Adrian Belew's solo in Talking Heads' "Born Under Punch

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Ryan Wasoba
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Adrian Belew's solo in Talking Heads' "Born Under Punch

Post by Ryan Wasoba » Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:34 pm

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?! I've never heard anything like this, even 3 years after hearing it i can't wrap my head around it. It's fairly obvious that Belew is doing some crazy shit on one side of the glass and Eno is doing some crazy shit on the other. Anybody know what this is?
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Jeff White
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Post by Jeff White » Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:34 pm

You mean that Speak and Math ColecoVision solo? Yeah, no idea, but it's amazing.
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Rodgre
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Post by Rodgre » Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:49 pm

I've always wondered about that solo too. At times I think it's all chopped up and put into an Emulator or something like that, but I really can't say for sure. Could even be chopped up tape flown in.

Great record, by the way.

Roger

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Post by Cellotron » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:24 pm

Pretty sure it was his usual chain at the time - i.e. Fender Strat into Roland JC-120 with a bunch of stomp boxes by the likes of Foxx & EH.

I remember reading an article about these sessions that Belew actually played a lot of his solos on that record pretty much all the way through - but that he had a mute switch for his amp that he used to get the on and off thing going (and I've heard him do this type of thing live on other things like his solo on KC's "Elephant Talk") - and that Eno was kind of mildly dismayed that Belew during his solo was doing what Eno wanted to be able to do after the fact.

Anyway - a MUST see are the T-heads with Belew videos from their show in Rome - everyone is just completely on it with the band's energy and playing the best I've heard from them -

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... rch=Search

The version of "Born Under Punches" from this show featuring lots of awesome Belew wailing is at -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVIKF03KkVM

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Post by Artifex » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:44 pm

Wow...thats really great stuff. I have a REALLY hard time getting into Talking Heads because of the production on their CDs... :cry:

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Post by Jeff White » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:29 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g8lFmsC ... re=related

Watch Belew. There's your clue.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. https://linktr.ee/ipressrecord

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syntax
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Belew

Post by syntax » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:30 pm

These live solos are very cool and creative. Listening to the studio track though, I'm left thinking that some of the stuttering sounds are either realtime manipulations of a delay unit or post production cut ups. Just because Belew's live solos capture the character of the album (and go beyond), doesn't mean that's the way he did it the first time. He's a crafty guitar player- equally adept at creating and mimicking sounds. He might have worked with Eno to create those sounds and then imagined ways of capturing that feel and deploying them in a live setting.

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Post by Artifex » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:14 pm

Why go through the trouble of that, though? Why not make the part the way you want to sound in the beginning. Then you don't have to relearn anything when it comes to doing it live. Just seems simpler to me.

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Re: Belew

Post by Cellotron » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:12 pm

syntax wrote:These live solos are very cool and creative. Listening to the studio track though, I'm left thinking that some of the stuttering sounds are either realtime manipulations of a delay unit or post production cut ups. Just because Belew's live solos capture the character of the album (and go beyond), doesn't mean that's the way he did it the first time. He's a crafty guitar player- equally adept at creating and mimicking sounds. He might have worked with Eno to create those sounds and then imagined ways of capturing that feel and deploying them in a live setting.
It's important to realize that Belew's playing was very well formed and in place by the time he met Eno - with years playing in his own band Gaga, and with working in Frank Zappa's band - so while I'm pretty sure that there indeed are some signature Eno production manipulations going on - I still think that there's probably less than you think in regards to Belew's tracks on "Remain In Light".

Best regards,
Steve Berson

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syntax
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Belew solo

Post by syntax » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:15 pm

Why? Because of the process of discovery and the fun of deconstructing a guitar solo. Belew and Eno treat studio tools as part of the process of imagining and (re)composing a song. It is possible and interesting to create all sorts of sounds in the studio that aren't practical or desirable in live performance. Being practical or efficient isn?t what the game is about. Afterall, we're in the domain of Oblique Strategies here.

If you listen though, the live solo and the recorded track are very different performances. I think this studio "solo" is a collage of live manipulations and edits. The stuff that happens starting at 2:47 is not tapping or any other physical trick. It is an electronic intervention. Now it could be a delay that is being switched between delay ranges in real time (I can reproduce something like this on an old Ibanez digital delay) but it is more likely a post-production tape preparation or some other bit of studio gear Eno and Belew decided to play around with. The stutters at 2:56 are different effect. This is easier to produce now using things like Max/MSP. See Radiohead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyKCwDJ7ZUc

I don't know how they would have done it in the early 80s (TC Delay? Emulator?).

While there is definitely some editing in Belew's solo, there are also live tricks like the bit at 3:09, which is probably Belew tweaking his Memory Man in real time. See 4:05 of this King Crimson track on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GTRk_okUk4

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