Saturday, September 03, 2011

Bad horns

Bad as in "not good", that is. That's some pretty sketchy horn playing, though they get a bit better towards the end. But that's sort of part of the charm of Beirut, Zach Condon grabs a few musicians off the street, hums the song to them while telling each part what they're supposed to do as they come in, and then they jam. It's not improvision, exactly, because everything's driven by the accordion and the singing, but it's definitely not as polished as you'd expect from your average bar band.

The band is Beirut. The song is "Nantes", off their 2007 album The Flying Club Cup.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. I think the horn players did exactly what was asked of them. First entrance a bit on the subtle side, later big at the finale.

    BTW, the horn that is not a trumpet is a euphonium. I can play that thing, too.

    In fact, it's what I started on.


  2. Oh sure, blame the conductor, that's what horn players always do ;).

    Actually, the horns do better on this version than on one version that I saw, which was on the streets of Paris with random street musicians and no drum set (just a couple of metal trashcans to pound with the drumsticks). But then, at the beginning of *that* video you hear him telling the euphonium player what to play when he swings his arm her direction -- "ba ba dum dum ba ba dum dum" -- making it clear that she's never even heard the song before, much less played it, so she has even more of an excuse for some sketchy playing :).

    But it's all such a glorious mess that all is forgiven :). I just can't figure out how someone who looks like an infant can manage to get these sounds out of random musicians who've never even heard the song before, much less played it... oh, I do know the technique he's using, bluegrass uses the same technique to teach new songs to younger players who sit in on their sessions (where they play one verse without the guest, then the guest comes in on the further verses, having learned the song the first verse through if he or she is any good), but I wasn't aware that other musical traditions had that sort of thing.

    - Badtux the Music Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.