Color and Loops

Lorinne and I belong to a group that meets at irregular intervals to read/sing through musicals, which is a great way to learn (a) shows you didn’t previously know, (b) all the intricacies you might have missed in a show you’re very familiar with, and (c) that harmonies are hard and you should have spent more time practicing them.

Anyway, last year, Lorinne hosted a reading of “Sunday in the Park With George,” an all-time favorite, and I thought it would be fun to have a new arrangement of “Chromolume #7”, the music that accompanies the art exhibit in Act 2. The score is pretty loose; it basically says “here are a bunch of musical motifs, go wild.” So I asked our accompanist, Andy Roninson, if he could record the different parts and send them to me digitally so I could play with them, remix-style. And this is what I came up with! (Right-click to download.)

The Monster Mashup

It’s time, I think, for a seasonal repost of my spoooooooky Halloween mashup, “Now That’s What I Call Ghosts Laughing!”, featuring the mellifluous tones of Disney legend Paul Frees (excerpted from the Haunted Mansion recording sessions) lovingly arranged on top of some fat beats. Enjoy.


From the Mashed-Up Files of Mr. Francis J. Heaney

I used to make a lot of mash-ups. In theory I still might make more (my most recent was a couple years ago), but clearly I’m in no rush. But here are some of my old ones that I still like!

“Kiss Me, Eleanor” (The Beatles vs. The Cure)
Right-click to download.

“Ice Rack” (Madonna vs. Zony Mash)
Right-click to download.

“Your Superfunkicalimagination” (Brian Wilson vs. Prince)
Right-click to download.

“Woman’s Burden” (John Lennon vs. The Rolling Stones)
Right-click to download.

This next one was originally made as a submission to “A People’s History of the Dismemberment Plan”, the fan remix album. Travis told me at some point that it had been under consideration for the album; I like to imagine that it would have made the cut had it not been for, you know, the bevy of uncleared samples.

“Following Through (Tropicalia mix)” (The Dismemberment Plan vs. Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil)
Right-click to download.

Jerry Herman’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Often, when Lorinne is in a show, I’ll make her a themed mix CD as an opening night gift. For her latest performance as one of the three leading ladies in the Jerry Herman revue, “Jerry’s Girls,” I thought I might do something different — namely, a collection of Jerry Herman/Beatles mash-ups. After realizing the amount of time it was taking me to make even one such mash-up, I just went ahead and made a mix CD instead. But here’s the one I did make: “Hello, Something” (which is George singing on top of Herb Alpert’s rendition of “Hello, Dolly”):


(Right-click and save here if you’d like a copy.)

The Holy Tango Basement Tapes

Recently, the Holy Tango of Literature made the news, with my Maya Angelou pastiche “Yoga Alumnae” being quoted in a remembrance of Ms. Angelou in the Washington Post (although its anagrammatic premise was left as an exercise for the reader). The Holy Tango, as most of you know, asked the question, “What if poets and playwrights wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names?”, and then there was a musical spin-off, the Holy Tango Basement Tapes, which asked the very similar (but much more effortful to follow through with) question, “What if musical acts wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names?”

Well, imagine my surprise when I learned today that the band Interpol has volunteered to help out with the Holy Tango Basement Tapes by releasing an album entitled “El Pintor” (Spanish for “The Painter”), joining a very elite group of musical anagrammaticists that includes The Cure (with their song “Cut Here”) and Brian Eno, sort of (his song “King’s Lead Hat” is an anagram of Talking Heads). Anyway, in honor of this event, I thought I’d post a convenient zip file of the various Holy Tango songs I’ve managed to finish recording over the years. The songs are:

Prince, “Pincer”
Elvis Costello, “It Loves Cellos”
Paul Simon, “Up on Islam”
Britney Spears, “Presbyterians” (featuring Tate Evans)
Joni Mitchell, “Mitch in Jell-O”
Pet Shop Boys, “The Bossy Pop”

Lyrics after the jump if you want to really get into it. Still unrecorded: Patsy Cline’s “Tiny Places.” Someday, I promise.

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Branching back out into songwriting

Two friends of ours, Julianne and Megan, recently got married, and part of the reception was a cabaret featuring songs on the theme of “home.” Faced with the choices available among the sheet music I had handy — which included the Smiths’ very depressing “Back to the Old House”, Kate Bush’s less-than-cozy “Get Out of My House”, and Paul Simon’s appropriate but too frickin’ difficult to play “Something So Right” — I opted instead to follow my usual custom in such situations and wrote my own song (with some melodic improvements from Lorinne). There’s no recording of the performance — which is just as well, honestly — so I recorded a home demo version. And here it is! It’s called “Let’s Build a Nest.” (Right-click here to download a copy.)


Let’s Build a Nest

Once upon a time, two birds of a feather
Sat at two ends of a telephone wire;
They caught each other’s eye and they scooched close together,
Then one told the other, here’s what I desire:

Let’s build a nest, let’s build a nest,
That is my first and last request.
I had to get that off my chest,
But I’m glad I confessed.
Let’s find a tree for you and me, don’t you agree that would be best?
Please say you’ve acquiesced, let’s build a nest.

The other bird just smiled (as much as birds can with a beak),
And said, now this might sound just like some tired old cliche,
But when you looked at me, you cast a spell with your mystique,
And I was so enchanted, I was just about to say:

Let’s build a nest, let’s build a nest,
Now that the thought has been expressed,
As you can tell, I don’t protest,
And in fact I feel blessed.
So now let’s sing as we take wing to do the thing that you suggest,
And then we both can rest inside our nest.
Let’s get started on it yesterday, our nest.
To take a bough will be our quest, let’s build a nest!