Monday, September 28, 2009

Song of the Week # 3 - "Cool Cat"

"Cool Cat" - that's the third song from Alien Blue's new CD "Virtual Light" and one we've been playing for a while now.

Basically, this song is all vocal with just a backing bass line and some finger snaps. Blue wrote all the lyrics and does an amazing vocal performance. We slapped a bit of echo in the mix and then left it alone.

The song features the same approach as "Desperation" from the debut Alien Blue disc "An Alien Blue". Namely, the acoustic guitar mimics the sound of an up-right bass playing a cool blues line is classic old jazz style (1930s minimalist style, which often featured just bass, small drum kit, and piano) by using the pinky to mute at the bridge and thumping the string with the index finger. I often add a bit of sliding my fingers across the sound board to mimic the brushes across a snare, but not on the recording, though the thump approach allows for my finger to lightly smack the body of the guitar to help the beat along.

Most folks are familiar with the style we mimic here thru songs like "My Funny Valentine" (cool descending chromatic line), "Summertime" (many people have heard Janis Joplins' late 1960s rendition), and a host of "cool jazz" approaches to standard torch songs....especially the song "Do Right" heard in the 1988 classic film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".

Compositionally, I decided to expand on a "2 against 3" idea only moderately employed on "Desperation". This is the "aural magic trick" I refer to in the live shows. The bass line seems to veer off time, but then lands safely back on the one. What you hear is 3 pulses of the bass line for every 2 beats, yielding a somewhat hypnotic effect that I much enjoy.

I hope YOU enjoy it, too!

"He was the coolest cat that I've ever seen..."

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