Burn the witch. (Radiohead)
...reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years... Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the 9th through to the 13th century. These included passages from the classics by Horace and Virgil, late antique authors such as Boethius, and medieval texts from laments to love songs. However, the task of performing such ancient works today is not as simple as reading and playing the music in front of you. 1,000 years ago, music was written in a way that recorded melodic outlines, but not ‘notes’ as today’s musicians would recognise them; relying on aural traditions and the memory of musicians to keep them alive. Because these aural traditions died out in the 12th century, it has often been thought impossible to reconstruct ‘lost’ music from this era – precisely because the pitches are unknown.
They believe they've pieced together about 80-90% of the melodies. The performers are Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen. Here's more:
Prince tweeted it and it went viral, it was one the most exciting moments of my life, knowing I’d impressed my hero. It came out with little fan fair when it was first printed, it was just some cute tribute by some weird obsessive nerd. I put a gif together of all the changing hair styles and put on Instagram, a couple of months later I was watching some nonsense on TV, when suddenly my phone starts going nuts with notifications, under one of the comments someone wrote, ‘Dude, Prince just tweeted your poster’ and that was it, it was retweeted around the world about ten times a second for two days, it was thrilling to watch. Of all of my achievements in my career, that was my proudest.
In a 2013 episode of New Girl, the characters were invited to a party hosted by Prince. When Prince was made aware of the intended plot, he sent the producers a list of jams he played at his real parties. Damn it's a smoking mix. Spotify playlist below.
“City in the Sky,” The Staple Singers “Country John,” Allen Toussaint “Fire,” Ohio Players “Happy House,” Shuggie Otis “Higher Ground,” Stevie Wonder “I Was Made to Love Him,” Chaka Khan “Listen to the Music,” The Isley Brothers “The Lord is Back,” Eugene McDaniels “Lost in Music,” Sister Sledge “The Pinocchio Theory,” Bootsy Collins “Rubber Duckie,” Bootsy Collins “Rumpofsteelskin,” Parliament “Skin Tight,” Ohio Players “We’re Gettin’ Too Close,” The Soul Children “Wild and Free,” Curtis Mayfield “After The Love Has Gone,” Earth, Wind & Fire “Back in Baby’s Arms,” Allen Toussaint “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” The Isley Brothers “Don’t Take My Sunshine,” The Soul Children “How Could I Let You Get Away,” The Spinners “I’ll Be Around,” The Spinners “Push Me Away,” The Jacksons “Stay With Me,” Shirley Brown “The Thrill Is Gone,” Aretha Franklin
On Saturday night, Bruce Springsteen opened his Brooklyn show with this Prince cover.
Eighties kids, do you feel me.
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No one else was in the room, so I was clearly next. But I had to wait for this dude to … stop dancing around the coffee table with Prince. Man, they were both pretty into it. "It’s really not a great dance song," I thought more than once as the boogeying just went on, and on. Once you started it, it seemed like it would have been hard to just stop.
It was all pretty goofy. The publicist whispered the guy’s name and affiliation into my ear as I stared down at my long list of questions and notes, reminding myself to be cool. Not sure why she did that. But... man, the dancing. I just couldn’t see myself doing that. It’s a calculated choice you make. Dance and maybe you get that extra, extra couple of minutes. Don’t dance and you potentially score one to two stock answers before getting yanked or your clock freezes at exactly five minutes and there's no chance to go into bonus time. I didn’t dance. I sort of nodded my head a bit, respectfully, but not too much.
Like that scene in every '80s movie where the needle scratches and the room goes dead silent, the volume dropped hard and Prince looked over at me.
"You don’t like this one?" he said, implying that my non-dancing was an offense of the highest order.
For decades, Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers has masterfully woven Prince lyrics and melodies into almost every live performance, frequently closing shows with the final strains of "Purple Rain." Dulli has name checked that album as being his favorite record of all time. Dig if you will the intense 2009 cover above of "When Doves Cry" recorded by Dulli's Twilight Singers and Prince's former lover/co-star Apollonia for a special 25th anniversary Purple Rain tribute produced by Spin magazine.
From an interview with Dulli at The Quietus from 2014:
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My life is kinda pre-Purple Rain/post-Purple Rain. I had already been a fan of Prince before that. 1999 was when I really got in. I heard 1999 and I went back and got Dirty Mind and Controversy. I saw the 1999 tour. 1999 is a very synthy album, but when I saw him in concert, he was playing a lot of guitar, and he's really good. I wasn't fully prepared for that. There's parts of Controversy that have guitar but nothing prepared me for the guitar playing on Purple Rain. From start to finish, from the first song to the last song, it's one of the greatest records I have ever heard. There's nine songs, they're all great. They're all different. The first song that everybody heard from that record was 'When Doves Cry'. There's no bass on it. It's really a strange, avant-garde hit song. Sort of like in the way 'Hey Ya' was. 'Hey Ya' was such a weird song.
Today, Brian Eno released his reimagination of the Velvet Underground's track "I'm Set Free." The cover, titled “Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free,” is from Eno's new album The Ship, coming April 29. Below, the Velvet's original version of the song, from their third album The Velvet Underground (1969).
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“The first time I ever heard [The Velvet Underground] was on a John Peel radio show… it was when their first album came out and I thought “This I like! This I want to know about!”. I was having a huge crisis at the time. Am I going to be a painter or am I somehow going to get into music. And I couldn’t play anything so music was the less obvious choice. Then, when I heard The Velvet Underground I thought, “you can do both actually”. It was a big moment for me.
“That particular song always resonated with me but it took about 25 years before I thought about the lyrics. “I’m set free, to find a new illusion”. Wow. That’s saying we don’t go from an illusion to reality (the western idea of “Finding The Truth”) but rather we go from one workable solution to another more workable solution.
Subsequently I think we aren’t able and actually don’t particularly care about the truth, whatever that might be. What we care about is having intellectual tools and inventions that work. [Yuval Noah Harari in his book “Sapiens”] discusses that what makes large-scale human societies capable of cohering and co-operating is the stories they share together.
From Coachella 2008.
Here's the story of the lyrics, based on a poem that 19-year-old college student Leonard Lipton wrote in 1959 and popularized in Peter, Paul and Mary's classic 1963 song.
Footage from the August 1983 concert at Minneapolis' famed First Avenue club when Prince (1958-2016) debuted the magnificent 13-minute original version of Purple Rain - with an additional third verse - that was later edited and overdubbed for the Purple Rain album. This was also guitarist Wendy Melvoin's first performance with The Revolution. (Apologies that the video host's Flash-based widget won't work on some mobile browsers.) Read the rest
In a new scientific study, researchers conducted acoustical analysis of Queen singer Freddie Mercury's singing voice. While he spoke in a baritone voice, Mercury had a tremendous singing range. But his real vocal superpowers were a rather unique vibrato combined with his ability to use subharmonics, like a Tuvan throat singer. The Austrian, Czech, and Swedish scientists report on their research in the journal Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology.
"Perceptually, Freddie Mercury's irregular (and typically faster) vibrato is clearly audible in the sustained notes of famous songs such as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (A Night at the Opera) or 'We Are the Champions' (News of the World), and it appears to be one of the hallmarks of his vocal style," they wrote.
In other Mercury news, a notebook containing some of his last lyrics will be auctioned off at Bonham's in June. It's estimated to go for £50,000-£70,000.