Murtad - the Arabic word for 'apostate' - ie, a person who leaves Islam and becomes a 'traitor' to it through their new beliefs or actions.
I wrote this song way back in 1991 but only made a rough demo of it at the time, and that was recorded on cassette tape without any multitrack facilities or overdubbing of any kind.
I thought it was time to revive the piece and, for this new version, I took a couple of samples from that 1992 recording and imported the original MIDI sequencer data into Ableton Live 8 Suite.
I then reworked the arrangement, added new instruments and re-recorded the vocals.
So there's not really all that much left of the original in this.
Anyway, I would be interested in any comments, feedback, constructive critiques, suggestions, etc, you can offer regarding this initial mix of the new arrangement.
If you are interested in comparing the progress it's made in 18 years, the original 1992 recording can also be heard on SoundCloud here.
It's only a rough mix but I do hope that this latest effort is a significant improvement on that production.
The target of the song, by the way, is Islamic fundamentalism, not Muslims or Islam itself. Never confuse the vast majority of Muslims with the clerical fascists who run Iran or who support the likes of al-Qaeda. I feel the same way about religious fundamentalism whichever faith is involved, as the lyrics to some of my other songs demonstrate.
A novelist is hiding Lest he should end up dead 'Cause a fundamentalist cleric Put a price upon his head He thought he'd got the freedom To criticise the creed The mullahs couldn't stand this They knew where it would lead
Chorus: Murtad - he who goes against the faith Murtad - now knows what he must face Murtad - whom believers have to waste Murtad
I hear they're burning books now In the streets today Chanting "Rushdie is the devil" They say that he must pay They've got to show their faith's strong As solid as a rock Stand up for the prophet Whom we're not allowed to knock
Bombs go off in bookshops As politicians stall Dissenters killed in Belgium They dared defy the call Siddiqui's found his niche now Spotting blasphemy I better mind what I say Or he'll be coming after me
Words and music by Steve Cooke @ Steve Cooke 1991
Recorded October 2010, including material first recorded in 1992
This couldn't have been an easy song to write. Very tough subject I wouldn't know where to start. You deserve some serious kudos for even trying to write this track. The production is amazing and sounds like the Pet Shop Boys, very polished and professional. I loved hearing the distorted guitar and would have liked it a bit hotter in the mix when the solo came (which was very cool by the way) but as I'm a guitarist first and for most, I would always think that guitars need to be louder lol
Overall a tricky subject to tackle in a song and I think you managed to pull it of. Great song !
Work for hire Producer. I will also produce and master any old/new work tapes up to demo standards. :-) Just PM or email:
I remember all that stuff going on. This song has a real "Clash" feel to it. Since I like the Clash -- that's helps (ha, ha). Nice production. The main issue with "news" stories is that really do become trapped in a time and age (although Rushdie is still in hiding). Good stuff.
Thanks for listening in and your comments, Andy, Rod, Kevin and Mackie.
Kevin's point about news stories is well taken. I'm hoping to pass this one off as historical, ala the subject matter of many folk songs.
I wasn't sure whether to outline the background to the lyric or just to let the song make whatever impression it can make and hope that people will enjoy the musical experience, whether or not they want to go deep into the meaning. Choosing an Arabic word for the title maybe means I have to explain more than would otherwise be so.
There might be a case, I guess, for removing the references to Rushdie and Siddiqui (a rather more obscure UK figure who was prominent in the controversy here) in order to make the point less specific, more universal.
I was actually working on a PhD thesis on issues related to this topic at the time I wrote the song so it was close to my heart. Indeed this track is probably the only tangible evidence of that research now, as I gave up my studies so that I could become a rock star. That didn't quite work out.
I agree with Andy on the Pet Shop Boys reference. This does remind me of them. The guitar solo sounds really good but I think maybe it could be louder. The news hasn't really changed. Just the situation is about 2 million times worse now than it was then. I had a thought that perhaps you could alter the last verse a bit as "where does it all end" kind of verse to make it more current. Like Rushdie was a red flag and now here we sit these many years later with suicide bombs almost daily, unstable nukes, and our politicians making stupid decisions. You've reminded me why I don't sleep at night.
But I digress this was about your song, which is quite good and groovin'. I think you've done a good job with the new arrangement.
Hi there Steve, Nice track. Love the writing, very engaged! Nice production too - do you have any outlets for this music in mind, or is it just for fun?
On the nit side, I would pitchcorrect your vocals. Your voice sounds fine, but you sing so off key it distracts from your lyrics, I think. Something you don't want, when they are important.
For the genre, I maybe missed a little more punch in the bass :-)
But, it's obvious you did put a lot of effort into this. It payed off too!
Thanks for listening and your comments.
The only outlets I have in mind are places like this forum, my SoundCloud website and playing it live at gigs. Indeed, I performed the song at a singer-songwriter night at the weekend. I'm not banking on rockstardom at my age.
I'll experiment with the bass but I don't want to push it wholly in the direction of dance music as the lyrical subject matter isn't really fluffy enough for that audience.
The vocal is just a scratch effort, which I'll be re-recording for the next version. Hopefully, my pitch correction will be singing it right when I do that but I'm wary of autotuning and suchlike as I feel it often takes the character out of a performance. Besides which, I'd have to learn how to do it. ;-)
I think that this song may be a good set closer at my gigs. Most of my compositions are a lot slower than this one. This is 120 bpm, whereas 80 - 100 bpm is my usual territory.
Steve....unique write....great music track....don't laugh but my warped mind thought of "Rock the Casba"...lol....don't ask for me to explain that one...lol...you are a real talent, dude....keep at it.....Bob