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Earthling Album Gets The Ludvico Treatment

Total Blam Blam's picture
on November 20, 2011

My, my, the time do fly, When it's in another pair of pants...

This rather ambitious project by Canadian outfit, The Ludvico Treatment, grabbed my ear recently and I'm jolly glad it did too.

It's the band's reimagining of the whole of David Bowie's Earthling album and as much as anything else, the stripped back nature of much of it only serves to highlight the quality of the original songwriting.

I asked the boys what inspired them to give the album the The Ludvico Treatment...erm...treatment. Here's what they said...

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The Ludvico Treatment members on Earthling: Adam Veenendaal & Alexander Kennard

Adam: I grew up in a very small town in northern Ontario, Canada and I wasn't exposed to Bowie's music at an early age, sadly. I knew Under Pressure from my Classic Queen cassette, but for all I knew David was just another member of the group! In 1997 I caught the performance of Little Wonder on Saturday Night Live; I was fourteen at the time. Little Wonder blew my adolescent mind. I couldn't believe the hybrid of rock and electronic music I was hearing or David's energetic stage presence, and most of all I could not begin to fathom how Reeves Gabrels was making those insane sounds with his guitar.

My perception of electronic music was changed completely from that point on; no longer was it the exclusive domain of simplistic pop fluff. I eventually discovered the Prodigy, Massive Attack and Death In Vegas among others, but Earthling started it all for me. A couple of years ago I picked up Earthling again and started picturing David's vocal lines in different musical contexts- Battle For Britain with a shoegaze bent was the first I had in mind. This past summer I had the opportunity to spend two months in the middle of the Ontarian woods so I brought my studio gear along and started working on these Earthling covers as a tribute of sorts to the album that broadened my musical horizons beyond Nirvana, Hendrix, etc. I tried to use some unorthodox recording methods to make things interesting like recording drums outdoors, attaching microphones to guitar bodies, that sort of thing.

Something that I think has been lost over the decades of rock music is an appreciation for playing other people's music just for the fun of it; Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, a ton of early rockers would play cover songs if they enjoyed them- I'd imagine that's what David had in mind when he did Pin Ups. It just so happens that I quite enjoy every song on Earthling.

Alex: The first music I ever remember hearing is Bowie's Scary Monsters. In a way, Bowie has been one of the fundamental pillars of my musical upbringing. Earthling isn't my favourite album, Outside takes that place for me, but when Adam told me that he wanted to cover the album I jumped at the chance.

For me, the process of covering a song is one of the most visceral there is in music production. To take a song apart, look at the bare bones, and then put it together in a way that fits your own approach to songwriting is both a wonderful & humbling experience.

The work that we did on these covers is rooted in the deepest love and respect for the music.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So there you have it. A sincere pair of young men who know their eggs and are clearly on the road to bigger things.

You can listen to The Ludvico Treatment's version of Earthling here and if you like that, you should go here to give some of their own really rather good compositions a try.

Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)

blog image: 
    20 November 2011
    Earthling Album Gets The Ludvico Treatment

    My, my, the time do fly, When it's in another pair of pants...

    This rather ambitious project by Canadian outfit, The Ludvico Treatment, grabbed my ear recently and I'm jolly glad it did too.

    It's the band's reimagining of the whole of David Bowie's Earthling album and as much as anything else, the stripped back nature of much of it only serves to highlight the quality of the original songwriting.

    I asked the boys what inspired them to give the album the The Ludvico Treatment...erm...treatment. Here's what they said...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Ludvico Treatment members on Earthling: Adam Veenendaal & Alexander Kennard

    Adam: I grew up in a very small town in northern Ontario, Canada and I wasn't exposed to Bowie's music at an early age, sadly. I knew Under Pressure from my Classic Queen cassette, but for all I knew David was just another member of the group! In 1997 I caught the performance of Little Wonder on Saturday Night Live; I was fourteen at the time. Little Wonder blew my adolescent mind. I couldn't believe the hybrid of rock and electronic music I was hearing or David's energetic stage presence, and most of all I could not begin to fathom how Reeves Gabrels was making those insane sounds with his guitar.

    My perception of electronic music was changed completely from that point on; no longer was it the exclusive domain of simplistic pop fluff. I eventually discovered the Prodigy, Massive Attack and Death In Vegas among others, but Earthling started it all for me. A couple of years ago I picked up Earthling again and started picturing David's vocal lines in different musical contexts- Battle For Britain with a shoegaze bent was the first I had in mind. This past summer I had the opportunity to spend two months in the middle of the Ontarian woods so I brought my studio gear along and started working on these Earthling covers as a tribute of sorts to the album that broadened my musical horizons beyond Nirvana, Hendrix, etc. I tried to use some unorthodox recording methods to make things interesting like recording drums outdoors, attaching microphones to guitar bodies, that sort of thing.

    Something that I think has been lost over the decades of rock music is an appreciation for playing other people's music just for the fun of it; Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, a ton of early rockers would play cover songs if they enjoyed them- I'd imagine that's what David had in mind when he did Pin Ups. It just so happens that I quite enjoy every song on Earthling.

    Alex: The first music I ever remember hearing is Bowie's Scary Monsters. In a way, Bowie has been one of the fundamental pillars of my musical upbringing. Earthling isn't my favourite album, Outside takes that place for me, but when Adam told me that he wanted to cover the album I jumped at the chance.

    For me, the process of covering a song is one of the most visceral there is in music production. To take a song apart, look at the bare bones, and then put it together in a way that fits your own approach to songwriting is both a wonderful & humbling experience.

    The work that we did on these covers is rooted in the deepest love and respect for the music.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So there you have it. A sincere pair of young men who know their eggs and are clearly on the road to bigger things.

    You can listen to The Ludvico Treatment's version of Earthling here and if you like that, you should go here to give some of their own really rather good compositions a try.

    Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)