page was originally a companion to a
Oct 22nd, 2003
A Beatles song
written by George Harrison and covered by Elliott
during one of his very last shows this year.
Its lyrics say more than I could express and they say it better,
especially through Elliott's harrowing performance.
and Elliott Tribute thingies...
diary of an experimental collage - 16 voices on a song
to pay tribute to a great artist : Elliott Smith.
Well, how do
you pay tribute to a songwriter ? You play his songs, of course !
That's what happened last year, when Elliott Smith fans posting on the website "sweetaddy.com" united to put together a tribute CD, in which they took turns to cover songs written by the great songsmith.
thought it would be really awesome to have as many people as possible
on... a single song !
Each of them would only have one line to sing - which would prevent them from saying it was too hard to do !! ha ha ha ! I recorded a few people in this way around Christmas (I apologize to Heidi, in Poland, and Sarah, in Brooklyn, for making them sing to me over the phone with a sore throat...) A few people sent me audio files. It was really exciting to hear the voices one by one.
I then booked a small cheap studio to record the drums part (and realized then how strange and changing the time signature is, for that particular song... he he...)
Finally, I found myself with a deadline (the access to the editing facility) and a few voices were missing - either because that particular poster had not yet made up her mind or simply because the timing was a bit difficult around Christmas. That's why I ended up singing on it too, which I hadn't actually planned ! (My idea was to sing harmony vocals behind the voices, something I did anyway).
The middle-eighth (solo section) is replaced by voices saying "hi", and they actually include a couple people not singing elsewhere on the track. I also had fun adding a little "dramatizing" speaking voice (Katie) for a change, on one line. I find the effect quite interesting.
In the end, you have a really awkward but surreal track, with all those different voices, partly heard on the phone, singing on "Bottle Up". Editing them all was time-consuming - especially synching them onto the track !! - but really exciting to do. A "labour of love", as Nightswimmer puts it (always sweet.. ;) ).
I must have done 40 different mixes before it sounded audible, each audio source being so different from one another. I found it rather revealing to discover how people I assumed to be more shy actually delivered a really impressive performance - however limited in time. They know who they are. ;)
I'm not sure I could do the same thing again in the near future but I'm tempted to try again if there is another tribute CD next year...
More collaborations ! Hurrah !
xo - Jean-Luc
Paris, France - January 21st, 2002 - updated Nov., 2002
TO SEE ALL THE PEOPLE
WHOSE VOICES ARE ON THE TRACK.
(with the lyrics and the list of who sings what) :
The mp3 file (3 Mb) :
BOTTLE UP AND EXPLODE
To my surprise, I discovered last year that he lives in the neighbouring Paris district.
And, last but not least, he has a webcam... he he he... ;)
(Woody is the cute guy appearing in the front - I'm the goofey one with the guitar... )
click on thumbnail to... see and hear...
I know he might be a little cross with me for doing this, but I can't help it...
an incredible cover of "Amanda Cecilia", but wouldn't let
it appear on the tribute CD, because he thought it wasn't as good as
he had expected (how better could it be ??).
So, here it is, lucky people, for you to download :
... and here is another track from the new tribute CDs !
I used to have a few mp3
files here, but my server is too full and
I had to remove them, sadly...
I hope someone will be able to find spare space to put ALL the tracks, so that
everyone would be able to hear the tribute !
In the meantime, here
is one I selected because it is an unreleased Elliott song
(due for the new album ?) and also because I think Bradley did a wonderful job with it :
... AND FOR ALL YOU FRENCH ELLIOTT SMITH FANS...
A NEW ELLIOTT WEBSITE ! ALL IN FRENCH !
Click on this and... bon voyage chez Monsieur Elliott Smith !
me (if you have nothing better to do...)
Check the best French-speaking rock mag :