Monday, August 16, 2010

Öngyilkos Vasárnap (Szomorú Vasárnap) (Gloomy Sunday) - Venetian Snares

From his album Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, Venetian Snares peels off a rare feat with "Öngyilkos Vasárnap": an electro track sampling a tragi-ballad and superseding its original.

Venetian Snares samples the WW2-era version by Billie Holiday. Dubbed the "Hungarian Suicide Song", it was banned in its native Hungary and the Holiday version banned by the BBC. Probably because of lyrics like this: "Little white flowers will never awaken you/Not where the black coach of sorrow has taken you/Angels have no thought of ever returning you/Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?".

While Holiday's version is minimalist, this version underpins Holiday's vocals with bass, a marching beat and break beat, and heart-rending string samples. It also cleans up some of the vocal distortion from Holiday's version, while keeping her frank delivery sounding as if from an aching spirit resigned to its place in a coffin.

Also, Venetian Snares glaringly omits a two-line section in Holiday's version that hints ambiguously at resolution, sparing the listener no pain.

A devastating version of a devastating song.

Writers: Rezsô Seress/László Jávor/Sam M. Lewis/Aaron Funk

Producer: Aaron Funk

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