4AD producer John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise project has released a new cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” featuring Tom Berger on vocals. Their dark industrial take on the song comes with an accompanying music video showing Berger and model Dori Darkmoon facing off in a parking garage.
In the video, Berger sings while half in shadow, half bathed in red light as Darkmoon stares at him from inside a red sports car. At the end, it’s revealed that the shaded part of his face has been badly beat up and that the model’s character is the culprit. The song has a notably cinematic sound with thunderous drums and swelling synths complimenting Berger’s vocals.
“I have always loved the Louis Armstrong version of ‘Wonderful World’ from when I heard it as a child and it has stayed with me ever since.” Fryer explained, “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.”
Berger’s own statement said “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.”
Fryer was half of This Mortal Coil along with 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell and went on to produce for bands like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Swans, Fad Gadget and more. As Black Needle Noise, he’s been collaborating with many different vocalists, most of which are underground or obscure musicians.
In May, he released a video for his 2019 collaboration with PIG, “Seed of Evil.” Now, Black Needle Noise is working on a covers album called These Mortal Covers, due 2021 via Cleopatra Records. It will also include his other 2020 single, “She Talks to Angels.”