Category Archives: Mash-up

Write Here, Write Now: 8.23 – Justify a Whole Lotta Love

Wax Audio –  Justify a Whole Lotta Love. The song doesn’t remain the same, eh readers?

Madonna takes on John, John-Paul, Jimmy and Robert. Though there’s not much of the Bonham beat in this track.

With an opening snarl from Percy, the track quickly builds up a rhythm that keeps going throughout the song. Jimmy’s riff makes an appearance, tautly captured in little bursts. before returning to more words from the Led Zep frontman as he struts the stage with his stuff like a preening cockerel. The Justify my Love synths play as consistently through the track as the rhythm and are pretty much the only reminder that it’s not just a Led Zep song put to the visuals from a Madonna video.

That is until the elapse of a full 2 minutes when we first hear from Madge -as if she’s expecting foreplay before she performs. Languorously, lasciviously and completely in control, she sings four lines of her chorus, before letting Plant off the lease for a lot of vocal acrobatics accompanied by the grumbling rubble of Page’s guitar.

Every now and then Madonna steps up to the mike to remind us she’s still there, but the strength of her role in this mash up seems to be the absence of her singing. As if she’S rationing out her presence –  a little bit of Ciccone goes a long way to drive the English boys wild, but wild in a way she wants it – marshalled by the taut and volume limited rhythm of the track to give great traction towards the track’s climax.

I think it is a great pairing. Whole Lotta Love is a real cliche that I have heard too many times in the same order. This track takes some of the amazing vocals and instrumental playing  and freshens them up in a new setting. As for Justify My Love, Led Zep jab a big cable of fizzing electrons deep into its nether regions and reanimate its decaying husk.

Mashups – a way to reinvigorate the  listening pleasures of a jaded palette dried out by too much half listening to the same old rock.

Write Here, Write Now: 8.22 – A Thousand Secrets

Phil Retrospector – A Thousand Secrets. “It’s written that we’ll meet

After a few days of desultory searches across YouTube, coming up with fun, but gimmicky tracks to listen to, I felt the need to return to one of the steadfast mashup artists, and something more weighty. And you don’t get much more weighty than Leonard Cohen. A voice that is grey and rich and husky – delicious gravel.

Kicking off with a little electronic music which reminds me of Thomas Dolby’s soundtrack for the Ken Russell film “Gothic”, Cohen’s stanzas play out, pause for some echoey chanting from Mystere des Voix Bulgares, reminiscent of the singing in Blade Runner, mixing in with and intensifying with percussion-accompanied flute and piano churning, before letting Cohen close off the song.

It’s a mournful lament, all in all. And yet, sad music can be uplifting. To mix in at the the subterranean level, when ambitions are low and emotions won’t grow can bring, can induce fellow feelings and rouse as irresistibly as does the flute and piano riff in the middle eight here.

By digging down to the basest level, Cohen gets to a foundation from which we can spring to the highest points, a way of drawing attention to the range of human expression and sensibility.

Still waters run deep. The tranquility of the meeting between the different elements of the track allows for the thousand secrets of the title to emerge from the many associations of each part and each combination as the song resonates differently through each listener’s ears.

For me, the one part that has no association is that from Muse – I couldn’t even say what their part of the track is. But Leonard Cohen has accompanied me through my life as a shadowy cultural presence in many, often forgotten ways – even this one song has multiple verses, some sung, some not. And then Les Mystere des Voix Bulgares – it takes me back to a particular time at university and a shared and intense enthusiasm for such uncanny singing with a friend now long gone.

Refracted memories and echoes down the years surface in listening to this gentle, yet energizing piece. A calming and touching experience.


Write Here, Write Now: 8.21 – For No One Time

horsedark – For No One Time. Can it be true?

ee cummings’ echoey voice introduces a  charming mix – a lullaby in which Cyndi Lauper enfolds the nervous words of The Beatles in the warm musical embrace of Time After Time, like a mother with a watch at the end of the day, calling her children in, and then Percy Sledge tucks the whole package up with his imploring voice echoing both Paul and Cyndi, both embracing and needy.

Soft words, soft melodies, yet doubt and uncertainty at the heart of the kyrics :
Caught up in circles, confusion is nothing new
No sign of love behind her tears
Oh baby, come on and let me

A plaintive French horn echoes the mournful tones of both Paul and Percy. Only Cyndi draws out the healing power of time. It will all pass.

Write Here, Write Now: 8.20 – Set You Free

Matt Pop – Set You Free.

Listening to mashups this month, there have been a lot of nineties songs that have been tied into partnership with other songs, The Power, Rhythm Is A Dancer, What Is Love, No Limits, etc, but none of the results really combined the songs in a way that worked – not enough of the original tracks worked well together.

This one sounds like an exception. Though only the vocals are taken from the N-Trance song, the ecstatic sighs of Set You Free mix well with joyous whoops of the Kool & The Gang track such that neither song is lost or dominates. Well, that’s what I think.

From what I recall of the N_Trance original, there wasn’t much more to it than the vocals anyway – the music wasn’t that great. Kool & the Gang. on the other hand, give fantastic musical backing – tight rhythm guitar, punchy horns and insistent bass. The repetitive drum beat is the only let down, but otherwise, this ticks a few simple boxes.

Write Here, Write Now: 8-19 – Fat Bottomed Bear on Top of the World

Junglebook vs Carpenters vs Queen – Fat Bottomed Bear on Top of the World. Three happy songs from my childhood brought together to party.

As a kid, a day might start at the breakfast table with a box of cereal, with a Jungle Book picture on the back. Inside the box was a sheet of transfers that could be stuck onto the picture to recreate one of the scenes from the film. There would inevitably be several Mowglis, King Louies and Baloos,  which didn’t make sense, but meant the film could effectively be mashed up Back to the Future style with multiple versions dancing around the jungle floor. It was all tense anticipation, in any case, as my dad insisted on the cereal being eaten before the box could be cut up and used.

Later, home from school that same day, a cassette of The Carpenters might have the pre-recorded hole taped over so that Karen’s silver voice could be interrupted by (clunkclick simultaneous play and record pressing) comic sketches in imitation of the culture jamming we used to hear on the Monty Python records.

Finally, if it was a Thursday, a Queen video  would be a moment of saucy fun to break up what seemed like the interminable flow of dreary soul singers in shiny blue dresses emoting painfully.

So this jolly little mashup takes me back to being ten and the uncomplicated pleasures of that age. I think my Python/Bonzo-loving self would have loved to hear this then.

Write Here, Write Now: 8.17 – Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Have A Finger Of Fudge?

Go Home Productions – Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Have A Finger Of Fudge? Very small and neat.

Sometimes you don’t need very much to bring pleasure to the senses . This is a miniature sound portrait, a joyful creation that works so well. Mark Vidler was inspired to have thought of bringing the two songs together in the skillful way he did.

Chubby cheeked, pudding basin haircutted rascals, and that’s just Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. Sweet-toothed melodies familiar to me from my childhood, the Beach Boys’s songs were always there for me, beautiful harmonised songs about strange things like Sloop John B, cottonfields and women called Rhonda. Alongside other cassettes by the Wombles, the Bay City Rollers, ABBA, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and the Carpenters, a Beach Boys Greatest Hits was my  first childhood soundtrack. Listening to the opening bars of Wouldn’t It Be Nice? takes me straight back to the smell of hot dust, cassette cases warped in the sun and cassette inlays slightly watermarked as I pressed clunk on the player and the motors dragged to tape past the pick up in the corner of the living room.

Inventive instrumentation from the Beach Boys and the Bonzos (Gorilla) were nothing strange and must have prepared me in some small way for the ever-expanding world of music that I have explored since then.

From small things, bigger things sometimes develop. Just enough to give your kids a treat.

Write here, Write Now: 8.16 – Girls Just Wanna Dance with Somebody

DJ Early Bird – Girls Just Wanna Dance with Somebody. Glorious divas in happy harmony

This has been one of my favourite mash-ups for a long time – probably since I first started hearing these musical enforced collaborations. The two songs work very well together, such that, after listening to it on and off over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started singing one and drifting automatically into the second, even unto the electronically assisted rise up the scale to get from one singer to another.

Whitney effectively takes the verse, Cyndi the chorus. Though the music bed under the two is really more Girls Just Wanna Have Fun than I Wanna Dance With Somebody. It ripples, pops and bounces about under the two singers.

If you’d asked me who was the more interesting, appealing singer back in the eighties, it would have been no contest – Cyndi would win out every time – Time After Time, She Bop, True Colors – just great unaffected songs, happy to be gauche and throw herself with open feeling into expressing herself. Whitney, on the other hand was this operatic singer of supreme self-control – technically impressive, but cold, determined and ambitious – much like that other diva from the eighties, Madonna. Listening now, Cyndi is still close to my heart, even if she has worn hers on her sleeve rather often.Whitney now comes over as fresh and invigorating in her singing – maybe age has softened my views and my ears.

It’S a great mix, which is probably what lifts Whitney’s voice and my impression of her. Liberated from the music from her own song, maybe it sounds like she’s imbibed some of the warmth of Cyndi’s music. I think what I like most about the track is the uninhibitedly, joyous trilling of both singers, buoyed up by the insistent rhythm guitar. A happy, happy sound.