Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dose 8...Take Cover, It's a Remix!

Covers and remixes are fundamentally reinterpretations. Though some artists opt for a more conservative approach by simply adjusting the voice carrying the tune, others find it a creative and imaginative experience to rearrange the very structure of the piece. Neither Johnny Cash nor Nina Simone are strangers to this musical practice. In fact, to many, they are seen as the epitome of reconstructive and "reconstructible" artists. This is because both Cash and Simone's music has an intangible quality, that can only be seen as "soul". Their music, no matter the writer, arranger, or producer, evokes emotion because it is their sheer passion which is transmitted. Enjoy...

1)I Hung My Head by Johnny Cash

Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that...

Sting's 1996 ballad, "I Hung My Head", masterfully tells the tale of a man resolved to die for a crime he didn't intentionally commit. The narrator has accidentally killed his fellow man and must come to terms with his guilt and face the consequences. All in all, this track had the makings of a classic. Sadly, Sting ruined this tune by accompanying the melancholy and repentant lyrics with a jazz organ and an upbeat voice, which is eerily reminiscent of mid-80's Springsteen.

Cash's take on this piece is a bit more somber. In being so, it evokes the perfect blend of mourning and optimism for the human spirit. Cash has always been known for his ability to take a song and make it his own. This is clear from a number of his renditions on his album, American IV- The Man Comes Around (2002), including "Hurt" and an amazing version of "In My Life".


2)Ain't Got No, I Got Life by Nina Simone (Groovefinder Remix)

The High Preistess of Soul, Nina Simone, originally recorded "Ain't Got No/ I Got Life" for her album, Nuff Said (1968). This track, showcasing Simone's immense vocal talent, was written to highlight the tribulations of being a negro slave. By juxtaposing all that's witheld from the slave with that which she has available, Simone depicts the perservering power of the soul. This solemm lyricism, however, is complimented, on both Simone's original recording and Groovefinder's remix, by an upbeat piano and drum section. Perhaps this is to further counterpoise the elements of hate which served to repress the human spirit and the optimism inherent in life.

If Simone's aim, musically, was to produce a glimmer of hope, Groovefinder's was to infuse enough cheer to reinvigorate those who have been downtrodden. With the addition of a brass section and an even speedier tempo, Groovefinder explodes this classic ditty.


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