two musical musings

1. I just dropped a private message to a friend of mine, who I think was responsible for recommending a band to me (Grouper). I mentioned to him that I’d had this idea the band was primarily electronic, but that the album I’d downloaded via eMusic was mostly “acoustic guitar and reverb.” (I like it.) Actually, I like reverb generally – and that gets me thinking whether that makes any sense: how can one like an effect laid upon a source without reference to what the source is? So does that mean you can take some song I hate, drench it in reverb, and I’d like it? Well, probably not…but I’d probably like it more. In fact, I think it’d be a fun experiment to record a piece that consists entirely of reverb (that is – as some music-editing programs allow – the sound is 100% effect and 0% source). It’s some sort of curious present absence/absent presence – the sense of time slightly out of joint, a sense of distance and spatiality in sound, but not organic (there’s no longer any particular evocation of literal physical space attendant upon reverb, even though that may well be its original source: curious that we’re now at two removes from that source: acoustic, physical reverbs, such as plate-based reverbs, now modeled digitally with no physical component whatsoever).

2. Via Momus’s Click Opera, this fascinating item on YouTube: it’s Devo’s “Time Out for Fun” but with half the beats cut out (leaving only the second and third from each measure). The feel and tempo of the song are changed dramatically – but because the rhythmic structure of the song puts most of the musical events on the present beats, it’s recognizably the same song. This suggests a fruitful (and, as far as I can tell, underused) method of “remixing”: slicing time rather than adding or subtracting or merely extending parts.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “two musical musings

  1. Aaron

    Whoa, small internet. (That remix was made with my company’s software.)

  2. I think it’d be a fun experiment to record a piece that consists entirely of reverb

    We did that (live) at Different Skies one year. It was fun.

    In general, though, I don’t like the way reverb reduces detail, and I tend to use it sparingly.

  3. Tim: True about reduction of detail…but of course it depends entirely on what sound you want to achieve as to whether that’s a bad or a good thing.

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