Monthly Archive for March, 2007

Top 10 Favorite Herbie Hancock Songs

A pioneer in electronics. A pioneer in black jazz and funk. A pioneer in melody and harmony. A pioneer in complex time. A pioneer in life. There are few pianists that I can consider “favorites”.

There’s little that should be said about Herbie Hancock. His music pretty much speaks for itself. For me, it wasn’t about the notes he played or what scales were being implemented. It was about the feel and construction and form of a creation that was moving. That and it got funky a lot of the times in the early 70s.

There are few artists where I can pretty much guarantee going to the record store, picking up a record by an artist I like, and liking it 10 out of 10 times all the way through. This appears to be the case with Herbie. Well. Ok. Except for the remix of Rockit on the remaster of Future Shock. Blah.

  1. Rain Dance (Sextant)

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  2. The Eye Of The Hurricane (Maiden Voyage)
  3. Quasar (Crossings)
  4. Ostinato (Mwandishi)

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  5. Spank-A-Lee (Thrust)

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  6. Domo (V.S.O.P – Live Under The Sky)
  7. Sleeping Giant, Pts. 1-5 (Crossings)
  8. Sly (Head Hunters)
  9. Rockit (Future Shock)
  10. Wandering Spirit Song (Mwandishi)

John Connor leads the Resistance to victory

Yesterday I watched Terminator 3 and Clear and Patriot Games. Both of which I had seen before, but did not realize it until ¾ of the way in. To both. I rule.

What was even better was that I picked up T3 at Blockbuster but when I got home, T2 was in the T3 box. I even went back to get T3. Luckiy our Blockbuster is just south of the Park. The guy at Blockbuster as he’s changing out the discs goes, “Do you still want this?” – I replied with confidence “Hells yeah.” Inside I think the employee was shaking his head.

Twisted Fish – Upstairs EP

My Mother is from Boston. Newton, Mass more specifically. Needless to say she always had her way with words. And my friends always picked up on it. If not were picking on her. She could dish it back, too, as most of my friends were actually terrified of her. But simply put, r’s became ah’s. And vise versa. Typical Boston accent going on here.

So the band was over one time practicing or something. And I think we were eating pizza and drinking cold beverages in the kitchen and decided it was time to design a flyer for the latest upcoming show. We took our cups and started walking up the stairs to the computer room. “UPSTAAAAY-YAZ?” my Mother spewed. That basically translated to “Upstairs!” That was my Mother saying, “No way in hell are those liquids going to the 2nd floor, bitch.”

And thus we had the name for our first EP.

I don’t really remember much about the recording process, other than it was recorded in my parent’s basement on John’s Tascam Portastudio 424 4-track with a bunch of Shure SM57s. There was a folding table on it’s side for “isolation” on the drums. That worked wonderfully, I am sure. I know the copyright (yes, it’s registered) is dated November 1993. I had been playing drums for about 2 years. Full kit for a year. I think Jordan was on the same time table for guitar. John had no lessons and appeared to have been playing this good since birth.

Twisted Fish
Upstairs

Jordan Hirsch – vocals, guitar
John Argentiero – lead guitar, bass
Matt – drums (I had double t’s then)

All music arranged by Twisted Fish
Mixed by Matt

Note: the opinions expressed after Butterfly are not necessarily those of Twisted Fish. (Yes, we really wrote that in the liner notes).

1. Four

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I don’t really know much about this song. In my head it was really only about the delay on the voice and the panning on the counting at the end. But that was the engineer in me. If I recall correctly the song was about a guy John and Jordan knew in high school that was a total tool. Sorry about the warble in the beginning. It’s on the master. Nothing I can do about it. What I do remember was actually listening to the bass in this song. And finding a spot for it in the mix. I think I did a pretty good job for my first “official” mixing gig. PS. John’s Lenny Kravitz solo ripoff still cracks me up.

2. Shattered

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The guitars are out of tune. I know. It still kills me. That was one of the first things I learned in this business. TUNE YOUR FUCKING GUITARS, JERKO. John is in the left channel. Jordan in the right. And John’s solos are pretty much centered (same track as vocals – so you’ll notice on pretty much all the high school recordings there is rarely a lead or solo over a vocal – simply because we didn’t ever have the tracks to do it.). Jordan wrote Shattered about an ex-girlfriend while we were all in the band, Undertow. I am not sure if he was intentionally overly dramatic or he actually was “shattered”. No one will ever know. Except for the fact that her name was Abagail. Can I say that? This was sorta our “hit.” The fade that comes back at the end was a nod to our then heroes in Soundgarden and the fact that I hated fades. I still do. It’s a complete cop-out.

3. Butterfly

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13 minutes of heartbreak. Not the tightest song ever put on tape. But it was definitely the song that helped me start thinking outside the box as far as engineering goes. Jordan’s vocals did shine in many sections. The first guitar that comes in was picked up from the mic(s) on the drums. There was also a guitar (in the ceter) that was recorded entirely backwards. I was mainly feedback and guitar noises. It drove my Mother nutty getting that to tape. I think this song was primarily recorded with Mat and Jordan very late at night one weekend. John came in a week later and overdubbed the solos. All in one take. There is no bass. And I think Jordan actually broke skin and bled after 13 minutes of rhythm guitars (right channel) – This was also my first attempt at writing lyrics. I probably should have spent more time working on my chops as a drummer. I also think this song, structurally, was based loosely on Starla by the Smashing Pumpkins.

4. 5½ Minutes of Silence

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Our ode to John Lennon. And perhaps my first intro to avant music. I still use “this is the word of the lord” when I am checking mics in a studio. So it’s Jordan on vocals. John on guitar and Mat controlling the delay on the vocals and playing this drum pad trigger feedback contraption thing I built.

5. Kill Fred

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Recorded with a radio shack tape recorder live in the basement. Jordan on vocals. John on guitar. Mat on drums. I am not sure what the deal with this song was. I always attributed (or rationaled) it to how silly ska music was. I take back what I said about Shattered. This was clearly the hit. Hands down. I can still hear it on the radio, even with the “penis” and “licking my neighbor’s dog” lyrics.

6. Todernuw

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There was a lot of resentment that came from being in Undertow, the band we were all in prior to Twisted Fish, sans the singer. This was our “Fuck You” to that time in our lives. Man, we were pretty fucking out there for a High School band immersed at the height of the grunge era.