Archive: Music

Here is the final Eurovision Song Contest clip of the week. This one relates to a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a disastrous One O’clock News, because this also features the talkback from the director.

Stewart Morris seems to be having a bit of a bad day at the office during the live broadcast of the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest.

There is more about the 1977 broadcast, along with a few other Eurovision Song Contests, in this clip below.

It’s time for another Eurovision Song Contest video. This time, it’s my favourite entry ever. It’s France’s entry from 2008, Divine by Sébastien Tellier.

This was a controversial entry because, in the eyes of some people in France, the song had far too much English in it! So the song had to be partially rewritten to incorporate some French.

Still, it was an interesting and unexpected move for France to enter a song that is mostly in English. It’s a great song too. I liked it so much, I bought the album, Sexuality, which is also fantastic.

But I have to admit to being most struck by the wonderfully bonkers performance. Why are the backing singers all wearing fake beards (is it a nod to Aphex Twin?)? Why does he enter the stage on a golf cart? Why are all the cameras static for the first two and a half minutes? Why does he take a big gulp of helium halfway through?

These are all questions to which, four years on, I still have no answers for. And I don’t want to know the answers. That would spoil the magic.

Sadly, this brilliant song came only 19th out of the 25 finalists in 2008. France has reverted to entering bland songs sung in French ever since.

Have you heard that brilliant 8-bit / chiptune / computer game cover version of Kid A yet? If not, feast your ears:

Radiohead’s Kid A is probably my favourite album. This fresh interpretation breathes new life into the music I have loved so much for over 10 years.

This 8-bit version strips the music right back to the basics. It’s like the audio equivalent of rebuilding an architectural wonder out of Lego.

Among some, Kid A has a reputation — wrongly — for being difficult and noisy. But the 8-bit version shows that, when you boil it down, Kid A is so great because of the brilliant and inventive melodies, not just studio trickery.

Full marks to Quinton Sung, who created this. He has also created an 8-bit version of OK Computer and some other Radiohead tracks. I can’t wait to listen to them too.

It is the Eurovision Song Contest this week. I have to admit to quite enjoying the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is a good excuse to post this brilliant Belgian effort from 1980 — Euro-vision by Telex.

Telex said they had hoped to finish last. But they were thwarted by Greece, Portugal and the UK, whose juries all awarded the song points. Portugal even gave them 10 points! So Belgium came 17th out of 19 songs.

Omnichord

Last week I finally got my hands on something I’ve wanted for a while — an Omnichord. It is a kitsch electronic music instrument produced by Suzuki in the 1980s. It makes a very charming sound and is addictive to play.

The key feature that makes the Omnichord stand out from other instruments is the sonic strings. This is essentially a plate that you run your fingers over to imitate strumming. You select a chord you would like to play (there are 84 to choose from), and strum away.

It is amazingly easy to play. I haven’t played a musical instrument seriously for a very long time, but just mucking around on the Omnichord has been very satisfying already.

I first heard of the Omnichord when I was a fan of the indie group The High Fidelity back in about 2000. They released an entire album inspired by the Omnichord.

Since then, I have noticed the Omnichord cropping up in the music of many of my favourite artists.

The otherworldly sound of the Omnichord intrigued me, as did the passion that so many people have for the instrument. Ever since, I have toyed with the idea of getting my hands on one of these cult objects. Last week I bit the bullet at last.

It is an eBay job — these Omnichords were discontinued in the 1980s. I think I got lucky. I got my hands on this one for £120. I had already lost an auction a couple of months ago. On that occasion it went for well over £200.

Apart from a couple of sticky buttons, this Omnichord — which is older than I am — is in remarkably good condition. It feels robust, so with a bit of luck this will have quite a long life, despite it being quite old already.

I am super chuffed with this purchase. Here is an audio clip of me mucking about with the Omnichord.

Omnichord

Hopefully I can progress beyond just mucking about with it, and maybe start getting into playing music properly again. I’m even starting to wonder about getting the Qchord, which is the successor to the Omnichord.

Here is a video of Sean Dickson from the High Fidelity performing Teenage Kicks on a Qchord.