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Empty Songs

  1. Oct 22, 2008 #1
    What songs sound good and have a hollow sound? I mean songs which dont have "barely there", minimalist music, but still sound good. I was thinking maybe some Jazz or Blues based tracks, but I have no idea where to start.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2008 #2


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    Have you ever heard "Albatross" or "Jigsaw Puzzle Blues" by Fleetwood Mac? These were written and recorded when Peter Green was running the group and Danny Kirwan was his protege. Green often blended the output from both his guitar pickups, but his guitar was set up with one set of magnets flipped (opposite polarity), so that lots of mid-frequencies canceled. It's a hollow-sounding tone, similar to what BB King often gets. Back when Green was a young upstart, BB said that Green's tone gave him "cold sweats".

    Here's Albatross. Mick Fleetwood on drums, John MacVie on Bass, Peter on guitar, Danny Kirwan (blond page-boy cut) on guitar, and Jeremy Spencer on slide.

    And here is Jigsaw Puzzle Blues with Danny on lead. He wrote this song.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  4. Oct 22, 2008 #3
    How about Chris Isaack Wicked games. sounds pretty hollow to me. Vid is not half bad either.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  5. Oct 23, 2008 #4
    Wow. Those are amazing songs. What other songs are there along the lines of Albatross and Wicked Games? Another song that I like is Since I've Been Loving You (Led Zep) which is also quite hollow in certain places.

    The thing is, that I'm part of a band, and whatever stuff we write on our own, tends towards blues based classic rock, but they're very "involved" (I dont know if that the right word). As in, they're complex but are very full as opposed to the hollowness of say Albatross or Wicked Games, and most of the music I've been exposed to is complex but also very full and I wanted to try something like this, but I had no idea what to listen to or where to start looking.
  6. Oct 23, 2008 #5
    Other genre, but pretty hollow

    usfHlfVHEn8[/youtube] Et les oiseaux chantaient
  7. Oct 23, 2008 #6


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    video no longer available, Andre
  8. Oct 23, 2008 #7
    Strange, it may be overloaded

    Another one, then. Same music

  9. Oct 23, 2008 #8


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  10. Oct 23, 2008 #9


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    Can I give you some advice? If so, read on.

    Pare down your arrangements. Not everybody has to be playing at the same time, and if they are, most of the parts should be simple, leaving room for one another. Guitar leads don't have to be heavy, riff-laden, or over-the top. Accurate bends and tasteful vibrato can sound great in a pared-down setting. Listen to Freddie King - he sings a bit, his guitar "sings" a bit, etc, all over a spare rhythm section. This is perhaps the flashiest lead I've ever heard from Freddie, but that's because he's working the crowd in a live venue. His studio stuff is meticulous, and Eric Clapton has copied him to a "T" on lots of pieces.

    Next, your rhythm section should be playing rhythm, with the drums and bass keeping the beat and reinforcing one another. Sounds simple, except that this is a real problem for lots of bands, especially starting out. The drummer wants to throw in some flashy stuff, and the bass player has listened to too much Jaco, and wants to infest your music with pops and snaps like the Seinfeld theme. In a band setting, the bass player should stay in the lower registers most of the time, providing a foundation for the music. I used to run blues jams on weekends sometimes, and it was pretty depressing to see bass players showing up with 6-string basses and cabinets loaded with aluminum-coned speakers. When bass players (older guys, often) would show up with a Fender Jazz bass and an old Ampeg portaflex amp, that usually bode well for a good afternoon/evening.

    I generally played humbucker-equipped guitars through my home-made Tweed Deluxe clone when I wanted a little "dirt". That small amp is easily overdriven and you get some nice tones without blowing the audience's ears out. Switch over to a Strat for cleaner tones, and you've got a lot of territory covered. You can accomplish this with a Blues Junior or other small Fender tube amp. If you have to use pedals for distortion, you're taking too much amp to your gigs.

    Here is another Fleetwood Mac number - "Like it this way" The sound quality isn't what it could be, but for a live performance in that time-frame, it's not bad. Several things to note:

    MacVie and Fleetwood play simply and stay tight. They were the best rhythm section in the British blues scene, and Peter Green named his band after them, even though MacVie had not yet agreed to leave Mayall's Blues-Breakers to join them.

    Green and Kirwan stay out of each others' way, so even though this song gives them both a chance to be flashy guitar-slingers, they don't muddy things up. They take turns swapping leads, and for further "space" Green keeps his tone fat (heavy midrange) while Kirwan keeps his tone thinner. A pair of guitarists trying to pull this off without considering this would really stink up the place.

    The song is simple and concise. The lyrics are very basic and serve as a framework within which the guitarists can swap leads. Also the leads (as such) tend to be simple, and are delivered in a call-and-answer format that accentuates the tonal differences between the guitars (one fat, one thin).

    By the way, did you know that Peter Green wrote Black Magic Woman, and FM had a hit with it before Santana covered it? Note how solid the rhythm section is, and how spare and clean the guitar is. It isn't until the middle of the piece that Danny Kirwan starts jumping in with some backing riffs, and Mick Fleetwood starts driving the beat with cymbals. All through the first half of the song, the drumming is so spare that you could drive a truck through it anywhere. The surprise comes at the end when you realize that the "reverb" is actually ambient reflected sound, and the song was recorded in front of a live crowd. The studio version is very good, too. BTW, this version may have been recorded at the Boston Tea Party.


    I hope this helps. I certainly wish someone had cued me in on some of this stuff back in the '60's. Trial-and-error is a hard way to learn, especially on-stage.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  11. Oct 23, 2008 #10
    Maybe "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd?

    Edit: Not sure if this calls into the category but Aqueous Transmission is one of the most relaxing songs I've ever heard:
  12. Oct 23, 2008 #11


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    My advice would be to try what turbo-1 has suggested. :smile:
  13. Oct 23, 2008 #12
    That early FM is great Turbo1. Thanks.
  14. Oct 23, 2008 #13
    This Neil Young soundtrack for the movie dead man gives the feeling of emptiness. It is hollow and desolate.It is how ever very good. This vid is just a short snip. If you can find the whole soundtrack, give it a listen.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  15. Oct 23, 2008 #14


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    You're welcome! That was one of my favorite British bands of the 60's. They wandered into blues-rock, but they never forgot their lessons. Great thing about the British bands of that era - they dug into music that we in the northeast had a hard time getting (most stores wouldn't carry "race music") and they dug into those albums and learned from them. They not only learned the songs and copied them, but learned how to copy the production values that made the music lean and vital.

    When I was a kid, the closest we got to black music in Maine was waiting until nightfall when the Huge AM stations came on-air and finding some stations (Buffalo was a biggie) that would play Motown. Blues was hard to find, and our largest exposure to blues was from Brit bands that copied American blues and re-packaged it. Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, etc were heroes to British rockers.
  16. Oct 23, 2008 #15


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    More Fleetwood Mac.

    Have you cried "UNCLE" yet? If not, and if you are interested in how Fleetwood Mac evolved, you might want to click here.

    I have at least 20 CDs of albums, compilations, foreign releases, live cuts, etc, all made during a period no longer than 4 years or so. Later Fleetwood Mac stuff doesn't really interest me. When Peter Green was running the show, the arrangements and production values were gold.

    Edit: I should add that the break-up of Britain's most popular band (in '69 they sold more music than the Beatles or the Stones) was precipitated by Peter's revulsion with the huge amounts of money they were making. He wanted the band to tour and donate all excess profits to charity, and the rest of the guys said "hell no!". Later, he was charged because he drove off his accountant with a pellet gun when the accountant showed up to deliver a royalty check. Peter had told him to stop bringing him money related to his music career, and the accountant wasn't smart enough to just steal it, apparently. Peter has been back in one form or another for a number of years, but he never regained his fire. The Beatles wrote the song "Here Comes the Sun King" when Green agreed to contract to Apple Records, though his mental illness prevented that from coming to fruition.

    Edit again: Guess who owns Peter's old Les Paul with the flipped pickup magnets? Gary Moore (late of Thin Lizzie), who performed "Blues for Greeny" - a CD from which Moore dedicated his royalties to help get Peter a little more support. This is not without precedent in the Fleetwood Mac story, since Danny Kirwan released some rock songs in the style of Buddy Holly, and directed that the royalties be paid to Holly's mother.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  17. Oct 23, 2008 #16


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  18. Oct 24, 2008 #17
    Wow! Im really grateful turbo-1. Thing is I've just started getting good enough to play my own complicated stuff, but it sounds messy. I mean, it sounds nice, but too fluid if you get what I mean. Ive been listening to a lot of The Allman Brothers and SRV to get the feel for blues but its the toughest thing to get. When ever I figure something of my own out, it sounds almost childish compared to any decent blues track.

    I was thinking of getting into the basics back again so I dont get crowded with the complicated stuff and figuring something simple out that sounds really good as opposed to something complicated that sounds messy. Thank you so much for introducing me to FM!
  19. Oct 24, 2008 #18
  20. Nov 1, 2008 #19


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  21. Nov 1, 2008 #20


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    Lucinda Williams's "Still I Long For Your Kiss" on the Horse Whisperer soundtrack is good. This is the best youtube version I could find:

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