after a statistical term (and why not), ranging from acoustic ditties to heavy rock. He manages to out-R.E.M. R.E.M. on the song "I Wish Natalie Portman Was My Neighbour", covers similar territory to Katie Melua's "If You Were A Sailboat" with more wit on "If I Could Paint My Feelings" ("If I could weave my heart, I'd just make towels") and even get a little serious with "Spirit She". All of the songs are performed in English, apart from two statistical songs in German, which is a language built for rock.
The wonderfully chirpy "In Love With Michael Owen" reminds me of Judge Smith, which is high praise from me, and in fact the whole album does share a similar sort of low-budget charm with Judge's earlier efforts "Democrazy" and "Dome of Discovery".
So give Jutze a little listen - his whole album is available as a free download and would be a bargain at ten times the price!
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Here's a low-budget video for the latest Song Fu challenge song. Only the title was set for this round, so I took a little inspiration from the rather mixed reception the finale of 'Battlestar Galactica' received on the internet. Like several other popular cult series, it finished with several untied loose ends, some of which are quoted in the song. When it is running, you should be able to click on the little upward-pointing arrow at the bottom-right corner to switch on subtitles which display the song lyric.
If you enjoyed that, then please head over to Quickstop Entertainment and vote for it!
Red Nose Song Fu Special
Quickstop have also now made the songs from the Red Nose Day special available, right here. During the webcast show one of the Song Fu-ers, Joe 'Covenant' Lamb, composed another song which can be found along with the other songs here. Incidentally, in the same way that a number of people guested on my Red Nose song, Joe's Red Nose song also featured guests including me (playing yobstick and singing).
Don't forget to donate - the Red Nose Net event raised over £4,000 for Comic Relief!