Haywyre – Smooth Criminal (Face-Melting POV Synth Jam Cover)

Sunday Synth Jam: This music video captures the Haywyre (Martin Vogt) take on Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal – and does not delay getting to the face-melting synth jamming.

Vogt describes his style as post avant-garde pre-futuristic jazz-fusion.

Here’s what he has to say about the jam:

This video marks one of many more performance videos that I will be uploading in the future. The performance aspect to my tracks has always been absolutely huge; this video explores this concept to its fullest.

Also, re-interpreting a great musicians track can be controversial. Most of the time a balance between material from the original track and new material is expected. My remixes have always contained way more new material than content from the original track; hence I felt it wasn’t appropriate to call this work a remix.

Vogt also posts his music to his SoundCloud page, embedded below:

40 thoughts on “Haywyre – Smooth Criminal (Face-Melting POV Synth Jam Cover)

      1. This is unrecognisable, it may sample smooth criminal, but it’s not a cover. Destroy the song to show off and riff over the entire thing. Not everyone’s cup of tea. Not mine.

        1. Jazz players have been completely reworking songs based on the changes since the early bebop days in the 1940’s.

          At least among jazz fans, that’s not known as ‘destroying the song’, it’s known as having chops and being creative.

          Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but to people that understand jazz, it’s a pretty cool performance.

          1. … you say that as if there is only one type of “jazz”. Most people like some styles of jazz, and not other. So you really can’t wave “jazz” around as unified thing and have any credibillity.

    1. Yuck is a grown man taking 10 year-old children to bed with him.

      Jackson did a lot of great music, but his perversions will always cast a pall over it for a lot of people. Yeah, he was never convicted of molestation, but he paid off the victims with millions to keep them quiet.

      Jackson’s music is anything but sacred – glad to see this guy redeem it a little.

  1. great performance and display of skill.

    but i agree with steve…way to ruin a MJ song. some things don’t need to be reworked just because you can.

  2. Really enjoyable.
    Great skill and refreshing approach.
    Same sort of approach as Dirty Loops.
    Only point of criticism, but that goes for every track these days,is that it’s too compressed.

    1. As I was reading those first comments, I thought about Dirty Loops, too. They (DL) take their covers to pretty wild new places, and talk about face-melting!!

      This Haywyre cover seems more tame and less “advanced” than the Dirty Loops covers. But I won’t take anything away from the skill-factor– (those are skills I certainly don’t have).

  3. BTW, that Nektar keyboard looks pretty nice. I didn’t know there was a keyboard controller with one motorized fader. Seems useful.

  4. Nice chops and fun arrangement. Also, the video production on this is very professional, much more so than most ‘synth jam’ videos.

  5. Wow, surprised people think he’s defacing an MJ song. I never liked the original. Never thought it was very good at all – so I’m really surprised people consider it sacred.

  6. I was watching this and thinking nice jam, then it cuts from head-cam shot to shot of head minus any head-cam which breaks the continuity of a single take and therefore a single jam. But it is good to see a young lad willingly do Jackson in the studio.

    1. I think watching him go all bananas on the keyboard with a GoPro wobbling on his head would be even worse for continuity.

      1. he calls it a “performance video” which i guess it is… but its a compilation of best takes, not a single continuous performance. Great skills… just a bit disappointing if you were expecting a “synth Jam” in the pure sense.

        1. and I’m not trying to discount his skills; from the looks of it he is good enough to do two nearly identical takes (one without headcam) and put the videos together for a more interesting final video.

          1. If he’d just left the head cam ON for the alternate view, then none of us would have expected that it wash’t a single take, I’ll admit that I don’t even notice the missing camera until halfway through the video!

  7. I think this is awesome! You can argue that he’s destroying a MJ track or whatever. On the other hand, its like he says himself “My remixes have always contained way more new material than content from the original track; hence I felt it wasn’t appropriate to call this work a remix.” ..

    Huge props to Haywyre for doing an awesome track! And huge Big ups for him creating something that doesn’t sound like everything else out there!

    1. I would have to disagree, I think it sounds very similar to what is out there.

      I don’t like the music, but the kids got sick piano chops

  8. *Haywyre PLAYS damned well, no question. He just needs a more worthy project. I only hear one cover in twenty that doesn’t make me itch. Stop imitating other people and find your own voices. I’m tired of “pop.” It hasn’t challenged me in years. You can attend Berklee and nauseum, becoming technically adept and never play an original lick. Its all way too Milli Vanilli for me.

    *Bruce Sweden, who produced all of Jackson’s albums, once said that Michael was always very polite, open to the ideas of others and musically astute. “That guy they talk about in the press? I never met that guy.” Very few really know what happened or did not happen, but if you are letting a grown man with a house full of Disney paraphernalia babysit your young children unmonitored, the real problem is you. Its old news and he’s DEAD. Get over it.

    *”Fusion” doesn’t mean anything these days. The term has been overused and far too polished for sales purposes until its no longer a real description of a style. It began to smell bad right after Return To Forever
    disbanded. Play fast and “jazzy” doesn’t automatically impart any heat or heart. Playing something boring in a lively fashion ain’t it. You can’t “fuse” anything if your range is too narrow.

    *I need a new chair like one of those comfy white ones in the background. My current one is turning into an ass-trap.

    1. “Very few really know what happened or did not happen, but if you are letting a grown man with a house full of Disney paraphernalia babysit your young children unmonitored, the real problem is you.”

      As a culture, we can’t ignore pedophiles or blame the parents, because kids should be protected from creeps. If the creep is famous, like Jackson, kids should still be protected from them. If the parents are worthless, kids should still be protected from creeps. We can’t trust priests to protect them, we can’t trust celebrities to do it, so we have to do it and treat pedophiles like Jackson as the creeps that they are.

      1. No fault of Haywyre’s – his performance is impressive – but Jackson’s mental issues and his sick behavior with young boys ruined his career. At the end, Jackson had destroyed his face, his reputation and was so jacked up on drugs that he put himself to sleep permanently. What a sad waste of talent.

  9. Wow! This kid has some solid chops! I really like what he did here.

    Also, Nectar needs to put this kid on their artists list. He really makes that Panorama P6 MIDI keyboard/controller talk!

    I wonder what the rest of his rig consists of? DAW? Plugins? etc. It would be nice to know.

  10. Great skilled playing over top of some of the most pedestrian wanking to be found. But at least it’s showing a generation (or two!) of people that it’s ok to play the hell out of your instrument.

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