This evocative love song actually wasn’t written by Redding, but by Arthur & Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler, and performed publicly by ‘The Impressions’ in 1958. Yet Otis Redding’s wavering, sincere voice falls softly on the simple guitar of his cover so wistfully that you can’t help but keep replaying it. I’m up to my 5th play right now. Redding’s open-throated rhythm & blues style resonates in his other tracks, like from his 1954 album ‘Pain in my Heart’, “These arms of mine”. Anyone who’s seen director Jaco Van Dormael’s brilliantly unique film “Mr Nobody” knows exactly where I found ‘For your precious love’. The pool scene? Yeah, that scene. Otis usually incorporates his life into lyrics, such as in “Sitting on the dock of the bay” with “I left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay” which he co-wrote with writing partner Steve Cropper. Since being a child constantly moving around America, singing was an obvious way for Redding to bring entertainment into his life. Apparently a local musician Gladys Williams held a talent show in Georgia, which Redding won 15 times straight before being disallowed from performing again. Cropper stated in a 1990 interview on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ that Redding always “had 100 ideas”, reflecting the switched on nature of man who marked such an impression on the soul/R&B scene in the 1950′s & 60′s. Though unfortunately, yet almost habitually of globally spot-lighted performers, Redding was killed early at age 26 after his plane crashed in Lake Monona, Wisconsin. The haunting photograph of his carcass being hauled out of the water onto a boat is haunting, especially whilst listening to the now terribly ironic ‘Sitting on the dock of the bay’.
I love this Electronica duo, and “Bare Feast” is only one of many which I believes their best work. These two guys have found significant success in only a few short years, with their Remixes Vol. I & II gaining notoriety from several mainstream artists. Starting out recording & editing in Mike’s apartment in Brooklyn, NY in 2004, they’ve quickly found critical acclaim, touring with and opening for such artists as Björk, The Killers, Daft Punk, and Interpol. I spent around two months listening to their works exclusively when I first listened to them and nothing else. They resemble pioneers of new-age composing; with lyric-less instrumental songs, each one with an atmosphere of the ethereal. The band is probably an acquired taste, because if you listen waiting for a simple catch-phrase chorus then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Their success lies in being able to sculpt a Smörgåsbord of tracks, yet with each one being catchy, keeping you whistling it hours later. Yet with no vocals, (apart from the infamous recorded lines in “Seventeen Years”) you’ll be singing a melody coerced out of one of their simple or obscure instruments, whether it be bass, synthesizer, keyboard or guitar distorted with an excessively large amount of pedals. Seeing them live is an experience in itself, first of all you notice the crowd is a little different; longer hair and some people’s eyes a bit dilated and scattered. When I saw them at Big Day Out in Jan, 2011; Mike just saunters out with a beer in hand, guitar in the other and they both just grin out the crowd like fools who won the lottery. Fuck, they are so talented though. I mean 4 or 5 songs in, Mike was using the beer to shred out the chords rather than using a pick like a loser. “Bare Feast” is masterful; immediately you’re faced with almost Arabian guitar scrambling, with distorted crackling rumbling in the background and perfectly, the sound of swaying keyboard notes transitioning each chord in and out like butter. If you’re looking for a shortcut to their best songs (in my opinion) out of their vast array of tracks, I’d recommend “Loud Pipes”, “Mirando” (with it’s incredible guitar solo at the end), “Party with Children” and “Nostrand”, which actually might be on-par with ‘Bare Feast’.
“Clair De Lune”, translated from French as “moonlight”, is the 3rd movement in Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque”, and one of the most globally recognized piano compositions. Most people have heard of it because, as it’s just so well constructed in it’s fluidity and grace it’s always slipped into the background of films. Seen Ocean’s 11? When Danny and Rusty are walking through emotional sunlight with the others? Ol’ Debus is filling that cinema. Although, there is a cover performed by Arthur Fiedler, and with it’s full orchestra accompaniment it actually trumps the original in my opinion. I mean, any cover with an orchestra would. Most people would probably assume Debussy as a bit of a classical one-hit wonder and I suppose in some ways he is. Yet it doesn’t take very long to find similarly elegant pieces, such as his nocturne (compositions evoked by the night), or his waltz “Valse Romantique”. The way in which ‘Clair De Lune’ just keeps ascending and changing in key, speed and volume just rips your hairs right out of your back. It really exists as a unique track, very discernible from many alternate compositions from other composers and his own works alike. Although Debussy hardly restricted himself to piano alone, through his life he wrote chamber, orchestral and vocal music pieces, as well as several operas based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe. The man surely marked a burning impression on impressionist music, and being one of it’s most prominent figures he really was, excuse the French, a fucking beautiful Frenchman.
Alcohol limits my capabilities right now, but I still want to attempt this. I first heard this song a year or two ago lying in a Melbourne University dorm, my friend Zac next to me, the window open, our adored ‘mega’ cigarette lay burning a hole in the floorboards. We’d been wandering the empty hall, expecting to see others acting the same yet found it to be entirely deserted. Although at one moment Zac and I had to run and hid in an old music room as some dusty janitor scuffled through, we obviously thought it was the devil himself. So later he’s lying next to me and he passes me his headphones as he rolls over to sleep, and this song of Dylan’s is just beginning to play. I’d never really listened to the man at that time to be embarrassingly honest, as now I’m just a stark-raving admirer. The complexity of the guitar I just revel in, with it beings based upon a melody folk musician Paul Clayton taught him. So really, how could their melodic baby not be beautiful. The fast-picked guitar played in the track from ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ is speculated to be played by a different folk musician Bruce Langhorne, although Dylan would play it himself at festivals and alternate recordings. Really I think it just was the song matched the moment, as many songs have the potential to do. I mean, I’d sunk a dozen cigarettes, Melbourne air blew in the room and at around 4am in the morning, the song just blissfully sent me to sleep. Until I woke up when it ended to cast Dylan’s lyrical enchantment over myself just once more. Definitely my favourite song by him, just topping “Not Dark Yet” and “WWIII Blues”. Some YouTuber encapsulated it well;
“Song is typical of a genius who takes a part of your life and tells it back to you in poetry.”