Robin Hitchcock. There is a long tradition behind that particular sneering, sing-song, semi-proficient voice. One might say that it is caught up in it’s very esscence with attitudes towards class, show buisness, and professionalism present in England in the 1960s.
This is not a criticism. That was a fine snippet of music in a tradition I have always enjoyed.
“There is a long tradition behind that particular sneering, sing-song, semi-proficient voice. One might say that it is caught up in it’s very esscence with attitudes towards class, show buisness, and professionalism present in England in the 1960s.”
This is spot on, and if I have a criticism, it’s James does go far enough with it. If I were the producer on this track, this is how I’d explain it:
You know when you’re studying a foreign language and in order to get the accent right you have to exaggerate so much (or feel like your exaggerating so much) that it feels like you’re doing a caricature? That’s what it takes to actually “be yourself”; to offer your voice, untrained and unvarnished and say “This is the way that I sing.”
But when you’re trying to get the right accent in Spanish, you have Mexican radio to help you get a aural image of your caricature (“RePUBblica!) But what do you have when you’re trying to be yourself? When you’re an original where have you ever heard yourself “just being yourself” before?
That’s what I mean about this track being so much like James writing. On that other post cw said he didn’t think James was trying hard enough, but I’d say James isn’t letting James be James, or at least not very much yet, and not nearly enough.
Not that that’s an easy thing to do. As I said elsewhere, even when I was competent enough as a photographer/filmmaker/writer to be paying a mortgage I still had no real clue who I was as an artist. Even when I got my first clue, I didn’t really know what to do with it, and once I came face to face with it, it scared the shit out of me, and pretty much continues to scare the shit out of me on a daily basis.
Most people aren’t Stratovariuses, but everyone’s voice is unique, and in the right context, interesting, and sometimes even beautiful. I mean that both literally and metaphorically. There’s a lot of beauty and wisdom in the world if you take the time to listen.
We really are on the same vibe, aren’t we Kris? The thought I had after “movie music” was “I’d really like to hear a fully stripped down version of this; no FX, guitar and voice, and maybe a tambourine.”
Listen to the old heads, young fella (You are a conservative, are you not? And obligated to respect your elders and tradition?). We were not always stoop-bound winos. Once we too had wings. Once…. we flew.
One of the previous owners of my boat put in a crazy stereo system. Too many wires. Speakers have been quitting one by one since I got it. But one of the fellows coming with me does lights and sound at Galapagos and traced it all back to the harness coming out of the radio/cd player. Now the boat is thumpin!
Of course I’m burning a copy of Southern Cross onto the iPod we’re taking. I’m going to put your tracks on it too and see what sort of memories they attach themselves to. Mostly pleasant I hope. All unforgettable I’m sure.
I also enjoyed your music JP. When you listen to the whole thing the voice is more Morrisey/Bowie/Cave. But you definitely have a nice British isle sound to your diction. But I especially liked the guitar parts. What did you record that on? I take it from the title to this post not Garage Band.
Not on a boat at this moment. At this moment I am sitting at my kitchen table.
I am sailing from New York to the Eastern Carrib in a couple of weeks or so (with a stereo that works, and your tunes.) If you’re interested, posts about me and boats and the ongoing struggle to find courage:
Have you read Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage ? I can’t recommend it enough. If you go googling it, don’t be put off by all the bizz school management theory types that have tried to make it their own.