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Mike [profile] has commented on 38 tracks.
Order by - songtitle - year - performer - date recommended
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Manon  performed by Serge Gainsbourg  1969
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A lovely, dark, haunting song with an intricate string arrangement; this really got me hooked on Gainsbourg as soon as I heard it. Musically, the song dazzles me - the arrangement flows beautifully and sounds very original (to me, anyway; if I'm wrong, please help steer me in the direction of more recordings like this!). Serge is a great vocalist here as well. At times he whispers, but some lines he really spits out - 'a quel point je HAIS......ce que tu es...' The guy was a genius.

from Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg, available on CD (Polydor France)




  03 May 01 ·Mike: I must agree with you (it seems pretty appropriate to do so as you introduced the song to me yourself a few years ago) - this is a very beautiful song, very beautifully and expressively sung, and the arrangement is frankly stunning. This is definitely one of those Gainsbourg tracks which really hits the heights in every department. Surely worth a listen, even to those who can't stand the bulk of Serge's output.
  09 Apr 02 ·tempted: Scott Walker has some similarly haunting orchestral arrangements but as a singer he's a sheep whereas Serge's a wolf. A great sheep, though.
Pavane for a Dead Princess  performed by Eumir Deodato  1973
Recommended by delicado [profile]

This stunning instrumental is a reasonably straight version of a classical piece by Maurice Ravel, originally written in 1899. Eumir plays piano over a dense string background, adding a tiny bit of jazz phrasing. The texture of the layered strings and piano is remarkably intense and beautiful, and the piece is quite exquisite. I expect this recording would offend classical purists, but I must admit that having heard this version first, I still like it the best. Perhaps this is down to the sheer richness of the string recording, which may be endowed by studio wizardry rarely used in classical recordings. Either way, it's really quite incredible, and I urge you to check it out.

from Deodato 2 (CTI), available on CD (CBS)




  03 Jan 02 ·Mike: While I find Deodato to be a stimulating and interesting artist (and am far from being a "classical purist" of any sort), I can't really muster any great enthusiasm for this recording. Too close to being a kind of synthesis of Ravel's original for solo piano (1899) and version for full orchestra (1910), I find Deodato's funky adaptations of Stauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and, particularly Debussy's "Prelude to the afternoon of a faun" somewhat more worthwhile. Maybe I should listen again to the Ravel adaptation, but in the past I have found its blandness a little irritating...
  28 Feb 02 ·G400 Custom: What I like about this track is the fact that it's a very black, funky take on a piece with questionable Aryan overtones. It can be heard to great affect in Hal Ashby's 'Being There', which I think was Peter Sellers' last film.
  28 Feb 02 ·G400 Custom: Re the above comment: I was talking about 'Also Sprach Zarathrustra', not the Ravel piece. Sorry for any confusion.
  03 Sep 02 ·G400 Custom: As far as the Ravel adaptation goes, I find it pleasant if a little bit chocolate-boxey, reminiscent of the 60s soundtracks of Francis Lai. I can't argue with Delicado's comments about the string sound though, which is astonishing.
  17 Sep 03 ·sodapop650: Bore - Ring! If you are going to listen to Deodato. Listen to the early Equipe LPs. When his sound was so hip, hipper than hip, the bastard brazilian son of Henry Mancini hip. Get a copy of "Tremendao" grab a beer and try to find a nice warm spot of sunshine.
  18 Sep 03 ·delicado: Well, you have to remember that I'm someone who is obsessed with string sounds. I listen fanatically to late 50s and 60s mood music records, and am a fan of both Percy Faith and Jackie Gleason's records. Yes, I love Brazilian music, and enjoy all of Deodato's 60s Equipe LPs, but I also have a very real and intense love of what my pal G400 defines as 'chocolate-boxy' easy listening music. Deodato's 1972 LP 'Percepcao' (recently reissued on CD in Brazil) also falls into this category, and I adore it!
  18 Apr 04 ·[email protected]: One of the purist fusion jazz artists of his time. Listen to the music, don't try to interpret it or rationalize it. Your missing the point. Eumir is unmistakeably one of the pioneers in this gendre.
Ah melody  performed by Serge Gainsbourg  1970
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A slow number from Gainsbourg’s classic concept album, ‘Ah melody’ opens with that picked acoustic guitar sound which the group Air have now imitated and made one of their trademark sounds. The arrangement is very bare, with the guitar accompanied by just a vocal, bass, and a spikey, funky drum beat. Later in this short track, strings and Bacharach-style horns slip in and out of the mix, before everything stops abruptly. It’s a great track from what I find otherwise to be a slightly disappointing album.

from Histoire de Melody Nelson, available on CD (Philips)




  09 Dec 01 ·e: ah delicado....
  03 Jan 02 ·Mike: Wonderful track; absolutely magic, and second only to "Manon" in Gainsbourg's output for me. In the context of the album, it's a kind of foil to the more vigourous remainder, an all-too-short lyrical interlude.
  05 Sep 02 ·Liv: Stellar. "Histoire de Melody Nelson" is one of THE best concept records of all time..period.(But you don't have to understand French to appreciate this wicked album..) The lush string arrangements, interweaving deep&funky bass, Gainsborough's sleazily "seductive" voice:sometimes whispering,sometimes "singing"..all adds to the perfection. I will always treasure this album.. ("Ah!Melody" is one of the "lighter" songs from the album as the overall atmosphere of the album is darker,creepier:a feeling of perversion, death & doomed love..) One of his best. Pure magic.
  12 Mar 04 ·olli: got to love that. one of the definite highlights in his amazingly diverse output for me.
The Call  performed by Gene Page  1972
Recommended by delicado [profile]

An atmospheric soundtrack instrumental, with a superb blend of strings harpsichord, brass and woodwind. Everything is underpinned by a gently funky beat that delights me, and is typical of early 70s mood instrumentals.

from Blacula, available on CD (Razor & Tie)




  31 Jan 02 ·Mike: Nice dense arrangement with the harpsichord penetrating attractively (try to remember that penetration can be unattractive at times). I enjoyed the excerpt very much.
  31 Jan 02 ·delicado: Yeah, the clarinet/sax you hear at the end of the sample nearly ruins it for me, but not quite. Those chords at the beginning recall that great song 'Life is Mono' by Mono, don't you think?
Rodeo  performed by Ennio Morricone
Recommended by bobbyspacetroup [profile]

My favorite track from one of favorite Morricone scores. Dig that harpsichord.

from La Casse OST
available on CD - Morricone - Belmondo (DRG)




  02 Feb 02 ·Mike: The first 27 seconds are very pleasant indeed.
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