My band has said my songs have been a little stale lately.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

The Cure For Headaches (Microsoft Songsmith Default Mix) (3’25”, 5.22 MB, mp3).
Like Dick Without A Hole, The Cure For Headaches was made at about the same time, and adopts the same types of source material: 1980s Adelaide talk radio and beloved TV stars.
In this piece, an intruder has disrupted the cosy little world of Adelaide chit-chat. The traditional Sunday night religious program was always a slightly tense affair, with a scarcity of earnest callers and, thanks to a reliance on importing extra content from wherever they could find it, the chance for lunacy to spring up either side of the microphone.
Much of the imported material came from the USA (of course), in the forms of both pre-recorded material and real-life talking from evangelists who had been flown in, usually by the Paradise Assembly of God (Paradise being the name of the suburb in north-east Adelaide). The regular host, a soft-spoken pastor in one of the more wishy-washy Protestant sects which thrived in that city, never seemed fully at ease with the fire-and-brimstone Yanks who confronted him from across the studio console.
The Cure For Headaches originally set an edited speech by one of these Americans to a slightly bemused host, against a backdrop sampled from a record sung by sometime Adelaide media titan Ernie Sigley. The juxtaposition of the two had always seemed a little arbitrary, so recently I began to think of possible ways to re-set the speech, without success… until Microsoft released Songsmith.

Songsmith generates musical accompaniment to match a singer’s voice. Just choose a musical style, sing into your PC’s microphone, and Songsmith will create backing music for you. Then share your songs with your friends and family, post your songs online, or create your own music videos.

The full glory of Songsmith can be appreciated in this promotional video, made by Microsoft.

It was quickly discovered that Sonsgmith has the power to add new, improved accompaniments to pre-existing songs too. This seemed like the ideal software to try out on my evangelical friend. Unfortunately, Songsmith doesn’t have a randomise function, but it does load up a different default genre every time the program starts, so deciding on the new music for the piece was a breeze. I think it’s worked, don’t you?