exploring the creative and compositional process of everything

Tame (LLove Remix)

The Tame remix on Grand Strategy I was produced by Martin van Etten of Providence based band, LLove.  Martin is an accomplished song writer, arranger, and producer.  His remix of Tame is one of my favorite tracks on the Grand Strategy I EP.

Martin van Etten’s Tame Remix Production Process

When Tim asked me to pick a song off the album to remix, I was between “Tame” and “Love and War” based on my affinity for the lyrics and the fact that their respective BPMs were in the area that I wanted. When Tim told me that Hoska was already remixing “Love and War”, the choice was made for me. I started with a basic four-to-the-floor version with a cool 8th noted FM bass line reminiscent of Stuart Price (that Tim still has yet to hear) but as soon as I hit the chorus I ran into a wall. Everything I tried sounded like I was forcing two songs together and my brain wasn’t writing anything that felt natural as a chorus. I was thinking very much “inside the box” at the time.

I would have found a solution had I stuck with it, but a different inspiration struck. I was in Philly looking at apartments and the idea to do a baroque version of the song in ¾ popped into my head. I had my laptop and audio interface with me, so I started putting the basic pieces together to see if Tim’s vocal timing needed any tweaking to fit into a ¾ signature. No changes were needed. I had just upgraded to Ableton 8 and this was the first chance I had to take it for a spin. I ran Tim’s vocals every which way through the new Vocoder and made custom waveforms for every part of my Operator-tailored bass line, but realized that I was just thinking about new toys and not about the feeling of the remix. I didn’t want it to read like Daddy using nothing but star-fades for the home edited Christmas video.

Besides his vocals, the only audio from Tim’s original version of “Tame” that I used was the violin line. THAT required a bit of a timing shift. I used the gater in dblue’s “Glitch” VST to sort of cram a square peg into a circle hole, if you will. In retrospect, I should have used Ableton 8’s amazing warp markers to transmogrify the violin into my own little Celtic waltz. I feel that the choppiness from the gater perverts the beauty and smoothness of the violin a bit. Just nitpicking.

I also stuttered one of Tim’s “L”s when he sings the word “Love” in the second verse and dropped the drums and bass line to call attention to it. I did this to make him say “L-Love”. My little signature. I gleaned the idea off of Fake Blood (who slices vocals in all of his remixes to say “Fake Blood” between buildup and beat-drop) mainly, but the idea also reminded me of Michelangelo’s act of painting himself into “The Last Judgment” as St. Bartholomew’s flayed skin. Sort of like metadata in the actual audio. I’ve heard that sound engineers for motion pictures hide Wilhelm Screams wherever they can as a sort of signature or graffiti tag as if to say “I was here”.

The orchestral strings were actual multi-sampled recordings of quick-bowed and sustained cellos. I used Garritan’s Personal Orchestra, a VST with gigs and gigs of orchestral samples at every velocity you can imagine. I actually used it for the quartet cellos you hear in the intro to the “SHUT UP, GET DOWN” remix I did for Triangle Forest. Quite realistic when the velocities and timing are properly sequenced. The final buildup that starts with these strings is my favorite part of the “Tame” remix.

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One response

  1. Brilliant

    August 20, 2010 at 11:49 pm

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