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Church Mashups: A minor and E major Print E-mail
Monday, 07 March 2005

Mash In A Minor:

Watch it at YouTube now

Radiance meets It's No Reason, Ripple, Bel-Air, Theatre and Its Double, You Took and Grind


Mash in E Major:

Watch it at YouTube now

Metropolis meets Invisible friends with guitars 

I've created two mashups of Church songs and I hope you'll enjoy them. The first is described below, and information on the second one can found on this page.

The first mashup has twenty-one Church songs and you can download the resulting piece, Church Mash in A Minor, by right-clicking the link at the top of this page and choosing Save Link As or Save Target As. It's 5 minutes long and 7.6 MB. 

I hope you'll indulge me while I write about this experience, and hope those who wield the paperwork will see this as a tribute to the work of my favourite band. Copyright remains with The Church and this piece may not be used for commercial purposes without their case, y'know, it's actually as good as I think it is :)

Mashing is a form of "Bastard Pop" where portions of several songs are edited together to form a new piece of music. I've used the first two bars of "Radiance", from After Everything Now This as the foundation of the song. This is because it begins and ends with the same chord, making it easy to loop. It also shifts in the middle a little, giving some musical interest to work with.

The next task was to find parts of songs that had relatively little other music mixed in with them. They had to be in a minor key (mostly) and not too much faster or slower than Radiance. The samples I picked were either unaccompanied, or had a bass line mixed in with them, so sliding the low equalizer setting all the way down mostly took care of that.  That's also why some of the vocal tracks (like You Took) sound a little thin - lowering the bass takes something out of Steve's voice too.

I used Acid Studio software by Sony to chop pieces, then adjust their speed, from the following songs:

Radiance: first two bars - great bass line and subtle drums
It's No Reason: vocal from the opening verse. I left the left channel "pop" in, as a tribute to the thousands of times we heard that on the first CD release :)
Ripple: The two sung parts with just bass behind them.
Field of Mars: "Oh, Field of Mars"
Grind: The last verse, piano and all.
You Took: Opening verse, which nests beautifully with the last verse of Grind.
Tristesse: the opening chiming guitar. Shifting it down 2 semitones put it in the key of C, which works in an A minor song.
Unguarded Moment: The famous riff from the beginning of the song.
Under the Milky Way: The opening bars of the original and the new acoustic version are both used.
The Theatre and Its Double: The bridge of this song has only vocals and bass, so using an EQ to remove most of the bass leaves mostly vocals.
Reptile: The opening riff shifted up two semitones.
Happy Hunting Ground: The two sets of three reverberating, chimed notes fit well with Its No Reason and Theatre and Its Double.
Myrrh: The opening couple of bars have a great guitar part and the drums beat steadily and let me do "buildups" to the samples from Ripple.
November: The last verse in this song from El Momento Descuidado has no backing music at all. None. I HAD to use it!
Already Yesterday: The opening riff was dropped in a few places.

Added March 20th 2005
A couple of people said they wished it was longer (thank you!), so I added the opening vocals from Is This Where You Live, accompanied by a high-energy sped-up drum beat from Texas Moon, a choir from Telepath, and the two chord figure from A Month of Sundays, which has been removed from the rest of the song where, upon reflection, I thought the F# in the Am6 was just a bit too discordant. Tristesse is used here too, shifted back into its original key of D. The opening guitar figure from the Hologram of Baal B-side "Lizard" has been added to help bring the song back from D major to A minor; and the "lizard, lizard" whisper is always welcome.

An interesting bit of editing had to be done on the last word of Is This Where You Live. The "k" in "dark" was puncuated with a big drum hit, which I didn't want to leave in, but removing it left the word "dar" which was noticeably missing its last letter! So I took the "ark" from the word "spark", which ended the previous line and pasted it on the end of the lyric to get a good "dark" without a drum hit.

I also moved, and made louder, the "and I love to put the blade in" at the last verse.

This project started when I was listening to Radiance and started humming the Reptile riff. I wondered how many other Church songs I could put together, and I soon heard about mashing, the technique I was looking for. I'd used Acid Studio to make the Radiance loop, then trawled through my Church collection for songs with bits I could use - I was surprised at how many fit the bill.

After a day of having the first edit out on the web, and listening to it over and over again, I thought of some changes. I extended the outro to give one more bar of the UTMW and Unguarded Moment, changed the intro so the Radiance loop doesn't start for a couple of bars, lowered the volume of some of the guitar parts, which I had made a little too enthusiastically loud, and put more fade-outs so figures didn't suddenly vanish.  The result is, I think, a smoother mix.  I also added the Already Yesterday sample after trying excerpts from several other songs that just didn't match properly.

The You Took + Grind verses at the end were a lucky accident. I had actually taken Grind out of the mix completely - the descending piano chords were fighting the Radiance beat and not really matching, so I muted it and looked for another vocal. I found You Took. I EQ'd the bass out, picked a random sort of place to have it begin playing and got it working with the other music.  Then something tickled the back of my brain..."Hey, psst, turn Grind back on!"  I did, and it was magically cool - Steve went straight into a back and forth conversation with himself!  "You...a vortex appears...took a piece of my heart...unleashed by the crash..." I sat there wide-eyed and slightly open-mouthed as the two samples locked in almost perfectly. I hope I get to have one of these moments every time I do a mashup!

And still, after listening to it a hundred times, my sleepy eyes literally popped open at 1.30AM last night as I drifted to sleep with my headphones on, I heard something cool that I'd missed. When Steve sings "And we don't need that operation" in Grind, he now answers himself with "And I love to put the blade in" from November. Cool!  I might go back and raise the volume of that last phrase since it's very quiet and the coolness could be missed by the casual listener :)

Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 April 2010 )
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