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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

13. "Divorce Medley" by The Dovells

The Machine has selected another artifact of the 365 Days project for me. The story behind this '70's relic, along with all of the tunes from this bizarre album, can be found here.

The story behind my "version" of it is far more pedestrian. The track is a medley of four or five songs, and I was taking the kids to Disneyland, so I didn't have time to learn them all. I knew going into this project that there would be days like this, and I've set aside a few strategies to create interesting quickie covers when it happens... I just hadn't anticipated pulling up a song quite so... dense. So I went for what must've been Option #8 or so on the list of time-saving cover strategies, and I promise I won't do it again: round-table discussion of the track as it plays. Seeing as how the song is called "Divorce Medley" and all three of the kids discussing it with me are children of divorce, you might expect some deep revelations, but the best you'll get is "Kitty cat!", which is about as far into the subject as I felt like delving myself.

Rex Broome, Eden Hain, Miranda Broome & Ridley Broome: Family round table discussion group
The Dovells: Tacky homophobic '70's Vegas act in background



Cop-Out Number One, and one of the most egregious ones... people sitting around listening to the music they're allegedly covering. Most conspicuously, the sleeve cover artwork for this one clearly took a great deal more time and effort than the recording itself (check out that "The Broomes" logo in the corner there), which does draw my attention to the fact that I clearly hadn't instituted my "strictly square" policy for the sleeve art.

The writeup for both this recording and "The Sound of Fun Surrounds You" make reference to the 365 Days Projects, about which a bit more should probably be said, because they are in some ways where 39-40 started, and the realm to which it will in whole or in part probably return. The two projects, curated by UBUWeb and/or WFMU, ran daily in 2003 and 2007, and presented, to put it crudely, audio oddities, digitized artifacts way beyond just plain "out of print". Some of it was kitsch, some of it was outsider art, some of it was oddly compelling promotional material from bygone eras; there were limited edition vanity recordings, song-poems, tapes found in thrift shops and dumpsters, and more. When the project started, it was basically unique. Nowadays there are tons of "365" blogs and projects, including, of course, 39-40, so the UBU/WFMU projects get buried in a google search among their spiritual offspring (most of which seem to be photography projects). As a point of personal pride, I would love to see the statistics on what percentage of 365 blogs go the distance, and the average length of time they last before going tits up in the ditch, but I imagine such statistics would be damned hard to generate.

The only way to get a really good sense of what is or isn't 365 Days material is to start poking around and see for yourself. I found even the least of what the projects presented to be thought-provoking as to the very nature of what recorded sound and/or music could/should be, and quickly became a completist. The 2003 project presented a single track daily, but in 2007 the concept was expanded to allow for multiple tracks each day, so that full albums, artist retrospectives.

My total holdings from the two projects combined total 2,943 tracks, so the likelihood of The Machine randomly selecting one was pretty high; the likelihood of such a track being pretty fucked up was almost as strong. So for the first half of 39-40, while iTunes was selecting the tunes for me, the 365 Projects loomed large, not only in the project's aesthetic and conceptual DNA, but in terms of actually providing the covers, and usually that was cool: it would have been inconceivable to the people creating most of those tracks that someone would do to them what I have done to them, many years later and for no easily described reason.

So that's that.

No real Easter Eggs other than the fact that in the artwork, there are a lot of photos of Miranda in Saint Patrick's Day gear. That's her birthday, which, being two days before mine, and mine having been two weeks prior to this recording and marking the start of the project, was pretty recent at the time.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...chop this up so it's completely illogical, keep it down to 2 or 3 minutes...and suddenly it's like the 6th or 7th track on a middling Fall album...