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Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of Ian Cooke's "Fortitude" from demo to final

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When we told you about the release of the song, "Fortitude," from Ian Cooke's new album of the same name, we didn't know much about how the song came to be. Sure, we knew where it was recorded and who did it, but we didn't know how much work and how many different versions of the song existed before the record. Now we do, thanks to Cooke's release of "Evolution of Fortitude," a look back at all the various versions of the track.

It turns out, the song went through a lot before getting to the final version, and this peek into Cooke's process is remarkably interesting, even for casual listeners. The song was initially called "Why Wait," for its first three iterations. The first track (included below) is a raw cello mix, the second adds vocals, and the third flips the whole thing over by adding keys and changing the vocal style around. The dates before the tracks show the original cello mix was put down two years ago, with April of this year marking the first full demo.

Then in August, the song changed its name to "Altered Beast." This is a little more full sounding, including an epic synthesizer swoosh at the start. Of course, many of us remember piling quarters into the Altered Beast arcade cabinet long ago, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), this version doesn't include the line "Rise from your grave!" at any point.

Then we get the final, album mix -- the same track we showed you a couple weeks ago. In just a month's time, the song underwent another name change, to "Fortitude," and added a whole lot of polish to the mix. It also subdues the synthesizer at the beginning and adds a few accents to the drum machine.

We're really digging this idea of offering listeners a look at the evolution of a song. While we certainly don't want it for every song on every record, comparing the original's cello lines and the changes it went through, along with the other instruments that came in, is remarkably interesting to hear.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.