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A Killer-Cool Track From Composer Steven Bryant

February 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm UTC

It’s called Hummingbrrd, and it’s been a favorite of mine since Steve wrote it. It’s finally available on iTunes!

About the track, Steve writes:

Back in May, 2010, my dear friend Hila Plitmann performed her own concert of songs at the Boston Court Theater in LA. In addition to her own amazing originals, she asked a number of people to arrange some popular songs for her. I was honored to arrange Nine Inch Nails’ “All the Love in the World,” but her rendition of my own Hummingbrrd was perhaps the most astonishing thing to hear.

The original track (now on iTunes!) is a fun little creation I made one weekend several years ago using only my own voice and Melodyne software to handle pitch correction, octave transposition, etc. (similar to AutoTune). I’m no singer, but with great software, I have a 5-octave range. As you can imagine, it would take someone of phenomenal skill to pull it off live. Good thing Hila is an alien being with extraordinary powers.

For this version, I removed quite a bit of my own vocals, and kept only some of the backing texture and rhythm. While I transcribed the main melodies and effects for her to perform, I left her a lot of leeway to improvise, reharmonize, etc. One of my wiser decisions. :)

Hila has graciously given me permission to post the live recording from her concert:
Hummingbrrd (Hila_Plitmann, live, Boston Court Theater, May, 2010)

Hummingbrrd (Original  version – iTunes)

And, as an added bonus, I’ve recently adapted it for Euphonium solo (along with backing electronics). Robert Benton commissioned the work, and we’re ironing out the the rough spots at the moment – premiere set for this Spring.

To round it all off, here’s a rehearsal of the Blue Coats DCI show, “Criminal,” from 2007, which also used Hummingbrrd (starts at about 3’20″). Makes me think I should do a version for band…

  • http://www.youtube.com/zhaboka Zhaboka

    This song is addictively awesome! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://www.youtube.com/xoclkox Courtney Lea K

    That made me smile – which I definitely needed! (^_^)

  • Brad Sampson

    The Bluecoats are awesome. Definitely some of the best show design in DCI for the last 4 or 5 years. I love when corps play Whitacre choral music- it is so epic with 80-member hornlines!