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Track Premiere: Margot MacDonald – “Teardrop” (Massive Attack cover)

By ; November 8, 2013 at 6:59 AM 


Washington, DC multi-instrumentalist and loop pedal devotee Margot MacDonald creates music that seems to be in a constant state of refinement and cyclical movement.  There’s something very compelling and fascinating in the way in which she loops her voice around the continually shifting melodies of piano and guitar.  It’s as if she were looking to fill every available moment within each song with a series of beautifully interconnected rhythms and harmonies; that’s not to say that her music feels bloated or overstuffed — far from it, but there is no dead air, no slack on her part, as each song unfurls onto a much wider and intricate musical landscape.

She has just released her fourth record, the appropriately titled Canvas, where she applies tones and chord progressions in ever more deliberate strokes and hues.  But it’s her cover of Massive Attack’s seminal track “Teardrop” that will drop your jaw and keep you riveted to your seat as it plays.  No disrespect to Elizabeth Fraser or Massive Attack but MacDonald takes the template which they created and slowly deconstructs it through a series of looping vocal harmonies, some slight electronic touches, and a motorik beat — and her soaring voice, while different in timbre and execution than Fraser’s, reaches far past the rafters to some higher place where the oxygen is thinner and the company is sparse.  It’s simplicity realized, a synthetically pastoral look at the beating heart of the song.

“My version of “Teardrop” is a re-imagining of the original song by Massive Attack,” MacDonald explains.  “The song is near and dear to my heart; by a beloved group and vocalist, Elizabeth Fraser, and (supposedly) written for another beloved artist, Jeff Buckley. Using a loop pedal, I build vocal layers in real time and orchestrate these different parts as a sort of one-woman a cappella choir. Many artists have taken this song and really made it their own – I just hope to counted among them!” [Gear: Boss RC-50 Loop Station]

Beats Per Minute is pleased to premiere — and offer as a free MP3 download — Margot MacDonald’s cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.”

MP3: Margot MacDonald – “Teardrop”


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