Morgan Page – Open Heart Ft Lissie (Seb Konstantine Remix)

This is probably one of my favourite remixes of the past year. Most remixes I tend to keep for a few months on Soundcloud and then delete once they’ve out stayed their welcome.

The things that I look for in a remix and aim at for myself as a guiding principal is to do something that takes it away from the original an steers it in a new direction. This doesn’t necessarily mean put it in an already existing genre that would be acceptable but to really try something. there are some songs where this is a possibility. Sometimes it means trying two, three or however many versions until you arrive at one that seems to resonate. However there are just as many lying buried on a hard drive that failed to even get off the ground.

I like voices. I especially like voices that have some sort of quality to them, some sort of grit. Clearly Lissie has this and it really comes out. If you get a chance to just listen to the voice without the music then you’ll probably hear this quality. She’s got a sound that’s very reminiscent of many female artists, especially from the 70s.

Anyway, the remix type I opted for was one where I tried to keep the vocal performance in its entirety with as few edits as possible other than the insertion of space to allow for new sections of differing length. SI also wanted to integrate the acoustic and electric guitar parts at some point, played, I assume, by Morgan Page and piano. To these I overlayed some more acoustic and electric guitar parts and additional piano.

The overall aim was to make something of a heavier acoustic ballad track that was the opposite of the original and its electronic setting. Within this overall style aim was the drive to create something that allowed for a developing narrative to emerge as the song progressed. As much as I like voices, I also like sounds and instruments. I think it’s great when producers are comfortable not to succumb to the ‘tyranny of the voice’ and not allow anything else to come through.

I think my attempts are evident in the following sections. The middle, starting at 1’59” and the extended outro starting from 3’36”. They’re all demonstrative of my aim and working practice. The process is less refined or defined in the beginning, partly because I’m working on capturing a feeling or sense of something I’ve associated with the song. Many of the sections are built over time and generally jammed through and then refined.

Anyway, I hope you’ll have a listen to all versions of this track. Page still has the files available on Splice if you fancy doing your own remix.

A Shout Out To Louis Barabbas

@Louis Barabbas

first of all I want to say thank you for playing my track on your radio show. It was an unexpected bonus, if that’s the right way to express it. I’m glad that you liked the interplay. Can this be said??, I am a fan of critical theory and find the applicability of ideas and concepts in the everyday to be enriching. I find that these ideas and approaches inform quite a lot of the material I choose to write.

I thought I’d give you a bit more background. A while ago I decided to do a drum and bass album entitled Critical Theory (seven tracks in total and not like the record label) which would be accompanied by mini-essays elaborating on the ideas that formed the impetus for the pieces. Ideas were drawn from people such as Marx, Althusser, Gramsci, and a fair slice of Bourdieu, as a means of allowing a discussion of sociological/philosophical ideas/works facilitated by music. The idea was that the music would always point to the larger written work and ideally disseminate these idea/theories in and amongst a listening public. I’ve completed the tunes and have the short-essays/abstracts to complete. I want the music and essays to enable ideas around music, its production and consumption to be debated by placing accompanying or competing arguments together rather than merely providing a one sided, totalising view but also its position in a changing world and its role as agent of social change.

Many of my ideas for pieces are triggered by everyday phrases or writing that seem to have a poeticism or meaning beyond the initial application and I feel the need to represent it in someway. I find the writing of Bourdieu or Foucault and many others to have these qualities. For example this passage from Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge:

‘It is influenced by the climate of ideas in any given era, and it therefore betrays – often unwittingly – the prejudices of its time and place’

To my mind this entirely applicable to Albini and anyone else who seeks to assert some sort of authority and control over taste making, expressive vehicles? I think the most difficult part of the Albini piece is the notion that there’s some sort of criterion or standard for the creative act/impulse and that the impulse or act for dance music is somehow inferior and therefore not ‘creative’ and comes up short. This blanket assumption should have been challenged by Hobbs but it seemed outside of her remit or that of her producer to do so.

Even though I don’t agree with Albini, his flow is quite interesting. His use of the pause, his quite musical lilting speech patterns located in and around Bb minor (Dorian mode due to the G natural rather than Aeolian). It’s a very measured diatribe and if there’s anything to be learned here it is that music and its valuing systems have been contested for far longer than many expect and that standards, whilst most will appear to be fixed, are flexible and constructed. The real questions though are, how and what does it make you feel? If, as Albini attests that he doesn’t like it nor listen to it, then why waste energy commenting on it? The quest for superiority/significance can manifest in many guises and the illusion or affectation of disinterest in his diatribe I feel is the real message to be examined. Put simply, it is an illusion!

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your time spent talking about the work and the ideas it brings up and for playing it on your show. I certainly find myself spinning off in other directions to counter the Albini Position and I’m glad it’s been received positively.

I’ll finish with a Mark Twain quote:

‘Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world–and never will.’

 

 

What’s Up With Dance Music, Steve Albini?

Listen to the tune:

OK, so I found this and didn’t really like the underlying message. Everyone can and should have an opinion but an opinion should not be viewed as a universal truth. The pseudo-scientific approach employed by Albini is questionable on a number of levels and this is exacerbated by the unchallenged access given to his diatribe by Mary Anne Hobbs and the BBC. I think we should be in a suitably enlightened position, particularly ones as experienced as Albini and Hobbs, to forego the ‘my music is better than your music’ merry-go-round.

I believe Albini to be so wide of the mark as to make the quintessential mistake of many by narrowly constructing music based on their own taste. In many ways Albini will probably claim some ‘punk ethos/methodology clap trap as giving him license to make such sweeping statements masked as unbiased thinking. It’s not. What Albini has perpetrated is an argument that is often presented by those of the high music art world against all popular music. These are the twin arguments of enrichment and impoverishment. In short, popular music (constructed to include folk, jazz and all other genres and sub genres including those that Albini is a part of) is not sufficient as a form or practice to be considered enriching and you need to listen to things that are ‘better’. In many ways Albini has played into the establishment ideology that continues to erode music making in schools and music making as a social practice. Clearly not one of his better days but also not a great day for the Beeb and Mary Anne Hobbs. In many ways one could sum it up using a Boards of Canada album title ‘Music Has The Right To Children’. Albini doesn’t like the ‘offspring’ but Music is a constructed and deterministic act whether conscious or not, artistic or economic. It’s use value is one that is determined by the listener and not necessarily just by an authority (authoritarian??) figure.

My response could have been one of anger and ranting at the injustice of it all. Instead I decided to put it in a piece of music. I submitted it to Fresh On The Net and to my surprise it got accepted and is on the listening post. Thank you to Louis Barrabas for his review and eloquence.

Also thanks to Steve Albini for the rant and the degree of ‘sprechgesang’ that seems to be a part of his speech pattern. I did very little editing of his speech in general. The bassline for the tune comes from his ‘specifically, for dancing’ section of the recording. As such this demonstrates an interesting internal correspondence between the music and his speech.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tune and, more importantly any thoughts that might come up as you try to navigate the world of music and consider the politics of taste.

Cheers