Saturday, 7 February 2015

Pimp My Album

Continuing the soundtrack to my holidays, a man called Doug Hilsinger wanted to hear his friend, Caroleen Beatty, sing some of the songs from Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) album. So he assembled some musicians and proceeded to record a new version of the whole album.

It's a bit of a Gus Van Zant cover, in that Hilsinger and co. do not seek to reinvent or reinterpret any of these songs. The mix of sounds is preserved across both recordings and this new version mirrors the previous one's sonic palette. What the new recording does is to give these songs a bit of vigour. Beatty and the other singers have stronger voices than Eno's charming but weak vocal style and the whole thing has been buffed up for the CD generation. The bass on this track has more depth and grit. The high pitched guitar? synth? bagpipes? part is more piercing (actually, on the original recording it's the Portsmouth Sinfonia, which explains the variable pitch). Beatty's singing also has more feeling than Eno's and the whole production takes the album out of Eno's supposed cerebral, glacial fridge and demonstrates him to be a much more emotional composer than in common credence.

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