John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise returns with a strikingly dark version of Louis Armstrong’s classic ‘What A Wonderful World’ featuring vocalist Tom Berger. This is the second single, following ‘She Talks To Angels’ ft Anjela Piccard, off the soon to be released ‘These Mortal Covers’ (Cleopatra Records), which spotlights all new versions of well known songs.
When Black Needle Noise’s ‘What A Wonderful World’ first presented itself.. My thought was, how could this new version be pulled off with such a fragile and innocent original?There is something beautiful here that lurks in John’s signature dark wall of sound that is exacerbated by Tom Berger’s haunting vocals. Perhaps it slightly strikes a cord with that happy place once visited by the original when I was a child. The single leaves me with a feeling of hope that no matter how dark the world seems to be these days, there is always a ray of light that still shines through.
BNN’s version of “What A Wonderful World” has been brought to life in a stunning video directed by Christoph Vitt & Alex Makarov.
Interestingly enough, the original version which was released in 1967 by Louis Armstrong came at a time of great turmoil in the United States. There were race riots happening in Newark and Detroit which spread to over 100 cities. Many feared a second civil war would break out at any moment. ‘What A Wonderful World’ was released in hopes of bringing everyone back together again in a peaceful way, as Armstrong’s appeal transcended race.. Five decades later, doesn’t seem like much has changed and Fryer’s version forces you to look at the darkness square in the eye.
Maybe Pops (Louis Armstrong) was right when he had these things to say about the original, words that couldn’t ring more true even today.. “Some of you young folks been saying to me: ‘Hey, Pops – what do you mean, what a wonderful world? How about all them wars all over the place, you call them wonderful?'” Armstrong said as he introduced a live performance of the song.
“But how about listening to old Pops for a minute? Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love, baby – love. That’s the secret.” ( quote from BBC.com)
Fryer explains the concept behind his reinvention, saying “I have always loved the Louis Armstrong version of ‘What A Wonderful World’ from when I heard it as a child and it has stayed with me ever since. So I wanted to make a very different cinematic version, a very depressingly apocalyptic version with an uplifting feel. I thought of Tom Berger, my friend for many a year to sing it and I think he has done an amazing job to convey those haunting sentiments.”
Meanwhile, Berger declares “For me it was a real challenge to sing the vocals of a classical piece of music. After John sent me the instrumental version I thought it wasn’t possible – How can I transform such a fragile and innocent melody into such a massive wall of sound? And that was the thing: I sang it like I’d never heard the 1967 original. The result is not just a cover – it’s something new – and I’m very proud of the final result.”
John Fryer is a multi-platinum selling record producer and musician. Starting in 1980 at London’s Blackwing Studios, he worked for some of the most prestigious indie labels at the time like 4AD, Mute, and Rough Trade. He has produced and worked with many influential artists for which the list is both extensive and impressive including; Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Wire, NIN and Love And Rockets. John was also a long standing member of Ivo Watts-Russell’s ‘ This Mortal Coil and has had his own bands over the years including; DarkDriveClinic, Muricidae, Silver Ghost Shimmer and now Black Needle Noise.
John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise is a 50/50 partnership between Fryer and many different talented singer/songwriters, including Attasalina, Mimi Page,ZiaLand,Omniflux, Jarboe, Betsy Martin, Andrea Kerr, Ledfoot, Spectra Paris,Jennie Vee, Ana Breton, Kendra Frost, Elena Alice Fossi, Antic Clay,Andreas Elvenes, Bill Leeb, Sivert Høyem, Fakeba, Madame ur y sus Hombres, Beca, Betty X , Yvette, Chris Connelly, Marselle Hodges, Raymond Watts, Anjela Piccard, and Tom Berger.
Stream the single: https://blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com/track/what-a-wonderful-world
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