Friday, 28 March 2014

Pharrell - Happy (Woodkid Sad Remix)

Joe writes: This "sad" remix of the song of the moment is really enjoyable, and not just because of the image on the YouTube video:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Roy Vedas - Fragments Of Life

Joe writes: On August 17th 1998*, an act called Roy Vedas released a single on Mercury Records to no acclaim except perhaps mine. Such a weird but infectious lyric, sound, and concept. Even the name of the act is weird. On October 26th 1998, Believe by Cher was released in the UK? Did Cher's producers get the idea for the "Cher Effect" overuse of Autotune from Roy Vedas? No - there would barely have been time.

The account I heard is that producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling acquired Autotune on the advice of David Foster, who'd told Cher it suited her voice. Mark was experimenting with, and learning how to use, the software when he happened across the effect by accident. Brian and Mark liked it and nervously played it to Cher and her then-label boss Rob Dickins. Rob started to say "It's too much, it's distracting, take it out...", or words to that effect, before Cher said "It comes out... [dramatic pause] over my dead body". Good call Cher.

In celebration of International Women's Day, Believe has just been announced as the biggest selling single by a female artist ever in the UK. Meanwhile Fragments Of Life continues to languish in obscurity, but still sounds great to me.

* In case anyone wants to update Wikipedia, I got the Roy Vedas release date from a PDF of music industry publication The Tip Sheet, which I have on my computer.

Låpsley and other women doing interesting things with their voices

Joe writes: Been meaning to post this Låpsley track for a while. A real moment, perfectly judged with loads of space but plenty of hooks too, and she is still a teenager. The "male voice" is actually her pitched down.

That got me thinking about other records which stopped people in their tracks through their use of effects on a female voice.

Hide & Seek by Imogen Heap:

I thought O Superman by Laurie Anderson had something to do with calling her mum's answerphone after she had passed away, but Wikipedia informs me it is more of a political song about America's Iran hostage crisis. Either way it is genuinely haunting:

And finally, who could forget Believe by Cher? I remember where I was the first time I heard this - in the shower, which made the deliberate overuse of Autotune (by producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling) even more confusing.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Great Big World and PS22 Chorus - Say Something

Phil writes: I was hesitating about posting this instant classic of a song because I thought most people will already have heard it.  Then I came across this great performance which also introduced me to the amazing PS22 chorus: