Monday, November 15, 2004

I kicked the rabbit, shaved my skin

I had intended to use a misheard lyric from the Cocteau Twins but no one could tell what the original lyric was supposed to be. I spent a lot of yesterday listening to the Cocteau Twins after I heard one of their songs in a shop. And there is, frankly, a rather large pool of misheard lyrics to pick from here.

It’s quite frightening what you can do in terms of making music with not a lot of equipment these days. This is pretty self-evident, but I’ve just seen a press release for a company called Live Studio Drums, who had the idea of supplying multitrack drums to order. To explain, you send them an e-mail detailing roughly what you want along with a copy of a rough version of the song. They then record a real drummer playing a real drum kit and send you it. Depending how much you are willing to pay this can either happen within 24 hours or 21 business days. So now you don’t actually need a drummer to get real drum tracks, forget spending hours at a sequencer or drum machine trying to make programmed drums sound realistic. Or even worse actually getting one of those drummer people to come in to record with a big noisy drum kit.

Then there is Vocaloid. Most people have heard computer-type voices even if, like the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica or the Daleks in Dr Who, the voices were actually originally a real person talking. Now computer can sing, not incredibly realistically (which isn’t the same as singing “well,” they sing too well to be realistic) but close enough to provide backing vocals which no one really pays close attention to anyway.

Wandering about the Morrisons supermarket just after lunchtime today. I’m not proud but I had to buy food for tonight and since the take over of Safeway by Morrisons we now had 3 Morrisons stores in the area, One (an ex-Safeway) was shut, another (ex-Safeway) now has fairly limited stock and the last (a Morrisons originally) was never particularly well-lit or a pleasant space to spend time in but it has a better range. Anyway, they were playing music in this Morrisons as they are want to do to encourage you to come in and buy stuff. This particular Morrisons generally favours songs of the early to mid 1990s, but this time it was playing a song by Maroon 5 and at the low volume level it was incredibly obvious that the recording of the singer had been toyed with for the same reason as Vocaloid sounds unrealistic the notes were too perfectly hit and held.

So maybe all the makers of Vocaloid need to do is find a halfway point. They don’t have to sound like a singer, just a bad singer who has been artificially sorted out later on.

Related links for this stuff:
Vocaloid
Live Studio Drums
Noises from Battlestar Galactica
A fairly typical Dalek Noise
Morrisons but no pictures of the Leeds city centre store, oh no.

If you actually want to listen to Maroon 5 then I don’t think anything can help you now.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think I know/have heard of maroon 5. This may be a good thing.

Douglas M

Anonymous said...

They are a really great band. However given that this is one of the few musical things that Matthew and I disagree on and he is, generally speaking, my music guru - I'll let the comments about Maroon 5 go. :-)

Eleanor x

Matthew Cochrane said...

Ignore for a moment the sentiment behind the dread song ("She Will Be Loved") and the fact that they sound tight as a band on the recording. The vocal has been fixed, so the bloke couldn't sing it in tune.

Anonymous said...

Oh, being able to sing isn't important anymore. You just need one of those autotune thingamajigs. :-)


Douglas M

Anonymous said...

I always get Maroon 5 mixed up with Zero 7.
Just thought I'd chip in.

D

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's one thing to chip in, but to chip in twice? Tsk Tsk. :-) Actually I think the sentiment behind 'She Will Be Loved' is beautiful but then I'm a GIRL so I can get away with saying crap like that! El x

Matthew Cochrane said...

So... I removed the double post (any problems, send me an e-mail, I can make the bad stuff on this part of the Internet go away) and D's subsequent apology.

Yeah, I think that song was written to appeal to girls; they want someone to say that about them, etc. This is also probably why those dancey songs from the teen copulation colony of Ibiza (stole that from Christopher Brookmyer) are typically sung by women and have lyrics that consist of how much they desire the listener.

Btw, Zero 7 are on tour just now. I'm not a fan particularly (too much like 10cc mixed with Air, who were already quite 10cc to start with) but Sia is singing vocals with them and her album is fantastic. It's called "Colour The Small One"