ReMix: Gitaroo Man 'FML (If I Could Drift Away)'
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Streaming preview on YouTube
Sir Jordanius made a big splash this year with a memorable vocal jazz/funk jam on Back in Blue, and now he follows that up with an equally resplendent & unique (albeit instrumental) arrangement from Gitaroo Man, our first from the game. Jordan writes:
"I've had an EXTREMELY crappy day/week/month/year and I usually get the worst emotions out of me through music. To me, this song (the original) is so beautiful because it sounds both happy and sad at the same time and it's great for chilling out in those extremely crappy days/weeks/months/years when I just need to drift away ("hence the title"). I usually hate the cliche Indie sound of tinkery bells and wannabe Beatles flutes/whirlitzers/Rhodes, but I really wanted to make this emulate the happy and sad emotion that I interpreted from the original. The original is already an extremely simple song (meaning that anything too complex ruins the song) so I did something very different from my usual adaptations by not adding unnecessary embellishments.
Oh yeah, and the whistles are a bit out of tune because they're not a keyboard; I was really whistling, but I've never been too good at whistling. I hope you enjoy this chill song!"
While the original had a cool, rough garage-band style rock/guitar vibe going on, Sir J. has toned things down a bit - at least for the chippish, backwards-strings, mangled Casiotone-esque bit beat ballad intro. Things pick up at 2'17" with more discernible, cross-panned elec. guitars, a drum/bass build up to 2'44", sweet bass slide break, and subsequent synth solo. This track reminds me of several things at once - the blend of rock, and specifically the drums, recalls Star & Prot's epic Mega Man X 'Dreams Come True' mix, while the combination of carefree optimism & bittersweet melancholy channels some of The Shins' hits that were (unfortunately) used in Garden State. It's telling that all those tracks have vocals, because - while this does not - I almost think that with the human whistling, it comes across in a similar way; maybe it's just me? Either way, Jordan certainly captures something specific, and the piece also contrasts wildly against his previously posted debut - hard to believe it was the same artist! Panel was surprisingly a little split on this, which I don't really get... maybe I'm missing something, but I really dig the arrangement itself and also the execution. Vinnie's with me:
"Wow, I was really digging this piece. The heavily reverbed atmosphere was executed well (the individual components still had definition), and this was a great slice of dream-pop. The instruments were kind of random but it all came together, which is no small feat. I ended up getting behind the chords at 2:17 that Deia mentioned, though it did throw me at first since it's so different from the original."
Shariq's on board, too, and even waxed romantic:
"Brilliantly dreamy. I love it to pieces. Sorry for your crappy day/week/month/whatever, but at least you got such a sweet piece of music out of it. Love your harmonic choices. So lush. This is music to fall in love to."
I think some other judges got caught up a bit too much in production; this feels very much intentional to me, and some of their mixing gripes I would more comfortably ascribe to being part of the aesthetic, which involves coloring outside the do's and don'ts of mastering at least a little bit to pull off. Either way, I'm happy to be posting this - it's truly great source material, an introspective, chill, but also emotional treatment, and it shows that Sir Jordanius has some serious depth, making me legitimately anticipate what his next submission will throw our way.
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