Thursday, September 12, 2013

vocal scientist

Really enjoyed this Katie Gately piece, but parts of it (near the end, mostly) oddly reminded me of this tune from The Stranglers.  From 1979!

Similar vibes (with a bit of Dalek-iness thrown in) with the treated vocal on this other Gately piece.

So that made me wonder if 94 % of the weirdness that is do-able with the human voice (in terms of stretching, wobbling, folding, speeding-slowing, melting-and-extruding, flange-smearing etc) was achieved quite early using tape manipulation (both by the musique concrete dudes but also various pop producers). I daresay there are some uniquely idiomatic vocal-weirdness tricknologies that pertain to the digital era (some of the Auto-Tune FX, the foggy quasi-religious choral thing that Burial and others in his wake go in for). But most of the stuff done using the sampler keyboard could be done with analogue tape. And was done, in fact.  It was just much much harder and more time-consuming to do it, took a lot more work and deliberation and planning it out in advance. Once again, for the most part, digi-technology adds facility, and also density (of events per minute, layers of sound, swarming of voices). You can hear that escalation in Gately's work as you can in Parmegiani's 1990s-onwards work or in Oswald's Plexure and Grayfolded. 

Some more Gately vocal science:

"Propranolol" is part of this larger song-suite meisterwerk "Pop Pop"

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