Write Here, Write Now: 8.29 – Lauren’s Opus

The Reborn Identity: “Lauren’s Opus” “I want to make peace, I want to sit with him

When I first heard this, it jarred. I love the Straight Story, as an earlier blog demonstrated (https://salwarpe.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/write-here-write-now-17-montage/) and I quite like the Opus III song, but they didn’t seem to sit easily together.

Sure, it’s pretty good in one way – a largely vocal track placed against an instrumental track, and both tracks have lots of space in them, they take their time to develop, unhurried. But they do sound odd set against each other, a house music song and a violin  droning country track  – it doesn’t work, does it?

Through repeat listening, the oddness of the juxtaposition is tempered by the fact that both tracks have a calm, positive disposition – so they aren’t ideal bedfellows, but they aren’t going to steal the duvet from each other, are they?

A full 45 seconds of the time in this mashup is given over to the Badalamenti track before Kirsty Hawkshaw starts her ‘Hello clouds, hello sky’ Fotherington-Thomas act. And the repetitive, unmemorable lyrics start to fade into a jolly, airy treble babble against which the drones, whines and turns of the violin and incidental sounds begin to stand out as the lead instrument in this ensemble piece.

The gentle guitar picking and bass notes are unobtrusive presences, yet accompany both vocal and violin as those two voices try to successfully share the song space without completely failing to understand each other. Like a body at risk of rejecting a donor organ, are guitar and bass there as immunosuppressants?

Of course not, this is just idle conjecture. And yet, a mashup is an interesting approach to music creation. The chances of two such pieces of music working alongside each other without jarring are slim. Put musicians in a studio together and, whatever the original musical differences, listening to each other play must surely bring out commonalities, sympathetic and harmonic expressions of melody. A mash-up doesn’t get that chance, apart from the musical ear of the mashup arranger, and the sympathies and braodmindedness of the listener.

I’m lucky to have found nearly 30 examples.

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