Old masters and new mothers.
A listening tour of alternate versions and re-takes. Old masters and new mothers. /Une chanson parsème le parcours de l’une des plus anciennes rues de Montréal révèlant un éco-système de systèmes de diffusion sonore indigénes . Une tournée à travers des versions alternatives et des reprises. Anciens masters et nouvelles matrices.
Notre Dame Deluxe was a walking and listening event that highlighted the everyday sound systems in different businesses along this main street in Montréal. Coordinated in advance, a small group entered each establishment to hear the Beach Boy’s classic God Only Knows played back in these commercial spaces.
God Only Knows was chosen as the soundtrack primarily because it was one of the songs that could be already found in multiple juke boxes along the street. Also, in the history of pop music and record collecting, the song is one of the most ‘re-issued’ and ‘re-mastered’ songs. Each advance in recording technology (stereo vinyl, quadrophonic, surround sound, cassette tape, compact disc, SACD…) seemed to be launched with a newly engineered version of the song. In a mildly local twist, David Bowie once flew to Quebec for an afternoon to record perhaps the most sardonic version. With this in mind, Notre Dame Deluxe creates it’s own alternate versions – the cassette deck of the military surplus, the dive bar juke box, the dance studio PA system – together subtly underscore a kind of re-versioning by the playback spaces themselves.
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© 2019 Douglas Moffat