SONG: “Math” (a penitential cover)


“Math” [Download]
(a penitential cover)

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: This has no scientific source; it’s a penitential cover for being late for March’s song (which I still haven’t done yet). It’s originally by the 1990s “spacewave” pop-punk band Supernova. They toured with the Aquabats and shared a member with Servotron, and why they never became just a little bit bigger is a mystery.

ABSTRACT: I’ve loved this song since I heard it on a sampler CD I picked up in 1996 or 1997. It spent a year or two just kind of “there” in my consciousness – didn’t fit with a lot of the other songs on the sampler, and was a little more straight-up punk than I was into at the time – and then it sort of latched onto my consciousness and grew there. I suppose this site might not exist if this song hadn’t been rolling around in my head with all the Thomas Dolby and They Might Be Giants stored back there.

I wanted to do this against the grain – quiet and moody – and succeeded there. I could have had fun adding about a hundred more layers of guitars and ukuleles (that’s what the mandolin-sounding thing really is) during the choruses, but I have no idea what it would have wound up being if I’d done that. I like it this way.

Recording was, as usual, a challenge – no time, full house, and I tried using a Linux-native version of Reaper rather than the Windows version running inside the “not an emulator” Windows environment on Linux. On the plus side, it didn’t crash at all and hung up a lot less than usual – work was smoother. On the minus side, no matter what I tried, the Linux Reaper would *not* find the VST effects I usually use to record things. That meant no MIDI instruments, no TubeBaby distortion, no Classic Kjaerhus delay or filters, no S30 organ. Only the effects that came bundled with Reaper. I adapted.

I did a little pitch-shifting to turn guitars into basses and ukes into mandolins, and discovered some interesting things happen with the native JS Fuzz effect if you start sliding the “shape” control way up. I used that on some “math rock” ukulele parts, playing layers of odd-numbered beats with feedback. Those and all the other sounds were recorded live, and a fair number in the living room while other folks were hanging out on the couch, smirking at the “I always get an F” line.


Supernova had fun their way, I have fun mine.