Dark Side Of The Moon. If that album hasn’t become a part of your life, has never reconciled you to your circumstances, brought harmony to your introspection, or just made you a better person, then you’ve probably been living in a parallel universe this last forty odd years or so. One of the most influential, groundbreaking, and original albums of Rock Music ever committed to vinyl. For me, however, Money was always the one track that didn’t really seem to sit altogether comfortably on it. A little too musically aggressive, and lyrically a little overly direct. That’s not to say that it’s not a brilliant song. It most certainly is.
That Roger Waters bass line. Hell, I’d nailed that to the absolute limit of note-perfect perfection, and now this Illicit Ghost’s only gone and recorded a cover, discarding that iconic bass riff in its entirety. It’s gone… The audacity of it! It’s a Crime… In fact, if you’re a Pedantic Peter it gets even worse, cos there’s no bass guitar at all in this version, no Fender Precision, no Rotosound 77’s, no pick, no palm muting, no nothing.
Yes, the song’s been covered a thousand times, and in the vast world of counterfeit Money, there’s Fast Money, Blood Money, Easy Money, Money For Nothing. Hell, there’s even a Money Monkey - but interpretations failing to use that bass line are pretty much rocking horse change… to coin a phrase!
Ok then, this Illicit Ghost is one confident cookie, and if she’s plucky enough to drop the bass, well we really should hurry along to see what she’s done with the guitar. Holey Moley, she’s only gone and played it on a violin… Surely that’s a step too far? No, not at all, not a bit of it. This is fantastic. It’s freakish. It’s fire and brimstone. A bold and outrageous rendition. I remember Nigel Kennedy’s incursions into violinised Hendrixisms, and this is up there with those.
Right, we’re really getting into this performance now. Yet there’s one more major alteration we need to address. She’s only gone and screwed with the time signature! That unconventional 7/4 is totally jettisoned. So, will we lose that sense of rushing headlong into the 4/4 sections? No, we won’t. That change has been supplanted by a massive cinematic, whooshing, diving, swelling piece of orchestration that might well have been found on a Blockbuster Movie Director’s Wishlist… So, albeit in standard time, all of that rushing headlong is still present and correct, and gigantic. I watched Lucifer on Netflix last night, and it was this song that I was hearing in my head as the soundtrack… A perfect match.
This is a truly creative rethinking of one of the most iconic, powerful, and recognisable songs ever to have graced the halls of Rock ’n’ Roll. It should never have worked. Removing all of those familiar components should have resulted in something diluted, something unrecognisable. The lyrics and a few tape loop effect samples are essentially all that remains of the original, yet it’s undoubtedly the same song, it has the same spirit, the same passion, and the same pizzazz. It’s an impressive achievement.
Synths, Samples and a Violin! Given the history of the song, this is brave, reckless stuff, by Brooklyn based Producer Illicit Ghost. A classically trained violinist with the aura of a singer-songwriter, her vocal is a worldly wise, sneering, throw-away execution that serves to highlight the pathos that ultimately sits at the heart of this lyric. She says ‘I wanted it to sound aggressive and raw, but substantially different to the original. I usually take forever to get the sound I’m after, yet this time the very first tone I tried was the one that spoke to me. I couldn’t ignore it, and I knew it was right for the song. Then the arrangement just kind of happened very quickly. I decided not to question it, and it just felt right to keep the time signature the same throughout the song.’
When asked about her real name, the answer is immediate… ‘Haha, it’s Illicit Ghost. A lot of people call me that in real life already, which I love. I want the focus to be always on the music.’
Yeah! Go on, take the money and run...