From time to time, I like to check in on recent musical performances on the late night talk shows. Here is are a few new finds from the ol telly.
Who knew Jimmy Fallon did such a spot on impersonation of Neil Young? Who knew the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would make such a great folk ballad? I didn’t, but I’d say this is one of the best comedy bits I’ve seen Fallon do since he debuted on Late Night earlier this year.
Late last Friday I was asked by a member of NPR’s Multimedia team to come watch a video project they were working on and find some background music to match. All I knew ahead of time was that it was to be about “driving.” As I was envisioning road trip songs I soon realized it was about driver safety and clearly folky ditties weren’t going to fit.
After watching once through, we determined that the music should be something in the realm of electronic music, percussive and repetitive to propel the narration and visuals but not be overly busy either as to detract… and definitely not acoustic instruments if we could help it. I went back to my desk, quickly scanned through my collection to compile a short playlist of songs that fit those qualities.
We wanted something like Moby, but not Moby, not that distinctive that might distract the viewer. On my list of choices was a nice mix of mellow electronic and atmospheric music: Atlas Sound, Mum, Manitoba (now Caribou), Four Tet, The Books, Brian Eno, Benjamin Biolay, Stereolab.
After playing through all of my choices, we finally settled on a version of Nick Drake’s “Cello Song” performed by The Books and Jose Gonzalez from the awesome Dark Was The Night compilation from earlier this year. I quickly looped the intro a few times and then cross-faded it into the ending of the song.