Sunday, July 10, 2011


I've been reading a lot of webcomix of late and, in a particular series recently, a main character was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Gary F[deleted]ing Numan."  Being of a certain age (about 20 years older than the characters in the strip), my recollection of Gary Numan harkens back to the early '80s and MTV's infancy.  My brother and I would sit for hours bemoaning the young network's poor musical fare (which was nonetheless clearly not bad enough for us to do something else with our time).   We agreed, however, that Gary Numan's "Cars," the only work of his that they ever played, was pretty good.  (And, honestly, despite my classically-trained snobbishness and stunning inability at the time to appreciate much of the subtleties of better pop music, I really liked the song and didn't mind much when it sunk its massive hooks into my brain for days.)

Fast forward 30 years and I see the t-shirt in the comic and I think, "Why would a character who is a professed indy connoisseur wear a shirt emblazoned with the name of a one-hit-wonder from 1979?"  Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I quickly discovered that Mr. Numan was far from an OHW in the UK and, in fact, was a powerful influence on a range of musicians who are better-known in the USA than he is.  (I am in the happy process of delving into his oeuvre now.)  Regardless of that, however, I was also pleased to find available on YouTube the very MTV video remembered from my youth and, upon viewing it, instantly had my brain once again skewered the deep hooks of "Cars."  It didn't take long for me to think "Hey, this would be fun to cover."  And so I did.

When I hear an artist do a cover, I am most interested in what that artist brings to it.  What of her/his/their own voice is there?  How does the piece gain from its translation through the new performer?  Thus, in taking this on, I had to ask myself the same thing:  what could I bring to the piece that might be a worthwhile offering?  I have done my best to listen to what the song inspires in me and to infuse that into this arrangement.  The process has been, as have all of these recent projects, an education, not only from a technical standpoint, but in terms of learning (and relearning) my own artistic process.  I'm pretty pleased with how it came out and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Some quick technical notes:  Every sound in this performance, except for some of the drum samples, is entirely synthetic.  This includes the voice, which was generated using the text-to-speech function native to Mac OSX.  My original idea was to auto-tune the voice to the melody, but this proved to be beyond my current technical know-how (and possibly my software) and I liked the way it turned out anyway.


I have been unhappy with the quality of the audio in the video conversion required to post to this blog, so I decided to begin using YouTube as a host site for them and embed links from here.  This has, in fact, resulted in much better audio for my recordings, so I have re-uploaded all the previous pieces and repost them here so that listeners may have the opportunity to listen to the clearer production.

Thanks for listening and, as always, please post comments here on the blog.