365 DotU, Day 44: In Which I Do Horrible, Horrible Things To Paul Simon

A few days ago, I posted a cover of a traditional tune called “Donal Og” that featured a drone performed on my electric violin. After I finished the song, it occurred to me that it might be funny to try the same kind of arrangement for a totally different kind of song, so that I could make that new song creepy and weird. I wrestled with possibilities — how big a joke did I want this to be? I eventually decided that it might be kind of cool to create an unsettling sort of chant-ish version of Simon and Garfunkle’s “The Sound of Silence.” It’s been covered in a few different ways, ranging from the straight-up copy to the more…interesting (by which I mean louder, faster, and, um, metal-er). My version goes neither of those ways, but I appreciate the uncomfortable sound of the Nevermore cover.

Once I got started on it and struggled with the harmonies over that particular drone, I decided to let it be disturbing and a little dissonant. I never could figure out a way to get the tension in it to resolve, and I think that’s OK. The percussion is mostly an experiment in further tension.

It’s not the best work I’ve ever done, vocally or instrumentally, but it was an interesting experiment in uncomfortable music for me, so I don’t mind it too much.

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About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. Otherwise, I labor to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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2 Responses to 365 DotU, Day 44: In Which I Do Horrible, Horrible Things To Paul Simon

  1. teledude says:

    Okay, this totally needs to be in a film score…

    the opening scene…it's dark…a shadow is moving in a room…it's hard to make out where or what…out of focus shadows, a sense of movement but we can't tell what it is yet… then…when the percussion starts in the song…a little light creeps in through the doorway as the shadowy figure leaves…and the focus gradually becomes clearer…but not a sharp image just yet…let the song play for a while…tension is building… there on the floor… framed in a yellow V of light from the doorway left partially ajar…perhaps the light is pulsing, like from, oh I don't know, maybe some neon sign…gradually becoming clearer…we begin to recognize it's the cold lifeless arm of a murdered woman on the floor… and the camera then slowly pans to a dark window with light rain drops beginning to splatter against the glass…and between the pulses of light from the doorway, the darkened window pane reveals the reflection of her dead body on the floor…perhaps in a spreading dark pool that looks black like dirty motor oil…
    as this version of 'The Sounds of Silence” drones on…..fade to black

    It's not my wife, I swear. Why would you think that!

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  2. Hmmm…haven't seen the wife lately…

    ;)

    That's some really good scene-setting, though. Nicely creepy — this version of the song would fit perfectly in that scene!

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