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UnRavel (Bolero)



 Genre: Rock

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An adaptation of Ravel's Bolero. I admit to being a philistine when it comes to classical music, but I've always loved this piece.

Classicalambientsynthrock. As usual, there is no appropriate way to classify the genre. I put a slightly different spin on the original, fitting it into a 120 bpm drums and synth bass rockish kinda thing. There's a marginally related ambient-style opening.

No, I didn't pencil in all those notes. I grabbed a midi file off the internet, which was a big mess o' stuff, but I took what I wanted, and it saved me a lot of time … and a nervous breakdown.

Speaking of spin, I hope Ravel is not spinning in his grave. Nah. I doubt it. Even if it's not faithful to his original intentions, I can't imagine that he would object too much.

I owe davajonah a mention for the idea, which I'm stealing from him, to work up a classical piece from midi files.

Some interesting reading on Bolero can be found at


Comments and critiques are always welcomed. Thanks for listening --- if you have been.
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Song Stats
Hits: 2948
Comments: 20
Fans: 12
Plays: 163
Downloads: 40

Uploaded: May 16, 2014 - 11:46:25 PM
Last Updated: May 17, 2014 - 03:36:58 PM Last Played: Jun 19, 2019 - 05:56:51 PM
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davajonah said 1982 days ago (May 17th, 2014)
Oh yes!
This is simply FABULOUS! [Note, I'm shouting] The ambient opening is so 'Ex', I'd recognise it anywhere. Bass and drums perfect. Love the growly bass synth that comes in at around 2.20. Floaty mid section and snare/bass brilliant, then you bring it all back in.

This is one of the finest re-workings I've heard. Really well mixed too. Great work.
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Ex_Silentio said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Thanks, Dave
Most of the effort was devoted to adjusting the timing on the melody line notes. Tedious, but I broke work sessions up so as not to drive myself over the edge. Thanks for the generous comments, and thanks again for the inspiration.
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Narad said 1982 days ago (May 17th, 2014)
Wow ! Beautiful performance ! You did unravel it marvelously ! :)
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Ex_Silentio said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Well, maybe, but I did re-Ravel it a bit during the down section. I can imagine all kinds of ways to unRavel it, but I would have to become more of an expert on the piece, simple though it may be. Thanks, Harald.
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carbon said 1982 days ago (May 17th, 2014)
a great idea and fascinating mix of genres, which i wouldn't imagine possible. the opening sets up the familiar motif and the drums perfectly. this is an enjoyable and fun listen; i believe Ravel would approve. always a treat to hear your work. cheers,

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Ex_Silentio said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Hi, Steve
I forgot that this idea was milked by ELP, as pointed out by Doug Somers, and probably by Wakeman, as well. Oh well, all these hidden influences can't be put aside. It was a fun weekend project for me, and whatever keeps me musically active is a good thing in my book. I'm glad you liked it. Mucho thanks.
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paul f. page said 1980 days ago (May 19th, 2014)
...One of the great 20th c. classical numbers comes to life in a new century and at the hands of a sensitive arranger. I think you did a really great job with this. The sort of echo-y feeling and that driving rhythm in the percussion really keeps the whole track chugging along at a snappy clip. Makes for some tough playing of all those solos at that tempo, but you do pull it off very well. I really enjoyed this. I believe Maurice would have, too. (In any event, he'd be getting some royalties from your cover. Ha.)
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Ex_Silentio said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
It's odd that you would put it that way. The original composition was a study in repetition and build, which is clearly lacking in my arrangement. But, OK, I'll take the compliment. Thanks, Paul. Royalties? Hahaha. "Here's your buck two-fifty, Mo." He rolls his eyes. I'm glad you enjoyed this.
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PeterB7858 said 1980 days ago (May 19th, 2014)
UnRavel (Bolero)
I really like the sense of space surrounding the high synths counterpointed by the rock steady solidity of the bass and drums. A fantastic cross-genre musical blend. Familiar yet excitingly new. Fine work. Fine mix. A great listen. Thanks, Peter.
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Ex_Silentio said 1977 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Hi, Peter
Thanks for the compliments on the mix. Familiar, yes. I figured everyone here at MJ would know this one quite well. It was fun messing with it. Thanks again.
Check out my latest song called Submerged
Reinholt56 said 1979 days ago (May 20th, 2014)
Hi Duane.....
I've been secretly listening to this daily since you uploaded it. To me it's a very enjoyable listen, mixed between what I know and how you've arranged and mixed the piece. All in all he might be turning, but only to stop any new royalties from dropping out of his pockets.

I think this was a great idea from both you and the Liverpool-area influence.

Take care.

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Ex_Silentio said 1977 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Hi, Paul
Secretly, huh? A guilty pleasure? Hahaha. Well, I hope it was at least somewhat pleasurable. Royalties? Ah, yes. I'm expecting the big checks to start rolling in any day now. Well, if I expected to get paid, I would have to actually do some work. Thanks much for coming by. I hope all's well.
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Warren Smith said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
Who says the Philistines weren't musical : )

This is simply delightful.

It is at once recognizable .. and also fresh and new. That's a great accomplishment when taking on something so well-known that it's practically become a musical cliché. You breathe life into those famous familiar notations.
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Ex_Silentio said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
There's probably some cultural baggage attached to the word, and maybe I shouldn't have used it. The etymology is not that clear. It makes reference to an ancient culture, of course, who were enemies of Israel, and it was probably a derogatory, propagandistic term, later adopted in 17th Century Germany to refer to materialists. But the Philistine culture doesn't exist anymore. I believe that they were cultured, and probably made fine music. Wouldn't it be fun to hear some of it? In any case….

Thanks for the nice comments on the rendition. I'm glad you liked it.
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Doug Somers said 1978 days ago (May 21st, 2014)
The show that never ends
What would Keith, Greg and Carl say? Probably that this is very cool - the long swell pads and driving beat, stabby bass, killer drum track, with a quotation of a masterwork. What is not to love here? The ambient background is especially interesting as to how you've woven all this together. You could have done it in more synth rock fashion but the pads give it way more depth and interest.

I like it a lot and thank you for the dload!! Be well Ex.
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Ex_Silentio said 1976 days ago (May 23rd, 2014)
Yeah, I had temporarily forgotten those guys. Too rich for my blood. I have a lot of respect for ELP musically, although they are often blamed for the fall of prog rock, owing to all the displays of pomp and largesse that they attached to themselves. A shame. I fear that they wouldn't be too impressed by my little foray. I would just have to throw out my arms, and say, "Hey, whaddaya want for two days work?" Anyway, I feel fine with what I did, pedestrian though it may be. Thanks, as always, for your interest and detailed comments, Doug.
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Henke said 1973 days ago (May 26th, 2014)
Wow, this is great stuff
Ha, many favorites in one take here: Bolero, since that stunning ice skating pair used it in one long take - you may know what I'm talking about even if I don't remember names. Ex_Silentio, my favorite MJ prog rocker with the lovely ambient touch, ELP style re-using of old classics. Actually that is part of my own next little project, which may be finished any year now ;-)

You have done really great here Ex integrating all these different elements into something knew and very interesting and listenable and enjoyable! Cudos!

Thanks for the download and take care,
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Ex_Silentio said 1963 days ago (June 5th, 2014)
Henke, good sir
Glad you liked it. Obviously not my best effort, but it was good fun. I missed the ice skating. Maybe I'll see if I can find it on the YouTube. And I'm definitely looking forward to your next effort. I know it will be worth the wait.

Check out my latest song called Submerged
Philip18 said 1658 days ago (April 6th, 2015)
Cleverly done! You have made a very entertaining piece of music from those midi files. Plenty of life in the sounds you use. I'm glad I finally caught up with it!
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Ex_Silentio said 1655 days ago (April 8th, 2015)
Thanks, Philip
It was a fun experiment.
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