Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Funny Valentine

I like it when bands do songs that are so uncharacteristic of their "style" that listening to the song begs surprise. Why do I mention this? Because I'm posting a song by a band that actually sounds little like the way they sound the rest of the time. Miranda Sex Garden, a British band from the nineties, combined an interest in madrigal music (kind of early Baroque/Rennaissance-era polyphonic music from the 16th century) with a vaguely gothic sensibility. They didn't sing happy songs but they were not easily identifiable with mopey music from the nineties; a lot of female voices singing counterpoint to each other, sometimes getting vicious and sometimes tender. Their music grew more and more complex over the years. I first heard their album Suspiria (1993) and then followed them into Fairytales of Slavery (1994) but lost track after that. Both were quite superb albums unlike anything you might hear before, during or after -- very unique stuff. There is some sort of fan website here if you want to pursue them in more detail.

I'm posting the final track off of Suspiria here, appropriate for today. It sounds nothing like the rest of the album. The song, "My Funny Valentine," is an old and well-known one, originally written in 1937 by Rodgers and Hart. It's been covered by just about everyone in the world. I have to admit, the Miranda Sex Garden version was the first time I ever heard the song, and it's ruined all other versions for me. I guess you could consider this song somewhat hackneyed but if you listen carefully, the chord progressions are both clever and elegant. And this version takes it places that few versions do, as Katherine Blake (the lead singer) puts in a wonderful performance. The guitar behind her voice sounds positively heavenly. If you have a chance, listen to it on the headphones alone.

Miranda Sex Garden - My Funny Valentine [mp3]

No comments: