My cover of Cz.K. Sebő’s “Out of pressure”

In April I started working on this cover of Cz.K. Sebő’s song “Out of pressure” from his 2015 EP The masked undressed. I love the song and wanted to learn it from the inside. The video below is the coffee (i.e., the fruit) of this project.

I kept it in the original key, which meant singing near the bottom of my range; there were days when I couldn’t go down there at all, and days when it came easily. Also, it took me a long time to get the “seeeek” the way I wanted it; it wasn’t going to be the way Sebő sings it, but it had to work here. Finally it did. The cello melody isn’t part of the original, but it came out of the song as I played it. The guitar part here is minimal, just providing a frame; in the original it is rhythmic and full of subtle melody.

Out of the hundred or more takes, four recordings emerged. The fourth one I set to a simple video that I made at home. With Sebő’s permission, I shared it on YouTube and beyond.

Through working on this, I found that the song held something of my own life, and of many other lives too. It expresses a contradiction of boredom and yearning, desire for solitude and desire for relation. The lyrics and the music convey this together. The song could be played in hundreds of different ways and moods, by people of different ages and walks of life. If I had tried to make the cover exactly like the original, it wouldn’t have worked; this version came from me, and it’s just one take of one possibility.

You can hear the original song here:

I am not the only person who has covered Sebő’s songs. Ivett Kovács created a beautiful cover of his “Disguise” (also from The masked undressed):

There may be others still. I look forward to hearing them.

I updated this piece after posting it. Also, I re-recorded the vocals and re-posted the video. The version shown here is the new one.

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    Diana Senechal is the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture and the 2011 winner of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, awarded by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Her second book, Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in October 2018. In February 2022, Deep Vellum will publish her translation of Gyula Jenei's 2018 poetry collection Mindig Más.

    Since November 2017, she has been teaching English, American civilization, and British civilization at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium in Szolnok, Hungary. From 2011 to 2016, she helped shape and teach the philosophy program at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering in New York City. In 2014, she and her students founded the philosophy journal CONTRARIWISE, which now has international participation and readership. In 2020, at the Varga Katalin Gimnázium, she and her students released the first issue of the online literary journal Folyosó.

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