"She Blinded Me With Science" (1982), by Thomas Dolby, has long been a favorite, and a "guilty pleasure" of mine; popular the year I graduated High School and began college. I guess I judge it as a guilty pleasure because it is not the typical progressive rock or classical music that I usually am attracted to. Here, I just really liked the funky beat, the synthesizers, and the over-the-top mad scientist vibe to it (check out the video on YouTube!). As a perennial geek/nerd, that just appealed to me.
My goal was to recreate the song without any keyboards, just guitars. The original synth-bass was recreated using my Squire P-Bass with the low E string tuned down to a B. This definitely caused some tuning difficulties as you can hear if you listen carefully. But it was a great sound, especially live through the amp! :) I spent about a month, working on occasional lunch hours and evenings, transcribing the song into Tux Guitar, then exported it as MIDI to import backing work tracks into Reaper, which I then replaced with the live tracks. There are 8 tracks in Reaper: Bass, Drums, Vocal, and five different guitar tracks. The guitars I used were my PRS SEII Soapbar and a borrowed Gretsch Double Anniversary from 1960, just for kicks. The guitar effects are all from my Zoom H4 recorder/interface: The clean strummed chords are on the Gretsch through a Vox simulation on the H4. There's a clean lead sound, a distorted lead sound, and a Peavey distorted sound, as well as a couple measures of simulated acoustic. I just used the H4 as an interface this time, and did all the recording in Reaper. The only effects I used in Reaper were to add some reverb to the vocal and drums. I have a lot to learn about mixing and mastering in Reaper! But this was a lot more complex than the last album's piece that I did!
I'd like to thank my son for the use of his Tama drum kit and the drum-playing lesson he gave me this summer. I'd also like to apologize for the mad scientist vocals inflicted on the listener throughout - I turn red just thinking about anyone hearing this. For the next piece, I'm choosing something with some baritone or bass range vocals, like a Crash Test Dummies song.
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