I'm liking this, there's something about Thomas Dolby's voice that does it for me, something to do with his total lack of affectation - no modification from his normal talking voice - eg, the exact opposite of Mick Jagger who takes on a Southern USA drawl when he sings.
This is a recording of Evil Twin Brother from the Spring 2012 Time Capsule Tour at somewhere called Largo. its taken from his latest (and first album for 20 years) Map Of The Floating City - well worth a listen if you are a Dolby fan.
I really like the fact that he and the band have added notes on the song and how they perform it. Also really quite shocking to hear a keyboard, no actual synth solo in a song by anyone these days - kudos to Thomas!
Comments from Thomas Dolby (vocal, keyboards):
love singing this song live, because the storytelling really takes on a new dimension. I'm aware that many in the audience have never heard the song, so I have make sure I really draw them into the story with my delivery of the lyrics. How often thse days are lyrics of a pop song something worth listening to? Yet I know people are paying attention—when I say 'yeah, right...!' at 3'05, I always hear a ripple of laughter going around the room. I have to cover for the vocal asides that were sung by the astonishing Jason Paige on the album—wish I had his amazing range and chops! I found Jason by Googling 'Michael Jackson soundalike.'
In the verses I'm playing a lush sort of cello-led orchestra sound, mostly simple triad chords, and opening the filter with the mod wheel. I trigger samples of NY police sirens, an East European waitress called Yelena (played by Regina Spektor!) and some lovely disco string lines played by Ethel. The bridges are just a trancey loop I made, and I open up the filter using a MIDI knob. In this context the Euro-trash disco groove in the chorus makes perfect sense, and is great to solo over. The solo is a saw setting on a MiniMoog plug-in.
Comments from Kevin Armstrong (guitar):
Wah Wah yeah! I like to channel Frank Zappa during this. And I love just playing the percussive damped rhythm that starts at 0:32. With my left hand blocking all the strings so the guitar does that 1970s disco Shaft/Barry White kind of thing.
I love TD's synth solo at 4:25 and I'm gearing up for the guitar solo at the end. I don't prepare these bits and they really vary in quality from the sublime to the ordinary depending on how I'm feeling. I like to leave a bit of danger in the air as the song is about taking a leap into the unknown I try and do the same. It's a tense moment for me as I have an ambivalent attitude towards guitar solos. It's really about letting go. The minute I start thinking too hard I choke.
Comments from Mat Hector (drums):
Another one of my favorite tracks from the set!!! This track is really about two distinct grooves for me, and the use of dynamics. The first is the verse groove. A great groove to play, the verse lets me add lots of small ghost notes on the snare, as well as adding flicks on the splashes throughout as well, a really nice textual thing for me. I have to be careful not to over play on this. You can hear that during the intro I use the splashes and hi-hat snatches a lot, but as soon as the vocals come in I drop down dynamically and simplify the groove - giving the vocal space and setting the scene for the verse. At1:05 the verse breaks - at this point I can open up a little again, giving the rhythm part shape, and edging up in support of the guitar break. At
1:45 the second verse starts and once again, to give shape and build dynamics, I include a hi-hat snatch in this verse - giving this verse a little more movement than the first verse as I try to build the track rhythmically - it's all about building the part dynamically as well as in volume. Always serve the song!
The second groove on this track is the four on the floor dance groove in the chorus. A great thumping groove, I use a sampled snare from my 2box drum brain, which I trigger via my spd-30 sample pad, and a keyboard synth hit, again triggered in the same way. My favorite part of playing this groove is where I get to bring in the acoustic snare at the guitar solo - at 4:49 - with a nice aggressive fill!!! Love it!!! The addition of the acoustic snare really lifts the groove for the guitar solo, giving Kevin a good foundation to let rip over!
More From: THOMAS DOLBY
On the fly arrangement of chords and melody