March 24, 2012

Replicating a famous recording single-handedly.



Do you follow an arc from amazement... to finding this man's deep devotion charming... to turn it off — there's something missing that's so important that it's horrible to hear its absence?

Via Metafilter.

30 comments:

rhhardin said...

Brandenburg Concerto 8 hands, one person.

Curious George said...

Pretty impressive.

rhhardin said...

I tried recording a recorder (the musical instrument) consort of myself as a kid, but the quality of the first parts in kept declining on each rerecording as parts were added.

I should have used 7.5 inches a second instead of 3.75, I guess.

Curious George said...

Mike Tomkins is Dynamite!

Phil 3:14 said...

Nice, but no "Wayne's World" head bobbing.

I assume his primary instrument is guitar; notice how he never uses his left thumb in playing piano.

AprilApple said...

Queen must re-unite and hire this dude.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Ugh! Why do people do this? Covering the song is one thing, but slavishly copying Queens recording is a turn off. His time would have been better spent creating his own original music.

Chip Ahoy said...

I found it terribly sad. The guy's obsession. His obvious talent that points to genius. Genius forfeited early. Me missing all of that until it is gone. Seeing you recognizing that genius all along. You being deprived of that way before I even noticed it gone. Your love, your loss, all youz guyz. It's sad.

In the end I recognize the tribute but this talented musician worked like a maniac to put together a piece that copies exactly what Freddy Mercury pulled out of his ass. No disrespect intended to either, I am certain it was harder to compose than ass-pulling but I'm trying to make a point over here about genius compared to regular talent plus obsession, and love and musical appreciation, and it making me sad.

Yes, and then the arc of watching this tribute. Same as everyone else, slow to accept and then, what?, oh, that's quite good.

But it's not genius. That's gone.

* downloads original *

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

...there's something missing that's so important that it's horrible to hear its absence...

What I notice missing is the vocal technique Mercury uses on the lyrics "Gotta leave you all behind and faaace the truth" and "But now I've gone and thrown it aaall away" where his voice kind of "burns".

EDH said...

Well, he tries, but...

bagoh20 said...

I stayed on the arc at amazing. This tribute in no way says he's incapable of being original or a genius in his own right. He's simply demonstrating dedication, discipline, and talent. I don't think that diminishes him at all.

I sometimes write, play and record songs. They are not good to anyone else, but I'm amazed that I can even do it at all. I was born with no natural talent, and have done nothing to develop any since but play around for pure enjoyment.

I have nothing but envy for this kind of ability and dedication.

I doubt that most people we consider musical geniuses could do this.

In my experience it's much easier to perform your own music and make it sound right - who can say it's not.

Duplicating someone else's sound really well is very hard. This is about the best I've ever seen and with a very tough composition - one that has been tried by many.
Most avoid trying to copy it, and just do their own version, which is much easier.

And this reminds me of what a great and original song it was in the first place. I remember when it was first released, and I've grow to like it more every year. Mercury was a special talent.

Bill White said...

He did manage to bring out and give some slight but pleasant emphasis to details that were lost in the original mix. I'd prefer to see a reworking of the song where it's taken down to its bare bones and reimagined.

Patrick said...

A while back, I found this video of a guy doing an intricate version of Bohemian Rhapsody on guitar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDFWtzWUE1M&feature=related

I think doing one's own interpretation is more artistic, but I'll give the guy you linked to points for sticking to it.

Will Cate said...

Was only able to make through about three minutes before I had to stop it. Mr. Castellano is obviously a talented musician, and maybe this will help him get more studio work, or whatever it is he does to put food on the table.

Back in 1976 Todd Rundgren released an album called "Faithful" -- one half or which was devoted to slavishly produced copies of his favorite 60s rock classics. While the work was superficially impressive, he still managed to wrangle all the soul out of the originals.

Todd - Strawberry Fields

ricpic said...

Great job. I can't figure out what Althouse finds missing. That he's not cute?

Johnula said...

He's good! He loves what he's doing, and makes a great homage to a great piece of music.

For all those who essentially say "Freddy Mercury pulled this out of his ass"... Really? Do you really think Mercury had the production cojones to put this all together? No way. He was produced within an inch of his life: BR represents both the Zenith and Nadir of his talent.

No matter what you say, this guy rocks. Good for him for having fun with his talent and sharing it.

Johnula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Writ Small said...

a scintilla of originality?

Ann Althouse said...

"Great job. I can't figure out what Althouse finds missing. That he's not cute?"

It was Meade crying out "turn it off" and calling it "soulless" and he wasn't looking at the video. He was only listening.

wyo sis said...

Several months ago when I first saw this recording (on Wimp I think) I couldn't listen to it all the way through, but I didn't think too much about it. Now, after this discussion, I still don't quite know what's missing. Call it soul for lack of a better word. It's certainly not the "cute" thing. Freddy Mercury was many things, but "cute" was not one of them.

Rabel said...

Tough crowd there at the Meadehouse.

Not to knock the original but that soul came a a cost:

"May, Mercury, and Taylor reportedly sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day. The entire piece took three weeks to record, and in some sections featured 180 separate overdubs"

"At the time, it was the most expensive single ever made"

madAsHell said...

I wonder what his day job is??

He seems to have his own recording studio, several guitars, and a lot of time on his hands. I'm impressed by the effort, but WHY that song??

Scaramouche becomes him.

Alex said...

Sorry but Bohemian Rhapsody is untouchable. Keep your greasy, grubby hands of MY music.

m stone said...

It's brilliant and brilliantly mixed, no question.

Genius, however public like this piece, does not produce for the public. It is expression, pure expression.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I lasted 1:30, then stopped it.

Nice effort, but not the real thing. Covers, like movie sequels, almost always fall short.

Michael E. Lopez said...

The problem is that it *is* a slavish copy, and a pretty damn good one... but the tempo is off.

He's running the song andante but Bohemian Rhapsody is allegro or allegro moderato.

I ran it through MySpeed at x1.2. There was some distortion because of the speeding up, but the song sounded a lot better.

Revenant said...

Very nice! I'm impressed.

He's not up to Mercury standards, but who is? That guy was one of the best rock performers ever. For an ordinary mortal this guy did a heck of a job.

George said...

He's at least a semi-pro musician and is currently a member of Blue Oyster Cult, so its not like he is just some fanboy. Apparently he was in some Queen-related competition and felt inspired to put this together.

Biff said...

His day job? He is a member of Blue Oyster Cult. He is a professional musician, and a pretty good one, at that.

I suspect that most of the criticism is coming from people who aren't musicians.

Real musicians who take their skills seriously will often perform (and record) studies of work by other musicians in order to improve their own technique. This is not so different from engaging in depth with the legal writings of influential jurists in order to improve one's own legal reasoning. YouTube is loaded with videos of musicians doing exactly this kind of thing, ranging from the unlistenable to the sublime.

Obviously, it is next to impossible for even the finest musician to rival Freddie Mercury and Queen when performing what is arguably their signature song, but what this guy did was very professional, very good from a technical perspective, and not creepy at all.

Okay, fine maybe the use of the Brian May guitar copy was a little creepy...