SONG: Circuits in the Sand (penitential cover)


“Circuits in the Sand” [Download]
(penitential cover)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: This has no scientific source; it’s a penitential cover for being late for last month’s song. It’s originally by King Tuff.

As far as I can tell, King Tuff’s The Other is a concept album about some kind of End Times street-corner preacher with maybe-not-so-paranoid delusions about the conspiracy that’s maybe-for-real controlling our minds through our smart phones. (See: the video for “Psycho Star,” and compare with the record cover.) Whether this is really the storyline or not, there’s definitely a vein of technology and sociology running through the songs.

Anyway, I looked over the past, I dunno, all of the covers I’ve done for this project, and they seemed pretty dated. Most were from before the mid-90s. I wanted to find something worth covering that was a little more recent… then the world just put this album in front of me. It came out this April. Recent enough!

King Tuff does have a really very 70s vibe, so maybe it’s cheating a little, but not really.

This is a song about our relationship with smartphones. I can’t tell if it’s meant to be taken at face value (as an anti-phone protest song) or if it’s playing up the crazy character angle. Either way, it’s scientific enough for this site.

I started out with a cheesy Casio-style drum beat, because why not, and then built up what amounted to a MIDI-string chamber ensemble, which was a little too classical and yet still too fakey, so I leaned into the electronicness and fed the viola/violin parts through a ring modulator effect for that vintage synth/Dalek voice feel. Then came acoustic guitars, four vocal tracks with two overdriven because lo-fi forever. And then I used a sine generator for the solos. Beeep beep beeeeep beep.

Half organic, half synthetic, all a little disconnected. I like the counterpoints. I like the harmonies.