2011: SIDtastic! Volume 5: Remainders
- Thursday, 27 January 2011 21:53
Here it is, SIDtastic! Volume 5! Where the first three were covers of complete albums, and number four was composed of songs from only three artists, volume five is a veritable potpourri of artists. From Europe, to Huey Lewis, to Gloria Estefan, to The Tokens, Volume 5 has a little of everything. As before, all songs contained here were created using the SID chip found in my trusty Commodore 64 between 1988 and 1992. The SID chip allowed for 3 monophonic voices, so each cover was an interesting study in choosing the right note at the right time. Quite a difference from modern digital music where I can basically have unlimited notes and voices at any one time.
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2011: SIDtastic! Volume 4: Jackson Michael & Oates
- Thursday, 27 January 2011 20:20
Volume 4 of my SIDtastic! collection is here! This volume contains SID-a-fied nuggets from Michael Jackson, George Michael, and Hall & Oates, hence the title Jackson Michael & Oates. Ha. Ha. Ha. Most of these were completed during the summer of 1988, before my senior year of high school. Two were done around Thanksgiving of that year, and two were completed in January of ’89.
If I had to pick favorites from this batch, they would be as follows: Man in the Mirror, because I love the pristine bell reverb I was able to create for the opening. Faith, as this cover is the polar opposite of the version Limp Bizkit would record 11 years later. And finally, Adult Education. No particular reason, I just happen to like it.
As with all of my SIDtastic! collections, please feel free to download any of the tracks you like.
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2011: SIDtastic! Volume 3
- Saturday, 15 January 2011 11:59
SIDified versions of the songs from Phil Collins’ 1985 album No Jacket Required. Clicking on any song title will open an mp3 player for that song.
2. Only You and I Know
3. Long Long Way to Go
4. I Don’t Wanna Know
5. One More Night
6. Don’t Lose My Number
7. Who Said I Would
8. Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore
9. Inside Out
10. Take Me Home
Before Phil Collins went completely over to the dark side known as adult contemporary pop, he released this jewel of an album. Yes, No Jacket Required contained a number of pop ballads, foreshadowing Phil’s eventual direction, but he also still borrowed heavily from his Genesis roots. While the overall album hasn’t aged nearly as well as Invisible Touch which he recorded the following year with Genesis, No Jacket Required does contain some lovely nuggets.
I created the SID versions of these songs between 1987 and 1988, during the same stretch that I was covering Invisible Touch. I did not have the same emotional connection to these songs as I did Invisible Touch, and you can tell. To me, these arrangements all have distant, detached feel to them. Long, Long Way to Go contains the lions share of this groups emotion, oozing the despair of an uncompleted journey. My take on No Jacket Required finally completes its journey with the melancholy euphoria of Take Me Home.
2011: SIDtastic! Volume 2
- Friday, 14 January 2011 12:43
SIDified versions of the songs from Genesis’ 1986 album Invisible Touch. Clicking on any song title will open an mp3 player for that song.
1. Invisible Touch
2. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
3. Land of Confusion
4. In Too Deep
5. Anything She Does
6. Domino Pt I – In the Glow of the Night
7. Domino Pt II – The Last Domino
8. Throwing It All Away
9. The Brazilian
Invisible Touch may have been the album of 1986, and it certainly was a high point for me. Combining their prog-rock roots, insane programming work, and pop sensibilities, Invisible Touch was an eye-opening album for me. I fell in love with it despite the puppet heads from the Land of Confusion video creeping me out.
I worked on the SID versions of these songs between 1987 and 1988, so these are some of my earliest complete covers done using the SIDplayer. The simplicity and rawness of the arrangements is readily apparent in some of these tracks.
High points in this collection include the grittiness of Land of Confusion, the softness of In Too Deep, the overreaching epic nature of Domino, and my favorite track, The Brazilian.
2010: SIDtastic! Volume 1
- Saturday, 06 November 2010 20:50
SIDified versions of the songs from the Manhattan Transfer’s 1983 album Bodies and Souls. Clicking on any song title will open an mp3 player for that song.
1. Spice of Life – Unfinished
2. This Independence
4. American Pop – Unfinished
5. Soldier of Fortune – Unfinsihed
6. Code of Ethics – Unfinsihed
7. Malaise en Malaisie
8. Down South Camp Meetin’
9. Why Not! (Manhattan Carnival)
10. Goodbye Love
11. The Night that Monk Returned to Heaven – Not included
Trying to translate a band that makes it’s name on four-part jazz inspired harmonies if quite difficult when you only have three monophonic voices to work with. I think that is why I decided to tackle this album. I believe that the inherent character of the SID chip is what allows these songs to work as well as they do. It’s almost as if the SID chip knows the missing notes of a chord and uses it minor instability to fill the chord out.
These songs were worked on between 1989 and 1992. The high point of this set of SID covers would be Mystery which I feel really conveys the sultry quality of Janis Seigel’s voice. Mystery also contains one of my few forays into the noise waveform of the SID chip.
The songs listed as unfinished are just that, unfinished. Before abandoning the Commodore 64 for the new and exciting world of MODtrackers on early PCs, I had intended on finishing all of these songs. I’ve included the unfinished pieces because I felt that all contained some interesting SID bits here and there. Monk never made it past the early beginnings of transcription, and frankly may not have ever been finished due to the intricate nature of the harmonies and chord progressions.
If you like what you’ve heard here, I highly recommend you pick up the original Bodies and Soul from Amazon. This is a truly beautiful album of jazz infused R&B from one of the greatest vocal quartets of the past three decades.