The Doors & George Winston Crystal Ship Mashup Remix

So what prompted this rare musical effort on my behalf was a long overdue penny drop with Ableton DAW. I’ve been a Cubase man for years but have been keen in recent times to get into electronic music and after some research all roads seemed to lead to Ableton when it comes to modern electronic music production..

I tried a few times over the last few years to learn Ableton, mostly through random YouTube videos and it’s own help section and manual but every time I opened it up to do something I still had no clue where to start! Cue a proper, structured online course from Lynda.com and I now know enough (no expert at all) about it to actually attempt something like this mashup.

My plan with my early stage electronic music composing and production career is to aim to create electronica, ambient, slow and moody music with the computer. These days I listen to stuff like AIR, Kraftwerk, Zero 7 etc… but to also somehow include my old influences of 60’s Classic rock for that retro feel. That lead me to try import some samples into Ableton and use them in tracks and then in turn to try create a full mashup of a couple of different toons so I set off to YouTube to search for isolated Jim Morrison/Doors vocals. There are lots surprisingly! As soon as I found good quality Crystal Ship vocals an idea sprang to mind to try combine that with a solo piano version from a George Winston album I’ve had for a few years. The Crystal Ship is possibly one of my favourite Doors songs:

Here’s how I did it all in the end:

STEP 1

As I said above I ran across some really good quality Jim Morrison vocal isolations on Youtube including this one which I extracted the audio from:

Then I also extracted the audio from George Winston’s solo piano version of the same song from his awesome album of Doors covers – “Night Divides the Day“.

STEP 2

I then setup a new project in Ableton and matched the tempo to the original Doors version of Crystal Ship by tapping the beat out.

STEP 3

Vocal Warping
Vocal Warping

I attempted to warp the vocal to the project tempo but quickly realised that a vocal is not nearly as easy to warp as a drum beat or rhythmical sound as it has fairly random peaks and hitpoints but I eventually managed a good approximation after hours of tweaking.

STEP 4

Piano Warping
Piano Warping

I done the same warping with the solo piano track. This was a little easier as there was a bit more rhythm although there are some dynamics and speed fluctuations in both the vocal and piano performances that I had to iron out. They will be very obvious to people who know this song but all in all I think it flows well and stays true to the original song.

STEP 5

Arrangement
Arrangement

With both tracks matched to the project tempo all I had to do then was to match them to each other. Both arrangements are similar in terms of verse, chorus etc but the piano meanders a little longer in parts so I just chopped up the vocal to match the piano parts and aligned them accordingly.

STEP 6

I looked through Ableton’s library for a suitable beat to apply after having thought long and hard about whether to “modernise” an old song in this way by adding a modern beat! I eventually settled on a fairly sparse Funk beat and only applied it well into the song, stopping it for the piano solo in the middle. I think it works fairly well personally but I’m sure there are many purists who wont!

STEP 7

Strings
Strings

Just for practice and because I felt there needed to be something else alongside the piano solo in the middle I added some MIDI strings and automated the volume to be louder at the beginning and end, just like the piano itself.

Finally

The last steps were to add some EQ to each track and send each track some Reverb as well as adding some Compression and Limiting on the master track. I decided to duplicate Jim’s vocal and pan each one left and right to give his vocal a  little more impact too.

I also added some video of Jim Morrison just so I could get the track up on YouTube!

Let me know what you think in the comments. Be kind, it’s my first proper project in Ableton and first mashup ever!

Soundcloud version – https://soundcloud.com/reverbstudios/the-crystal-ship-mashup-remix

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A Short Interview with Gilles Yepremian, Friend of Jim Morrison

About Gilles:

gillesyeGilles Yepremian is known primarily as the man who met and rescued a drunken Jim Morrison in the Paris night club Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus in May 1971, just a couple of months before his death and also the man, along with Alain Ronay who took some of the famous last known photos of Jim Morrison before his death.

Gilles has been a friend of mine on Facebook since he very kindly and unexpectedly purchased a copy of some Doors songs I covered and recorded years ago and agreed to this short interview and to allow me to restore and colour one of his famous photos of Jim (below).

Jim Morrison in Colour

About Me:

I am a Web Designer and Photoshop expert who is also a massive Doors fan. I used to be in a Doors tribute band called “The End” from about 1998 to 2001 and have bought the albums, the T-shirts, read the books, visited the grave and even got a Jim Morrison tattoo!

Questions

Leon: What are you up to these days and are you still collecting Doors recordings?

Gilles: Yes I still collect Doors bootlegs, books, magazines etc..

Leon: How big is your collection at this stage and what are some of the best and worst/weirdest recordings you own?

Gilles: I have thousands of CD’s, LP’s etc.. It’s difficult to say which are the best and worst, I like them all!

Leon: What kind of music do you listen to these days?

Gilles: Mostly Classic Rock (1965/1975).

Leon: Were you a big fan of the Doors before meeting Jim Morrison, were they big in Europe at the time?

Gilles: The first time I heard “Light My Fire” in 1967 my brain exploded!  The Doors were not so big in France at that time.

Leon: What were your first impressions of Jim, aside from seeing him drunk!?

Gilles: Jim was a nice guy, not at all like a Rock Star. Very simple.

Leon: Did he discuss music or the Doors much?

Gilles: No, he was paranoid of The Doors. It was impossible to discuss that with him.

Leon: What were your final impressions having met him a few times. Was he as charismatic as people said?

Gilles: He was very intelligent and nice.

Leon: Did he appear to be a troubled soul?

Gilles: Yes.

Leon: How did you feel when he died?

Gilles: I was not in Paris at the time. I read it in the newspaper one week later. It was a very bad surprise to me.

Leon: What did you think of Pamela Courson?

Gilles: Pamela was a very shy girl.

Leon: What did you think of Oliver Stone’s movie The Doors?

Gilles: The film was good for The Doors publicity, but it was a “Hollywood” film. However, a new generation of fans knows of The Doors now because of the film.

Leon: Which book on the Doors do you think is the best you’ve read?

Gilles: “Behind Closed Doors” by Jerry Hopkins.

Leon: Do you keep in touch with another friend of Jim’s from Paris, Herve Muller still?

Gilles: No, Hervé is sick and sees nobody.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Gilles.

Leon

Ray Manzarek – The Doors Review

Anyone who knows me knows The Doors are (or were) my favourite band. I’ve got all the albums, T-shirts, read all the books, visited Jim’s grave, been in a Doors cover band and even got a tattoo of Jim Morrison on my arm! So I guess this gig like the previous 2 Doors gigs I’d seen could never have lived up to my expectations or memories, especially without Jim and Densmore. Their current tour seems to have been planned to coincide with the new Doors movie “When You’re Strange” which I’ve yet to see..

After a long, meandering (yeh, we got lost) walk to the new Grand Canal Theatre in Dublins refurbished docklands, we met with old friends from our gigging days and fellow members of our Doors Cover band “The End” bought a few ridiculously overpriced drinks and sat down in the very plush theatre to anticipate what promised to be something different – the Doors music accompanied by a 50 piece strong orchestra! I had a couple of well liked classical recordings featuring both Nigel Kennedy and George Winston so I knew it could work but it didn’t on this occasion.

About 10 seconds into the first song “Love Me Two Times” I turned to my friend and said, “this is going to be a  long night”!I think maybe the playing of both Manzarek, Krieger and the rest of the band and the orchestra was accomplished but either the sound engineer, theatre designer or booking agent should be shot. For nearly the entire gig, except for parts where the band played quietly or not at all, I couldn’t hear the orchestra one bit. Couldn’t pick out the strings, wind, timpani, nothing…Manzarek’s keyboard and Krieger’s guitar hurt my ears and the stand in lead singer who was way too young and fit looking compared to the other old rockers, was just a screamer and regularly cocked up songs including one memorable occasion when he fell over a monitor!

The song choices saved the nght a little bit with some of the more obsure Doors songs getting an outing for once with songs from all 6 Doors studios albums. It seemed like a totally different gig after the interval, still with sound problems but the audience came to life dancing and singing along, with a little element of anarchy, Jim would have approved! I suspect some drugs were consumed during the break!

I’m still glad I went if only to see 2 of the surviving members of one of the world’s greatest and most influential rock bands but I’m done now..

Leon..

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Here’s a video of the intro song, “Love Me 2 Times”:

Here’s some photos: