you baby

You Baby is a new song, recorded May 2011. Watch the YouTube video. Actually, I wrote the music for this song many years ago, probably in the early or mid 1980s. It was only recently that I decided to add words, a task that was rather complicated because the original music was never intended as a “song.” The lyrics themselves are rather strange, as they at first appear to be of the conventional “I love you” type, but upon closer scrutiny reveal, if not exactly an opposite sensibility, then at least a kind of resignation about the more-or-less arbitrariness of the whole concept.

This is the first video that features my entire band: Jonathan on electric guitar, Jonathan on drums, Jonathan on electric piano, and some other guy on bass (I’m actually playing bass as well, but don’t own an instrument that can be photographed). So the bass player was borrowed from some other video where he was introducing guitarist Laurindo Almeida playing with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Through the magic of Photoshop and Final Cut Express, I convinced him that he was not just a host, but a musician in his own right.

For those of you curious about the video itself, this is basically how it was produced: all the individual clips of Jonathan playing the various instruments are shot with a low-resolution Flip Camcorder, placed either on a tripod or hand-held (e.g., where I’m holding the camera with my left hand while playing the keyboard with my right hand). These individual clips are then inserted behind an image of a suitable band, in this case taken from some Steely Dan concert.

Original image of Steely Dan concert (left); modified image with band members removed leaving transparent background, shown here in red (right).

Original image of Steely Dan concert (left); modified image with band members removed leaving transparent background, shown here in red (right).

I shoot most of the clips in front of a piece of black fabric, so that they blend into the (default) black background behind the transparent spaces. It takes a bit of color correction to match them up, but it’s a lot easier than using the Chroma Key feature. The only other tricks are putting the bass player’s arm and his instrument on separate tracks so that they can be moved a bit using Final Cut’s motion keyframe features. I temporarily imported a GarageBand version of just the “slapped” bass line into the Final Cut “timeline,” so I could easily match the arm movements with the actual music being played (the original GarageBand score has a conventional bass track in addition to the “slapped” bass track).

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