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Chariots—Theme and Variations, 1986 June 3, 2009

Posted by bernie87fl in Music, Song.
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This recording was my most challenging of the high-school era, though the C-sharp Bach debacle runs a very close second.

It’s just me in my room playing three instruments in turn into my standard dual tape deck & mixer setup. What made it challenging were the three separate passes, the lack of any rhythm track, and making up most of the details as I went.

Chariots of Fire, Theme & Variations, 1986

(Come on admit it, you too thought Chariots of Fire was kind of cool back then.)

The instruments are a toy CASIO keyboard (beefed up with my guitar flanger), my trusty Phoenix Electra electric guitar, and a piano (Yamaha upright, with a $25 Radio Shack mic dangling inside). To keep a steady rhythm, I played the CASIO to a metronome, whose clicks were not recorded on the tape. Then I made a second pass to record the piano. The CASIO’s ethereally flanged tone turned out to be quite good at concealing the rhythm, so to keep the piano steady was a dangerous business! When the CASIO had finally dropped out of the recording, I continued the piano, keeping the tempo as steadily as I could by hand. In the third pass, I added electric guitar.

You’ll note that the CASIO does not return once it drops out. Due to the metronome technique, it can’t! Otherwise, the piano’s tempo would have had to match exactly in order to line up on the tape. Likewise, when the piano drops out, it too is gone for good. The guitar, going last, gets to do whatever it wants.

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